FloSports Further Accelerates Its Growth With a Convincing Push Into Soccer
Direct-to-consumer streaming platform has opened 2019 with major deals with DC United, CONCACAF
2018 not only was a breakout year for direct-to-consumer sports-streaming products but also showcased a notably strong performance by sports-streaming distributor FloSports. The company signed more than 250 content partnership deals in those 12 months and gained more traction and visibility among viewers and across the sports-media industry at large.
Now the company is riding the momentum by making a splash in the U.S. soccer market. Since the calendar flipped to 2019, the company has struck two deals of note: a multiyear deal to exclusively stream matches of Major League Soccer’s DC United and, most recently, a rights deal to distribute more than 200 matches of the CONCACAF Nations League in the U.S. through 2022.
In line with this new direction, FloSports has debuted FloFC, making soccer distribution in the U.S. one of its latest efforts. It’s a natural fit for all the reasons heard many times before: U.S. soccer fans are young, passionate, technologically savvy, and certainly accustomed to streaming live matches, be they from major competitions like the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, or from other international soccer competitions.
“The consumption habits of younger fans have been changing rapidly over the last five years,” says David Weiss, SVP, global rights acquisition, FloSports. “A linear option is becoming less and less attractive. Overall, the real connecting tissue between FloSports and soccer fans is that soccer fans are some of the most passionate sports fans in the world. That’s one of the missions at FloSports: we want to serve our rightsholders and their sport, but we also want to serve the passionate fan. That’s the origin of FloSports. Because of that, the opportunity in soccer, we thought, is plentiful.”
Although FloSports’ pedigree is built on dedicating resources to niche sports (track and field, Brazilian jiu jitsu), the company understands that its value is partnering with associations and organizations looking to elevate their respective sport. FloSports has prided itself on becoming a universal destination for fans of a given niche sport by giving the sport the love and attention it has never received before.
Weiss thinks it says a lot about what the company has accomplished that a major association like CONCACAF would trust FloSports with the U.S. distribution of this new competition.
“Rightsholders that are looking to elevate and grow their property and their sport are a great fit for what FloSports does really well,” says Weiss. “With respect to CONCACAF and the Nations League, we loved that their mission was about this event and all of the games that are a part of it. They want to elevate the sport of soccer by making more and more games important and competitive. That felt right in line with what we like to do. The Nations League is a new property with the goal of raising the level of play across the entire association and ultimately have a payoff with the enhanced quality of play in the World Cup. That’s what we got really excited about it.”
In the big picture, while FloSports has grown its profile through partnerships like these and deals struck last year with BTN, the EuroLeague, and the WCHA, the DtC playing field got a lot more crowded in 2018 with linear-media entrants like ESPN+ and B/R Live entering the ring. In Weiss’s opinion, those added players are good for business.
“We think that’s a great thing,” he explains. “I think competition is healthy, and I also think it’s a positive thing. We humbly believe we were in this space first and knew this was how many sports fans wanted to consume their content. It was good to see that the landscape started to get a little bit more crowded, and I think we took a big leap forward in terms of our recognition in the marketplace from a B2B perspective.”