DAZN seeks early end to Champions League contract in southeast Asia
By Jonathan Rest
DAZN, the international over-the-top streaming platform, wants to end its Uefa Champions League rights deal in southeast Asia a year early.
DAZN holds rights to European soccer's elite clubs competition and the second-tier Europa League in Japan, as well as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines to 2020-21, but because it only has an operation in the former, it has been forced to sub-license rights to other broadcasters in the region.
Games have been shown on Facebook and YouTube, as well as on Goal.com, the DAZN-owned soccer portal.
DAZN has now informed Uefa and its Team Marketing agency that it wants to exit the loss-making contract before the final season kicks in, Sportcal can confirm.
The move is part of the group's plans to refocus on premium sports properties in its core markets, however it has agreed to continue streaming the closing stages of this year's competitions in the region.
DAZN's business model - monthly subscription fees with no long-term contracts - means it has been most susceptible to the coronavirus pandemic that has decimated the global sports calendar this year.
In May, it was reported that Len Blavatnik, the billionaire owner of DAZN, was seeking funding for the platform through a sale of an equity stake, albeit an outright sale of the business has not been ruled out.
A month later, the group entered into talks with US investment firm TPG about selling Goal.com, which would further reduce its Champions League broadcast options in southeast Asia.
DAZN is no longer streaming Serie A in Brazil since the resumption of the Italian league, but its appetite for top sports content remains unabated.It recently acquired rights in Germany to the Bundesliga from 2021-22 to 2024-25, where it will show 106 games exclusively per season in what the group said was the "largest package of major domestic soccer rights ever awarded to a streaming service in Europe."
The 2019-20 Champions League resumes next month with an innovative Final8, from the quarter-finals onwards, to be played solely in the Portuguese capital Lisbon.