This Tuesday saw sports Over-The-Top (OTT) platform, DAZN, launch to 200+ countries, including the UK. Their British activation has been the territory capturing high volumes of interests from British sports fans for a while. The sports streaming service has been making noise with their wide-ranging access to sports rights available through their platform for an astonishingly low initial price of £1.99 a month. Based on content consumption, DAZN is the globes most significant broadcaster as they stream over 250 million hours of content to their consumers across nine countries and four continents.
DAZN had once evolved from an organisation called Perform before they were set up to provide a service for competing broadcast firms. 2015 saw the evolution of DAZN becoming modern international dominators when entrepreneur Sir Leonard Blavatnik invested into the company. A year later, DAZN launched in Japan, Australia, Germany, and Switzerland. 2017 saw them launch in Canada, they found themselves in the US, Spain & Brazil in 2019 and now over 200 countries in 2020.
The fascinating, unique selling point about the platform is the enormous volume of sports events they show at once. For example, when the Bundesliga is on, they’ll stream every game in Germany. Boxing is one the platform has revolutionised from a viewership standpoint. They’ve thrown a spanner in the works for traditional broadcasters like Sky Sports, BT Sport, ESPN and Eurosport from their enticing subscriptions model acquiring multiple sports rights. Leading boxing promotion company, Matchroom Boxing, were eagle-eyed to the value DAZN could offer boxing. The two parties signed the sports most valuable agreement in a $1 billion deal which turbocharged DAZN’s global growth and Matchroom’s presence in the USA.
Now, DAZN offer over 8,000 sports events per annum including the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, NBA, NFL, MLB, WTA, Six Nations, Formula One and UFC. The ambition for DAZN is clear, to become the Netflix of sports through their extraordinary range of worldwide sports content.
Despite the networks current successes, they’ve experienced hard-hitting challenges. Large numbers of consumers have complained about the streaming quality of live sport, including the continual buffering of forecasts. Plus, COVID19 has jeopardised its market position due to live sports postponement, which forced them to seek $1 billion in funding to remain alive. Boxing star Canelo Alvarez filed a lawsuit against DAZN due to the platform allegedly failing to deliver the terms of his lucrative 11-fight deal, which sees the Mexican fighter as a free agent.
DAZN has disturbed the broadcasting landscape through OTT content which leaves the broadcasting industry in dispute. The combat sports world is undoubtedly going through the most prominent digital drift with DAZN’s involvement. Boxing and MMA fans no longer have to purchase costly Pay-Per-View (PPV) fees to watch their favourite fighters, alternatively, purchasing a monthly subscription through DAZN could prove to be better value for money.
The launch in the UK will rustle a lot of feathers considering boxing is the cash cow of BT Sport and Sky Sports. Currently, Anthony Joshua vs Pulev isn’t available in home territory nor Ireland as Sky Sports own exclusive rights for this bout. However, this could change in the future with the demand for DAZN’s UK launch being highly anticipated for a long-time.
The streaming service has also been an integral puzzle piece to revolutionising the narrative of sports events. Through their medium, they own lots of original programming, including talk shows, documentaries, and archived footage. Multiple other sports organisations have similarly followed including Sky Sports and BT Sport holding various on-demand content such as athlete interviews, docuseries, and post-match content.
So, will DAZN become the Netflix of Sports? There certainly heading in the right direction; however, there are still hurdles they’ll need to overcome. DAZN should reconsider alternative revenue channels away from live sport, considering the deficit they’ve experienced during COVID19. Plus, how can they retain exclusive rights to all sports events in multiple territories despite the longstanding relationships between sports properties and some athletes (e.g. Anthony Joshua and Sky Sports, Tyson Fury and BT Sport).