By Mark Elezaj
DAZN, one of the major sports streaming services, is looking to secure its financial future. Len Blavatnik, the owner of the streaming giant, is exploring different options that will help raise money for his company, one that has been hard hit by the COVID 19 global pandemic.
The London-based company has spent billions of dollars for the rights to live sporting events, which includes European football, Bellator and boxing matches, just to name a few. The idea was to build a subscription streaming service that would be considered the “Netflix of Sports”.
According to a Financial Times report, DAZN’s leadership, while exploring different options, are even considering the possibility of selling the business completely.
“Blavatnik is exploring ways to inject new money into the lossmaking business, according to several people familiar with the talks, with the sale of an equity stake in the business the preferred option. However, an outright sale would also be considered” people familiar with the talks said.
The Covid 19 global pandemic has impacted almost every part of life as we know it today, including sports, and according to a report out this weekend, there’s a clear indication that DAZN’s survival is basically at risk.
“[This] is the biggest disaster to hit the sports world in 75 years and the biggest challenge our business has ever faced,” Simon Denyer, DAZN’s chief executive, wrote in an email to staff in April.
The subscription based service has not publicly acknowledge how many subscribers at $19.99 per month they have lost over the last few months, but it is likely a huge amount due to the lack of live sports programs.
It is also being reported that Liberty Global, a powerful multi-billion dollar video, broadband and media company based in Europe, has been approached recently by DAZN.
But, as of right now Liberty is uninterested in purchasing part or even all of DAZN.
DAZN had previously announced that they had an expansion plan in early March to grow from their 9 current countries to over 200 worldwide.
However, due to the global pandemic, it is all obviously on hold for the time being and may never actually happen.
“They are at a crossroads as a business,” said a leading executive at a rival broadcast group.
“If it succeeds, it’ll be a great story. If it fails, then it’ll be a story of trying to disrupt the [sports broadcasting] industry too soon.”
It has also been reported that DAZN did not furlough or lay off a large portion of their workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they have informed sports leagues and entities that they would not be making rights fee payments to them without games and events being held.
DAZN’s biggest deals are the domestic screening rights for the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-flight football league, and Serie A, Italy’s equivalent. It also has contracts with the promoters behind boxers such as Anthony Joshua and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
DAZN had sought to challenge established sports broadcasters like ESPN in the United States and Sky in Europe.
We reached out to DAZN and Access Industries but they declined to comment.
~ The Fighting Voice ~