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DAZN enters the streaming arena – A three-way tussle for Australian football?

Worldwide sports streaming service DAZN recently announced it will expand its international footprint in 2020, distributing its service to more than 200 new countries and territories including Australia.

The first event on DAZN that will be shown to a global audience will be Canelo Alvarez’s soon-to-be-announced fight on May 2.

DAZN EVP Joseph Markowski stated: “Establishing DAZN as the global home of fight sports is just the first step and we couldn’t think of a better attraction for our inaugural event than Canelo’s traditional Cinco de Mayo Weekend fight.”

While the company’s initial focus is on boxing in their global agenda, in the Australian market the Sydney Morning Herald claims DAZN has shown signs of interest in acquiring the A-League rights.

DAZN has a history of pursuing domestic football competition rights in countries where they have implemented their streaming service.

In Japan, DAZN signed a deal with the J.League worth almost $3 billion over a ten-year-period in 2016. The deal, which began in 2017, gave DAZN broadcast rights to show all games in the top three divisions of Japanese football.

The streaming service launched in Italy in August 2018, with exclusive rights acquired to show three Serie A matches per week.

So, if the price is right, why wouldn’t Australian football be a good choice for DAZN’s first major investment in the Australian market?

The upcoming rugby union rights which are set to be settled soon, may also be on the company’s radar.

There is an argument however, that those who watch rugby union may not be an appealing demographic for a streaming service, when compared to those who watch Australian football.

In a column for Fox Sports last week, Simon Hill revealed football is the most digitally engaged sport in the country.

Data put together by research company ‘Futures’ highlighted that almost three out of four people who follow the A-League’s Facebook page are under 35.

While other codes in Australia may have bigger numbers overall, the younger demographic of Australian football fans means more content is consumed online.

This is an attractive proposition for a streaming service such as DAZN, who will be interested in engaging with an already tech savvy audience.

It doesn’t seem like they will be the only ones interested in Australian football rights, with Optus Sport continuing to build their portfolio this past week.

On Tuesday, Optus Sport announced they have secured the rights to broadcast the Copa America this year to Australian viewers.

The tournament rights will include at least five Socceroos games, as Australia enters the South American competition for the first time ever.

Alongside this news, an interesting 14-part series is set to be released in the build-up to UEFA Euro 2020, another tournament they will be broadcasting on their platform.

The series looks to highlight the strong European influence on Australia’s footballing landscape, focusing on historic clubs such as South Melbourne FC, Sydney United and Melbourne Knights.

A two-minute promo for the series shown on Optus Sport’s social channels, has been well received by the online football community.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the telco was involved with further rights negotiations in the future, once the current A-League deal has expired and the National Second Division is up and running.

Football Victoria recently revealed it is in discussions with Optus Sport to broadcast weekly shows on its service.

The telco seems to be on its way to becoming the new home of football in Australia, with Foxtel looking like it is focusing on Cricket, AFL and NRL.

A-League TV ratings are continuing to drop on Foxtel, but the great unknown is its streaming subsidiary Kayo Sports who are not revealing their numbers.

It would make sense that at least part of the A-League’s TV ratings decline is due to those younger football fans migrating to the sport’s streaming service.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Round 17 match between Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar had a reach of 46,000 for the Fox Sports broadcast and 109,000 when it came to streaming.

While the numbers are not necessarily impressive for the Fox broadcast, the streaming figures are more than double and would include Kayo Sports and the My Football Live service.

The streaming numbers are encouraging for the A-League clubs and also Foxtel, who may see the A-League as an important part of its digital offering on Kayo.

Time will tell whether that is the case, with Foxtel currently holding those rights until 2023.

But what’s evident is that there is appetite for Australian football in the online space, despite the current doom and gloom around linear TV ratings.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Optus Sport secures LaLiga in multi-year broadcast deal

LaLiga

Optus Sport has reinforced its dedication to being the home of the world’s best football by securing the exclusive Australian rights for Spain’s LaLiga.

The multi-year deal to stream LaLiga Santander gives Optus Sport an additional 380 matches per season from the Spanish top flight live and on-demand, in full 1080p HD.

