Soccer app giving behind-the-scenes access to Messi and Beckham raises $64 million

Key Points
  • OTRO is intended to be a digital fan club fueled by content created by the world's leading soccer players.
  • It was formed in partnership with sports investment firm 23 Capital and reportedly raised around $64 million.
  • OTRO offers members a selection of content for free, but a monthly subscription for full access costs $3.99.
Soccer stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham shake hands ahead of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final match.
Clive Rose | Getty Images

Former England soccer captain David Beckham has joined forces with several other famous names including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and the world's most expensive player Neymar Jr to launch a new online content-sharing platform.

OTRO is intended to be a digital fan club fueled by content created by the world's leading soccer players. Its makers insists fans joining OTRO will be able to enjoy daily exclusive material, including original films and interviews, as well as live Q&As and challenges set by the players giving them the chance to win prizes, including meet and greets.

"Football fans all over the world want a deeper connection with their heroes and this is where OTRO comes in," said its CEO Jeremy Dale at the official launch this week.

OTRO has been formed in partnership with sports investment firm 23 Capital and it's reported around $64 million has been put into making the platform a success.

"There's a lot of access to stars on the pitch, but once the game's finished there's very little engagement," said Jason Traub, co-founder of 23 Capital to the company's website. "Given the size of the market and the excitement surrounding these players, there's a world of opportunity to unite them with their fans."

Other players who'll be part of the platform include; three-time Champions League winning coach Zinedine Zidane, Luis Suarez and Toni Duggan, who play for Barcelona's men's and women's teams respectively.

OTRO offers its members a selection of content for free, but full access is only available for a monthly subscription of $3.99.

"Today, there are so many different ways to engage and watch live sport such as 4K, Dolby Atmos, in 360 degrees and in virtual reality via an app," Paolo Pescatore, the SVP of media and technology analysis company MIDiA Research, told CNBC. "We've seen providers seek to position themselves as the Netflix of Sports and now why not the Spotify of Sports."

The seventeen current and former players currently involved in OTRO have a combined social media reach of over 400 million people and have been promoting the service on various platforms since its official launch on Monday.

"I might have stopped playing, but the fact I can watch these young talented players and actually be part of something where they're going to share their lives on a platform is exciting," Beckham said this week.

However, as the landscape of sports broadcasting becomes more fragmented and congested with the rise of fan media and other athlete-generated content like The Players Tribune, Pescatore added that "Raising awareness represents a monumental challenge."