DAZN apologises for J. League coverage failings, outlines ‘very aggressive’ German strategy

DAZN chief executive James Rushton has apologised for the failings of the service during the opening round of the J. League football season in Japan, and said it will be “very aggressive” in pursuing key sports rights in Germany.

The J.League is the OTT sports subscription service's showpiece rights offering in Japan. Its deal for rights to the J1, J2 and J3 league tournaments starts this season and runs for ten years until 2026.

But its first broadcasts on Saturday were affected by constant buffering and other technical problems, leading to complaints from unhappy customers.

However, Japanese news agency Kyodo has said the J. League will seek talks with DAZN to ensure there will be no repeat of the disruption. Kyodo said DAZN cited possible program software issues as the reason for the disruption.

Rushton added in a statement that a thorough investigation would be launched and that the company would make every effort to improve its service.

Separately, Rushton outlined DAZN’s ambitions to be a strong competitor in the German sports rights market. “Whatever is on the market, we will be very aggressive, very proactive,” he told German news agency DPA.

Rushton added: “If we really believe in the market, we have to grab the big rights – whether that’s the (Uefa) Champions League, Formula One or skiing.”

However, Rushton conceded that DAZN faces significant competition in Germany. “Yes, Sky is the gorilla in the room, but it’s not just about DAZN and Sky,” he added, referring to other bidders like Deutsche Telekom and Amazon.