DAZN to distribute Courtside 1891 internationally in six-year Fiba tie-up

(Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

DAZN has followed up its 10-year deal to distribute NFL Game Pass with a similar agreement to carry the International Basketball Federation’s (Fiba’s) Courtside 1891 basketball OTT streaming platform globally.

The six-year deal for the subscription streaming broadcaster to become the global distributor was agreed with Fiba and Two Circles, the federation’s joint venture partner for Courtside 1891, which serves as the streaming home of Fiba’s international competitions.

DAZN’s international distribution will exclude China and the Middle East.

The live and on-demand Courtside 1891 offering will be a standalone offering on DAZN with both premium paid and free-to-access content available to registered users. This is similar to the model deployed in DAZN’s NFL Game Pass distribution.

Courtside 1891 is the second global addition to DAZN’s channels business as it continues negotiations to strike similar deals, sharing customer data with rights-holders in agreements involving a revenue-share component. DAZN has looked to reshape its business to leave it less exposed to losses incurred on sizable minimum guarantee payments for rights.

Courtside 1891 provides live coverage of mainly Fiba competitions, often in markets where Fiba Media, a long-standing joint venture between Fiba and DAZN, has not sold the rights or to supplement existing coverage by broadcasters. The two parties said today (Thursday) that DAZN’s distribution of Courtside 1891 will “complement the existing extensive set of broadcast relationships which Fiba Media has negotiated with media partners, ensuring global distribution of live coverage from Fiba’s premier competitions”.

Properties shown on Courtside 1891 include Fiba World Cups and their qualifiers, Fiba Continental Cup competitions and Youth World Cups, but also the Basketball Champions League, Intercontinental Cup, EuroLeague Women and East Asia Super League as well as domestic leagues such as Spain’s Liga Endesa, Australasia’s NBL and the Japanese B. League.

Fiba said that it would leverage DAZN’s innovative technology stack to help develop new engaging formats and products for Courtside 1891.

DAZN’s technology operation has recently been overhauled with the switch to automated payment processes required for the nascent channels business headlined by NFL Game Pass. Front-end platform changes have been required as DAZN continues to shift from purely an OTT streaming model to a wider consumer platform encompassing betting, gaming and e-commerce.

Shay Segev, chief executive of DAZN Group, said that basketball is the third-most watched sport on the broadcaster, which has “big ambitions to become a primary destination for fans of the sport across the world”.

Frank Leenders, director general of Fiba Media and Marketing Services, added that the deal “represents an important extension of the distribution and visibility of Fiba’s major events through the Courtside 1891 product”.

Courtside 1891 has a free subscription tier offering extended highlights and a curated feed for specific teams and competitions. In the UK, the paid tier is priced at £24.99 for an annual subscription. Short highlights footage is also published on Courtside 1891 without a registration required.

In 2022, Fiba and Two Circles reached an initial nine-year deal for the development and commercialisation of Courtside 1891. The OTT platform was launched that year as a replacement for Fiba’s LiveBasketball.tv service as the federation opted to introduce a name that would be reflective of a destination for basketball content in general and not merely Fiba competitions. Last year, Fiba teamed up with the National Basketball Association to carry Courtside 1891 on the NBA app and NBA.com in 20 countries.

Two Circles was also previously responsible for data collection and marketing of NFL Game Pass.

Speaking in November about the positioning of Courtside 1891 at a Host City panel session moderated by SportBusiness, Andrew Ryan, managing director at Fiba Media, said: “Just to call this a revenue generating activity would be completely missing the point. It is very much about a platform that has allowed Fiba to not only invest in user data infrastructure and exploit that, in addition to being somewhere where we have a subscription [element].

“Us generating registrations from basketball fans is a very helpful thing for our broader marketing activities.”

Ryan summarised Courtside 1891 as “an international federation play but one that is very much trying to service the broader basketball fan market”.

DAZN basketball output

The agreement unveiled today also strengthens DAZN’s basketball portfolio.

The broadcaster streams various basketball competitions in different markets, including: the NBA (in Germany and Belgium); the Women’s National Basketball Association (in Germany, Austria and Switzerland); the Basketball Champions League (in France and Italy); Lega Basket Serie A, EuroLeague and EuroCup (in Italy); Fiba competitions (in Japan and Italy); and Liga ACB (in Portugal).

As a promotional offer, games played by France and USA this month in the Fiba women’s Olympic qualifiers and the Fiba Continental Cup qualifiers will be available to fans within the two countries free on Courtside 1891 on DAZN.