Dugout and PP Sports agree content partnership

Digital football content platform Dugout has agreed a partnership to provide content to Chinese sports streaming service PP Sports.

Dugout, which is co-owned by 10 major European football clubs, will supply PP Sports with behind-the-scenes and archive content in Mandarin.

Dugout’s co-owner clubs are AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid. As well as these clubs, it has partnerships to get content from more than 100 other clubs, national federations and leagues. The company says it has created and distributed more than 2,500 pieces of video content, that are delivering 400 million views per month, globally.

PP Sports is owned by Chinese conglomerate Suning. It has a leading position in live football streaming in China, with rights for properties including the Chinese Super League, the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the French Ligue 1, the German Bundesliga and the Uefa Champions League. It also has rights for WWE.

Commenting on the deal, Dugout co-founder and chairman Elliot Richardson said: “With live global football currently on pause, there is even greater demand for behind-the-scenes and archive football content – and we are pleased to partner with Suning and PP Sports to deliver international football content to passionate football fans in China…

“These are difficult times for everyone, including the global sports industry as leagues and events face an uncertain immediate future. In the last two months we have seen our number of video views increase globally from 300 to 400 million a month, so we know the appetite to watch football around the world will not diminish. Our partnership with PP Sports stands as a landmark achievement that will help Dugout’s community of clubs sustain and grow their businesses.”

Richardson told SportBusiness last month that the company was seeing “massively increased demand” as a result of the Covid-19 sports shutdown.

In a statement on the partnership, the PP Sports management team said: “Even during this most challenging period, PP Sports has been able to bring a range of sports content to our millions of viewers across China.

“Dugout is a unique company, owned by some of Europe’s biggest clubs and with partnerships across football, we look forward to working together to bring a range of exclusive, and behind-the-scenes content, built on Dugout’s unique capabilities and access.”

PP Sports enjoyed jumps in viewing figures early in the Covid-19 crisis, when it was still able to stream live European football while China was locked down. The company opened up its coverage for free – it usually requires a subscription.

PP Sports is understood to have been struggling with the costs of its football rights commitments in recent years. Last year, it laid off staff and had talks with Chinese tech giant Alibaba about a possible takeover.