Over-the-top streaming service DAZN has made a major acquisition. The company announced Tuesday that they plan to buy the ELEVEN Group’s global sports media businesses, pending regulatory approval.
If the deal goes through, that’s a huge consolidation in the global streaming market. That would give DAZN rights for the top soccer leagues in Portugal and Belgium, bolster their presence in Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and give them a presence in Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets. It would also further boost DAZN’s women’s soccer content, a recent area of particular focus for them.
Overall, Eleven streams 40,000 games a year at their own ElevenSports.com, which will be integrated with DAZN after this deal goes through. And Eleven also supports production, delivery, and distribution of FIFA’s own FIFA+ OTT service. Moreover, this would make DAZN the new parent company for the Eleven-owned Team Whistle media business, which is known for a wide variety of content on social networks and on their own Whistle TV OTT channel, and would add to DAZN’s own studio and film focuses. And Eleven founder and chairman Andrea Radrizzani (who also owns Leeds United) will join the DAZN board as an executive director. Here are some selected quotes on the deal from a release:
Shay Segev, CEO, DAZN Group said: “The acquisition adds scale to our business. It is a big step forward in our mission to be the leading global sports platform.
“I have a great deal of respect for what Andrea, Marc [Watson, CEO of Eleven Group] and the team have achieved and look forward to working with them as we further expand our ambitions. Together we form the strongest and most credible management team in the sector.
…Marc Watson, CEO Eleven Group, said: “We see DAZN as the future of digital sports broadcasting and the ideal home for ELEVEN.
“Sport is global entertainment and joining with DAZN will be transformative, allowing us to access greater economies of scale and a global platform for our talented team.
…Kevin Mayer, DAZN chairman, said: “This deal marks an acceleration of our strategy to diversify our offerings and leverage our fantastic sports properties and our platform into new markets and business models.
“Team Whistle is a growing business that has a proven track record in monetising short form content. It will be hugely valuable to DAZN as we look to generate the maximum value from our enviable rights portfolio, creating new formats of content to reach new audiences and generate powerful incremental revenue streams.”
“We look forward to welcoming all our new colleagues.”
The release notes that this deal is subject to antitrust review, so there’s no particular completion date for it. And that could be complicated considering the numbers of countries (many with their own regulatory frameworks for antitrust) these companies operate in. But if this does wind up going through, that’s a notable shift for the global streaming landscape.
[DAZN; top photo of DAZN’s Tokyo offices in 2017 from Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg]