Monday, May 16

The money behind DAZN: an investment fund and advanced statistics to raise the “Netflix of sports”


Few companies have such sudden landings in the audiovisual market as the one that DAZN has had. While the broadcasting of sporting events seemed reserved for the big operators or video-on-demand services that jumped on this bandwagon, like prime video, a newcomer like DAZN started offering national and international tournaments, something that requires an outlay in the form of very high emission rights.

As if that were not enough, it has just announced DAZN Studios, a new division dedicated to the creation of original content around the world of sports, starting with documentaries projected on icons such as Ronaldo Nazario and Maradona, among others. At this point, the usual question arises:Where did this company come from and the resources that are needed for this deployment?

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Sports statistics and bets in real time

Leonard Blavatnik With The Flag Of Israel February 2018 4568 Cropped

The history of DAZN is complex and goes back a long way. Today the company behind the brand is DAZN Group, but previously it was called Perform Group, a British company that emerged in 2007 from the merger of Premium TV and Inform Group, a sports digital media group and a distributor. It was Inform Group who bought Premium TV for £25m. Behind Inform was Access Industries, the investment arm of Len Blavatnik, a Briton of Ukrainian origin, who grew up in Moscow and passed through New York, who shortly after would also buy Warner Music Group. Blavatnik is the key person in the history of DAZN.

With Perform Group as a result of the purchase, the company continued its activity, buying several sports broadcasting and media companies from various regions during the following years, such as Football zone The Mackolik among others, but highlighting two above all others. On the one hand, Goal.com, sports medium focused on soccer. On the other hand, choose, the largest historical and real-time football statistics database. LaLiga became an alliance with Perform Group in 2017 to create its Official Data Center, a database that was the seed of the popular Mediacoach. In the world of soccer, Opt is proverbial.

Following that checkbook-based growth, 2018 was a turning point. There Perform Group changed its name to DAZN Group Y it was divided into two: on the one hand, DAZN, the sports broadcasting platform that had been running since 2016; on the other hand, Perform Content, another platform aimed at football clubs and the media for the sale of sports statistics, information, videos produced, etc. By then, Blavatnik had already more than 500 million pounds invested in developing its “Netflix of sport”, common way of referring to DAZN.

Opta entered this second division, but also Watch & Bet, a platform specialized in providing information for sports betting, or RunningBall, other prior acquisition oriented to betting in real time. Some tools of the second helped the first. For example, Opta sent statistical information to DAZN commenters in real time.

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all to black

The next turning point occurred in 2019, when DAZN Group sold the entire Perform Content division to the Stats company, the current owner of Opta. From then on, DAZN’s activity focused on sports broadcasts and the content associated with them.. That same year he made his landing in Spain.

In May 2020, a hard time of the pandemic with sports competitions stopped, DAZN had to look for financing options for ensure the sustainability of the company in difficult times. Shortly after, in October, he sold several of its assets to IMC, such as Goal.com. In December completed another sale, that of Sporting News —one of the oldest sports media in the United States— to PAX Holdings. Something that gave him financial oxygen during the pre-vaccine phase of the pandemic.

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In recent times, with the return of sports competitions, DAZN has bought again: at the end of 2021 was made with Texel, a streaming company specializing in interactive content whose 50 employees joined its technology and production teams.

Blavatnik, the man behind DAZN, began to raise his fortune with the fall of the Soviet Union, apart from Warner, he has other investments in the audiovisual industry like deezer, rival of Spotify who completely controls; the film producer AI Movies The Amedia, one of the largest television producers in Russia, as well as other sectors, such as chemicals, biotechnology or real estate. He also had business in oil or aluminum companies. An empire that according to Forbes, has raised his wealth to 36.7 billion dollars.

That amount could be higher of having prospered in 2017 the purchase of Imagina, the holding audiovisual owner of the rights to Spanish football, along with his friend Mikhail Fridman, who later ended up buying Dia supermarkets. If DAZN is successful in the coming years when it consolidates its bet (and half of LaLiga has already been secured for the next five years), perhaps Blavatnik can raise that figure a little more.



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