Looking to bolster its online sports advertising portfolio, Perform Group has acquired Goal.com, an online football portal, from a group of investors including venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners. Terms of the deal were not released.
PERFORM announced today that it has acquired Goal.com, the world’s largest football portal, from a consortium of investors including Bessemer Venture Partners. The deal is a major development for PERFORM, rapidly increasing its scale and reach in the global digital sports market to over 95 million users a month.
Over the last three years, Goal.com has used its strong brand and broad news coverage in fifteen languages to build up a leading position in the online football portal market. PERFORM will take the site to the next level of development by fully integrating its live sports data (GSM), video news (OMNISPORT), video highlights (ePlayer) and live streaming (LIVESPORT.TV) from its catalogue of over 40 different football leagues and competitions.
In January 2011, Goal.com was visited by 19.4 million unique users* including 3.8 million visits* on the 31st January, the last day of the European mid-season transfer window. According to Comscore, the independent online ratings agency, Goal.com is now over 250% bigger than ESPNSoccernet.com, Football365.com and Teamtalk.com – the sites that started the online football revolution more than 10 years ago.
Goal.com has over one million followers on Facebook and is available as an application on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. The acquisition will also see PERFORM adding its mobile expertise to the existing Goal.com services both in terms of product development and distribution, as mobile becomes a growing share of overall traffic.
The acquisition means PERFORM’s online sports advertising portfolio has taken a significant step towards consolidating a market leading position. Goal.com will add to PERFORM’s scale in the UK online sports video market where it streams sports videos to 21 times more unique users than any other sports video operator (Comscore Video Metrix, January 2010).
“Goal.com is the iconic global football portal and a clear market leader. This acquisition gives PERFORM a major brand and major worldwide coverage.” said Simon Denyer, joint-CEO, PERFORM. “We now reach over 95 million sports fans every month – a large, and ever-increasing number of potential customers. This means PERFORM, our advertisers and rights holder partners are now able to market to and transact with a very significant fan base”.
Goal’s CEO, Ron Elwell, commented. “Over the last 5 years, Goal.com has grown from nothing to the largest football site in the world, reaching tens of millions of passionate fans thanks to the vision of our founder, Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni. The acquisition by PERFORM provides a great platform for the continued growth of the site with the addition of world class video content and I’m sure it will continue to be a fantastic business.”
As part of the acquisition (which was completed on 22nd February, 2011) PERFORM will retain three key members of management. Michael Simpson, one of Goal.com’s original founders assumes the role of Senior Vice President for Product and Content, Jonathan Gamble becomes Senior Vice President for Commercial and Sales and Scott Rothrock will continue as Chief Technology Officer of Goal.com. All three members will report to Simon Denyer, joint-CEO, PERFORM.