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DAZN Plans To Invest In More Live Sports Rights

“Since DAZN launched in Germany and Japan in 2016, entering the U.S. market in 2018, they’ve continued to expand at a rapid rate.”

Brandon Contes

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Recently, DAZN announced plans for global expansion this year into more than 200 countries and territories. According to a report from Digiday, expansion could be the next step in the OTT streaming service’s ability to acquire major sports broadcasting rights, including the NBA and NFL. 

“Launching globally, that reinforces our position as a growing and legitimate broadcaster for those rights as they become available,” said Joseph Markowski, EVP at DAZN, who will be overseeing its global service.

Since DAZN launched in Germany and Japan in 2016, entering the U.S. market in 2018, they’ve continued to expand at a rapid rate. In 2016, the subscription service invested $3 billion for media rights deals in Japan, which included local soccer and baseball, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, all five major European soccer leagues and the Champions League. In 2018, DAZN entered a $1 billion partnership with Matchroom Boxing and signed boxer Canelo Alvarez to a $365 million contract.

Last fall, it was announced that DAZN, owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik with former ESPN President John Skipper leading the platform as their executive chairman, sought to raise an additional $500 million in investments.

Even with the additional capital, acquiring major American sports rights won’t be easy. With NFL rights fees set to expire in 2022, Sunday afternoon packages are expected to cost around $2 billion, with Monday Night Football commanding closer to $3 billion. Amazon, Netflix and Google, along with DAZN, are digital platforms that could all enter an NFL rights scene that has been dominated by traditional TV networks. Two years ago, Amazon partnered with the NFL to offer a simulcast stream of their Thursday Night Football schedule for $65 million annually. 

DAZN’s global expansion could allow the OTT service to begin by purchasing rights for major American sports in foreign countries only, which would cost significantly less than an exclusive deal that includes the U.S.

Digiday also notes beyond money, the NFL is waiting to see if DAZN could handle 25 million live viewers simultaneously. Currently, DAZN has 1 million subscribers in the U.S. and 8 million total, a number that should increase as the platform goes from being available in just nine countries, to over 200. In comparison, ESPN+ has 7.6 million subscribers in the U.S. only, while Amazon Prime could reach 100 million global subscribers by year’s end. 

Sports Online

Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Sports Online

Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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Sports Online

Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO

“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).

DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.

Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

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