If the pandemic has proven anything to the owners of football clubs, it is that the sport can exist without supporters in the stands at the grounds.
The money people spend on tickets, merchandise, food and drink during their day out will always be welcome revenue, of course, but fans have been forced to follow their teams via television in the last year and the football world has continued to turn.
It will be broadcast revenues which lie at the heart of the European Super League, the newly proposed competition which will see a largely closed shop of clubs competing against each other year after year.
By forming a new competition away from the Champions League, the clubs in question – which include all of England’s ‘big six’ teams – can keep all of the television monies for themselves, rather than having to split the pot with others.
It has been reported that the founding clubs will receive around $400million each simply for signing up. As reprehensible as the concept is to supporters, it’s not surprising that team owners are in favour of the proposal.
DAZN may not be too familiar to football fans in the UK, but they might be soon. Stories emanating from Italy have claimed that they will be the broadcaster for the new Super League when it gets underway.
For their part, DAZN have denied the rumours in a statement they released to Reuters:
“In relation to a report by Corriere dello Sport today, this and related reports are false. Neither DAZN nor Mr Blavatnik [their founder] are in any way involved or interested in entering into discussions regarding the establishment of a Super League and no conversations have taken place.”
Nonetheless, DAZN have become a powerful player in sport in recent years, so it would not be a surprise if they were to get involved in broadcasting football in the UK at some point.
They were founded in London in 2015, were estimated to be worth £3billion just three years later and have their fingers in numerous pies.
DAZN cover competitions in 31 different sports, and broadcast them to countries including Italy, Japan, Spain and the USA (but not yet the UK).
With one eye on the potential Super League, it’s interesting to look at their existing football coverage. They broadcast the Champions League to Austria, Canada and Germany so are well versed in televising top level European competition.
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The Canadians also receive DAZN’s coverage of the Premier League, and they rely on plenty of familiar faces when it comes to their choice of pundits.
For instance, the goalless draw at Anfield between Liverpool and Manchester United in January was commented upon by Steve McManaman, Michael Owen and Paul Scholes. Close your eyes and you could easily be listening to the post-match chat on BT Sport or Sky Sports.
They might not be covering football in the UK just yet, but they could start doing so tomorrow and you’d be none the wiser once you had tuned in.
It will be very interesting to see if their denials regarding the Super League play out in the long term, particularly if the new competition comes into being.
Somebody will need to broadcast it, and DAZN appear to be more than capable of doing so.