DAZN is closing on a deal to buy BT Sport, as the streaming service has now opened talks with the Premier League to seek its approval, according to The Times.
With a deal in place until 2025, England football’s top-flight league is currently the broadcasters main TV rights partner, and therefore must give consent to the acquisition whilst also gaining permission from UEFA.
However, In aiming to gain the rights to the Premier League, a potential hurdle could be the reaction of television operators such as Sky which rely on such channels to sell its subscriptions.
Moreover, The Times also reported that sources have suggested BT Sport will be one of the ‘main items of discussion’ in an upcoming meeting before announcing Len Blavatnik’s brand’s third-quarter financial results.
It has also been confirmed that the Premier League has already entered into such talks with the company as the deal becomes likely to go ahead.
From 2019 to 2022, the broadcaster paid £385 million for the media rights to 52 Premier League matches per season, which was then extended until 2025 in an agreement between the league and the government in a bid to minimise financial losses following the pandemic.
Furthermore, as BT Sport is also involved in a deal with UEFA -currently worth around £1.2 billion – The Times suggested that it is unknown what the new acquisition would mean to customers but’ it is likely that any existing fixed-term subscription deals could be ended by the consumer without penalties’.
It has also been reported in recent months that BT Sport was in separate talks with Discovery, as the US broadcaster intended to ‘hijack’ DAZN’s plans. Yet, DAZN’s venture continues to progress whilst Discovery suggested the idea of ‘a joint venture’.
Despite this, rumours of DAZN’s M&A ambitions have continued to circulate, with Reuters revealing last month that an acquisition agreement worth around $800 million (£580m) was potentially in the pipeline.
Following efforts by DAZN to target the UK in July after its Matchroom Boxing partnership, if the buy-out is successful, The Times stated that the firm would gain a ready-made production centre in the UK.
The platform also has the rights to Serie A until 2024, but since the agreement began, it has been known that it has had some ‘technical issues’ and was warned that it must improve its services.
Overall, the OTT sports streaming service has established a following 11 million global customers, having expanded its presence across North America (US and Canada), Europe (UK, Italy, DACH and Spain), South America (Brazil) and Asia (Japan).
DAZN’s buyout of BT Sport also allegedly has the support of Access Industries – which acquired the streaming service outright in 2016 – as a potential means of providing its holding with a foothold to list on the London Stock Exchange via a future IPO.