Report: DAZN Finalizing Deal for UK’s BT Sport For $800 Million, Including Premier League Streaming Rights
Last year, the Financial Times reported that DAZN was in “advanced talks” to purchase BT Group. After talks seemingly cooled, with new suitors like Discovery coming in, a deal seems to be in the final stages.
According to a report by Reuters, DAZN is set to acquire BT Sport for $800 Million, with an announcement coming as soon as this month. As part of the deal, DAZN would acquire English Premier League rights, instantly making them a major player in UK’s broadcasting game.
Currently, DAZN owns the overseas broadcasting rights to a number of different domestic and international sports leagues, including the big four American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL,) multiple soccer federations (UEFA, FIFA, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, etc.) as well as sports that are popular overseas like handball, darts, rugby, cricket, and more. They also own global rights to the UEFA Women's Champions League which they purchased back in June.
Securing rights to major sports is right in line with what former DAZN (and ESPN) head and current Meadowlark Media CEO John Skipper said regarding sports rights — you can’t build a platform simply on secondary and tertiary sports. “At DAZN we tried secondary sports and tertiary sports, thinking ‘they can’t work on pay-tv, but there are 17 million hardcore badminton fans,” Skipper said to Bloomberg. “We just gotta get 9% to sign up and you’ve got 300,000 people.’ None of that stuff works. What works is top of the pyramid rights that people have to see.” With this proposed move, DAZN is skipping right to the very top of the sports pyramid in the UK to bring football to its airwaves.
Currently, four companies own broadcasting rights for English Premier League football in the UK — Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC Sport. DAZN would love to join the pantheon of football broadcasters overseas because, at that point, anything can happen, especially with the current rights deal expiring in 2025.