Upstart sports streaming service DAZN sustained an operating loss of $1.36 billion for 2021 and an overall loss of $2.3 billion, according to a report published by Bloomberg on Wednesday.
DAZN CEO Shay Segev told Bloomberg the chief reason was due to its $1.9 billion commitment to acquire Italian and German soccer rights around Bundesliga and Serie A.
Bloomberg indicated that the figures they reported were accounts shared with the media company by DAZN.
DAZN generated $1.56 billion in revenue in 2021, and in 2022, revenue reached $2.3 billion, DAZN said.
DAZN is backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik and is one of the top players in boxing providing the sport a platform to present its live events. DAZN’s flagship content in the United States is primarily centered around boxing.
Boxing promoters Golden Boy and Matchroom have exclusive deals with the streaming service.
Matchroom signed an eight-year, $1 billion deal with DAZN in May 2018.
In October 2018, DAZN signed Canelo Alvarez to a 10-fight, $350 million deal, but after three fights into his contract in 2020, Alvarez became a free agent when he was released from his Golden Boy and DAZN contracts.
Alvarez has since still fought five out of his last six fights on DAZN, totalling eight overall.
Alvarez’s last two fights against Dmitry Bivol in May and Gennadiy Golovkin in September took place on DAZN pay-per-view, a new venture for DAZN that was designed to cover costs associated around licensing boxing events with the goal to generate more revenue in addition to their monthly subscription model.
The move came after DAZN had declared in advertising campaigns that the PPV model would no longer be relevant in boxing.
In March, DAZN's North America CEO Joe Markowski shared the company's renewed position around PPV with BoxingScene.com senior columnist Keith Idec.
“We are learning,” said Markowski. “And it’s why we’re not shirking away, and I’m not personally shirking away from comments we made about pay-per-view four years ago. I’m not gonna try and pretend that was just a marketing campaign, or I was just poking the bear. At the time, we genuinely believed it. We’re humble enough and honest enough to admit that we maybe, in hindsight, got that wrong. But ultimately, do we still maintain the commitment to value to our consumers? Absolutely.
“And I’m happy to have a conversation, hand on heart, with anyone in the market about, you know, the value we offer to boxing fans relative to our competitors. We are absolutely best in class at that, and we will continue to be, despite occasionally, sparingly using pay-per-view to commercialize our fights. I’d be insincere if I said, ‘You know, we were only joking about that.’ We weren’t. We believed it at the time.
“In 12 months, let’s look at the pay-per-view year, starting today, and looking back to 12 months of pay-per-view activity. I guarantee you, if you wanna talk about value at the end of that 12 months, see how much value has been served to boxing fans in that 12 months, we’ll be at the top of that tree.”
Segev shared that the company’s plans for an initial public offering are currently on pause due to the difficult global capital markets.
“I really don’t have any preference, I would just think that it actually makes sense for this to become a public company,” Segev said, adding that they would welcome strategic investors. “The Netflix story, the Amazon story — I think DAZN is going there as well.”
DAZN claims it has 15 million paying subscribers globally, per SportsPro Media.
DAZN's losses have totaled over $6 billion since its 2016 launch, according to Front Office Sports.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.