DAZN reveals $1.36bn loss but reports pick-up in subs and engagement as model evolves

January 12 – Sports-streaming giant DAZN has reported an operating loss of $1.36 billion in 2021, taking the company’s total losses over the past three reported financial years to $5 billion.

That loss was mitigated somewhat by a re-capitalisation that wiped out $3.3 billion in loans to parent company Access Industries.

While the red ink looks frightening, DAZN has a number of big wins in its armoury as it cements position in the sports media business.

DAZN was the highest grossing sports app of 2022, and is live in 225 countries and territories. “The global home of boxing, it is also a market-leader in Italy, Japan, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and Spain where it holds top-tier domestic football rights including Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A,” said a DAZN Group 2022 Annual Review that puts into a slightly different light the losses of a service that sees itself as very much evolving.

The DAZN review highlights that the sports platform streamed 1.2 billion hours globally across 130 million connected devices in 2022, a rise from 1 billion hours and over 100 million devices in 2021.

That makes DAZN the largest digital sports broadcaster in Europe, having added over 75 rights to the platform over the past 12 months. DAZN now has now grown to 15 million premium paying subscribers – a significant cash flow resource when it comes to borrowing and servicing debt.

DAZN said that as part of its “growth ambitions and diversification strategy, DAZN is moving beyond its position as the first truly global sports streaming platform to become the daily sports destination for fans everywhere. In the future, DAZN will provide fans with everything they want and need – from the largest library of live and on-demand content to news, analysis, merchandise, ticketing, gaming and betting. This will not only deliver for DAZN customers but create value for rights holders, commercial partners, and the business.”

In 2021, DAZN did move its revenues up, to $1.56 billion, but on the flipside, with the domestic broadcast of the Serie A as well as the Champions League in Germany, operating costs rose to $2.9 billion. They spent $1,92 billion on broadcast rights.

Betting and the evolution of NFTs are targeted to create new revenue streams. DAZN Bet beta has launched in the UK, Spain and Italy. The product aims to “refresh the casual betting market and offer customers a more recreational experience”.

The platform is also banking on the women’s game to grow, making the broadcast of the Women’s Champions League a top priority.

DAZN has also acquired sports broadcaster Eleven Sports. In Brussels, at a La Liga event, Marc Watson, the CEO of Eleven Sports, reiterated that the reasons for merging with DAZN is to build the ultimate, engaging sports-streaming platform.

Launched in 2016 and owned by British billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, DAZN has invested billions on sports rights with the aim of becoming “an indispensable part of sports fans lives” but even after the sale of Perform subsidiary to Vista Equity Partners for a reported $1 billion in 2019 and the introduction of cost-saving measures to address the financial fallout of the global health crisis, the model of offering exclusive live sports on a market-to-market basis at low prices has been challenging.  

Shay Segev, DAZN’s CEO, focussed on recent past and where the business is heading, saying: “The past twelve months have been a highly significant period for DAZN as we look to become the ultimate daily destination for sports fans. We have experienced healthy growth across our markets, added a significant volume of global and domestic rights to the platform, and substantially increased our revenues by adjusting our core offerings and exploring new revenue streams. Looking forward, we have a clear plan in place to deliver the next phase of DAZN’s progress. Our focus will be on making the product more accessible, removing further friction and improving customer engagement. We are excited for what the future holds.”

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