DAZN, a streaming service competing with ESPN+ to build a “Netflix for sports,” has announced aggressive international expansion plans. Ahead of Canelo Álvarez’s next fight on May 2nd, part of an 11-fight deal with the stratospherically popular Mexican boxer, the company says it will launch in more than 200 countries around the world.
DAZN (pronounced “da zone”) is currently available in the US and eight other countries including Japan and Canada, with differing content offerings in each. The current US service is heavy on boxing and MMA, but elsewhere it has a much broader lineup. In Japan, for example, DAZN now carries live streaming rights for the NFL, MLB, the Premier League, and the domestic baseball, basketball, and soccer leagues, all for under $20 a month.
The forthcoming expansion will initially be focused on boxing. “Beginning this spring, most of the world will have access to DAZN and its unmatched schedule of boxing events,” CEO John Skipper says in a statement. “Our roster of championship fighters represents some of the world’s most popular athletes and we’ll be working with them to stage spectacular international events for years to come.”
Skipper, who ran ESPN until 2017, sees DAZN’s international growth as a way to amass rights and subscribers around the world before making a major splash at home. “Our competition so far has been to mostly be where they [ESPN] ain’t,” he tells CNBC, “but it is our intention over time to compete aggressively everywhere.” In particular, Skipper is targeting NFL and NHL streaming rights for the US.