Premier League Soccer moves to ‘Pay Streaming;’ other Sports Poised to Follow


Starting next season, you’ll need a streaming subscription to watch this. (Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images)


Interesting news for Canadian sports fans: soon, you won’t be able to watch English Premier League games on TV anymore. The Canadian rights for soccer’s most popular domestic league have been bought by DAZN, the unfortunately named U.K.-based streaming service that’s pronounced “Da Zone.” Obviously this is a big deal for soccer aficionados, but it’s also part of a larger trend that could soon touch everyone who cares about sports. So let’s dive into all this, starting small and pulling back to look at the big picture.

What’s the deal with DAZN’s Premier League deal?

What about other sports?

DAZN also has the exclusive Canadian rights to the non-Grand Slam women’s tennis tournaments (we discovered that a couple of weeks ago when no one could watch Bianca Andreescu on TV), plus digital rights for every NFL game and some Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games, and a bunch of other stuff. It also signed boxer Canelo Alvarez to a worldwide deal that pays him $365 million US for 11 fights.

Is this a DAZN commercial?

No, and sorry if it sounded like one for a minute there. Truth is, not everyone is a fan. Streaming has come a long way, but a lot of people still prefer to watch their sports on cable. Sure, today’s smart TVs make it easy to play content from a streaming app on your biggest screen, so it’s not like you have to watch games on your tiny laptop or phone. But you still notice small differences in picture quality compared to cable, and the signal isn’t as reliable, especially if you’re using wifi. On the other hand, you don’t have to buy a cable subscription. So pros and cons.

But most sports are still on traditional TV, right?

Yeah. The NHL, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball all have deals with old-school, over-the-air broadcasters and cable networks. The question is, for how long? DAZN has billed itself as “the Netflix of sports,” and think about how much Netflix changed the TV industry. Everything is on demand now, and competing networks and studios have jumped into streaming services, along with other tech giants. Amazon has one, Apple just introduced one, and Disney is coming out with one soon. In an effort to win subscribers, everyone is producing original content and cranking out new movies/shows at an insane pace. They call it the streaming wars, and it’s why you now have zero chance of keeping up with all these great new shows you keep hearing about.

So could there be streaming wars in sports?

They’ve already started. DAZN continues to grab whatever rights it can, and ESPN is getting more aggressive with its ESPN+ streaming service in the States. It recently cut deals with boxing promotions and the UFC to entice hardcore fans of those to subscribe. That’s decent original content, but everyone’s watching to see what happens next time the broadcast rights expire in the NFL, NBA or Major League Baseball. Those are the most coveted deals in North American sports.

Read more  HERE.


  1. This is the trend TV execs are trying to ignore, and are too late to react to. Apart from subscriptions, the DAZN’s of the world can almost guarantee their assets will appreciate while also accessing the bigger value…back end data. This was all becoming clear 5 years ago, and the big execs laughed saying it would never happen. Cable subscriptions are dropping at an alarming rate.

  2. DAZN is a ripoff and not worth $20/mo or$150 a year. Antics like this will drive people back to illegal streaming. It might be successful with many fanatics but the sports will lose the viewers who tune in on a casual basis which is not good for them in the big picture long term.

  3. DAZN is already a rights holder for NFL Sunday ticket in Canada. However DAZN was forced to share with the cable companies because they couldn’t get their shit together. I dedicated a podcast episode to it called, the DAZN DZaster –

    North America is behind the times with Streaming sports. But it’s coming.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.