The eyes of tech and sports business will be firmly focused on today’s official launch of DAZN US property, Perform Group’s OTT service which aims to become ‘the Netflix of sports’.
Backed by US private equity mogul Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, DAZN seeks to revolutionise sports viewership, distribution and engagement across all continents.
This summer, Perform Group stated its intent to become the lead actor in US sports OTT broadcasting, recruiting former ESPN President John Skipper as new Chairman.
Skipper will work alongside Perform Group CEO Simon Denyer, adding premium sports content to DAZN’s catalogue, disrupting traditional sports broadcasting formats a domain dominated by media corporations such as ESPN Disney, Fox Sports, NBC and CBS Networks.
Entering the gladiatorial arena of US sports broadcasting last May DAZN announced its first marquee partnership, agreeing a $1 billion contract with UK promotor Eddie Hearns’ Matchroom Boxing, to deliver showcase boxing events across the USA.
Prior to its official US launch, DAZN this weekend broadcast the Matchroom Boxing syndicated fight between Amir Khan and Samuel Vargas, across its US Facebook and Twitter properties.
Perform seeks to replicate the early success of DAZN in markets such as Germany, Austria, Canada and Japan, where the product has held OTT streaming rights to major sports events such as the UEFA Champions League, Serie A, NBA and NFL.
Opening its US inventory, DAZN will launch a $9.99 monthly subscription service, attached to an initial ‘one-month-free’ for subscribers.
Planning its September debut, DAZN plans to entice US sports audiences to its first live broadcast of Matchroom Boxing’s Heavyweight Championship boxing clash between Anthony Joshua Vs Alexander Povetkin.
The stakes are high for DAZN backers entering US sports. Funding Perform Group, Len Blavatnik has personally stated DAZN has become one of the major venture projects of Access Industries’ investment portfolio.
Leading DAZN, Simon Denyer has previously stated that the US is the ‘world’s most mature OTT market’, with consumers accustomed to engaging with entertainment content across multiple digital verticals.
Denyer and Perform executives recognise that DAZN’s mission to become the leading OTT sports platform will be as much a technology endeavour as merely delivering premium sports content to viewers.
Furthermore, DAZN will likely enter a collision course with broadcast media and tech giants, building-up their digital sports platforms and properties.
In 2018, online retail colossus Amazon has added live English Premier League and US Open tennis content to its Prime Video service, primarily seeking to increase consumer ‘lock-in’ engagement with its online platforms.
Amid the rising threat of tech giants creeping into sports broadcasting, US media will likely move to significantly increase its bid purses for pro-league content (NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL).
Media and tech analysts will watch Perform closely to see what appealing OTT sports catalogue it can deliver to US audiences and more importantly at what price… Entering the changing arena of US sports, all incumbents will get bloodied… but can DAZN be the last fighter standing?