Billionaire's 'Netflix Of Sports' Reportedly Targeting Canadian Expansion
Billionaire Len Blavatnik’s "year-old quest to build the Netflix of sports" will reportedly "take its first step into North America with the introduction of his DAZN streaming platform in Canada," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Sources said that DAZN, backed by Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings, "may announce the Canadian expansion this month." The London-based company has been "competing with established broadcasters to buy premium sports rights" in countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it has operated since Aug. '16. In Japan, it paid 210B yen ($1.9B) for a 10-year deal to show the J.League. DAZN did not confirm or deny its Canadian plans. The company said in an email, "It's no secret that DAZN has big ambitions for global expansion. We'll have more details to announce in the coming weeks, so stay tuned." DAZN’s arrival "could create pressure on BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., which own wireless and cable networks, TV stations and the country’s major sports teams," including Toronto’s NHL, NBA and MLB teams. Both companies "offer sports content online but generally require customers to have a cable subscription to access it" (BLOOMBERG, 7/14).