Anthem Sports Inks Impact Wrestling Distribution Deal With DAZN

Anthem Sports & Entertainment, a global multi-platform media company, and DAZN, a global sports entertainment platform, have entered into an international partnership that will deliver Anthem’s Impact Wrestling to more than 170 countries worldwide beginning Nov. 29.

The multiyear agreement will give DAZN viewers in 170-plus countries — including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan and Brazil — access to Impact Wrestling’s weekly “Impact!” flagship series.

Additionally, DAZN viewers will have access to Impact’s PPV events and premium Impact Plus live specials, as well as select titles from Impact Wrestling’s archives, directly through the DAZN platform.

DAZN can be accessed on Smart TVs, games consoles, Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast and Apple TV, as well via the DAZN app on iPhone, iPad, android and other tablet and mobile devices.

“DAZN is a global leader in premier sports programming, and we are proud to partner with them as we expand Impact Wrestling’s international reach even further,” Scott D’Amore, EVP, Anthem Sports Media Group, said in a statement. “From the beginning, Impact Wrestling has enjoyed a worldwide audience of passionate and knowledgeable fans who crave high-quality professional wrestling content.  With this announcement, we hope to make it even more convenient for them to enjoy our flagship series, premium specials and pay-per-view events, while also introducing the Impact Wrestling brand to even more sports enthusiasts across the globe.”

“We are incredibly excited to sign this multiyear partnership with Impact,” Veronica Diquattro, CEO of DAZN Global Markets, said in a statement. “This deal will see the promotion’s world-class professional wrestling content arrive on the DAZN platform in more than 170 countries worldwide, reinforcing our growing position as the global home of combat sports.”

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Since its inception in 2002, Impact Wrestling has established itself as one of the largest professional wrestling organizations in the world. Its extensive programming library includes more than 5,000 hours of content, featuring performers such as Ric Flair, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and AJ Styles.  Impact’s current roster includes Impact World Champion Josh Alexander, Knockouts World Champion Jordynne Grace, World Tag Team Champions Heath & Rhino, and Knockouts World Tag Team Champions Death Dollz, X Division Champion Trey Miguel, and Digital Media Champion Joe Hendry. Other Impact stars include Bully Ray, Moose, Steve Maclin, Chris Bey, Rich Swann, Matt Cardona, Brian Myers, Sami Callihan, Tommy Dreamer and PCO, and the Knockouts Division, featuring Deonna Purrazzo, Mickie James, Killer Kelly, Masha Slamovich and Rosemary.

In addition to the aforementioned countries, Impact Wrestling programming is televised globally in 120 countries including on Anthem properties AXS TV in the United States and Fight Network in Canada, as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, India and its subcontinent, and Africa.

Streamer DAZN Buys Eleven Sports, Expanding Live Soccer Rights Within Boxing Content Portfolio

Online sports streaming platform DAZN Sept. 27 announced it has acquired fellow London-based online TV broadcaster Eleven Sports for an undisclosed amount. The transaction affords DAZN exclusive professional soccer league rights in Portugal and Belgium. The transaction complements the streamer’s existing live-sports streaming market positions in Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.

The deal also includes control of Eleven’s Team Whistle sports social media platform, ranked within the top 10 U.S. media sports properties on Comscore with more than 700 million followers across its channels, and a growing distribution network that generates around 5 billion views per month.

Kevin Mayer

Soccer continues to drive live-sports streaming among U.S. and international over-the-top video platforms. NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Paramount+, Apple TV+, Prime Video and ESPN+ all have streaming rights to various professional leagues around the world.

“This deal marks an acceleration of our strategy to diversify our offerings and leverage our fantastic sports properties and our platform into new markets and business models,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of DAZN, said in a statement.

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Mayer, who helped create the Disney+ SVOD platform before moving to TikTok for a brief stint as CEO, said Team Whistle has a proven track record in monetizing short form video content.

“It will be hugely valuable … as we look to generate the maximum value from our enviable rights portfolio, creating new formats of content to reach new audiences and generate powerful incremental revenue streams,” he said.

Upon completion of the deal, Andrea Radrizzani, Eleven founder, will join DAZN’s board as an executive director supporting the DAZN’s business development.

Established in 2015, Eleven streams more than 65,000 hours of live content annually. The deal is subject to anti-trust review; as such, the completion date remains unknown. Guggenheim Partners has advised Eleven Group on this transaction.

