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DAZN Lowers Ambitions for U.S., as Chairman Skipper Plans Global Expansion

Stephanie Sengwe

While DAZN’s expansion plans came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic back in March, the company is back on point with a new, more strategic plan to go global. While they have reactivated their initial plans to launch in additional territories their plans for the U.S. have changed.

While soccer leagues such as Bundesliga, Champions League and Serie A, are huge hits with European audiences, the U.S. market is a bit more saturated in the types of events that get high visibility. For example, with the NFL operating again, all major media companies such as NBCUniversal, Disney, ViacomCBS and Fox are working to ensure that they have renewed their deals with the football league when they expire in 2022, leaving pure play platforms such as DAZN a small share of that audience.

“When you analyze the landscape, the biggest opportunities are in the rest of the world,” executive chairman, John Skipper told Deadline.

Last year, Skipper confirmed that the streaming service wanted in on the U.S. rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. The deal never came to fruition and the NFL Sunday ticket remains available under AT&T until 2022.

In smaller European territories such as Bulgaria, the company can stake out the market and bring their service to the masses if one of their countrymen is in a big event. Such is the case when Anthony Joshua goes against Kubrat Pulev in December. “We’re going to be in Bulgaria. Maybe 100,000 people will subscribe,” Skipper explained.

“Maybe that’ll make us think about going into Bulgaria and buying — I’m making this up — Greco-Roman wrestling. And maybe we have a little business. Maybe it’s 250,000 subscribers and we get $2 a month, so it’s a $6 million-a-year business. But we’re there.”

Nonetheless, DAZN global expansion is still well underway. The streamer saw a dip in subscribership in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus, but has since gained traction back and are at eight million subscribers.

In July, The Streamable learned that DAZN will no longer air their MLB Whiparound show “ChangeUp,” which was hosted by Adnan Virk and Scott Rogowsky. The show, which launched ahead of the 2019 MLB season, was a live look-in show most similar to the NFL RedZone channel.