Big football clubs take on Facebook with new social media network

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, left, and Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Bournemouth. Photo / AP
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, left, and Arsenal's Theo Walcott celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Bournemouth. Photo / AP

Almost two dozen of the world's biggest football clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus have joined forces to launch a new social media network that aims to replicate the success of Facebook for football fans.

More than 150 players have also individually signed on the dotted line, including Gareth Bale, Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Alexis Sanchez, the Guardian reports.

Dugout claims that it marks the first time so many leading clubs have joined together for a commercial venture.

The site launches today in eight languages and boasts profile pages for each club and player, offering exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes video, interviews and more. The content will be available as much as 24 hours before it is release on any other social media. Pelé is among the "leading football influencers and legends" also providing content.

Dugout co-founder and president Elliott Richardson told the Guardian:

"The game today is truly global and fans don't just want to watch matches, they want to follow their favourite clubs and players across the world, on and off the pitch."

The site is free to access, with Dugout hoping to build a large user base and employ a Facebook-style advertising model to drive revenues. Former Google, AOL and Buzzfeed executive Kate Burns is onboard as executive vice-president, focused on the commercial element of the social network.

Burns revealed that it has "been designed to engage and attract millennials from across the globe..."

Companies House filings show that senior executives at Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and PSG are listed as directors, while the family of British retail tycoon Philip Green is also a minority shareholder. Media partners thus fare include Allianz and Coca-Cola.

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