At yesterday’s Pay TV Show in Denver, Joe Markowski, EVP North America of DAZN, said the service is “on the positive side” of 4 million subscribers around the world. The company is currently available 9 markets, having recently expanded to Brazil just last week. The company hopes to reach 20 markets by the end of 2020.
Markowski feels that the company can compete for premium U.S. sports rights now that OTT has demonstrated that it could reach scale. The company which signed an 11-fight $365mm deal with Canelo Alvarez, saw his latest fight against Daniel Jacobs, streamed by 1.2 million subscribers across U.S., Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.
Internationally, U.S. sports has been a huge driver of the company’s growth mainly from NFL/MLB in which they have streaming rights in markets like Canada and Japan DAZN has rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL RedZone, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Serie A, and LaLiga which is available to subscribers at just $20 a month. DAZN has also leveraged telco partnerships like docomo in Japan to help accelerate growth.
In the U.S. though, the focus has been on Boxing and MMA — which Markowski feels could be a 10 million subscriber market. Earlier this year, John Skipper, Chairman of DAZN said, “we made a pragmatic and opportunistic decision that boxing is the one sport that isn’t managed overwhelming by NBC, ESPN, CBS because it disappeared into a PPV world.” The company also offers 80+ fights a year from Matchroom USA, Bellator, Golden Boy Promotions, World Boxing Super Series, and Combate Americas.
DAZN faces stiff competition from ESPN+, which announced in February it has more than 2 million subscribers. Much of the growth seems attributed to the addition of UFC to ESPN+ which premiered in January. In addition to UFC, ESPN’s direct-to-consumer OTT streaming service includes access to daily out-of-market NHL, MLB, MLS games, international soccer coverage, college sports, original shows, and the entire library of 30 for 30 content for $4.99 a month.
DAZN recognizes that it needs to expand from just boxing though. The first step in that was the launch of ChangeUp, a nightly live MLB whip-around show hosted by Adnan Virk and HQ Trivia’s Scott Rogowsky. The company is expected to be heavily involved in bidding for NFL Sunday Ticket streaming service — which is currently being shopped around. They will face heavy competition though from services like Amazon Prime Video and ESPN+
In March, DAZN doubled their monthly subscription from $9.99 to $19.99 a month, while introducing a $99 annual plan. Skipper previously shared that in the U.S., the company will need to consider adding tiers to the service and a “one-size fits all” might not be the right approach. The price change seems to fit the current content where someone may get 6-8 PPV quality fights, but it doesn’t seem to be a good fit with their new MLB price offering.