Earlier this year, it was confirmed that BT is seeking to offload its sports channel. With Premier League rights rolled over to existing rightsholders for another three years, DAZN is prime candidate for the takeover.
Despite being based in the UK, DAZN only launched here at the end of last year with a limited sports streaming service. Elsewhere in the world, the proclaimed ‘Netflix of Sports’ has been acquiring a range of sporting rights to compete with traditional broadcasters.
According to The Times, DAZN wants BT Sport to boost its position in the UK market. It also wants BT Sport’s production facilities. But a takeover requires the Premier League’s approval, as broadcasting rights usually include a change of ownership clause. At this week’s RTS Cambridge Conference, chairman Kevin Mayer hinted that BT’s Premier League rights were of interest to DAZN.
DAZN was originally associated with a potential bid for the next round of Premier League rights. However, the Premier League chose to rollover its existing UK broadcast deals for another three years. The rollover covers 2022-2025. Acquiring Premier League rights is seen as an essential part of becoming a major player in the UK. Locked out of the Premier League until at least 2025, acquiring BT Sport may be only way in for DAZN.
Various other broadcasters are rumoured to have expressed an interest in BT Sport, but no other serious contender has emerged so far.
BT wants to focus its business on fibre broadband rollout, moving away from running TV channels and platforms. BT has recently been associated with a potential takeover by Deutsche Telekom. It has not commented on the media reports beyond confirming it is seeking to offload BT Sport in some form or other.
BT Sport launched in 2013, taking over from ESPN as secondary Premier League rights holder.