DAZN eyes betting expansion with Eleven deal

| By Robert Fletcher
Worldwide sports platform DAZN Group has entered an agreement to acquire the global sports media businesses of Eleven Group to support its betting expansion plans.
Entain to provide support for non-league football clubs

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but DAZN said the purchase would expand its live sports streaming capabilities in markets around the world and add approximately $300.0m (£281.5m/$314.1m) in revenue per year to its business.

DAZN said that should the acquisition go ahead, the addition of Eleven to its business would support its wider plans to grow its betting operations.

In recent months, DAZN has made a series of announcements supporting its betting business. Last month, the company soft launched the beta product of the DAZN Bet sports betting venture in the UK.

First revealed in April, DAZN Bet is powered by technology from Pragmatic Play, and is being led by Mark Kemp, formerly chief executive of BoyleSports.

The move into the world of betting came after DAZN last year hired Shay Segev – formerly chief executive of Entain – as its new CEO. In addition to Segev, DAZN also hired a number of other Entain executives including Ian Turnbull to the newly created role of executive vice-president for betting and gaming, and Sandeep Tiku as chief technology officer.

“The acquisition adds scale to our business; it is a big step forward in our mission to be the leading global sports platform,” Segev said. “DAZN has invested in building a revolutionary digital sports platform, where fans can enjoy the full range of interactive sport entertainment. We are looking forward to expanding these capabilities to new markets as well as leveraging Eleven’s capabilities in DAZN.” 

Established in 2015, Eleven broadcasts live content from a range of major sporting events, as well as coverage of local sport and original programming. Over the past year, Eleven showed more than 65,000 hours of live content.

Integrating Eleven would allow DAZN to enter into new territories, including becoming the broadcaster of top football leagues in Portugal and Belgium. Eleven also has a presence in Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets.

This geographical expansion, DAZN said, would allow it to access new audiences as it builds out its global platform to offer a library of live and on-demand content, analysis, highlights, merchandise, ticketing, gaming and betting. 

The acquisition would also include Team Whistle, Eleven’s media business, which DAZN said would help it reach younger audiences, diversify and expand fan engagement capabilities and maximise the value of DAZN’s rights portfolio

DAZN would also integrate Elevensports.com and the 40,000 games it streams each year. Eleven distributes live games from over 90 Fifa member associations while it also has the world’s biggest portfolio of women’s football content.

Eleven CEO Marc Watson added: “We see DAZN as the future of digital sports broadcasting and the ideal home for ELEVEN. Sport is global entertainment and joining with DAZN will be transformative, allowing us to access greater economies of scale and a global platform for our talented team.”

As the deal remains subject to anti-trust review, the completion date remains unknown.

Should the deal proceed as expected, Andrea Radrizzani, Eleven founder and owner of English Premier League football club Leeds United, will join DAZN’s board as an executive director and support DAZN’s business development.

“We have developed a successful sports media company in the last six years with Eleven and we’re delighted that this journey continues,” Radrizzani said. “The merger will provide greater opportunities as a group to continue to build a global destination for sports fans, which was our mission from day one.”

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