EXCLUSIVE: Sports streamer DAZN is moving into the next phase of its restructuring, as it continues to scale back its London office and shift focus to bases in Europe and India.
At the same time, Deadline can reveal DAZN Executive Vice Chairman John Gleasure is stepping down from his post and moving into a non-exec role, though his decision is understood to be separate to the other changes in the UK.
It’s understood staff numbering in the double figures are either being made redundant or have been reallocated new roles in the streamer’s Hammersmith HQ, with those working in engineering and data analysis the most impacted. The total number isn’t yet known as consultations are ongoing.
Warner Bros. Discovery & BT Sport Close Joint Venture Transaction
Deadline revealed in May that 50 staff were being made redundant in the London DAZN headquarters office – around 5% of its UK workforce at the time. At the same time, around 50 staff were hired in Spain.
However, DAZN expects to double the size of its engineering team over next 12 months and is recruiting for staff in its Hyderabad, Poland and Netherlands offices. The Indian base is considered internally as leading the way on a new ‘factory’ model that is aimed at speeding up internal processes and the time it takes for DAZN products to reach local markets.
That was part of a wider plan to decentralize DAZN and rebalance internal skillsets. These latest new changes are part of the same strategy, which gives more autonomy to local management. Despite the redundancies, DAZN is still likely to have made a net gain on staff by year-end.
This all comes in the context of a period of change in the European sports streaming market. DAZN had been close to acquiring BT Sport in the UK, but this didn’t materialize and in September, BT Sport launched a 50-50 joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery. Soon after that DAZN moved to acquire rival sports streamer Eleven Group and digital sports media firm Team Whistle, and is pushing aggressively into betting, e-commerce and newer areas such as NFTs, and has added functionality such as watch parties, social content and interactivity to its service over recent months. Deadline understands it is also planning to introduce a free tier platform next year.
A source described DAZN’s CEO Shay Segev’s plans as “ambitious and aggressive,” adding: “This requires a huge amount of development work, so they are recruiting in all of the different engineering hubs.”
Segev became sole CEO in January with co-founder James Rushton moving into a role focused on international markets, rights and content.
Former Sky exec Gleasure, meanwhile, is stepping back from his day-to-day role and will take on a reduced non-exec post. He’s been with DAZN since its inception in 2016. He’d previously been with digital sports streamer Perform Group and initially joined as Chief Commercial Officer being upped to Executive Vice Chairman in 2020.
DAZN still counts former Disney chief and Candle Media co-founder Kevin Mayer as Chairman.
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