MLB partners with DAZN to create live look-in show for baseball fansSporting News — (Brandon Schlager)
Major League Baseball and DAZN, the fast-growing global live and on-demand sports streaming service, have finalized plans to create a weeknight show for baseball fans to follow game-by-game action in real time beginning in the 2019 season.
The yet-to-be-named program, co-produced by MLB and DAZN, will provide live look-ins, commentary and analysis on MLB games as they unfold around the league. Tempo and convenience will be key selling points, designed to attract an audience of “young multicultural fans, many of whom do not have pay television.”
The three-year deal, approved Thursday by MLB owners, adds baseball to a DAZN platform that’s positioned itself as one of the most comprehensive over-the-top (OTT) services around the world.
And it’s the latest major rights acquisition for the company, led by DAZN Group executive chairman John Skipper, as it works to broaden a multisport offering for United States consumers, which has focused on boxing and mixed-martial arts since its launch in September.
“DAZN’s multisport streaming platform provides Major League Baseball and our Clubs an important opportunity to extend the game’s digital reach,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Our collaborative production will benefit DAZN’s subscribers with new ways to follow the captivating storylines, talented young stars and impactful plays happening around the game every day.”
Additional details about the show, including branding and hiring on-air talent, will be announced later, DAZN said. The program will stream every weeknight. Baseball fans also can get on-demand MLB content plus live weekend wrap shows as part of a $9.99 per month subscription, including access to the platform’s expanding stable of U.S. sports offerings.
“We are thrilled to partner with MLB on this important new initiative, which will be a great complement to and promotion of the outstanding lineup of live games from its national and regional broadcasters,” Skipper said. “We will target young multicultural fans, many of whom do not have pay television. The fast-paced nature of a whip-around show will appeal to this audience and bring in new fans.
“Ultimately, our goal with MLB is to grow both the overall audience for baseball and the burgeoning DAZN business.”
DAZN last month became the new home of Canelo Alvarez and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, who agreed to a five-year exclusive partnership to stream Alvarez’s next 11 fights, beginning Dec. 15 against Rocky Fielding for the WBA super middleweight world title. It also features fights from Matchroom Boxing, the promoter of unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, plus Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series and Combate Americas.
DAZN’s programming is accessible on most connected devices including smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.
The sports streaming service originally launched in 2016 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan before debuting in the U.S. in September 2018. It already carries live MLB games in each of those markets and offers MLB Network on the platform in Canada.
Outside the U.S., DAZN subscribers can watch games and original programming from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, EPL and UEFA Champions League, among others, depending on the locale.
Skipper has said DAZN’s mission is to continue to accumulate rights for U.S. subscribers.
DAZN is part of DAZN Group, parent company of Sporting News.