DAZN leaves broadcasters in the cold with global OTT boxing offering
By Jonathan Rest at Sportel Miami
DAZN, the international over-the-top streaming platform, will retain all of its boxing rights for exploitation on its own new global service, to launch at the end of April in over 200 countries, and will not be on-selling them to international broadcasters.
Sportcal understands that a number of linear broadcasters were under the impression they would still be able to acquire rights to major fights, with requests having been made for Mexican Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's super-middleweight fight against the UK's Billy Joe Saunders or Callum Smith on 2 May, the first event to be staged on the new global DAZN OTT offering.
However, Joseph Markowski (pictured, centre), DAZN's executive vice-president North America, said that as of that date, the company's rights-selling division has been informed they will not be selling on any boxing content.
DAZN is presently accessible in only nine markets on four continents, but announced this week it is spreading to more than 200 countries and territories, and in a “first step,” taking advantage of the partnerships it has with top boxing promoters including Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing USA and GGG Promotions.
As a result of its existing relationships, DAZN plans to offer a wide variety of premium fights involving the likes of Alvarez and Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin, and a selection of original programming, across the world, but only via DAZN.
Markowski, who will oversee the global service, described the initiative as an "extravagant research project," with DAZN to use the data collated from subscriber sign-ups to decide where next to launch a full service.
He cited Australia, Scandinavia and Mexico as obvious markets of initial interest, but said a "deep data dive" will provide a "global perspective to see which markets light up."
Markowski told the Sportel Convention in Miami: “I’m really proud that four years into our journey as a start-up broadcaster... we are going to be the only sports broadcaster that is truly global.
“That gives us tremendous first-move advantage, and allows us to learn a hell of a lot about markets that we may well invest further in in the coming years... It is a very light incremental investment from a rights and content perspective.”
DAZN is currently available in Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and USA. While it has also acquired sports media rights, in several Asian and Latin American markets, it has does not have operations in those markets, meaning it has been selling on rights.
Speaking alongside Markowski, Eddie Hearn (pictured, right), the group managing director of Matchroom Sport, said: “The great thing about what they are doing with the new global service, is that it is going to give them all the research they need to know before they make a heavy investment into a territory.”
Prominent leagues and sports DAZN offers in different markets include soccer’s Bundesliga and Champions League in Germany, Serie A in Italy and England’s Premier League in Spain, Canada and Japan, basketball's EuroLeague and MotoGP in Spain, top boxing in USA, the NFL in Canada and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organisation in Japan.
The live boxing content on DAZN's global platform will initially be supported by archive fight programming, athlete features and original programming.
It was reported last October that DAZN was looking to raise at least $500 million to fund its expansion plans, with Goldman Sachs working on fundraising.