Boxing streaming heavyweight DAZN is expanding into over 200 countries and eyeing the English Premier League.
London-based sports streaming service, DAZN, was founded back in 2015 and is currently mainly known for its combat sports streaming in the US and Canada.
Previously it was only available in a select list of nations, including the US, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The new roll-out will see DAZN come to move than 200 new countries, including the UK.
DAZN executive chairman, John Skipper, told ESPN: “The UK is a logical Dazn market… In terms of the rights in this country, obviously you need Premier League rights, boxing is very important here and tennis is very important here” (via The Guardian).
Billionaire owner, Sir Leonard Blavatnik, has already put huge sums into DAZN’s launch and roll-out. However, how able he and the company will be at prising Premier League rights from Sky and BT (who paid around $4.5bn in their most recent three-year deal,) remains to be seen.
We have seen smaller deals done recently though, with Amazon paying around £90m to stream some games over the festive period.
The Premier League has reportedly also considered cutting out all of these middle men and creating its own ‘Premflix’ channel. However, this seems unlikely to become a reality anytime soon.
The other huge UK attraction which DAZN seems to be eyeing is world heavyweight champ, Anthony Joshua. The streaming platform already has a $1bn deal with his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, to broadcast some of his fights outside the UK.
However, in Britain Sky show all of AJ’s fights. When this contract comes up for renewal, it will be interesting to see who wins the inevitable bidding war between Sky and DAZN. That will be a useful gauge of the platforms financial muscle.
In the immediate future, DAZN said in a press release: “This first phase of DAZN’s global expansion will be an English-language service focused on boxing, building on the company’s significant investment in the sport over the past two years.”
Skipper added: “Beginning this spring, most of the world will have access to DAZN and its unmatched schedule of boxing events… Our roster of championship fighters represents some of the world’s most popular athletes and we’ll be working with them to stage spectacular international events for years to come.”
The very first event to go out on the new, shiny, bigger version of DAZN will be Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s May 2 fight, (his opponent is unconfirmed). The Mexican is a huge star in boxing and DAZN hope he will draw a crowd internationally.
So, it seems DAZN plans start with boxing but expect them to grow further into other sports in the coming years – whether that be Premier League rights and tennis here, or the NFL in the USA.
Skipper wasn’t coy about admitting as much either. He told CNBC: “Our competition so far has been to mostly be where [ESPN] ain’t, but it is our intention over time to compete aggressively everywhere.”