Walker assumes DAZN global rights partnerships role after leaving beIN

Digital sports media company DAZN Group has named Stewart Walker as its executive vice-president of global rights partnerships.

Walker, who left his position as director of sales and distribution at beIN Media Group to join DAZN Group, is now responsible for delivering and executing the group’s joint-venture partnerships. These include FIBA Media, WTA Media, FC Diez Media (the joint-venture Conmebol project with IMG), Matchroom Boxing USA, Matchroom Boxing Italy and the European Handball Federation (held jointly with Infront).

The Scotsman took up the London-based position in the middle of this month and has taken on the joint venture management responsibilities previously held by Bruno Rocha, who shifted role earlier this year to become executive vice-president of revenue for DAZN’s new operation in Brazil.

Walker reports to chief commercial officer Jacopo Tonoli, who said: “Stewart will build on the great work the Partnerships team have already achieved this year. I’m confident with his background and expertise he will continue to drive our Global Partnerships side of the business to the next level and support the ongoing success of DAZN Group.”

The move marks a return for Walker to the company where he worked from 2007 to 2013 and as head of corporate development, Africa at Perform. DAZN Group was created as an entity a year ago as Perform Group rebranded and split into two: the rights-holding OTT business DAZN; and betting rights, data, news and video company Perform Content (since merged with data and technology company Stats).

Stewart said: “DAZN Group has built a unique opportunity to enhance the commercial opportunities for sport around the world, through these exciting partnerships. As some of these entities begin to come to fruition, I look forward to leading the global partnerships team and playing a key role in growing these joint ventures further to support our federation partners and engage a new generation of fans.”

As director of sales and distribution at beIN Media Group, Walker’s responsibilities included the broadcaster’s on-sale of international media rights to France’s Ligue 1 and Turkey’s Süper Lig, along with the management of beIN’s long-term Davis Cup and Fed Cup international media rights agreement. He joined the Qatar-backed broadcaster in the middle of 2015 as senior commercial manager.

Stewart, who also counts Octagon CSI and BSkyB among his previous employers, has been tasked with driving a long-term strategy of enhancing the commercialisation of rights sold through the joint-venture agreements, while improving the quality of broadcast coverage and developing new audiences. He will also look to identify new partnership opportunities for DAZN Group.