Can DAZN still become a major player in UK sports broadcasting?

By Dan Sheldon Feb 9, 2022 52
BT’s decision to enter exclusive talks with Discovery to potentially complete a 50-50 joint venture that would see BT Sport and Eurosport merge under one umbrella came at the expense of DAZN.

The global sports subscription video streaming service had also been in discussions to buy BT Sport outright in a deal reportedly worth around £600 million.

It is thought DAZN, owned by multi-billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, wanted to make the acquisition as it had been mulling over the possibility of going public to bring in extra investment and continue its growth.

“If circumstances were right, I can see us tapping the public capital markets or private capital markets over the next few years,” James Rushton, DAZN’s co-chief executive, said last year.

BT Sport owns the UK rights to 52 Premier League games a season until 2025 and also has exclusive coverage of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. Had DAZN completed the acquisition, it would have bought the prestige and profile attached to Premier League TV rights and gained a significant amount of momentum if it was then decided to float the company via an initial public offering (IPO).

It was pipped to the post by Discovery, though — raising questions about whether DAZN can still become a major player in UK sports broadcasting.

So, no Premier League football in the UK.