DAZN Has a New Acquisition Target in Its Sights after BT Sport Loss

Posted on: July 15, 2022, 07:49h. 

Last updated on: July 15, 2022, 01:14h.

This past February, sports broadcaster DAZN missed its chance to purchase BT Sport. However, after recovering from the surprise loss, it has now set its sights on a new target, Eleven Sports.

DAZN - Cristiano Ronaldo
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo holds an autographed DAZN shirt. The sports company is looking to acquire rival Eleven Sports for an undisclosed sum. (Image: Pinterest)

DAZN is actively negotiating the purchase of the Eleven Sports platform, according to a recent report by the Financial Times. It’s the company’s latest attempt to acquire another sports streaming player as it looks to expand its global reach.

The deal would offer DAZN the rights to Eleven in the Asian and European markets. Andrea Radrizzani, the president of British soccer club Leeds United, founded the company in 2015.

DAZN Determined to Grow

Eleven has a presence in Belgium, Portugal, Italy, and Poland, and distributes content from competitions such as the NFL, NBA, Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, F1, and others.

If DAZN were to acquire the company, it would also take over the streaming platform specializing in soccer, MyCujoo, which passed into the hands of Eleven in 2020. The platform allows soccer federations, leagues, clubs, and players to bring their content to a global audience, broadcasting 22,000 matches from 3,500 creators a year. Eleven’s various channels are responsible for around four billion views each month.

Last January, the British platform came close to buying telecommunications company BT Sport for $800 million. However, complications in the signing of the contract caused both parties to end up dismissing the agreement. As a result, BT ended up agreeing to a deal with Discovery Warner Bros.

DAZN launched in 2016 in Austria, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland. That’s after acquiring the Premier League broadcast rights in all four countries. In July 2017, the platform expanded to Canada after acquiring the rights to the NFL. At the same time, it began sublicensing the content of Bein Sports Canada, which included the broadcast of the Champions League and the Europa League.

In 2018, the OTT premiered in Italy and the US, and in 2019, it added Brazil and Spain. By 2020, it was available in more than 200 countries.

In April, DAZN announced that it was creating a new sports betting platform through a partnership with Pragmatic Play. In spite of its continued expansion, it is still struggling financially.

DAZN reported a loss of $1.30 billion for 2020. That followed a loss in the previous year as well. Finally, this year, owner Len Blavatnik wiped away the company’s debt when he recapitalized $4.3 billion of loans, converted shares, and more.

DAZN Customers Paying for Acquisitions?

DAZN, in spite of its financial troubles, put together a deal worth $800 million to purchase BT Sport. However, since neither it nor Eleven has commented on their arrangement, there’s no information on how much it’s worth.

However, at least some of DAZN’s customers may feel that they are paying for the acquisition, whether they want it or not. Customers in Spain are particularly unhappy.

Last February, the monthly plan cost €9.99 (US10.02), although it increased by €3 (US$3.00) two months later. However, the rates are now going up again. Although the basic rate will remain the same, subscribers who want to see LaLiga games will have to pay €24.99 (US$25.07).

Last year, UK customers watched as their monthly subscription rate skyrocketed 400%. It went from £1.99 to £7.99 (US$2.35 to $9.45), with a six-month migration bonus for existing users. In Italy, the price for new customers went from €9.99 to €29.99 (US$30.00).

This year, in Germany, the monthly subscription rate went from €14.99 to €29.99 (US$16.91 to $33.82). However, existing customers received a six-month break.

Logically, consumer demand leads to price increases. However, DAZN isn’t even giving its Spanish customers the full package. Instead, it is limiting the coverage to just five matches each day.

In addition, the company has stated that it won’t know which games will be available until only a few weeks prior. That makes it difficult for consumers to know whether there is value. But DAZN will certainly hope they buy in and authorize automatic, recurring payments.

The sharing of accounts is going away as well. The practice has always been against the rules, but the platform will begin a campaign to stop the practice this August. As a result, some customers can expect a brick wall where their DAZN access used to be.