The agreement also includes selected live matches from LaLiga SmartBank, Spanish football’s second tier, including promotion playoffs and a range of other highlights, news and review programmes.

Optus Sport subscribers will now have even more of the biggest clubs in football. With the addition of the top 20 Spanish teams, Optus Sport welcomes the likes of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Sevilla FC and many more as they join the leading English Premier League clubs, all in the one place.

Optus Sport strengthens its position as the home of the world’s best players, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Thibaut Courtois, Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Joao Felix and many more as part of the updated coverage.

LaLiga has also been home to Australian football legends over the years like John Aloisi (CA Osasuna, Deportivo Alaves), Aurelio Vidmar (CD Tenerife), and currently boasts Socceroos captain, Maty Ryan, who is on the books at Real Sociedad, as well as Awer Mabil who now calls Cadiz CF home. As the FIFA World Cup Qatar approaches, Optus Sport will be the place to keep an eye on the Socceroos No. 1.

Commenting on the announcement that unites two of Europe’s best club competitions on Optus Sport, Optus VP TV, Content and Product Development, Clive Dickens, said in a statement:

“We are delighted to announce that Optus Sport has secured these exclusive LaLiga rights here in Australia.

“The addition of Spain’s top professional league to Optus Sport’s line-up of premium rights shows our continued commitment to acquiring the world’s best football, that our customers love. We look forward to bringing an unprecedented level of LaLiga coverage to Australian fans and partnering with them to significantly expand interest in LaLiga.

Melcior Soler, LaLiga’s Audiovisual Director, also stated:

“At LaLiga we always look for best-in-class partners to deliver Spanish football to fans everywhere. Our agreement with Optus Sport ensures people in Australia will be able to enjoy LaLiga to the fullest. This is going to be even more important now to fans down under with some of Australia´s top talent represented in LaLiga clubs.”

The LaLiga announcement follows earlier news that Optus Sport has also acquired the exclusive Australian rights to UEFA EURO 2024.

The LaLiga 2022/23 season kicks off on Optus Sport the weekend of August 13 and 14, 2022.

UEFA Women’s Champions League final sets record cumulative viewership

Lyon

The recent UEFA Women’s Champions League final between Olympique Lyon and Barcelona accumulated a record-setting viewership of 3.6 million globally.

As revealed by sports streaming media company DAZN, the cumulative viewership marks a 56 per cent increase in audience compared to the final of the elite European women’s club soccer competition last season.

The figure covers DAZN’s over-the-top (OTT) platform and its Women’s Champions League YouTube channel, as well as 11 free-to-air (FTA) channels in Europe.

The 2021/22 campaign was the first in DAZN’s multi-year partnership with UEFA and YouTube, which made the entire competition available for free globally.

Total engagement for the season’s 61 matches – including highlights, player interviews and other original content – clocked 64 million views on DAZN’s platforms from more than 230 countries and territories. Of that, 4.1 million live views are attributed to last weekend’s final between Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona.

In the last three months of the season, more than 12.3 million unique viewers visited DAZN’s Women’s Champions League YouTube channel to watch the knockout round fixtures, final and original content.

Ahead of the final on May 21, DAZN confirmed a host of sublicensing deals with traditional linear networks across Europe to air the match. In the UK, the game was watched by a live peak audience of 372,000 on ITV4.

“This first season as the global broadcaster of the UEFA Women’s Champions League has been a tremendous success and reflects DAZN’s commitment to close the coverage gap between women’s and men’s sports,” said Shay Segev, chief executive of DAZN Group Chief Executive Shay Segev said in a statement.

“We are invigorated about year two and look forward to engaging even more audiences as we further contribute towards building popularity in women’s football.”

UEFA chief of women’s football Nadine Kessler added:

“Together with DAZN and YouTube, who streamed all matches for free to a global audience, we managed to give the women’s game the exposure it deserves. Through this we keep changing perceptions.

“The mutual investment together with our broadcast and sponsorship partners and clubs is the basis for inspiring young girls and boys to follow the game and to dream of becoming professionals themselves.”

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