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Sports media group DAZN eyes NFTs after $4.3bn cash boost


Billionaire businessman Sir Leonard Blavatnik is investing $4.3bn (£3.2bn) into DAZN, with the online sports media company exploring moves into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming and betting.

Blavatnik’s multinational industrial group Access Industries, which is the principal shareholder of DAZN, has confirmed its acquisition of over $4bn worth of new shares in the London-based company.

Prior to the recapitalisation, DAZN was reportedly operating at a loss. The company has said that the new cash influx has cleared DAZN of all debts and that it will help it “maintain its strong commercial momentum”.

DAZN is an online over-the-top (OTT) sports streaming service, which is able to present sporting events without following the traditional broadcasting system.

Although a British company, DAZN primarily provides services from abroad, such as coverage of German football league Bundesliga.

Last year DAZN launched boxing NFTs for the clash between Canelo Alvarez’s and Billy Joe Saunders.

DAZN is the latest sports company to announce projects involving NFTs. The Premier League is reportedly closing in on a deal with NFT platforms for the licensing rights for the footballing top tier’s digital assets.

Last month sports betting and gaming group Entain said it plans to build a £40m innovation hub in London that will build and trial entertainment technologies, including the metaverse and NFTs.

DAZN was also considered for a deal with BT Sports that would have allowed it to broadcast both Premier League and Champions League football online. However, DAZN walked away from the deal, with company chairman Kevin Mayer saying it had “become uneconomical”.

Sports broadcasting has only recently started to embrace online streaming companies’ business, instead favouring traditional media organisations. However, there have been signs that online streaming may become the dominant form of sports broadcasting in future, such as the £90m deal made by tech giants Amazon for the rights to various Premier League matches.

The latest investment into DAZN follows its purchase of the broadcasting rights to Spanish football league LaLiga for a fee of €4.95bn.