News Canada

DAZN looking to change the way we stream games

Josh Weinstein, 24 Hours

New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady raises his helmet after scoring a touchdown during overtime of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. Simon & Schuster announced Thursday, July 6, 2017, that it will publish the Patriots quarterback’s debut book in September. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady raises his helmet after scoring a touchdown during overtime of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. Simon & Schuster announced Thursday, July 6, 2017, that it will publish the Patriots quarterback’s debut book in September. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Move over, Netflix: Sports streaming service DAZN is looking to revolutionize the way Canadian sports fans watch football as the new premium provider of NFL content. The company, which purchased exclusive rights to NFL Game Pass, NFL Sunday Ticket and NFL RedZone, is set to launch across Canada in early August.

“It’s a really huge opportunity to be able to bring all live games to viewers in one place,” enthuses DAZN’s Managing Director of Strategic Partnership Alex Rice in an interview with 24 Hours from London.

DAZN (pronounced Da-Zone) has already experienced success in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Japan, broadcasting a wide range of sports and leagues, including the NBA, NHL, MLB, soccer and tennis. Rice told CBC News in a separate interview that Canadians will be able to access other sports aside from the NFL, although it’s unclear which until the service officially launches.

The fledgling service provides unprecedented convenience to consumers. “If you happen to join a game (in progress), you’ll be able to go all the way back to the start of the event,” Rice said.

And that’s not even the best part. If you miss a broadcast or want to rewatch an event, DAZN offers shortened, three-to-five minute recaps of the game. You’ll also be able to watch a condensed version of the game, which as Rice says, “is effectively every single play in the NFL game without any delays.” The condensed broadcasts usually last around 45 minutes, far less than the regular length of a televised NFL game.

DAZN costs $20 per month in Canada, or $150 annually, with the first 30 days free.

The streaming service has been labelled by some as the ‘Netflix of sports’ given its unique platform provides consumers the luxury of binge-watching sports games all in one place.

Rice relays, “When we look at consumption behaviour on similar products, OTT (over-the-top content) services, you can see that users are far more demanding and far more likened to binge-watch certain content.”

With NFL rights already secured, DAZN is looking to provide access to popular sports talk shows (for example, you’ll also be able to stream popular sports shows like HBO’s Hard Knocks), while also focusing on producing original content of their own. More announcements pertaining to new types of content will be announced when the service goes live in Canada.

Adds Rice, “You see that from the expansion of Netflix, the expansion of Amazon Prime, that there’s a huge confidence now in the sector that probably wasn’t there five years ago.”

And with major cable providers Rogers and Bell angering sports bars by gauging cable rates recently, Price says that DAZN hasn’t ruled out increasing their presence into those venues.

“I think a key for us will be that we have a really strong residential audience that are using the service, but we’re very much hoping to look at other areas we can certainly drive awareness and drive value for the service. I think bars and other commercial premises provide an opportunity to do more in that space.”

With strong support from rights holders and rapid expansion having already taken place since going live in August of 2016, DAZN’s acquisition of NFL broadcast rights could just be the kickoff of the service’s widespread reach across Canada.