Cash-rich Manchester City FC has hired Endemol’s new Sport division to produce, distribute and sell all its global online video content, as the club looks to join its more illustrious neighbour Manchester United in pushing its brand to fans worldwide, as Guardian.co.uk reports. Endemol Sport, which launched as a new division in January, is on Wednesday relaunching City’s website — with help from digital agency Poke — and plans to market match footage, interviews and other footage in 25 markets. City isn’t opting for paid-for subscription packages as higher profile clubs like Chelsea have (a year’s access to Chelsea TV online is £40) but instead wants to grow its brand which will help it sell merchandise and organise lucrative pre-season tours abroad.
As part of the “multi-platform” deal, Endemol will produce video in English and Arabic — City is owned by a hugely wealthy Abu Dhabi-based consortium that is keen to boost the club’s profile in the Middle East — while three or four other languages are planned by the end of the year. Endemol will also produce magazines. It marks the end of a year-three year deal with Swiss sports rights group Kentaro which launched the now defunct mcfctv.com and has deals with the Brazilian and Argentine national football associations.
Football will always attract a large and passionate audience online — but the problem for media companies is that football clubs themselves want to be the main destination for sports fans, especially abroad and they have the spending power most newspapers and online publishers could only dream of. Most Premier League clubs outside the “top four” big clubs and other Football League use Perform’s sports broadcast platform, which create’s a paid-for highlights and interviews minisite on a white label basis.