DAZN, the global over-the-top subscription sports broadcaster, has today (August 16) announced the extension of its exclusive rights deal to cover multiple English soccer competitions in Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada, as well as the acquisition of the same rights for the first time in Japan.

The deal covers the next two seasons of the second-tier English Football League (EFL) Championship, third-tier League One, and fourth-tier League Two, as well as the EFL Cup knockout competition.

It was struck with Pitch International, the EFL’s international broadcast rights holder.

DAZN says the deal “underlines DAZN’s strategy to become the leading broadcaster of engaging sports with passionate international fanbases, delivering consistency of quality to rights holders seeking access to a global market.”

Rights are exclusive in the aforementioned markets (the German market in this case also covering the rest of the DACH region, Austria and Switzerland) apart from five annual Carabao Cup matches in Italy, which are non-exclusive. 

DAZN has covered EFL action in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Canada before, during the previous cycle, but Japan has not seen live EFL coverage since 2017 (when DAZN also covered it, under the broadcaster’s previous guise of Perform).

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This is the third significant soccer rights deal DAZN has struck in the last few weeks in the latter country, following the broadcaster’s acquisition of rights to the top-tier competitions of Ligue 1 in France and the Primeira Liga in Portugal.

A significant number of matches from these competitions over the next two seasons will be streamed both live and on-demand on DAZN.

The EFL and Pitch launched the tender for international broadcast rights to the next two years of EFL action in July 2021, issuing a request for proposals (RFP) that included a minimum of 182 matches per season from the EFL, including all end-of-season play-off matches and at least 30 games per season from the EFL Cup, including the final.

At that point, the EFL made it known that its preference was to strike two-year contracts in all markets, to tally with the existing UK broadcast rights deal which runs through to the end of 2023-24.

The EFL’s international rights are sold by Pitch International as part of its distribution deal covering the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons.

Last week, the EFL extended its rights agreement in the US with heavyweight sports broadcaster ESPN, also in a multi-year deal.

ESPN’s previous four-season agreement with the EFL ran from 2018-19 to 2021-22. ESPN replaced international pay-television operator BeIN Sports as the EFL rightsholder in the US.

The main broadcaster of the EFL and the EFL Cup in the UK market is pay-TV operator Sky, through a five-year deal worth £595 million ($826 million) that still has two seasons to run.

The 2022-23 EFL campaign got underway on July 30 and will run through until May 29, 2023.