While DAZN has been limited in what U.S. rights they’ve been able to acquire so far, they’re finding more success with top-tier rights around the world, and have pointed to that as a strategy recently (especially with Kevin Mayer taking over from John Skipper as chairman). And what’s interesting about some of these global rights deals is that they’ve become the primary provider for particular content, especially in soccer. The latest case there comes in Italy, where DAZN won most of the domestic Serie A rights for three years and $2.5 billion Euros ($3 billion U.S.) in March, and rejected a $500 million ($609 million U.S.) offer from Sky this week to continue sharing rights with them. Here’s more on that from Daniele Lepido at Bloomberg:
Sky on Wednesday offered to pay 500 million euros ($609 million) to keep the DAZN app on its set-top box, as well as on the satellite service, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. DAZN, pronounced Da Zone, rejected the idea.
DAZN in March reached an agreement to become the main domestic broadcaster of Serie A for the next three seasons at a cost of 2.5 billion euros. The streaming company backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik plans to offer Serie A matches on its own, the people added, ending Sky’s near two-decade run as exclusive host.
…DAZN’s contract win didn’t come easily. The ability to roll out an exclusive streaming service in Italy, which has patchy internet connectivity, was questioned during the bidding by Sky and some of Serie A’s 20 teams, people familiar with the matter said.
But with 1 billion euros of technological and financial support from phone carrier Telecom Italia SpA, DAZN was able to dislodge Sky, a pioneer of televised soccer.
It’s notable that much of DAZN’s global strategy to this point has only been to sublease content to traditional broadcast, cable and satellite providers when absolutely necessary. A case in point came with their 2017 NFL deal in Canada for Sunday Ticket, NFL Game Pass and more; Sunday Ticket in particular was envisioned as being available only through DAZN at first, but after poor initial quality and significant consumer backlash, the company eventually relented and struck content-sharing deals with some cable and satellite providers. And it is interesting that DAZN recently struck an extended deal with Sky Deutschland in Germany for Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League rights.
It will be worth keeping an eye on that situation in Italy, especially with the issues accessing high-quality internet coverage in some parts of that country. Will these promised upgrades make the streaming-only solution DAZN is looking for work, or will DAZN have to strike an eventual deal to make it easier for people to watch through conventional providers? We’ll have to wait and see.