On the latest episode of La Previa, hosts Asli Pelit and Boris Gartner talk to Juan Delgado, the CEO of Footballco, the world’s largest soccer-focused digital content and media company.
Launched in 2019, Footballco’s majority owner is Integrated Media Company (IMC), an affiliate of the private equity firm TPG. Delgado, who was the CEO of DAZN Media, led the company’s evolution. DAZN Group is still a minority shareholder of Footballco.
“In my limited experience, the approach of private equity is always having a clear thesis of what they are going to do,” Delgado said. “In the case of the business of Footballco, it is simply the growth of the soccer-focused consumption across digital platforms and investing in global soccer brands.”
“My understanding is TPG also looked into sports properties in the U.S. to invest but due to digital development of the leagues and broadcasters and high valuations of those assets, decided to look outside and saw that the sport that had the most following was soccer,” Delgado said. “And there was not a strong digital media development in soccer as other leagues in the U.S. already have.”
Footballco operates four major publishers, including global soccer publication GOAL and leading local brands Calciomercato, Spox, Voetbalzone, Kooora and Mundial. The company saw incredible audience growth leading up to the World Cup in Qatar last year across all its brands.
Footballco’s goal is reducing reliance on the traditional media advertising model and global tournaments like World Cup, by growing other revenue streams. “Such as affiliate commerce, product and our subscription business,” Delgado said. “The Women’s World Cup is also a great opportunity to build on the momentum from the Women’s Euro last year.”
The hosts also discuss Formula One’s season kick-off in Bahrain, where Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won the Grand Prix, and how the success of Netflix’s documentary series impacted the sport’s growth in the United States, where two new races have joined the schedule over the last two years.
Pelit and Gartner then talk about the Major League Soccer 2023 season, the league’s new media deal with Apple and the future of the sport in the U.S., leading up to the World Cup in 2026.
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