K League nets free-to-view exposure on OneFootball in five major markets

Football media platform OneFootball is to broadcast free coverage of Korea’s K League to users in France, Italy, Spain, the UK and Brazil in a deal with Sportradar, the agency that was last year appointed to sell the K League’s international rights from 2020 to 2024.

The coverage of selected matches will initially be available in those five markets under the terms of the agreement signed with Sportradar.

The deal excludes Germany, the other member of Europe’s ‘big 5’ markets, after Sportdigital Fussball, the subscription broadcaster in German-speaking countries, picked up the K League rights.

The agreement includes live coverage of two-to-three K League matches per matchday during the remainder of the 2020 season, along with the entirety of the 2021 campaign. Viewers can watch the coverage on a free-to-air basis via the recently relaunched OneFootball app and commentary will be provided in English.

OneFootball said: “With more than 44 million active users per season globally, OneFootball is the most popular digital media platform for the new generation of football fans. This distribution partnership will allow the K League to tap into a vast userbase of young and highly engaged ‘mobile-first’ football enthusiasts in some of OneFootball’s core markets.

“OneFootball will work closely with the K League and Sportradar in developing a bespoke in-app marketing strategy to enhance visibility of the offer and maximize engagement.”

Until now, OneFootball has focused on pay-per-view agreements with agencies, broadcasters and rights-holders. The various pay-per-view distribution agreements have included deals for the Polish Cup, with Sportdigital Fussball, Sky Deutschland,and Eleven Sports.

Lucas von Cranach, chief executive and founder of OneFootball, said: “Our flexible and convenient approach to in-app live streaming in combination with our very engaged userbase of football fanatics, will benefit the K League’s growth in international markets.”

Lutz Tigges, senior director, media rights at Sportradar, said: “Partnering with OneFootball who, like us, are leaders in the digital field, is a tremendous opportunity to expand the audience and brand of the K League beyond its current reach of over forty countries. Be it live coverage, highlights or short form clips, visual moving images still capture the raw emotion which is football and to have one of Asia’s best leagues reach a global audience is nothing but a win-win for all of us.”

The K League’s international rights attracted increased attention earlier this season, thanks to its status as one of the few professional sports leagues worldwide that was running live events.

Sportradar agreed broadcast deals in markets including China, Hong Kong and Croatia, while rights deals were also agreed with digital platforms Dugout (in Singapore), 433 (in the Netherlands) and Copa90 (in the UK). International feeds are supplied from the league’s new media centre, which opened in March. Among the league’s offerings to international broadcasters is 78 games per season with English subtitles.