SPFL becomes first league to join Dugout as its looks to strengthen Scottish football's global footing

The SPFL is the first league to sign up to the Dugout platform

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has become the first league to join the Dugout platform in a move it believes will help grow its global reach and strengthen ties with younger audiences.

The agreement sees the SPFL- which consists of Scotland’s Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 as well as the Betfred Cup and the Irn-Bru Cup- join the platform alongside some of the world’s biggest clubs including FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.

Dugout, which officially launched in November last year, brings clubs together on one platform, giving them the freedom to be content creators while receiving an even share of the ad revenue generated from the platform. Fans can personalise their experience based on which clubs, players and leagues they choose to follow.

Much of the content on Dugout includes exclusive behind-the-scenes content with players and teams, however the SPFL will predominately host match footage from the forthcoming 2017/18 season as well as archive footage from the past.

“Our goal is to reach young and new audiences across digital and there’s certainly an opportunity there with Dugout,” Ross McDonald, digital manager at the SPFL, told The Drum. “It’s exciting to see the best of Scottish football content alongside some of the biggest clubs and competitions in world football.”

Less than a year since its inception Dugout has grown exponentially and now has around 38 million global users, over 40 clubs and 81 players.

Ian Nolan, chief content officer at Dugout, attributed the fast growth of the platform to the simplicity of its business model.

Speaking exclusively to The Drum, Nolan said: “The basic business model is to split the ad revenue evenly between the partners. “It’s really easy to understand and I think that’s the reason why we’ve had so much success in signing up so many big partners at such a fast rate.”

Dugout has also emerged as a possible solution to the dilemma many clubs are struggling to overcome, namely how they better monetize the huge audiences they have across their social platforms.

Prior to arriving at Dugout Nolan worked with clubs including Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and the recurring issue each of the clubs wrestled with was their digital business model.

"They had all built up these social followings overs years and years because they thought it was the right thing to do and now they’re chief executives and commercial directors are asking them where’s the value.

"Everyone’s becoming a bit more savvy, they can see the huge sums of money these social media platforms are generating so they know there’s money out there and they know when they create a video and it goes viral with one or two million views, someone somewhere is making the money from it," he said.

Nolan points out that in slicing up the ad revenue from the platform Dugout is also a “machine to fuel more spend in media because we are essentially giving money back to them for their content.”

McDonald admits that aside from the ambitions to strengthen the SPFL’s global digital footing, the financial opportunities Dugout offers made the decision to join the platform easy.

"The monetisation side of things is a big positive whenever we’re trying to justify cases like this to our broad. It’s exposure for the SPFL brand in a positive light, but moreover that fact that you can generate revenue over the back of it justifies the time and resource that we dedicate to putting content on Dugout," he said.

As well as uploading its own content, Dugout will work with the SPFL to create original content. This will include videos which are exclusive to Dugout before they are shared anywhere else, as well as lifestyle and personal updates from players and original video series featuring ball skills, challenges and tricks.

The SPFL is the first league to side with Dugout, however Elliot Richardson, president of Dugout, has promised more will follow suit.

"We are in conversations with a number of other leagues about similar partnerships, and hope to make some more announcements very soon," Richardson said.

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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