The future of direct to consumer: Athlete driven media.


2020 may just be the year of athlete-driven media (among other things, of course). What is athlete-driven media? It's nothing new. It could be anything from a tweet from your favourite footballer, to an open letter published in The Players’ Tribune. Why is it significant now then? With strict lockdown restrictions creating a physical barrier between athletes, teams, and their fans, there is a huge appetite for content that helps to break this down. That, at least, was the reason Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster gave when asked about his new YouTube channel – The Cycling GK. Amazingly, his videos have already surpassed one million views. Furthermore, his channel (which he started in September) already has more than double the number of subscribers of the English Football League (EFL).

Where’s the line? (You think a goalkeeper would know…) In recent weeks though, reports have suggested Foster’s videos may have to be removed. This is because his ‘GoPro in the Goal’ segment breaches broadcast regulations (the EFL doesn’t permit the transmission of match footage by players). What a save! That said, the 37-year-old shot-stopper is thought to be close to an agreement to save his content. The deal would see the EFL licence the footage for a fee, which would be donated to the league’s official charity, Mind – as proposed by Foster himself. The move demonstrates the increasing power held by star players. However, it also could set a dangerous precedent - according to talkSPORT host, Simon Jordan, who insists the EFL must remove the footage in order to protect their content from people with worse intentions. As with Vicarage Road's goalmouth, this will be an interesting space to watch…

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