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DAZN Seeking Significant Investment Or Out Right Sale

“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.”

Brandon Contes

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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. 

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Yahoo Sports Undergoes Round of Layoffs Including Hannah Keyser, Sam Cooper, Kevin Iole

Zach Crizer and Arun Srinivasan were among the employees who revealed the news that they had been let go by the company.

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Yahoo Sports
Courtesy: Yahoo Sports

Yahoo Sports has engaged in a round of layoffs as part of an effort to eliminate more than 20% of its staff by the end of the year, a figure that was reported earlier in the year by Sara Fischer of Axios. The company is currently owned by Apollo Global, which purchased the entity from Verizon in 2017 along with AOL and other media businesses.

On Friday, mixed martial arts and boxing journalist Kevin Iole announced that he was laid off by the company in a post on X and took the time to thank his co-workers and express his appreciation for his time with the outlet. Within that post, he conveyed how this is not the end for him; rather, he hopes it is the start of a new chapter.

On Monday, several other Yahoo Sports staffers announced their departures from the company as a result of the layoffs. Senior MLB reporter Hannah Keyser lost her job on Friday and shared the privilege it was for her to report on the game through the platform. Keyser also appears on SNY as a contributor on Baseball Night in New York and other programming, and it remains unknown if and how her exit from Yahoo Sports will impact the role.

“Five years ago, I was terrified to accept the job and I’ve been terrified (truly) every day since that I’m bad at it,” Keyser said in a post on X. “But I never worked harder or took more joy in learning.”

MLB writer Zach Crizer was also part of the layoffs on Friday, and divulged that he continues to write about baseball. Although he acknowledged that the ending is not great, he feels that a lot of people with the outlet changed his career for the better and had more belief in his work than he did.

“I learned more about baseball from Zach in five years than I even knew there was to know,” Keyser said on X. “He is more organized than I am, less erratic, and since he actually opens HR emails about our health insurance changing, I can actually say that I wouldn’t have survived without him.”

“No one pushed me harder, or advocated me more forcefully, than Hannah,” Crizer said of Keyser in a post on X. “She is a complete original that the baseball world can’t afford to lose. Whenever you think you have a good answer, I promise she’s going to have a better question.”

Sam Cooper revealed that he was part of the Yahoo Sports layoffs after working with the company over the last 10 years. Cooper had been promoted to a full-time senior editor, a role he served in for the last five years, after starting out as a freelancer. In a series of posts on X, Cooper acknowledged how he does not understand the rationale behind the current direction of Yahoo, but also articulated that it was a great place to work and will miss his colleagues.

“So now I’m a free agent,” Cooper continued. “I’ve written extensively about CFB (+ other sports), helped transform [Yahoo Sports College Football] from an RSS feed into an account with 50k+ followers and had a consistently profitable betting column. I also know the ins and outs of editing in the digital media space.”

Arun Srinivasan worked at Yahoo Sports Canada and was part of the recent round of layoffs as well, posting a statement on Saturday night while covering his final Toronto Maple Leafs game at Scotiabank Arena for the outlet. Within his remarks, he thanked Dan Toman and Mackenzie Liddell for their leadership and for taking a chance on him, along with William Lou for endorsing him after he was looking for work following layoffs from theScore in February 2019.

“…I’m itching to get back to the arena more regularly,” Srinivasan said on X. “How many of us get to do everything we dreamed of as children? Thank you for everything Yahoo, this message is for everyone I’ve ever been lucky enough to work with here.”

Earlier in the year, Yahoo laid off 1,000 positions within its companies and revealed that the remaining layoffs would occur in the second half of 2023. The company is in the midst of a restructuring of its advertising technology unit in an effort for the company to be able to invest more heavily in areas of the company that garner significant profits. Additionally, the company hired Ross Dellenger and Jason Fitz, along with welcoming new president Ryan Spoon in June 2023.

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Tiki Barber: WFAN is My Passion Job, Calling NFL on CBS is a Grind

“It’s a fine balance of finding time to grind on tape, but watch the local sports, develop these opinions, and still have a good family life.”

Ricky Keeler

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Tiki Barber
Courtesy: Derek Futterman

When Tiki Barber is talking about either the New York Jets or New York Giants every weekday afternoon with Evan Roberts on WFAN, the goal he wants to accomplish is to inform and teach the audience without having any emotion get in the way. Even though he had a great career with the Giants, the former running back is able to take any emotion out of whatever analysis and takes he gives.

