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.

FC Barcelona and Ownix to create historic NFTs


LaLiga’s FC Barcelona and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Ownix have joined together to create unique digital assets through photos and videos, depicting iconic moments from the Club’s storied history.

With football clubs entering the world of NFTs at an increasing rate, FC Barcelona are looking to set a benchmark in the creation of these types of digital assets.

As part of this strategy, the Club has signed a new global partnership agreement with Ownix, a premium marketplace for NFTs based on the standards of the Ethereum blockchain – a platform for sharing data that cannot be manipulated or changed.

This alliance between FC Barcelona and Ownix will provide a new way for the Club to reach its followers from around the globe, as fans will now be able to acquire and own digital assets that will reproduce unforgettable moments throughout the Club’s almost 122-year history via various auctions taking place throughout the season.

The agreement between FC Barcelona and Ownix is part of the Club’s global expansion strategy and a further commitment to seek out new channels and formats to connect with new generations, while providing a different form of interaction with their fans around the world.

FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta:

“Barça has a very large fanbase around the world and is leading the way in the digital domain with over 400 million followers in social networks,” he said.

“Given this scenario, the Club is constantly looking for new ways to connect with its fans, and we believe that creating these NFTs is a unique opportunity to continue growing and consolidating the Barça brand by bringing unique moments that have made Barça fans dream and FC Barcelona a well-known club on every level.”

Ownix CEO Guy Elhanani:

“As NFTs surge, we thought it is important to give those collectors who are Barça fans an opportunity to own a piece of their Club’s history,” he said.

“This new and exciting asset class allows collectors to own things that weren’t possible to own before, and we’re thrilled to offer sports fans an opportunity to spearhead the movement. Our Mission is to bring customers to purchase NFTs, not because they are marketable, but for the pleasure and pride of owning them.”

Manchester City teams up with Qualtrics

Manchester City Qualtrics

English Premier League side Manchester City have announced a new partnership with Qualtrics which will see the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category become the Club’s Official Experience Management Software Partner.

Qualtrics empowers organisations to listen to customer and employee feedback, understand and analyse what they hear, then take action to improve experiences and design new ones, all in real time.

Manchester City and Qualtrics’ new partnership aligns with the club’s ongoing commitment to provide the best possible matchday experience for fans and will allow the club to use industry-leading experience management software to listen to fans’ feedback following each fixture.

From overall matchday experience – to catering, facilities, retail and more – Qualtrics can provide valuable insight and real-time data from fans to help the club shape their future strategic planning and decisions.

The new partnership is also expected to include further activations across wider areas of the organisation in coming months, using Qualtrics’ experience management software to listen to fan feedback and enhance the digital experience for Cityzens across the globe.

Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships Sales at City Football Group, Stephan Cieplik:

“As a club, we are continually working to improve our matchday offering for fans both in-stadium and across our digital platforms for those following across the globe,” he said.

“Through this new partnership with Qualtrics, we will be able to use industry-leading software to gather valuable feedback and insight from those at the heart of our club to help shape future decisions around matchdays.”

Qualtrics President of Products and Services, Brad Anderson:

“With Qualtrics, Manchester City can listen to and understand fan feedback in real time and take action to improve matchday experiences,” he said.

“But fan experience isn’t limited to the stadium — the digital and at-home fan experience is just as important, and Qualtrics will help Manchester City to deliver a personalized experience to their fans wherever they are.”

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