DAZN brings in Apple's King to lead next stage of international development
By Simon Ward
DAZN, the expanding international subscription OTT sport service, has strengthened its team with the appointment of Ben King from consumer technology giant Apple.
King is joining DAZN in February as senior vice-president global distribution and business development, based in London, charged with driving the company’s international expansion and reporting to chief business development officer John Gleasure.
This will entail directing growth strategy and developing commercial and distribution partnerships with prominent platforms, telecoms operators, retailers, brands and portals worldwide.
DAZN is already available in seven countries across three continents, and is expanding to Spain and Brazil early this year. It aims to be in 20 markets by 2020.
King has spent 12 years at Apple, playing a key role in the growth of digital entertainment and media services including the iTunes Store, App Store and Apple Music.
He assumed his present position of commercial director for international services in November 2015, and has had responsibility for business insights, business development, strategic partnerships and content licensing outside USA, helping Apple Music to hit 50 million subscribers in three years.
His previous jobs at Apple included regional director for the App Store, Apple Music and iTunes based in the United Arab Emirates, director of marketing for iTunes Europe and UK marketing manager for iTunes.
He joined the technology company in 2006 from UK firm Wireless Information Network, where he had been head of marketing.
Welcoming the new recruit, Gleasure said: “Ben is universally respected across the industry as an innovative and talented operator who delivers results for both partners and his services. His global experience and insight-driven approach will enable DAZN to grow faster and stronger as we extend our business deeper into both existing and new markets. We are delighted to get him onboard.”
King commented: “From the first time I met the DAZN team, I was blown away by the product, the people and the ambition. DAZN has spotted an opportunity to develop a global sport streaming service before anyone else and is executing aggressively to extend its lead. Live sport may be the last holdout of the digital media revolution, but I have no doubt about the benefits of bringing fans closer to their favourite teams and sport stars through a more user-friendly, convenient and affordable service. The potential is staggering, and I could not be more excited about joining DAZN to help realise it.”
DAZN is set to launch in Brazil, its first move into Latin America, in March, armed with rights to soccer’s Copa Sudamericana, South America's second-tier clubs competition, France’s Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A.
It is also poised to enter Spain after landing rights to England’s Premier League, MotoGP and basketball’s EuroLeague.
DAZN was launched by Perform, the international digital sports content and media group, in Japan, Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2016, and expanded to Canada in 2017 and to Italy and USA in the second half of last year. So far it has targeted rights to top soccer leagues and competitions, North America's major leagues, including MLB, NFL and NHL, and boxing.
Last September, Perform was rebranded as DAZN Group, which houses two distinct brands, in the consumer-facing DAZN and the business-to-business focused Perform Content.
Although its roots are in the UK, and King will be based in the country, DAZN has yet to launch a service in that market where there are two strong pay-TV sports broadcasters in Sky and BT Sport.
DAZN has started 2019 by posting a flurry of job advertisements and is looking to appoint a vice-president distribution for the EMEA region, based in its London office.
In its advertisement, the company says that the appointed individual will be a "key influencer" within the global sales and rights partnerships team, working with the commercial strategy function to define and implement a market-by-market sales and distribution strategy for DAZN's broadcast properties.
He or she will report to the vice-president, strategy and broadcast partnerships, and, with a "proven track record in delling sports media rights internationally," serve as DAZN's "expert for all things sales and rights for EMEA."
Further details on the position are available here.