Sports Streamer DAZN Acquires $4.3 Billion in Re-Capitalization

DAZN Group, the corporate parent to its branded sports entertainment streaming platform, announced new financing arrangements with Access Industries, its principal shareholder, valued in excess of $4.3 billion.

DAZN, which is led by former Disney+ senior executive Kevin Mayer, in 2021 became the primary broadcaster of Serie A soccer in Italy, acquired rights to LaLiga in Spain, launched substantial coverage of the Bundesliga in Germany, struck a five-year global boxing deal with Matchroom Boxing and a four-year global deal with UEFA Women’s soccer Champions League.

DAZN ended last year with a reported 11 million subscribers, which includes the 5 million households associated with the U.K.’s BT Sport, which the company acquired for $800 million last month.

This M&A progress paved the way for Access Industries to recapitalize the business last December. As part of this recapitalization, Access Industries acquired new DAZN shares while converting existing preference shares and retiring shareholder loans.

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This left DAZN without debt at the end of 2021. Access has additionally subscribed for a further $250 million of new shares post-recapitalization.

“This backing by Access represents a strong vote of confidence in DAZN’s strategy, progress and future growth opportunities,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of the board o DAZN Group, said in a statement. “We are also grateful for the continued support of Dentsu, our second largest shareholder.”

Mayer, who helped launch Disney’s SVOD platform Disney+, joined DAZN after a short stint at Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok. Mayer is attempting to bridge the gap between live sports and streaming video as the transformation of how fans engage with sports evolves.

“We are expecting another exciting year in 2022 as our platform diversifies into the true global destination for sports fans,” Mayer said.

The announcement comes on the heels of significant global momentum at DAZN, including the recent win of domestic LaLiga rights in Spain, being named Apple TV App of the Year for 2021 and reaching a record-breaking number of consumers across the world with its live sports and original programming. As 2022 continues, DAZN expects to move forward with recreational betting, gaming, e-commerce, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and related tech advances in the viewing experience.

Ex-Disney+ Executive Kevin Mayer Named Chairman of DAZN Streaming Platform

Kevin Mayer, the former Disney executive who helped launch Disney+, and then departed to briefly head social media platform TikTok, has been named chairman of DAZN, a boxing-themed SVOD service.

Mayer replaces John Skipper, who will transition to Meadowlark Media, a DAZN subsidiary focused on developing original programming.

“As chairman, I’m looking forward to partnering with the management team and my fellow directors to help DAZN build on its impressive track record of success in developing a truly global sports platform,” Mayer said in a statement. “I’ve been impressed with DAZN’s ambitions and ability to quickly grow from a new entrant to an important player in key markets throughout the world. I look forward to guiding DAZN’s strategic development into its next chapter.”

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Mayer was previously chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at The Walt Disney Company. There, he launched and ran the company’s streaming businesses, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Hotstar, as well as overseeing Disney’s global advertising sales, content sales, channels sales and international operations. Prior to that role, Mayer served as Disney’s chief strategy officer, leading the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 21st Century Fox and BamTech.

Fight-Themed SVOD Platform DAZN Bows Globally

DAZN, the London-based sports streaming platform that last year signed Mexican boxing champion Canelo Álvarez to an 11-fight, $365 million fight deal, has launched SVOD service in 200 countries. The initial monthly price point for new markets will be £1.99 or less.

The platform will debut with back-to-back weekends featuring boxing events with international appeal. On Dec. 5, budding lightweight American star Ryan Garcia takes on the battle-tested Brit and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell. On Dec. 12, unified heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua OBE will defend his world titles against Bulgarian mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

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“From the U.K. to Mexico to Australia, we’ve seen an encouraging level of interest in our key events since first launching in 2016,” EVP Joseph Markowski said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to introducing the platform around the world … with an exciting schedule of fights.”

In addition to world championship boxing events, the service will stream past classic fights, athlete features and a slate of original programming, including “40 Days,” “Saturday Fight Live” and “One Night.” Additional sports and programming will be added beginning in 2021.

The DAZN app is available on most Internet-connected devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and living room devices such as smart TVs, streaming sticks and game consoles.

