Goal.com owner takes over Italy’s best football site
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The privately funded owner of Goal.com, the football media website, has acquired Italy’s largest digital football news provider, as the group expands its coverage of top leagues and teams.
The deal marks the first major expansion of Footballco, which is owned by Integrated Media Company, a subsidiary of US private equity firm TPG Capital. Footballco, which bought a controlling stake in Goal.com last year in a $ 125 million deal with DAZN, the sports streaming company, aims for annual revenue of $ 100 million .
Around 400 million football fans use its websites and social media every month, thanks to Goal.com. The double-digit deal for CalcioMercato.com, which was founded by majority shareholder and publisher Carlo Pallavicino, adds 12 million monthly visitors.
Online sports sites have proven to be strong competitors with their coverage and have generated significant investor interest.
Goal.com, which competes with Disney’s ESPN, secured an exclusive video interview with Lionel Messi when the former FC Barcelona star first considered leaving the Spanish club last year.
The Athletic, a US-based subscription site, was valued at $ 500 million last year after successfully expanding coverage to the Premier League and other top football competitions across Europe.
In June, US media group Maven, which owns Sports Illustrated, raised $ 20 million in equity and acquired The Spun website, which covers sports such as the National Football League and the National Basketball Association.
Juan Delgado, Managing Director of Footballco, said the acquisition of CalcioMercato.com made Footballco the number one football platform in Italy, while expanding its European footprint in “the world’s largest digital football advertising market. “.
Serie A, the Italian national league, includes iconic clubs such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus, as well as top players, such as Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo. The Italian national team also won the delayed Euro 2020 international tournament this summer.
Over 100 million fans visited the Goal.com website and apps during Euro2020 and the Copa America tournament in Brazil.
Delgado told the FT that Footballco, which has more than 300 employees and will add 20 with CalcioMercato.com, plans to expand into other geographies through both buyout of existing platforms and organic investments in markets like Spain and France.
He is also considering the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar, highlighting the Middle East as a “high growth market”. North America is another target.
It already has a strong presence in Europe with the acquisition of two digital media brands, the German Spox and the Dutch company VoetbalZone, at the time of the agreement with Goal.com.
Ori Winitzer, chief executive of IMC, said that while “we will never stray from reporting on news, transfer news, scores, the heart of professional gaming,” the group also planned to look beyond from advertising, its main source of income, including the sale of clothing and streetwear online.