When it comes to offering a streaming service, differentiation is very important these days. Why do you ask? Well, simply because there are so many streaming services out there to choose from – many of which can be quite pricey – especially in the world of live sports broadcasts. Some sports streaming services differentiate themselves by taking the niche route, offering full access to only one league sometimes (for examples of this, you need to look no further than streaming services provided by trusted entities like the NHL, MBA, and NFL).
Other services, however, when it comes to standing out from the pack, choose to make themselves unique by offering as many different sports and games as possible. These, of course, can feel directionless, cumbersome, and hard to navigate. Although they often tend to provide the best bang for your buck, as you get the most diverse kind of content. When it comes to choosing the right sports streaming package for you, the most important thing to ask yourself is, ‘what sport or sports do I care about most and watch the most frequently?’
If your answer to that is, say, Football, the niche aspect of the NFL’s streaming service will probably be immediately appealing to you. However, if you find that you tend to just be a sports fanatic in general, with no singular sport held in higher regard than another, you will probably want to look at a more generalized service.
Then there are also sports streaming services that exist somewhere in between the most specific and the most general – services that cater to a specific type of sport, not necessarily a single league or division of it. If your biggest concern is being able to watch the latest fight, be it in the vein of boxing or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), perhaps your best bet will be a streaming service that calls itself DZN (apparently meant to be pronounced Da Zone).
As far as over the top sports streaming sites and apps are concerned, this is one of the best, especially if you find that you spend a lot of money on Pay Per View broadcasts of the big fights. With a subscription to DZN, you can kiss those individual PPV price tags goodbye forever; and, with its monthly or yearly single cost, DZN (although relatively expensive to other sports streamers) could actually save you some hassle and some money.
Before it ever launched, Perform Group announced its big-time acquisition of exclusive global broadcasting rights to the Japanese football league, J. League. The contract ended up costing Perform the Yen equivalent of $2 billion and would give Perform exclusive rights for up to 10 years. Under this contract, DAZN (a subsidiary of Perform) would begin broadcasting all matches from all 3 divisions of J. League starting in 2017. This deal is often cited as the largest Japanese broadcast rights deal in history.
Thus, DAZN first launched in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland on August 10th of 2016. The Japanese launch, too, trailed closely behind, occurring on August 26th of the same year. From there, DAZN continued to grow and expand. In July of 2017, DAZN began broadcasting NFL games in Canada, and in May of 2018, it launched in the United States upon hiring former ESPN president John Skipper as its executive chairman. The mission of DAZN in the US was to compete directly with traditional US cable companies when it came to sports broadcasts.
From there, DAZN struck a long list of deals with various sports leagues in the US and around the world. They have committed heavily to catering to combat sports, acquiring rights to many boxing and MMA companies, but they have also set their sights on Major League Baseball and further expansion of their NFL Red Zone rights so as to off-balance their combat sports offerings with more mainstream, family-friendly competitions as well.
DAZN has a pretty simple and logical layout for it. It is extremely user-friendly, in my opinion, and it won’t take much of any time at all to figure out how to navigate the service no matter what device you are using it on. DAZN’s design should look familiar to anyone who has used a movie and TV streaming service in the past – you can browse exclusive commentary-based content and archived matches by scrolling through the portal page, or you can make use of the service’s stripped-down and convenient menu bar (located at the top).
From here, you will find 3 simple options. Choose from Home, Schedule, or Sports. The latter option comes with a handy dropdown menu, allowing you to select and deselect whatever sports you are or are not interested in from the list. This will refresh the content you are to see based on your preferences. Therefore, once you choose your own customized list of sports, when you click on, say, “Schedule,” the upcoming games and matches that you are shown will reflect that decision.
The apps and the site are very cleanly designed. A simple and classic black background gives way to white text. And the layout lends itself well to cater to your viewing habits. The home page, for instance, offers up a few key sections: Don’t Miss, Classic Fights, DAZN Presents, and Keep Watching. Overall, DAZN offers all of the design features you want from a streaming service.
A majority of the people who subscribe to DAZN do so for its MMA content. This has truly become the bread and butter of this service, seeing as you can watch any live otherwise PPV fight, as well as browse a robust catalog of archived MMA fights any time you like.
That being said, DAZN also features some original programming. For instance, in its daily MLB show, Change-Up jumps back and forth between live games, offering commentary and analyses in real-time. MLB fans will also find game highlights that are published every couple of days. Aside from that, most of what you find will be MMA and boxing-related, save for a motley assortment of seemingly randomly broadcast events from more obscure sports around the world like cricket, fishing, darts, gymnastics, and, as already established, Japanese soccer. That being said, sports fans outside of the US will also be able to enjoy live games from the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL (due to contractual complications in the US, these are not available there).
Desktop and Mobile Experience
DAZN appears to work relatively flawlessly, no matter what device you use or what streaming quality you select (you can stream content in up to 4k). Of course, speed depends almost entirely on your internet connection. But granted you have solid wifi, you won’t have to worry about anything going wrong on DAZN’s end. The service, too, is available across almost all devices. Enjoy games and fights on your smart TV, smartphone, tablet, computer, or game console for an equally user-friendly, effective, dependable, and intuitive experience.
Pricing and Plans
This is where I start to take issue with DAZN. It is not cheap. In fact, it is one of the more expensive sports streaming services on the market. DAZN offers two subscription models for you to choose from. Either pay monthly, for $19.99 a month; or pay yearly (and save a little money) for $99 a year. Unfortunately, DAZN does not offer a free trial period (at least not in the US anyway), and that is probably a smart business move, as it keeps users from signing up for the trial whenever there is a specific PPV event that they want to watch for free.
Suggestions that I have for DAZN
I would love to see DAZN expand the breadth of its content in the US. I understand that these contracts and rights acquisitions can be next to impossible to land with companies like the NFL and the NBA, but it would be nice for American viewers to be able to watch more than just MMA, boxing, and MLB highlights. I would also, obviously, like to see the price point go down. At least for the US version, seeing as it offers such an odd slice of sports content.
If you live outside of the US, there is no question about it, DAZN is definitely worth looking into. However, if you are an American, you might want to continue looking – unless, of course, you are an MMA and/or boxing fanatic. In that case, DAZN is right up your alley.