Two months after COVID-19 brought live sports to a halt, the pandemic’s impact has DAZN reportedly seeking investors and possibly even a sale.
According to a story from the Financial Times, DAZN owner Len Blavatanik is searching for ways to secure investments for the OTT service. While finding a suitor for an equity stake in the company is preferred, selling the platform could also be considered.
In 2018, Japanese ad agency Dentsu invested $300 million for a 10% ownership in the company. Last October, DAZN reportedly sought to raise an additional $500 million, but finding that level of investor in the current economic climate is seemingly unachievable.
Since the subscription service launched in Germany and Japan in 2016, entering the U.S. market in 2018, it has continued to expand at a rapid and expensive rate. In 2016, DAZN invested $3 billion for media rights deals in Japan which included local soccer and baseball, the NFL, MLB, all five major European soccer leagues and the Champions League.
With most major American sports leagues inside their current media rights deals, DAZN looked toward combat sports, entering a $1 billion partnership with Matchroom Boxing, and signing boxer Canelo Alvarez to a $365 million contract. They were also reportedly interested in adding debate shows, linked to FS1’s Skip Bayless while his former boss Jamie Horowitz is DAZN’s EVP of content.
The extensive spending wasn’t without a return though, as DAZN set streaming records in 2019, reporting a 950% year-over-year revenue growth for the month of May as compared to 2018. Unfortunately, similar growth won’t be realized in May 2020. Instead, the current pandemic has DAZN searching for funds from outside sources such as Liberty Global.
In March, DAZN announced global expansion plans which intended to see the service go from being available in just nine countries to entering more than 200 countries and territories. Whether or not those goals ever come to fruition remains to be seen, as not much more than one month later, COVID-19 forced DAZN to begin furloughing personnel.
DAZN hasn’t announced how many subscribers left the service since they began furloughing employees and seeking new investments, but a lack of live sports programming certainly isn’t in their favor.
Lachlan Murdoch: ‘FOX Bet Has Been Disappointing’
“In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch.”
FOX is the only network to have a stake in the sports betting industry. The network partnered with FanDuel to launch FOX Bet in 2019. So far, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has not been pleased with the results.
In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch. He called the performance thus far “disappointing.”
Sports betting is a crowded marketplace. It is possible that players are watching games on FOX and seeing advertisements for the betting app, but are choosing to trust their experience to companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and other companies that are more commonly associated with gambling.
Murdoch believes that a dispute with FanDuel owner Flutter has set FOX Bet back. The two companies have been involved in a standoff over who owns which aspects of FOX Bet and what price FOX is obligated to pay in order to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. Murdoch says everything “should be resolved by the summer.”
In March, Bloomberg reported that the app is struggling to find new players. FOX Bet is one of the betting partners of the NFL and can advertise its services during games in the fall, but its potential is hindered by only being available to bettors in four states.
Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022
“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”
Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.
It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.
The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.
Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State
“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”
Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.
He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”
He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”
It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.
The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.
Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.
The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.
Others used the feud to create comedy.
Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.
The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.