 

Amazon Prime Video’s NFL Deal Ends; League Coy on Successor

Amazon Prime Video has streamed NFL Thursday Night Football for the past two seasons. Whether that groundbreaking deal is renewed remains up in the air, according to media reports.

Prime Video, unlike Netflix or Hulu, has embraced live sports recently signing exclusive rights to English Premier League soccer. The New York Yankees reportedly are in discussions with Amazon to become the first MLB team to stream games directly to viewers who don’t have a pay-TV subscription.

The NFL is concerned whether Amazon can handle the capacity required to stream games to millions of viewers simultaneously — an interesting concern considering ESPN’s challenges streaming the Clemson, LSU college football national championship game on Jan. 13.

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“What Amazon’s doing over the next few weeks in the U.K. with their Premier League package will be very interesting to watch,” Brian Rolapp, EVP of media with the NFL, told a confab last month, as reported by Sports Business Daily. “They’re getting some pretty high ‘concurrents’ there.”

Rolapp said the NFL doubted any streaming service had the capacity to handle 25 million people simultaneously streaming a single game, much less in high-definition.

“It’s not just technical capacity the league is looking for. Production and promotion are just as important, he said. “In order to hold an NFL package, you’re … going to have to be able to distribute it at a high level of quality — no fan is going to accept less than HD, high-res all the time. You’re going to have to sell it from an advertising standpoint and market it. So we need to see that from any partner, and be satisfied with that before we entrust any game package to them.”

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Regardless, it’s likely money will play as important consideration going forward. Both DAZN and YouTube TV have expressed interest in football, with the latter a sponsor and distributor of Major League Baseball post-season games and World Series.

DAZN, of course, inked an exclusive deal with Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez worth a reported $365 million.

Rolapp told the confab the NFL remains primarily interested in reaching viewers and fans across multiple distribution channels.

“We will not sacrifice reach for something less valuable, including a higher rights fee,” he said. “We will maximize our reach. We think we can get both, but the reach is really important.”

 

Amazon Prime Video Expands Live Sports Programming

Amazon Prime Video, unlike Netflix and Hulu, is not afraid of live sports programming costs. The SVOD service live-streams NFL football and Major League Baseball games (New York Yankees) in the United States.

Now Prime Video has acquired rights to select UEFA Champions League soccer matches in Germany. The Champions League is an annual competition pitting professional clubs across Europe to determine the top team.

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Prime Video, beginning in 2021, will live-stream a selection 0f “first-pick” 16 matches. The Champions League rights are currently held by Comcast’s Sky Deutschland, which reportedly subcontracts streaming rights to DAZN, the boxing-centric platform.

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“We’re excited to bring UEFA Champions League football to our customers in Germany,” Alex Green, managing director, Prime Video Sport Europe, said in a statement. “The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world.”

Sports Streamer DAZN Bows Service in Spain

DAZN, the London-based sports streaming platform that signed Mexican boxing champion Canelo Álvarez to a 11-fight, $365 million fight deal, has launched service in Spain.

The service, which is available in Japan, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the U.S.,is offering access in Spain (€4.99 monthly) featuring sports such as Moto GP, 7 Days Euro Cup, FIBA Basketball World Cup, and soccer leagues/tournaments such as Premier League, J. League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.

Notably, the aforementioned sports are not available to DAZN subscribers in the U.S., where DAZN remains a fight-centric service priced at $9.99 month.

 

Streamer DAZN Inks Mexico Boxer Canelo Álvarez to Record $365 Million Fight Contract

In a move that could elevate OTT video in live sports, DAZN, the nascent London-based fight streaming platform, has signed Mexican boxing champion Canelo Álvarez to a 11-fight, $365 million fight deal – reportedly the richest athlete contract in history.

In addition to the size of the contract, which runs through 2023, the deal transfers boxing’s biggest draw from the lucrative pay-per-view market to a $9.99 monthly streaming service.

Indeed, Álvarez, the current WBA and WBC middleweight champion, most-recently defeated Gennady Golovkin in a rematch that generated more than $94 million in pay-per-view revenue – based on a $84.95 PPV price tag. The fight generated 1.1 million PPV transactions.

“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world,” Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN. “He’s extremely happy.”

The deal comes as HBO recently announced it would cease live boxing broadcasts after 35 years.

Álvarez’ first fight under the DAZN deal is against Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 in Madison Square Garden.