After spending months in an advisory role at DAZN, the streaming network officially announced former Fox Sports president Jamie Horowitz as their head of content. The move comes nearly two years after Horowitz was let go at Fox, and it also reunites Horowitz with DAZN president and longtime ESPN executive John Skipper.
DAZN announces former FS1 head Jamie Horowitz as EVP, content in North America. He's been consulting with them for the last nine months and helped them launch their baseball show with Adnan Virk and Scott Rogowsky + their boxing docuseries partnership with LeBron/Maverick Carter.
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) May 3, 2019
It’s an interesting move for Skipper and DAZN, ostensibly a service that lives with live sports, bringing in an executive who spent most of his reputation building a certain brand of studio show. The Hollywood Reporter has more on the hire:
Horowitz, late of ESPN and Fox Sports, has been consulting for the sports streaming service for the last nine months. The position is effective immediately and formally unites Horowitz with Skipper, who joined DAZN last year as executive chairman, after his sudden departure from ESPN in late 2017.
Quickly: DAZN now features two high-level executives who left their old high-profile jobs amidst scandals. Horowitz was fired in the middle of a sexual harassment probe, while Skipper left after apparently being the victim of an extortion attempt over cocaine use. It’s one thing for DAZN to buy low on potential talent, it’s another to try build a brand with these particular faces at the top. Horowitz, in particular, is not well-liked after how things ended at Fox: a massive round of layoffs as they infamously pivoted to video, an ultimately fruitless exercise.
Horowitz’s hiring is in conjunction with seven-figure content investment, that sources pegged to be around $12 million. His mandate will be to grow the sports streamer’s original content slate beyond live rights.
Skipper, meanwhile, addressed the hire in the broadest terms:
Skipper made the announcement in an email to staff May 3. “In his new role, Jamie will oversee all content for the North American business, including live production, original programming, social content, editorial, and scheduling,” wrote Skipper. “The focus will be using content to acquire and retain subscribers.”
Given the months of consulting leading up to now, as well as their longstanding relationship, Skipper’s decision to officially bring Horowitz on board shouldn’t come as a surprise. DAZN’s format also allows for more freedom than a traditional network, although it’s fair to wonder if someone who made a career working in one format can successfully p̵i̵v̵o̵t̵ transition to another one. That’s before we even get to the personal issues that helped lead to his Fox exit.
Horowitz is still a name, though, and when you’re trying to get taken seriously as a growing streaming network, that apparently counts for something.