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19-09-2017 8:02:57

DAZN – is it really the ‘Netflix of sport’?

Tom Pammenter|Industry

When it comes to watching sport on a screen, there’s a young new player on the field who’s taking the game by storm.

Born in the UK and with international experience already, the player’s even been given a nickname.

DAZN (pronounced Da Zone), an over-the-top subscription service, is owned by Perform Group and was established in 2015. But could the ‘Netflix of sport’, as it’s been labelled by the Daily Mail among others, really change the way supporters watch football and other sports?

With a pricing model that’s considerably cheaper than more traditional services (and, like Netflix, features no long-term fixed contract or advertising) and a simple service already established in some parts of the world, the company certainly hopes so.

 

The facts

According to the DAZN website:

DAZN features the widest array of live sports ever offered on one TV service and has the ability to play, pause and rewind any game live or on-demand.

  • DAZN now streams more than 8,000 live events per year
  • Sports it’s shown include…
    • European football
    • English football
    • J-League
    • Tennis
    • Darts
    • Boxing
    • US sports, such as NFL

 

  • Currently available in…
    • Germany
    • Austria
    • Switzerland
    • Canada
    • Japan

 

  • On most connected devices, including…
    • Amazon Fire tablet / TV / TV stick
    • Android phones/tablets/TV
    • iPhone & iPad
    • Apple TV
    • Google Chromecast
    • Smart TVs by LG / Panasonic / Samsung / Sony
    • PlayStation 3 / 4 / 4 Pro
    • XBOX One / One S

DAZN is a revolutionary live sports streaming service that lets fans watch their sport, their way. With access to the world’s best sports including top European football, US sports, tennis, darts and more, fans can watch their favourite teams, leagues and players at home or on the go for an affordable price.

 

Deals done

While Sky Sports, BT Sport and traditional broadcasters dominate the UK market when it comes to screening live football, DAZN has had an impact on how sports are watched in a handful of foreign territories, and the company hopes to bring their service to the UK at some point.

DAZN’s Canadian launch followed Perform’s deal with the NFL to market the league’s TV rights in various global territories and NFL Game Pass outside the US and Europe.

The “strategic media relationship” covers more than 100 countries and territories, including Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea and Turkey.

DAZN’s service in Canada includes access to live NFL games and Champions League football (for 20 Canadian dollars, which is roughly £12), but it’s perhaps the company’s German operation that’s more interesting at this stage.

For just under ten euros per month, the German package now includes matches from the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1, plus a Bundesliga highlights package.

It also includes NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, as well as cricket, rugby and tennis. It’ll also include Champions League football from the 2018-19 season.

Alex Rice, DAZN managing director for rights and strategic development, said earlier this year:

You’ll see that we’re trying to really (provide) choice to the consumers and offer up a selection of different sports and different leagues…you obviously have to keep spending – and spending on content. And that’s the long-term plan in all the markets.

And spend they have, agreeing – in August 2016 – a 10-year deal valued at a reported US$2 billion for the rights to Japan’s top football competition, the J-League.

All matches in Japan’s top three soccer divisions are now available to domestic customers via DAZN as a result of the biggest commercial deal in the history of Japanese sport.

 

Loss-leader

Following the recent Soccerex Global Convention, it was suggested that sports rights are still being bought as loss-leaders by companies such as DAZN, which bought the streaming rights to Floyd Mayweather’s recent bout with UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

Many subscribers bought a one-month subscription to watch the fight and then unsubscribed soon after, but DAZN chief executive James Rushton told Soccerex that the deal was worthwhile:

“The [viewing] numbers exceeded all our expectations. Viewers could have a month’s free trial and quit but we had hundreds of thousands of triallists for that event,” he said.

 

So, will it change the way supporters watch football?

DAZN have enjoyed significant success in Germany, where they hold the rights to the Premier League, who are “absolutely delighted”, according to Rushton.

They are surprised by the viewing figures we are getting in Germany. It has grown the audience.

Sportsjoe.ie suggests:

For films and TV, (the) next step was Netflix. For a music industry haemorrhaging losses due to Napster and Limewire, the solution was Spotify. But there’s not been anything to really combat the prevalence of illegal streaming of live sporting events… Until now.

Our consumption of films, TV and music has changed dramatically in recent years. Will DAZN lead the way and offer the Premier League et al the only viable method to kill off illegal streams and change the way we watch sport, too?

It’s an ambitious platform, and we’re very interested to see what the future holds for it. You can read more about DAZN here.

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