By Martin Ross
Field hockey’s FIH has entered into an agreement with mycujoo, the streaming platform best known for its work in soccer, for the creation and launch of its new ‘FIH.live’ over-the-top digital platform.
The service will be rolled out on Thursday offering live streaming of all FIH competitions, but also encouraging players and teams to generate and share video content from around the world.
Announcing the agreement, mycujoo said: “In partnering with FIH to build FIH.live, mycujoo are creating a groundbreaking relationship where they are providing their technology at no cost to FIH, or their audience. Creating FIH’s direct to fan OTT, mycujoo will be a participant to its own solution’s results via revenue sharing with FIH.”
Thierry Weil, the FIH chief executive, said: “FIH.live is a great opportunity for the global hockey community to engage with current fans as well as with people who are yet to become fans. It will also boost the production of user generated content and bring hockey games live to many more fans in a simple way. I’m really happy that we will benefit from mycujoo’s expertise and creativity to help us achieving these goals.”
Pedro Presa, chief executive and founder of mycujoo, added: "Hockey is a global sport and represents a massive community. With FIH.live, FIH and mycujoo will harness the power of the sport, the power of these communities to bring more content and value to hockey players and fans worldwide.”
The platform will be provided to all national hockey associations for them to produce and stream their competitions and matches.
The FIH added: “This platform will help FIH to engage more with the global hockey community, hockey fans and anyone who hasn’t had the chance to discover the sport yet. Furthermore, ‘FIH.live’ will connect fans, players, players’ families, friends, coaches and officials.”
Users will be able to share content on social media and follow their favourite countries, domestic competitions, clubs, individual teams and players.
All FIH competitions will be available live on the platform this year, beginning with the inaugural FIH Pro League, which starts on 19 January, the FIH Series Finals and the Olympic Games qualifiers. Markets in which broadcast rights for FIH competitions have already been sold will be subject to geo-blocking.
Field hockey's world governing body said that the future of the platform will “integrate the most updated technology as it evolves” and will be “driven by Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and data.” Automatic filming and automatic video tagging have already been introduced on the platform.
FIH.live is free to access, and will be available as an app to download, or accessible via the FIH website.
The agreement with the FIH represents mycujoo’s first major move outside soccer. The company was founded in 2014 to allow soccer clubs, leagues, federations and even players to stream content from their matches and monetise it effectively.
Soccer bodies mycujoo has worked with since its launch include the Asian Football Confederation, the national associations in Portugal, the Philippines and Tajikistan, Beach Soccer Worldwide, the international beach soccer events organiser, the Federação Paulista, the soccer association in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, and the Japan Women’s Football League.
Despite the tie-up with the FIH, the mycujoo.tv streaming platform itself will continue to be exclusively football-focused.
A series of additions have been made to mycujoo’s senior executive team in the last 12 months amid continuing investment and talks with rights-holders outside of soccer to build tailored OTT solutions.
In July last year, the FIH issued a request for proposals from digital agencies to develop a mobile app, while agencies were also asked to carry out a design assessment of the website and make at least three suggestions for design improvements. Last year, the FIH signed a two-year digital agreement with Little Dot Studios, the London-based media firm, to “amplify” the federation’s content and increase its online engagement with fans ahead of the World Cup and Champions Trophy events.
YouTube, the Google-owned video sharing platform, teamed up with the FIH ahead of the 2017 Hockey World League Finals to live-stream matches from the men's and women's finals in countries where no broadcast deals were in place.
The FIH now sells its global media rights in-house, after buying back the rights from pay-TV broadcaster Star India in 2017 when the latter was only three years into an eight-year deal (Star retained rights in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal).