DAZN, the « Netflix of sport », in the process of taking over the rights to football in England

Posted on Jan 13, 2022, 11:29 a.m.

DAZN could take a further step in its ambition to create a “Sport Netflix” on a European scale. The application, after having won the rights to football in Italy and Spain, could win those of the prestigious English Premier League and the Champions League.

According to Reuters, the streaming service is about to buy BT Sport from the incumbent British operator for $ 800 million. The transaction could be completed by the end of the month, unless it stumbles in the home stretch on one final detail.

Among the other candidates is also the American Discovery, owner of the Eurosport channel, who had proposed to British Telecom to form a joint venture in the sport.

The sale requires in particular the agreement of Sky and Virgin Media which distribute BT Sport in the United Kingdom and Ireland. After long years of fierce competition between Sky Sports and BT Sport, such an agreement would turn the UK sports rights market upside down. It would allow British Telecom to refocus its activity on Telecoms, by focusing on investments in 5G networks and fiber.

New step

Arrived at the head of the historical operator three years ago, Philip Jansen has never hidden that sport was no longer his priority. The cost of the rights – estimated at £ 725 million per year – would be too high, not to mention the risk of auctions every three years. A sale of BT Sport would bring a welcome entry of « cash » when Patrick Drahi invited himself to the capital of British Telecom.

DAZN would take another step forward in streaming sporting events in Europe. Owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik, the service claims 11 million subscribers, to which would be added the 5 million BT Sport subscribers.

What to find a dynamic, after being hard hit during the months of pandemic when the sporting events were interrupted, even though DAZN had just invested heavily in new markets such as Spain and Brazil. The takeover of BT Sport could even mark a decisive step ahead of an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, as Bloomberg reported a year ago.

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