DAZN initially launched in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and Japan in 2016 and in Canada a year later. This autumn it has launched in Italy and the USA, while it is also strongly rumoured to start operating soon in south-east Asia. As part of the Perform Media Group, it has been able to build on prior internal expertise on the buying of sports rights and of online broadcasting.
DAZN is a subscription-based live video-on-demand service and has been by some distance sport’s most aggressive OTT player, paying rights fees for premium content only previously paid by pay-television broadcasters. For example, it has acquired rights to the domestic football league in Japan (increasing the value of the rights fourfold) and Italy as key tentpole properties to launch with.
However, DAZN has shown it is prepared to be flexible in its strategy in each market – in Germany, Austria and Switzerland it focused on leading European football leagues and US sport to launch with, while in the US, where premium rights are tied-up in long term agreements, it has used niche sports with a loyal following, establishing a joint venture with Matchroom Boxing and acquiring Bellator rights.
In its original markets DAZN has strengthened its portfolios – in Germany it has since acquired must-have content, agreeing a sub-licensing deal with Sky for Uefa Champions League rights. In Japan it has also acquired Champions League rights and agreed a deal with SoftBank for properties it had previously acquired for its own OTT service, including the English Premier League and Spanish LaLiga.