FC Barcelona rolls out Barça TV+, an OTT service it sees as core to its digital – and financial – future

Barça TV+

FC Barcelona has launched Barça TV+, a new subscription streaming service with more than 3,000 pieces of content – more than 1,000 hours of content – as part of the club’s new digital strategy that it sees as becoming its biggest revenue stream in the coming years.

The Spanish professional soccer club, which plays in La Liga, said it launched the OTT service with an eye toward competing not just with other soccer clubs, but “other streaming services, video games” and more for the attention of a global audience.

“Barça TV+ is the key piece, the jewel in the crown, in the club’s new digital strategy,” said Board Member Dídac Lee, in a statement. “This is a unique product that will offer fans a new way to consume Barça content, wherever they want and whenever they want; exclusive, different content that will be available on demand.”

Barça TV+ a change in direction as viewers go OTT

Barcelona in February first made public its new OTT direction, along with a new e-commerce service in May. It sees the combination as one of the club’s largest sources of ordinary income over the next five years, supporting the Barça’s mission to develop new revenue streams and continue leading the way both on and off the pitch.

FC Barcelona’s income comes directly from the sports industry. Its desire to evolve into an entertainment brand is designed to address a changing audience that increasingly consumes content online.

Barça Studios will be the focal point, centralizing all of the club’s creation, production and marketing of audiovisual content.

It will also use a dedicated fan relationship-management program to collect data from its own platform to better identify fan preferences, allowing it to tailor the most relevant content to their needs at all times.

Barça has 350 million online followers, and sees 1.4 million digital interactions annually. The new digital strategy is aimed at helping the club get even closer to its global fan base, directly, eventually delivering a personalized experience and content while also boosting this new line of business, which is expected to become one of the club’s biggest sources of revenue in the coming years.

A service made for a new generation of viewers

Barça TV+ will be available worldwide via the club website and app, on PCs, tablets, smartphones and TVs using cast technology. It costs $5.58/mo. and includes a seven-day free trial. There’s also a free, limited-content version available to anyone who registers.

Content will be delivered in Catalan, Spanish and English, all on demand, and will include original exclusive series and in-house documentaries.

Barça TV+ also offers first team games in delayed or on-demand format, while matches played by Barça B, the Barça Women, the other sports teams and youth teams can be viewed either live or in delay.

The platform also will include Barça TV, historic Barça content, including every game from the last five seasons and 65 of the biggest games ever played by the team.

Fans can access a collection of behind-the-scenes videos and compilations of footage featuring various Barça stars.

The bottom line

The allure of sports isn’t fleeting. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed live sports off TV screens, the number of streaming video views continued to increase through Q1 and even into April, as viewers watched old games, highlights and other sports shoulder content.

But, as FC Barcelona execs point out, even major sports leagues and teams aren’t immune to the changing ways viewers consume content, especially younger viewers.

Adopting OTT as a pillar of any media strategy will be a crucial differentiator moving forward.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn