Report: DAZN seeking to replicate Sky Bet success in UK market

A few months after announcing the planned launch of its sports betting venture in the UK market, DAZN believes it is poised to capitalise on shifts in bettor habits. 

A report this morning from the Financial Times (FT) quoted DAZN group CEO Shay Segev as stating the firm’s betting offering will cater to changing consumer trends among UK bettors, whilst seeking to follow Sky Bet’s successful model.

Specifically, the CEO stated that DAZN’s plans fall in line with a shifting paradigm that has seen UK punters rescue their stakes and focus more on an entertaining sports wagering experience as opposed to high-stakes casino.

“You can see where the market is going: lower stake, recreational, mass market, more fun, more entertainment. This is exactly what I hope DAZN will do,” Segev, a former Chief Executive of Entain, explained.

DAZNs ambitions to enter the sports betting arena at some point were not kept a secret, with the company’s high-profile recruitment strategy beginning with the hiring of  Ian Turnbull – a former Microgaming Director and GVC Holdings/Entain executive – as EVP Betting Product. 

The company – widely known for its provision of OTT sports streaming services, particularly boxing in the UK – announced the future launch of its DAZN Bet product in April, planning to go live in time for the 2022/23 football season. 

In support of this, the group has partnered with igaming solutions supplier Pragmatic Play, itself a relative newcomer to sports betting, to construct its sportsbook platform. 

A Malta-based enterprise, Pragmatic has so far focused on providing solutions in the slots and live casino gaming sectors, making its transition into betting this year. 

Additionally, following the recruitment of Turnbull, DAZN has hired a number of experienced industry executives, including a former co-worker of the EVP in Sandeep Tiku (Chief Technology Officer).

The recruitment drive has seen the addition of Mark Kemp (CEO), Gemma Burge (Head of Safer Gambling), Shane McLaughlin (Managing Director UK&I) and Simon Gatenby (CMO) to the DAZN Bet executive management team. 

Although the firm maintains confidence in its UK betting objectives, FT did identify some detractors to DAZN’s optimism – François Godard from media analysis group Enders Analysis.

“Betting has far less barriers to entry than sports video,” he informed the outlet. “Once you have the broadcast rights, nobody can launch against you. In betting, it’s much more fluid, it’s much more competitive and almost anybody can create something.”

In other developments, the FT’s report also reflected on the recent blow dealt to DAZN’s sports streaming expansion plans, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week gave the go-ahead to Warner Bros. Discovery and BT Group’s merger.

The 50:50 partnership will see BT Group’s BT Sport eventually merged with Warner Bros. Discovery’s Eurosport UK, to create a combined UK and Ireland-facing sports media group holding the rights to a huge range of tournaments.

DAZN had previously expressed interest in acquiring BT Sport, which broadcasts the Premier League and UEFA Champions League and more, for $850 million (£600m).

Moving forward, the FT has speculated that DAZN may be preparing for a sale, possibly to one of its tech rivals. Although Chair Kevin Mayer stated that this was ‘not the goal’, he could not rule it out. 

“I’m not saying it won’t happen or it couldn’t happen,” he said. “Our goal is to make a great business, which can be a public company in its own right.”

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