Streaming video service DAZN is set to launch in Canada and will offer subscribers the ability to watch every NFL game this coming season without the need of a television subscription.
DAZN — pronounced Da Zone — announced Thursday it has secured exclusive digital broadcasting rights to all National Football League games starting this season, with no blackouts even if games are offered on cable TV services.
That differs from many of the streaming services already offered by major professional leagues in North America, where games are blacked out in areas where a broadcaster has also secured the TV rights.
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Live sports are a major cash cow for broadcasters and one of their best weapons against the small but growing trend of cord cutting. Recent data indicates more than 220,000 Canadians stopped subscribing to a television service last year, although the industry still boasts more than 11 million customers.
DAZN is currently available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, making the Canadian expansion the company's first foray into North America.
"The whole company is extremely excited about our first venture into North America," CEO James Rushton said in a release. "We know that for Canadians sport is a way of life, they are crazy about it and have had to put up with a costly experience for some time. DAZN is designed to put fans first, so we're confident fans in Canada will enjoy our product and proposition."
Canadian customers can also expect "access to other sports from top leagues and competitions around the world," but the company didn't elaborate on what specific content will be available besides NFL games.
In an interview with CBC News, DAZN managing director Alex Rice says the service will offer Canadians more the NFL package when it launches later this month. But he declined to say what, specifically, those offerings would be.
"You need great content and the NFL was a great place to start but there will be more," he said.
The service offers live sports, but also the ability to watch replays at your leisure, and condensed games in some cases.
In the other countries where it operates, DAZN offers high-level soccer from various leagues along with some NBA, tennis, motorsports, boxing, rugby and even NHL hockey games.
The German package, for example, includes English Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A and France's Ligue 1 soccer plus a Bundesliga highlights package. It also includes NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball as well as cricket, rugby and tennis among others.
Canada's offerings are unlikely to be quite so lavish, given Rogers's iron grip on NHL rights through 2026. Rice said the London-based company targeted Canada for its first North American foray because it has the right mix of sports fandom coupled with broadband and wireless internet connectivity. "We look at Canada as potentially unlocking a whole other market," Rice said.
In Canada, subscriptions will sell for $20 a month or $150 for a year after a 30-day free trial. The service will work on most internet connected devices, including smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles. Up to two devices can be connected on one account at a time.