(Bloomberg) -- OneFootball has named soccer-startup founder Victoire Cogevina to a new role to expand its audience for women’s games, and has agreed to buy her startup, Gloria.
Gloria, which is building an app to offer hubs for fans to chat and share content about their teams, will be integrated into OneFootball, the companies said in a statement. Cogevina will join the company as vice president of women’s soccer.
In that role, she’ll help the Berlin-based company pursue new investments and partnerships to attract fans of the women’s games, OneFootball Chief Executive Officer Lucas von Cranach said in an emailed response to questions.
“We are thrilled to have Victoire join the team and work with us to make the women’s game more accessible for a new generation of fans,” he said.
Cogevina, an advocate for gender equality in soccer, had attracted OneFootball’s attention in a presentation at a company event in June, where she spoke about the future of women’s soccer. “We saw an opportunity to cement our relationship and bring her into the OneFootball squad,” he added.
Several of Gloria’s backers will transfer their investment to OneFootball, including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Initialized Capital founder Garry Tan, and Muse Capital co-founder Assia Grazioli-Venier.
The companies didn’t disclose the size of the deal, which is expected to close next month. The Gloria app hasn’t formally launched and is still in beta testing, according to its website.
“The women’s football effect is global, happening simultaneously on multiple continents,” Cogevina said. “Women’s football is the fastest-growing sport in the world and the most exciting sector in global football.”
The growing popularity of the games have been “nothing short of spectacular,” said Cogevina, pointing to a series of milestones over the past six months, including the Barcelona-Real Madrid women’s quarter final of the Champions League in March, which reached a global record of 91,533 fans at the stadium for a female soccer match.
In August, the European soccer association, UEFA, released a study that estimated the fan base for the women’s game would grow to 328 million in the next ten years from 144 million. The commercial value of women’s football could expand sixfold to 686 million euros ($667.6 million) by 2033, it added.
OneFootball, which counts more than 100 million monthly active users, provides access to soccer coverage from news to statistics, and also offers live football matches in-app on a free and pay-per-view basis. The Gloria purchase is part of a decision to broaden its user base. It aims to expand on its existing offerings on women’s soccer -- which include news, statistics and video features -- with new partnerships and increased advertising.
OneFootball raised $300 million in April as part of a funding round led by blockchain fund Liberty City Ventures. It declined to say what proportion of its current user base is female, noting that the company is “working on an intensive deep dive to better understand the demographics of our user base.”
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