New Spanish arrival DAZN looks to make a mark in tennis with WTA rights
DAZN, the international over-the-top sports service, has acquired further prominent content for its new Spanish platform in the shape of top WTA women’s tennis events in 2019.
The one-year deal has come into effect for this week’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, USA, a top-tier ‘Premier Mandatory’ tournament, and also includes the equivalent events in Miami and Beijing, plus the WTA Finals in Shenzhen at the end of the season.
However, it does not feature the Madrid Open, the clay court tournament which takes place at the Caja Mágica in the Spanish capital in the first half of May.
The content complements the top soccer, basketball and motorsports action that was confirmed when DAZN launched in Spain last week.
The package of WTA rights was previously held by TVE, the Spanish public-service broadcaster, which showed the matches on its sports channel Teledeporte.
The deal will not have come as a huge surprise given that the international rights to WTA events are distributed by WTA Media, a joint venture between the WTA and DAZN Group.
However, DAZN has work to do to establish itself as a go-to destination for tennis in Spain given that rights to the men’s ATP Tour are held by Movistar Plus, the Spanish pay-television operator owned by telecoms giant Telefónica, in a multi-year renewal that came into effect this year, and which includes the Madrid Open and Barcelona Open.
Movistar also holds exclusive rights to Wimbledon, the UK’s grand slam tournament, while Eurosport, the pan-European sports broadcaster, provides coverage in Spain of the Australian Open, French Open and US Open on channels available across various TV platforms in Spain.
DAZN has launched in Spain with an initial price point of just €4.99 ($5.61), half the price of the services in Germany and Italy, as it looks to compete in a sports media market increasingly dominated by Movistar.
The new service is free for the first month, and, as in other markets, there is no long-term contract.
DAZN will be hoping for a surge in subscriptions ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar and the third round of the World Rally Championship in Mexico, two series with large followings in Spain for which it has acquired rights.
A further upturn is expected later in 2019 when multi-year deals for English soccer’s Premier League and European basketball’s EuroLeague and EuroCup kick in.
In soccer, DAZN already has rights to England’s FA Cup, League Cup and lower-tier English Football League, Italy’s Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italia and Japan’s J. League.
It is also showing boxing fights promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing, mixed martial arts’ UFC and Bellator arts series, plus darts events organised by the Professional Darts Corporation.
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.
On top of the Spanish arrival, it is set to launch in Brazil, its first move into Latin America, shortly, with rights to soccer’s Copa Sudamericana, South America's second-tier clubs competition, Ligue 1, Serie A and the FA Cup.
DAZN has set a target to be in 20 countries in 2020.
Last September, Perform was rebranded as DAZN Group, which houses two distinct brands: the consumer-facing DAZN; and the business-to-business focused Perform Content.