The two companies are in the first year of a landmark four-season agreement to show every single match from Europe’s premier women’s club soccer competition on DAZN’s sports streaming service, with selected matches available for free on Google’s online video platform.
Rob Pilgrim, YouTube’s head of sport for EMEA, told the SportsPro OTT Summit in London that its UWCL matches had already attracted five million viewers – 85 per cent of which were not previously subscribers to DAZN’s YouTube channel.
“It’s really reaching that new audience we set out to reach in the first place,” he said. “We worked really closely with DAZN [on the proposal] and Uefa really liked the idea. It’s not something we’d ever done before, and it felt like the right thing to do. We think we can give visibility to the competition, and everything else will follow on from that.”
Specifically, it is hoped the broadcast deal will make it easier for viewers to find UWCL matches, increasing interest and audience figures. This growth should increase the value of athlete, team, and tournament sponsorships and increase media revenues over the long term.
Pilgrim added that YouTube’s status as a destination for sports fans, combined with its investments in infrastructure and legacy in promoting new voices and creators, made it an ideal partner for DAZN to amplify the reach of its coverage.
“This is DAZN’s content, their channel, and their data, and they really trust our technology. We’ve invested a lot in our product to make our infrastructure [robust enough] from a streaming point of view so that it won’t break but also in anti-piracy measures.
“We’ve always been a platform that’s helped represent underrepresented voices. That’s been in our DNA for some time. The original mission of YouTube was ‘Broadcast Yourself’.”
However, Pilgrim reiterated that the company wanted to work with broadcasters rather than compete with them, and that it had no interest in purchasing sports rights itself.
“We don’t believe buying sports rights will add much value for us,” he said. “We see value in going with the grain of the industry, not against it. We do review every proposal that comes on our desk, but we have no plans [to invest].”