UEFA launches streaming service of archive footage

ZURICH (Reuters) - European football’s governing body UEFA said on Thursday it is launching an Internet-based streaming service that will give people access to a ‘gold mine’ of archive footage.

UEFA said it was launching an Over The Top (OTT) platform dubbed, which would also allow it to show live coverage of UEFA youth, women’s and futsal competitions.

“We have more than 60 years of archives of UEFA competitions digitalized and, I believe, we are sitting on gold,” UEFA marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein told Reuters.

“It is not very well exploited so far ... but now we will develop original programs based on our archive to populate our platforms and I think there is really great stuff.”

Epstein said the content included footage from European championship finals going back to the first edition in 1960 as well as the early days of the old European Cup.

“We have a lot of content that precedes modern era,” he said. “There is so much great stuff, there are great football histories.”

UEFA said it was the first football governing body to set up an OTT -- the streaming of television content via the Internet. Users would have to register but the content would be free, it said.

Epstein said UEFA currently had 20 million subscribers to its digital platforms.

“We are confident we will create a bigger engagement with fans, enhancing the value of our community of fans,” he said.

Epstein said the platform would allow UEFA to show stories from the sidelines of its showpiece Champions League competition, provided they did not clash with rights holders.

“We can tell the behind-the-scene stories. ... we will always protect the windows of our live broadcasters but we have additional stories to tell,” added Epstein.

UEFA said in a statement that it had also entered into an agreement with the Bundesliga to provide a separate channel of German league content, including Monday highlights of weekend matches.

Editing by Peter Rutherford