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Premier League domestic rights “high priority” for DAZN, says CEO

Shay Segev says “maths need to work” for streaming service to launch bid.

20 February 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Premier League has agreements with Sky, BT and Amazon until end of 2024/25
  • Apple also linked with deal for 2025/28 cycle
  • DAZN looking to “transition” to long-term rights partnerships

DAZN chief executive Shay Segev has said securing domestic Premier League rights is a “high priority” for the sports streaming subscription service.

DAZN has made no secret of its desire to land a deal for English soccer’s top flight as the UK-based company looks to establish itself in its home market. Back in September 2021, DAZN’s chairman Kevin Mayer said he “would love to see the Premier League on DAZN in the future”.

DAZN had been in the running to acquire pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport – a move that would have landed it a share of Premier League rights alongside Sky Sports and Amazon Prime Video, whose deals worth a collective UK£4.8 billion (US$6 billion) run from 2022/23 to 2024/25. However, the deal was eventually deemed uneconomical and BT Sport instead decided on a joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery.

Despite that setback, and with the Premier League’s tender process for the next cycle kicking off later this year, DAZN appears ready to throw its hat into the ring for rights covering the 2025/28 period.

“Football is obviously very big in the UK and EPL is an option on our menu,” Segev told The Times. “If the question is do we have any ambition to go to this market, the answer is of course yes. And it’s not only ambition it’s a high priority on my list.

“DAZN is a sports service and clearly we will try to get bigger packages but the maths needs to work.”

Speaking to SportsPro last October, Segev believed that DAZN would have a major presence in the UK in the future, insisting that the service can find a way to crack the market.

“We’re interested in every country if it’s economical for us to expand [because it will boost revenue],” he said.

“The UK specifically is really important for us because it’s our home. There was a [failed] attempt to enter the UK and we will continue to find a way. I believe DAZN will be big in the UK at some point.”

As well as his Premier League rights aspirations, Segev revealed to The Times that he views the Saturday 3pm TV blackout in the UK as somewhat outdated, and hopes the top flight will offer longer rights deals than the current three-year model.

“From a business perspective it’s a lost opportunity for the consumers and for the league as well,” he said. “I know from people who live in this country that if they want to watch their club at the time they need to connect to a remote service outside the UK which I think is a pity.

“For us it’s really important to transition to long-term deals as it gives certainty and stability for everybody and gives us the motivation to invest long-term. The deal with the NFL is a good example, it’s a ten-year deal and the same with our deal in Japan [for the J.League].”

DAZN already has Premier League rights in Spain and is the main broadcaster in Italy for the country’s top tier Serie A. However, its coverage of the latter has been hit by technical issues, though Segev stated these have now been resolved.

“Italy had a lot of teething issues, it was revolutionary and it was a very challenging place to do it – as the Italians admit themselves the internet structure was not built in a way that was very good,” he said.

“It took us time to optimise the networks around the country, and almost a year to install the right servers and now it is stable.”

SportsPro says…

DAZN’s desire to land domestic Premier League rights is nothing new but being able to do so in the next rights cycle would be a surprise.

Incumbents Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video will want to retain their respective packages, while Apple is also reportedly considering a bid, which could drive up the price. It seems unlikely the Premier League would want more than three broadcast partners for its domestic live rights, meaning one of Sky, BT and Amazon will have to go.

Segev, though, is thinking long term, telling The Times that DAZN’s goal to cement itself in the UK could take “two years, five years, seven years”. A more immediate short-term priority is profitability. The company’s losses have increased to US$1.35 billion, but the aim is to be profitable in 2024 – something that will be a lot harder if DAZN ends up with Premier League rights on its books.

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