The Covid 19 global pandemic has impacted almost every facet of life. And, as for sports, and specifically boxing, one of the major broadcasters of the sport has been particularly hard hit. And, a report out this weekend says there’s a clear indication that its survival is on life support.
A Saturday article in the Financial Times and their website details that Len Blavatnik, owner of the DAZN streaming service based in London, is not only attempting to secure investment financing to stay in business, but may have to find a buyer soon or could potentially, cease operations:
NEW in @FT: Online sports group DAZN is racing to secure its financial future, with billionaire owner Len Blavatnik exploring options to raise money – from selling an equity stake to entire company – as business hard hit in the pandemic.https://t.co/hb00sPOJrZ
— Murad Ahmed (@muradahmed) May 23, 2020
The Times says that DAZN was previously valued at $3 billion in 2018, but with live sports ceasing over the last three months, including their lucrative deals for European soccer, Major League Baseball in the U.S. and of course, Championship boxing worldwide, is now in real peril.
The subscription based service has yet to publicly acknowledge how many subscribers at $19.99 per month they’ve lost over the last 2+ months, but it is likely massive due to the lack of live sports programming.
Further, an analyst firm the Times talked to said that DAZN has over $3.7 billion in financial commitments to sports leagues and entities.
Their item also goes on to say that Blavatnik is exploring an equity partner, like he found two years ago in Japanese advertising Giant, Dentsu, who put $300 million into the company for 10% ownership. Further, they reported today that, Liberty Global, which is a powerful multi-billion dollar video, broadband and media company in Europe, was approached recently by DAZN.
But, apparently Liberty, for now, is uninterested in purchasing part or even perhaps, all of DAZN.
As we were wrote previously, DAZN acted very quickly to not only furlough or lay off completely a large portion of their workforce when the coronavirus outbreak began, but they also informed sports leagues and entities that they would not be making rights fee payments to them without games and events being held.
For boxing purposes, the streaming service has a deal to stream fights with Golden Boy Promotions, based in California. And, that includes their $330 million 11 fight agreement signed two years ago with the sports biggest draw, Canelo Alvarez
DAZN also has a rights deal with Matchroom Boxing to televise their fights worldwide to DAZN’s markets, but most importantly, to show them exclusively in the United States.
The company had previously announced expansion plans in early March before Covid 19 to grow from their 9 current countries to over 200 worldwide.
However, that is all obviously on hold and may never come to fruition. This is, because of the lack of events/games and the domino effect of no Revenue for DAZN, which is now forcing them to seek financial help.