Billionaire Blavatnik’s DAZN Plans French Football Rights Bid

DAZN, backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, plans to bid for French football rights for the first time

(Bloomberg) — DAZN Group Ltd., the sports streaming service backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, plans to bid for French football rights for the first time, in an auction in which the local league is seeking at least €800 million ($858 million) a year.

The company, which already owns domestic rights to Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga, may also bid for the UK’s Premier League when the rights come up later this year, a DAZN spokesperson told Bloomberg. 

Streaming platforms have become a bigger player in sports rights revenue and are forecast to expand their share of spending in the sector globally to 21% this year from 13% in 2022, according to Ampere Analysis. In France, DAZN introduced a streaming service this summer through a partnership with Vivendi SE’s Canal+. 

Other potential bidders for the Ligue de Football Professionnel rights may include Inc., which currently streams seven of ten weekly matches, and Canal+, a longtime LFP partner and current Ligue 1 co-broadcaster. Amazon and Canal+ declined to comment on if they will participate in the auction.

Qatar-controlled beIN Media Group is considering a bid, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public. 

A spokesperson for beIN declined to comment. 

LFP will next month auction broadcast rights for 2024 to 2029 in two blocks of premium matches that together it has set a starting price of €800 million annually for, according to a league presentation. Chief Executive Officer Vincent Labrune told l’Equipe newspaper in June he hopes the rights will sell for €1 billion a year. 

In 2021, LFP awarded more than 300 Ligue 1 games to Amazon and 76 to Canal+ after the previous rights holder, Spain’s Mediapro, ended its contract early.

The current deal is worth €662 million a year for the domestic rights, according to Francois Godard, a media analyst at Enders Analysis.

“I see no reason why the total league intake for domestic rights would rise,” he said.

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