DAZN seeks to raise ‘at least $500m’ for expansion and rights push

International sports streaming service DAZN is seeking to raise at least $500m (€450m) from investors in order to support its expansion efforts and pursuit of new broadcast rights.

The subscription OTT platform owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik is working with Goldman Sachs to help with its fundraising efforts, according to Bloomberg, as DAZN looks for a strategic partner to grow the business further.

DAZN’s expansion, which now reaches nine countries, has thus far been supported by Blatvanik, who is said to be worth $25.5bn. However, this fundraising effort indicates that he is no longer willing to solely cover the investment himself as DAZN prepares to enter new markets and looks at additional high-profile broadcast rights.

DAZN first launched in German-speaking countries and Japan in August 2016. A service in Canada followed just under a year later and a boxing-focused US service arrived in September 2018, hot on the heels of the launch of the Italian service on the back of the Serie A rights acquisition. Services have since been added in Brazil and Spain.

DAZN already acquired the Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights in various southeast Asian countries from 2018-19 to 2020-21. The rights were sold on as DAZN continues to prepare its launch in the region.

SportBusiness understands that DAZN has been considering the creation of a ‘global’ boxing platform to showcase its rights. Such a move would fit in with the ambitions to establish DAZN as a global streaming brand.

In May 2018, DAZN (then Perform Group) announced an eight-year $1bn deal with the Matchroom Boxing promoter to stream top bouts to fans in the US market. In its deals with promoters Matchroom, Golden Boy and GGG, DAZN has already secured global streaming rights and then sold on rights in markets in which it is not yet active. Next month, DAZN will also stream the fight between YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

In March, DAZN doubled the price of its US subscription from $9.99 to $19.99 per month.

Speaking at the recent Leaders Sport Business Summit, John Skipper, DAZN’s executive chairman, described the UK as a “logical DAZN market” and flagged up rights to the Premier League, boxing and tennis as key subscriber drivers in the UK.

The tender process for the Champions League and Europa League rights was recently launched in the UK and will soon be issued in German-speaking markets, where DAZN will need significant funds to retain – or improve on – its share of rights. The Bundesliga’s domestic rights sales process from 2021-22 onwards is also on the horizon, a set of rights that DAZN will have already targeted.

Additional reporting by Martin Ross