Barber was a guest on the Amazin’ Conversations with Jay Horwitz podcast and he mentioned that over the last decade, he has been able to watch a game and not have emotion cloud what he is actually seeing on the field.

“I’m trying to inform. I’m trying to teach in a way because I think it’s one thing to be passionate about sports and have an emotional reaction, but I watch a lot of the games whether it’s the Jets or the Giants dispassionately. It’s called true media. I can watch any game over the last 10 or so years without the emotion of the broadcast. I see exactly what’s happening as opposed to that emotionally moved me and it clouds what’s going on.”

One of the reasons why Barber is able to do that is because of what happened before he entered the NFL. Barber grew up in Virginia as a then Washington Redskins fan, but once the Giants made the call to draft him, that was the beginning of him becoming dispassionate as a fan.

“I look at sports really analytically and I think it’s because I grew up a Washington fan. As soon as I got drafted to New York, that fandom had to change. When the paychecks are coming from the Meadowlands, that fandom had to change. I became dispassionate as a fan, which allows me to not be biased, but also understand it.”

“I also try to see things from inside the organization. What would a player think about this criticism? Is it fair? If it isn’t, then I’ll expose that. If it is, I’ll say that as well. I’m not afraid to be critical of people.”

When Tiki Barber isn’t talking to fans on Evan & Tiki, he is in the booth as an analyst for NFL games on CBS. With that job, he considers the CBS role more of a grind than WFAN because of the time he puts in watching tape and preparing for the game.

“I love being busy. I love trying to achieve things. I consider WFAN my passion job because I’m talking about sports. All I have to do is pay attention to sports. The grind is a little bit on the NFL games.”

“It’s a fine balance of finding time to grind on tape, but watch the local sports, develop these opinions, and still have a good family life.”

Tiki Barber told Horwitz that his goal is to learn something new every day and while he may not know everything about baseball and basketball, he never wants to come across as if he knows everything.

“I try to learn everyday. I know I don’t know everything about baseball and basketball. I know a lot of football. I feel like I learn as I go and it helps me because I don’t come off as knowing everything. I am having a conversation with someone at a bar. That’s what it feels like to me.”

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Dave Portnoy Blasts YouTube, Announces Other Plans For Airing Surviving Barstool

“If they’re not smart enough to watch a reality show and realize what’s going on. Fine, whatever.”

Jordan Bondurant

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(Photo: Marcellus Wiley)

Barstool Sports founder and president Dave Portnoy isn’t bending the knee to YouTube.

On Thursday, Portnoy held an emergency press conference on his X account to let fans know that Surviving Barstool — a reality show produced by the company — was being pulled from YouTube. This stemmed from repeated strikes levied against the Barstool channel on the platform due to alleged broadcasting of violent threats.

In one of the Surviving Barstool episodes, Barstool host Kirk Minihane apparently threatened to blow up the house of another show competitor. Portnoy said he was given the option by YouTube to either take down the episodes and edit them to remove the questionable content or continue to receive strikes.

“I’m not changing the f–king episodes,” he said.

“This is Barstool, we’re doing it our f–king way,” Portnoy added. “F–k YouTube if they’re not smart enough to watch a reality show and realize what’s going on. Fine, whatever.”

Ultimately the decision was made to move the Surviving Barstool episodes that had already aired to the outlet’s streaming platform Barstool TV. Future episodes of the season plus the live finale will be available for fans to watch for $9.99.

“I think if you’ve watched it, you’ll admit that it’s worth the price,” Portnoy said. “We gotta make up the money we’re going to lose with all that shit.”

Survivng Barstool is about what you would imagine. It’s the Barstool Sports version of the CBS show Survivor. Contestants on the show are Barstool employees who compete for a $100,000 prize.

Portnoy, who bought back ownership of the outlet he founded and built from the ground up this summer, made it clear that if people thought he would jump when YouTube says jump they need to think again.

“The show is the f–king show, and I would rather eat my f–king insides and smash my d–k with a hammer than have to change the f–king show to make YouTube happy,” he said.

Several Barstool employees responded similarly to Portnoy, airing their displeasure with the situation.

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