Foxsoccer.com's first free live-streamed telecast of a
Europa League soccer match on Thursday-with Monchengladbach beating Marseille
2-0-was sponsored by Porsche as part of a six-figure ad buy for the German
automaker, the largest single automotive category buy in the site's history.
The ad deal with Porsche-part of the automaker's overall
campaign to launch its Cayenne Diesel model-includes a special branded Porsche video
Web page, where the streamed telecast was made available. It's part of a
three-month campaign on foxsoccer.com that will include another live-streamed
game in December.
Foxsoccer.com's site had offered paid viewing of live-streamed
soccer matches before the introduction of this new ad-supported venture. The
site has been steadily developing its online audience; in September it averaged
3.1 million unique visitors, according to comScore, a 160% increase over its
average unique audience during September 2011.
"Now that we have been able to develop significant scale, we
can begin offering ad-supported free streaming of soccer matches," says Bhavesh
Patel, VP of interactive media, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes. Previously,
foxsoccer.com visitors had to pay about $20 per month to watch the live matches
on a premium site where about 1,000 matches per year are available. Now they
have a free alternative.
Fox Sports owns the video rights to several different
leagues, giving them access to plenty of matches.
As foxsoccer.com gets more advertisers on board, it will
begin offering ad-supported live streaming on multiple digital platforms
including online, mobile and tablets, Patel says.
In the case of Porsche, the automaker was looking to reach
young, affluent, college-educated consumers-conveniently enough, that's the
audience profile of viewers who have been watching the matches on the
foxsoccer.com premium site, Patel says. "And the soccer audience over-indexes
among men, and that is a sweet spot for this type of brand."
The scheduled time for this first streaming effort-3 p.m. ET
in the U.S.-was selected to allow viewers on both the East Coast and West
Coast view the match online in an environment outside their primary TV sets at
"This deal marks the beginning of a foxsoccer.com
relationship with Porsche," Patel says. "It came about after several meetings
with our Fox Sports digital sales team and Porsche and its agency to discuss
the timing as it related to the launch date of the car. It all came together
very quickly over the last month or so."
Porsche is the first advertiser in the fold to sponsor
streamed events with specially created site pages, but Patel believes this is
only the first instance of a new opportunity for all advertisers-and a new
revenue stream for the site.
"We are now in a position bring advertisers audience scale,
so this is not just a one-off deal," Patel says. "We are just at the beginning
of the new soccer season that runs through May, and we will be out there
selling opportunities for sponsorships to more advertisers going
forward. Foxsoccer.com has the rights to stream matches in several different
soccer leagues so there are plenty of opportunities for advertisers."
Patel adds that foxsoccer.com has streaming rights to Gold
Cup matches during the summer of 2013 that can be also sponsored.
Going forward, advertisers can work with the site to
determine how to best integrate advertising with content on the site page and
around the streaming, Patel said. In this week's stream of the match, there
were no commercials, but Patel is ruling nothing out.
"As we move forward, anything is possible," he says. "We are
trying to find the best ways to get more integration for the advertisers."
Foxsoccer.com's regular advertisers have included Adidas,
GameStop, Tecate, Sprint, AT&T, Nike, Gatorade and PepsiMax, among others.
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