Maurizio Barbieri joins Ballr to spearhead football partnerships across Asia Pacific.
Ballr, an entirely mobile, micro-fantasy, fan engagement platform, designed for emerging markets, announced today that Maurizio Barbieri, previously Head of Sport at Samsung Asia Pacific, has joined to lead global football partnerships.
“We’re pleased to welcome Maurizio to the team. In his role, he will drive strategic partnerships with global football organisations and aggressively target regional soccer fans for the all mobile games we design” said Sam Jones, founder, and CEO of Ballr. “Maurizio’s extensive experience in the
sports industry and network of sports teams, brands, content providers and network operators, will help prepare Ballr for its rapid growth across Asia”.
Barbieri joins Ballr from Asia’s market leading handset manufacturer, Samsung, where he held the position of a Head of Sports and Strategic Video services, APAC. In his role, Maurizio spearheaded a number of consumer driven content and fan engagement programs. His unrivalled access and deep understanding of sports fans in Asian gives Ballr an additional competitive edge. Prior to Samsung, Barbieri was CEO of GoalShouter a crowd-sourced football data platform.
“This is a very exciting time for both the sports industry and Ballr. The combination of phenomenal smartphone growth and sports media consumption in Asia represents a huge opportunity for Ballr. The team here are addressing a huge technology gap in the digital sports experience. Ballr which is all mobile, free to play and linked to live sports games really addresses this opportunity." said Barbieri.
The company’s growth comes at a time of great change in the global sports industry. The shift to an Asia orientation has begun and is evident in the growth of sports content consumption. It is estimated that there are 281 million adult sports fans in China and 93 million in India. China, the world’s second biggest economy is at the forefront of the reorientation, with President Xi publicly announcing his ambition to build the world’s biggest sports economy. This would result in an industry world $850 billion in size by 2025.
In the third quarter of 2015 smartphone sales in emerging markets rose to 259.7 million — an 18.4 percent growth over the third quarter of 2014. According to Gartner, India has recently taken over the United States as the second largest smartphone market, following on from China. In India, Samsung mobile representing a whopping 26.8% of the total market and according to the ‘Brand Trust Report 2016’ is India’s most trusted brand.
The Ballr platform, owned by parent company Fantasy Sport Technologies, launched its cricket game in Delhi last month alongside the much celebrated Indian bowler and brand ambassador Harbhajan Singh and plans to launch subsequent soccer and basketball games in China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam in the coming months. Ballr announced its title sponsorship of the West Indies Tri-Nations Cricket series earlier this month.