Upstart Streaming Service DAZN Sets Sights on Soccer in Brazil

(Bloomberg) -- Live-sports streaming service DAZN is adding a key battleground to its global expansion with plans to launch in Brazil, just a couple of weeks after announcing a foray into Spain.

The Brazilian rollout will initially focus on soccer, including coverage of the region’s popular Copa Sudamericana tournament. The service also has rights to the French Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A until 2021.

Ahead of an expected debut next March, DAZN is teaming up with Facebook Inc. and YouTube to show live matches in Brazil from Paris Saint-Germain and Italy’s Juventus, two of the world’s top teams. That coverage starts Dec. 7, and the idea is to whet viewers’ appetite for the new service. DAZN adopted a similar strategy ahead of its rollout in the U.S. earlier this year.

The move is part of a global race by new and old media companies to put live sports on streaming platforms. In the U.K., the Eleven Sports service also has linked up with Facebook to promote its offering. It’s been showing live matches from Serie A and Spain’s La Liga for free on the social-networking site.

DAZN, which has been dubbed the Netflix of sports, has streamed 26,000 events around the world, spending millions in the process. But it’s still too early to tell how successful the U.K. company may be, said Richard Broughton, a media analyst at Ampere Analysis in London.

Long Road

“This is not going to be straightforward,” he said. “DAZN will need a couple of rights cycles before it will look like it has a profitable business.”

In the meantime, Brazil is critical territory for the young company. Soccer is a way of life in the country, said Simon Denyer, DAZN Group’s chief executive officer.

“Launching there with such significant rights is a huge moment for DAZN,” he said. “We’ve expanded our footprint to nine countries on four continents in just over two years, and that is only the beginning.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.