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Dugout acquires Ballball under News Corp partnership

Digital football business Dugout has agreed a deal to acquire Ballball, the mobile and online football platform serving Southeast Asia which is owned by media group News Corp.

The agreement to acquire Ballball will see Dugout showcase the platform’s aggregation of football content in two key territories – Vietnam and Indonesia – through a Ballball section on the Dugout platform, with plans to expand into other countries in the region. From today (Tuesday), the best of Dugout’s content will also be showcased on ballball.com.

The acquisition will lead to the creation of a new Dugout entity – Dugout SE Asia – which will be headquartered in Singapore and will lead the expansion of Dugout in the region.

While parent company Dugout will be the majority shareholder of Dugout SE Asia, News Corp will also have a stake in the new business. This strategic partnership will include News Corp global head of rights, Simon Greenberg, sitting on the board of Dugout SE Asia.

Elliot Richardson, founder and chairman of Dugout, said: “Our aim with Dugout was to make it the digital football destination of choice by aligning clubs/players with brands and fans. We have already created over 15,000 hours of exclusive video content with our partners, and with access to incredible archive and new content themes, this will unlock more stories for fans to view of the clubs and players they love.

“The purchase of Ballball will show the continued momentum behind the business and the chance to work with News Corp as a partner is so exciting. We know that South-East Asia is a hugely important territory for football clubs and the brands we work with, so we look forward to giving football fans in the region a great experience.” 

Greenberg added: “In today’s rapidly changing media environment, it’s essential to work with strong and innovative partners like Dugout that recognise the value of premium content. With football the fastest growing sport in the world – and Asia the fastest growing region – we launched Ballball on mobile, the fastest growing platform, in 2013 and we are very proud of all that's been achieved since.

“The team has built an unparalleled digital expertise and reputation to make it the go-to mobile destination for football highlights in the region. Dugout recognises the value of that work and together we can use this foundation to create a very compelling mobile offering for the many millions of football fans in SE Asia.”

Dugout represents the first time the world’s biggest clubs have joined forces to create a business, with partners including AC Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Roma, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid.

Ballball distributes short-form highlights from European and other top football leagues, generating 800 million video views during the 2017-18 season.