Leading sports OTT streaming platform DAZN will launch its services within the UK this May, seeking to disrupt the status quo of UK sports broadcasting.
Closing Monday 2 March trading, DAZN published a statement detailing the firm’s next phase of growth in which the OTT platform will enlarge its presence within 200 countries.
A UK debut is reportedly top of the agenda for DAZN, which could be UK sports broadcasting’s most disruptive market player since the launch of the BT Sports network in 2013.
Early speculation points to DAZN making its UK debut by broadcasting the ‘Cinco de Mayo’ weekend boxing clash between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders (scheduled 2 May).
Planning to make headway within the saturated UK sports market, DAZN is reported to be pricing its OTT streaming service at an initial £4.99 per month – a price point significantly lower than Sky Sports and BT Sports packages.
DAZN’s streaming service will likely feature premium boxing content, as the OTT platform has built-up a roster of champion boxers fighting exclusively on its network as part of a US market strategy led by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Nevertheless, if DAZN wants to become the UK’s mass-market OTT sports provider, media observers anticipate it will bid for Premier League and UEFA Champions League broadcasting rights.
Former ESPN Chief Executive John Skipper leads DAZN’s global charge. Speaking to media at DAZN’s press conference, he branded the UK market as a ‘logical step’ for the OTT platform.
“In terms of the rights in this country, obviously you need Premier League rights, boxing is very important here and tennis is very important here,” said Skipper.
Premier League governance will host its next round of broadcast rights biding in 2022, auctioning exclusive UK media packages which in 2018 sold for a combined £4.5 billion – the largest media deal for any football league.
The stakes are high as DAZN prepares for its UK May debut, entering a market in which the OTT platform must prove its founding credentials to become the ‘Netflix of Sports’.