Australia’s largest and leading sports tipping and fantasy games platformjoins ESPN’s leading portfolio of digital properties
ESPN Internationaltoday announced the acquisition of ExtraCorp Pty. Ltd, the owners and operators of Australia’s largest sports tipping and fantasy games platform, footytips.com.au. Launched in 1997, footytips.com.auoffers social tipping competitions across 20 of Australia’s favorite sports, most notably AFL and NRL. The site has hundreds of thousands of registered users that are highly engaged across online and mobile platforms.
The addition of footytips.com.au to ESPN’s portfolio of digital properties will significantly strengthen ESPN’s digital audience, advertising revenue and local content offering in Australia. The highly engaged audience returns to the site on a regular basis, a particularly valuable proposition to advertisers.
Social tipping on sports is an extremely popular aspect of Australian sporting culture. Similar to online sports “pick’em” or bracket predictor games, it involves groups (primarily of friends, family or co-workers) making picks about who will win sporting competitions and competing to see who has the most correct picks – or “tips.”
In addition to managing social tipping competitions, footytips.com.au has also developed numerous fantasy games, a growing online pastime in Australia, and allows users to chat and socialize through the site whilst providing a raft of information around live scores, tipping guides, polls, trivia and more. Footytips.com.au is completely free and does not receive any money for tipping competitions and does not facilitate the exchange of money.
ExtraCorp currently employs 15 staff in Australia who will join ESPN and continue to manage and grow Footytips, while also contributing to the overall growth and development of the ESPN digital business in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
“Social tipping is integral to the fabric of the Australian sporting landscape,” said Mike Morrison, Vice President and General Manager ESPN Asia Pacific. “Footytips.com.au is an extremely popular tipping platform that combines innovative social media functionality, an innate understanding of the Australian sporting culture and the value of bragging rights to sports fans and their friends. On the business side, this acquisition brings a team of talented people and technologies that will help us further enhance our leading digital position in Australia and the Pacific Rim and will be a great enhancement to our global digital leadership.”
“We’ve had a ton of fun growing Footytips and are very proud of what we have achieved,” said Heath Kilgour, Footytips co-founder. “Our members can expect the very best site to run a social tipping competition to continueand with ESPN’s resources we will further improve the site.”
Added Nathan Isterling, Footytips co-founder, “It’s very exciting to join ESPN whose approach to media is one that sees digital, television and mobile all supporting each other. With ESPN’s global expertise and resources, the local knowledge our team bring and the passion and expertise of the combined team, we can do great things to make this terrific mix of current products even better.”
Kilgour and Isterling will continue to work on the operation and growth of Footytips and on other projects in Australia and with ESPN’s global digital media team.
With the addition of Footytips.com.au, ESPN’s enhances its position as the leading digital sports publisher in Australia, where its digital brands already reaches more than a million unique users per month (averaging nearly 40 minutes per user). Its sites and services combine to deliver an industry-leading combination of up-to-the-minute sports news, scores, information, analysis and games across computers, mobile devices, game consoles and other emerging digital media platforms. The ESPN digital portfolio includes (among others):
- ESPN3.com – Australia’s first 24 hours sports broadband network, delivering more than 2,00 live and on-demand sporting events each year – including all UEFA Champions League matches, NBA, NCAA Basketball (including the annual March Madness® tournament) and more.
- ESPN.com – the leading sports site globally.
- ESPNcricinfo.com – the world’s leading digital destination for cricket;
- ESPNsoccernet.com – a leading global destination for coverage of the most popular sport in the world, reaching millions of fans every month
- ESPNscrum.com – delivering fans all the news, information analysis, scores, video and games from the world of rugby union, ESPNscrum.com has nearly doubled its global audience in the past 12 months and is now the third ranked rugby news and information destination online.
- ESPNF1.com – launched in 2010, ESPNF1delivers dedicated year-round coverage of the world’s most popular motorsport, including news, interviews, driver and grand prix profiles, statistics and more. The site has continued to grow, with its average minute audience (the number of visitors globally at any minute) growing 86 percent year-on-year.
- Mobile – ESPN mobile web sites and apps are the Australian and New Zealand sports fan’s top choice for sports news and info on the go, with fans visiting more than 8.5 million times per month.
The addition of www.footytips.com.aufurther enhancesthis portfoliothrough a significant new audience. It will continue to strengthen ESPN’s position as the regions premier digital sports media brand.
Globally, ESPN digital media properties reach at least 65 million sports fans per month.