DAZN Group, the global sports subscription service and media company, has launched direct carrier billing in Germany and Switzerland through agreements with telecoms operators Telefónica and Swisscom.
Through the venture, DAZN has expanded its payment options by allowing customers to pay for their subscription via their mobile phone bill.
The initiative, which will be launched in Germany through Telefónica’s O2 brand, is designed to further simplify and streamline the customer experience and its launch coincides with the return of many live sports to DAZN, including football’s German Bundesliga.
The move forms part of the ‘DAZN for Operators’ programme via which DAZN will work with leading mobile carriers, broadband internet service providers and pay-television operators.
Ben King, senior vice-president of global distribution and business development at DAZN, said: “We expect this to be the first of many operator payment partnerships in Europe and globally as we continue our mission to build the world’s most affordable and accessible sports service for fans.”
DAZN Group was last week reported to be in “final stage” negotiations to sell its Goal.com football website to US-based private equity firm TPG Capital as part of its plans to focus on its OTT streaming business.
The need for funding has become more acute in recent months with DAZN’s OTT operation hit hard by the Covid-19 shutdown. It was recently reported that billionaire owner Len Blavatnik is looking for investors in DAZN and could even consider an outright sale.
Before the pandemic struck, DAZN hired Goldman Sachs with a view to raising as much as $500m (€443.6m) in investments. Among leading sports broadcasters worldwide, DAZN has been badly affected by the shutdown of sport. It has been particularly susceptible to the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis given its sports-only model and absence of long-term subscriber contracts or quad-play model.
At the end of March, it began to inform sports rights-holders that it would not make its next rights fee payments for any content that has yet to be delivered. An unspecified number of the company’s 2,600 staff were also furloughed.
The measures were put in place as DAZN looks to survive the crisis and revive the business later in the year. DAZN currently operates in nine countries – Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain Switzerland, and the US – and had planned to roll out a global service in May (including a long-awaited launch in Southeast Asia). That launch remains on hold.