DAZN, the major sport subscription service, today unveiled exclusive rights across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to the iconic Masters golf tournament this year, and also the hiring of Elena Novokreshchenova as chief executive of its ‘freemium’ service.

The Masters deal will see DAZN cover that event as part of its PGA Tour Pass option, with the Masters at Augusta in Georgia, US, this year set to take place across April 11 to 14. The PGA Tour Pass is available as a standalone subscription across MENA, as well as in Southeast Asia.

There will be two feeds covering the tournament – the Main World and Featured Group options. In total, the exclusive coverage will be available across 18 MENA countries.

DAZN already distributes a near-global PGA Tour FAST (free ad-supported television) channel as part of its freemium offering. The service is not available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France, Australia, or China.

PGA Tour Pass features four live and exclusive feeds (the main feed, marquee group, featured groups, and featured holes), from each tournament, is accessible live or on-demand, and was unveiled late last month.

That announcement followed the launch of NFL Game Pass in 2023 and FIBA’s Courtside 1891 basketball channel in February on the DAZN platform.

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Shay Segev, chief executive at DAZN Group, has said: “The Masters is one of the most iconic competitions in world sport, so to be able to use DAZN’s technology and reach to deliver all the action across four days of thrilling golf right across this region to super-serve golf fans and reach new ones, is a fantastic opportunity for DAZN and the competition.”

Domestically, Paramount Global holds Masters coverage rights (sold by the Augusta National Golf Club), alongside ESPN.

The appointment of Novokreshchenova, meanwhile, comes as DAZN looks to use 2024 to ramp up its freemium coverage.

DAZN has said a “new global free tier” will become an integral part of its offering and will open up new avenues for rights holders and users.

The free tier will offer content such as live events, video-on-demand, news, archive and shoulder content, ‘social features’, DAZN has said.

Novokreshchenova has said: “I am excited to join DAZN at such a critical point in its continuing development. The business's progress, over a short period of time, has been impressive, and leading the rollout of the global freemium offering is a fantastic opportunity. 

“DAZN has already made significant strides in revolutionizing the sports streaming industry. I look forward to driving further growth by making the platform even more accessible to sports fans worldwide.”

Since March 2021, she has been a non-executive director at Virgin Money, while between October 2022 and June 2023, Novokreshchenova was the managing director for Europe at the Entain betting and entertainment group.

She has previously worked at brands such as Barclays Bank and Expedia Group.

DAZN unveiled details of its global free tier late last year, with a range of live content made available without a subscription.

DAZN has said the new hire will be responsible for driving the freemium offering, including the content proposition, the interactive product experience, and its reach.