DAZN steps up in Japan as Softbank closes OTT service
By Florence Lloyd-Hughes
DAZN, the over-the-top streaming service owned by digital sports content and media group Perform, is significantly expanding its content offering in Japan after acquiring a portfolio of rights from Softbank, the telecoms operator.
DAZN has picked up a slate of rights, including Japanese baseball and English soccer’s top-tier Premier League, as part of a content licensing agreement with Softbank.
Softbank has been offering the content on its own OTT service, Sportsnavi Live, but the operator is now closing that platform. Softbank has said Sportsnavi will “terminate” its service on 31 May.
DAZN’s deal covers rights to the Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation, the country’s top baseball competition, the Premier League and Spain’s LaLiga.
DAZN will show matches from 11 of the NPB’s 12 teams as well as games from the B.League, Japan’s top basketball competition.
Perform’s service already holds rights to Japanese soccer’s top-tier J.League in a 10-year deal that is worth $2 billion.
The platform also already had rights to show five games per week from the Premier League in a deal announced in August last year, but it has now boosted that offering to 10 games every week.
Perform’s DAZN service in Japan also shows Ligue 1 and Serie A, plus England’s FA Cup and League Cup. Rights to the Uefa Champions League and Europa League will be added next season.
In recent years, SoftBank had been making moves into the acquisition of key sports content to stream to smartphone, tablet and PC users on its Sportsnavi service but it has now backed away from the venture.
Joe Markowski, commercial director at DAZN, told Sportcal today that all of the deals secured were on “multi-year” terms.
He added that DAZN does not have “immediate plans” to acquire more rights for the service as he is “comfortable with the content” on offer.
Explaining the latest acquisition of rights, Markowksi said: “This is not a merger, it’s a content licensing agreement and a chance to migrate the existing Sportsnavi user baser to DAZN. The businesses remain separate.
“Sportsnavi Live has taken the decision to withdraw from the market from a broadcasting perspective. We share the vision with them and they want to see DAZN become a great.”
Sportsnavi customers will be offered a special discount of Y980 ($9.13) per month to sign up to DAZN. The usual price is Y1,750.