I was going to talk about this last week, but since DAZN aired the Canelo Alvarez fight last night (in which he beat up on Rocky Fielding at MSG), I think it’s still timely to talk about the inroads this European company has made into Canada lately, with all the sports rights they are picking up.
Of course, the story with Canelo is that he has this 11-fight deal with DAZN, so every one of his fight cards is going to be streamed live. In fact, a lot of people are pointing to this deal, and the inroads DAZN has made in boxing in general, as a factor in the recent decision by HBO to get out of the boxing business. I notice DAZN also has the streaming rights to Bellator now, too, so they showed all their fights from Hawaii this weekend.
All I have to say is that these Canadian cable companies had better watch it, because DAZN is scooping up a lot of rights to a lot of sports that people used to pay their cable companies to watch. This year, they stole the rights to Champions League from TSN, and a week ago came the shocking news that DAZN has now stolen away the Barclay’s Premier League rights in Canada from both Sportsnet and TSN.
Honestly, I can’t believe this news. From my vantage point it sure seems like the major Canadian networks have given up on soccer coverage in this country, with the exception of World Cup and MLS games. This basically means that if you are a soccer fan in this country of any of these top flight European leagues, you have no choice but to subscribe to DAZN from now on. Otherwise, you’re going to have to become a big MLS fan whether you like that league or not,.
Of course, a year ago DAZN landed NFL Sunday Ticket, which landed with a thud initially among the fans due to technical issues but seems to be working better now for people. Still, the cable TV companies need to be concerned. If DAZN keeps on scooping up sports rights, this is not going to encourage people to keep cable TV. The very things you used to buy cable TV for — the fights, international soccer, and NFL games — are now things you have to turn to DAZN to get. Is it any wonder why people are cutting the cord?
Meanwhile, it seems like these cable channels in Canada are focusing more on the Canadian sports. Sportsnet is suffocating under the weight of its expensive billion-dollar NHL contract, while TSN seems to be betting its hat entirely on the “big three”: the World Juniors, Curling, and football with three downs (the CFL).
Living in Canada, it can get pretty frustrating if you are in the mood to watch something other than hockey games or Raptors games on weeknights. There’s just not enough variety, and with all the channels Sportsnet and TSN offer you would think there would be. Anyway, that is my rant about that.