- Kickoff by Zuju is first in the world to launch second-screen experience, potentially monetising market that constitutes 87% of sports fans
- Launch is timed with the kickoff of the first match of the English Premier League 23/24 season
- Platform is a first mover in providing new frontier of fan engagement-as-a-service in the football entertainment space
10th August 2023, Singapore – zujuGP, helmed by businessman Kiat Lim and fronted by global football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, has launched Kickoff by Zuju – the world’s first, real-time, second-screen fan experience that enables fans to play along during a live football match.
Unlocking a new avenue for monetisation:real-time second-screen fan experience
In a breakthrough for the sporting and gaming industries, Kickoff by Zuju is the first to crack the code for an immersive second-screen football fan experience by giving fans an opportunity to play along with their favourite teams and players in real-time during a live match. This pioneers a new industry that amplifies the action taking place during live football matches with a complementary mobile gaming experience that operates in real-time as the match unfolds.
A whopping 87% of sports fans use a second screen while watching a live sports broadcast, according to a recent study conducted by the Sports Business Institute. This behaviour is particularly evident amongst the younger generation of fans: 47% of Gen Z fans who watched sports on TV or digital platforms simultaneously watched or interacted with other live content. However, the second-screen experience has always been limited to viewing static content or browsing on socials, and monetising audience engagement has been similarly limited – which Kickoff by Zuju is going to change.
During a live match, fans on Kickoff by Zuju can play along, in real-time, with their favourite players and teams, on their mobile devices, by anticipating micro-events like goals, shot attempts, touches in the penalty-box, crosses, and free kicks, all as the match is happening live – unlike traditional fantasy games where “gameplay” occurs prior to the match.
Kickoff by Zuju is free-to-play and operates within a freemium model: users have the option of purchasing premium features such as virtual goods, gameplay-related benefits, and power-ups, as well as subscriptions to unlock special social interaction and community privileges.
“We are using technology intuitively to elevate the match experience in real-time and create a new football sub-culture. Kickoff by Zuju was inspired by fans all over the world who have long demanded a more engaging and immersive second-screen experience – and we are proud to be able to lead the way,” said Kiat Lim, Co-founder of zujuGP.
Kickoff by Zuju kicks off with Cristiano Ronaldo
The football maestro features prominently in a global campaign comprising a series of videos, posts, and activations that will be released on his social channels. The campaign introduces fans to this revolutionary dimension of football engagement and encourages fans to #playeverymoment with Kickoff by Zuju. This delivers on the promise of #writingthefutureoffootball when Ronaldo first dropped the hashtag in 2021 at the launch of zujuGP.
Cristiano Ronaldo will also be releasing a limited-edition collectible card collection exclusively on Kickoff by Zuju – users will be able to unlock and win copies of these cards, which will be physically delivered to them. In addition, the football star will also be attending real-life engagements such as meet-and-greets, which will also be exclusive to the platform.
The strategy for launching platform-exclusive collectibles backed by international sports stars taps into the growing global sports memorabilia market, which is expected to reach US$227.2 billion by 2032, up from US$26.1 billion in 2021.
“We are especially excited that Cristiano has been an important part of the development of Kickoff by Zuju, giving us the opportunity to bring fans even closer to players,” continued Kiat Lim.
“Kickoff by Zuju provides fans with an extraordinary opportunity to connect further with the game, their favourite teams, and players. As someone who is deeply passionate about football and giving back to the supporters who have been with me throughout my career, I take immense pride in being part of this platform that elevates the way fans can enjoy the game,” said five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Pipeline of collaborations with international leagues
Kickoff by Zuju benefits from the Lim family’s extensive football connections across the globe, with partnerships that cover all the major football leagues. In the initial roll-out, fans of the English Premier League will be able to enjoy the Kickoff by Zuju second-screen experience for most matches, featuring their favourite teams. In addition, the platform will also offer matches involving the top teams in each of the major leagues, including La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1, as well as other popular leagues and tournaments like Major League Soccer, World Cup, UEFA Euro, and UEFA Champions League.
Future plans for Kickoff by Zuju include partnerships with more football leagues, teams, and international football stars to build on the immersive digital experience of the real-world match through special events, exclusive in-game challenges, limited-edition collectibles, and even more engaging ways for fans to interact with football content.
“At the heart of Kickoff by Zuju is the opportunity to co-create a digital football playground with the fans, players, and teams with the goal of reimagining and reinventing a football fan experience that delivers a fresh dimension of entertainment that is interactive, engaging, and empowering,” said Mervyn Lau, CEO of Kickoff by Zuju. Creating a new football subculture
In April 2022, zujuGP acquired Tokigames to develop and deliver rich, immersive digital experiences and activities to football fans around the world. Within a year, the team has forged a new category of football gaming and delivered a world’s first platform offering a dimension of fan engagement that cuts across real-world matches and mobile gaming.
“We are tapping into the fundamental need of fans to want to feel a greater sense of excitement and engagement when watching football. They can interact with the live match, play on a second-screen, progress through levels and ranks, and collect limited-edition memorabilia in one unified ecosystem. This not only heightens the experience for the fans but also enables both the leagues and clubs to better connect with their fan base – in the real world and virtually,” added Mervyn Lau. Kickoff by Zuju is expected to be a big hit: it taps into Cristiano Ronaldo’s millions-strong global fan following, as well as the newly infused football mania in the Middle East region where the star has phenomenal clout. The launch is also perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the English Premier League, which enjoys more than 3 billion viewers from 190 countries, and positions the platform perfectly to capture football audiences from all over the globe.
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