DAZN Rejects $609 Million Bid by Sky to Share Soccer TV Rights

DAZN Group Ltd., the online sports broadcaster, rejected a multimillion-euro offer from Comcast Corp.’s Sky service to share TV rights to Italy’s top soccer league Serie A, home to players including Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, people familiar with the matter said.

Sky on Wednesday offered to pay 500 million euros ($609 million) to keep the DAZN app on its set-top box, as well as on the satellite service, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. DAZN, pronounced Da Zone, rejected the idea.

DAZN in March reached an agreement to become the main domestic broadcaster of Serie A for the next three seasons at a cost of 2.5 billion euros. The streaming company backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik plans to offer Serie A matches on its own, the people added, ending Sky’s near two-decade run as exclusive host.

A representative for DAZN declined to comment, while an official for Sky wasn’t available outside business hours.

DAZN’s contract win didn’t come easily. The ability to roll out an exclusive streaming service in Italy, which has patchy internet connectivity, was questioned during the bidding by Sky and some of Serie A’s 20 teams, people familiar with the matter said.

But with 1 billion euros of technological and financial support from phone carrier Telecom Italia SpA, DAZN was able to dislodge Sky, a pioneer of televised soccer.

Securing the Serie A rights is another sign that a more Europe-focused strategy is starting to pay off for DAZN. It’s the second time in a year that the group has scored a win over Sky, following a smaller victory in Germany in June.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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