You must get connected if you want to watch an NFL game of your choosing in Canada over the next five years.
Domestic cable and satellite providers will no longer carry the Sunday Ticket service, nor the NFL RedZone channel.
DAZN has bought those rights in Canada for the next five years — and for NFL Game Pass, an on-demand service for various platforms. All will launch in time for NFL pre-season games starting early next month, the company announced Thursday.
DAZN (pronounced “Da Zone,” according to the company) is a live and on-demand sports streaming service, along the lines of Netflix. Based in London, England, DAZN is an arm of Perform, a global sports media group.
DAZN provides sports games and services on web-connected digital devices such as Smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and games consoles.
“Your average fan should think this is like Netflix,” Alex Rice, DAZN’s managing director of strategic partnerships, said Thursday in a phone interview from England. “It will be available on all the major connective devices, including all the major TV manufacturers.
“In very simple terms, all games will still be available on your TV, if you have a connected television … We’re very big on the living room experience.”
Rice confirmed that the usual cable and satellite access options are a thing of the past for NFL fans north of the U.S. border.
“We are not going to distribute these NFL products to other pay platforms in Canada,” he said.
While it is true, as the company’s news release states, that “DAZN will be the only place Canadians can watch every live NFL game this season,” the CTV and TSN family of channels under the Bell Media umbrella will continue to show select NFL games on Sunday afternoons, in doubleheaders — in addition to all marquee Sunday night, all Monday night and (new this year) all Thursday night games throughout the 2017 season. Rogers Media’s Sportsnet channels previously carried Thursday night games.
Canadian subscribers to DAZN will receive access to (1) all NFL games live (via the Sunday Ticket pay package provided previously by cable and satellite companies such as Rogers and Bell), (2) the NFL Game Pass digital service (which includes all games on demand, “all-22” coaches film of all games,plus other NFL Network and NFL Films programming) and (3) the NFL RedZone channel, on which studio hosts jump between games as scoring occurs.
Game Pass alone previously cost at least $300 annually in Canada.
This year DAZN offers two payment options to Canadians: $20 per month with no monthly minimum, or a $150 annual fee. A 30-day free trial is offered to all.
“I can assure you there genuinely is no catch,” Rice said. “It’s all the games live, it’s RedZone, it’s (Game Pass) … and other future sports properties on the service, as well.”
Canadian cable and satellite companies in recent years typically charged more than $30 per month (with a four-month minimum) for their all-game, all-sports packages that included the NFL’s live, all-games package called Sunday Ticket.
For instance, Rogers Media charged cable subscribers in the Toronto area $36 per month last fall for its “Super Sports Pack,” which included Sunday Ticket.
“Hopefully, our introductory offer shows our desire to offer not only great value for the money, but also savings to fans,” Rice said.
Canada is the fifth country for which DAZN has bought all-games NFL rights, after Japan, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
“We have actually acquired Game Pass for next season (2018) in a number of other territories, but we’re going to be live one year in advance in Canada,” Rice said.
DAZN carries numerous all-game sports packages in Europe, and plans to soon add more such exclusive services in Canada. Subscribers in Canada will get those sports at no additional cost, Rice said.
“We run over 40 different sports (in Europe). We’ve just acquired Champions League (soccer) rights for Germany next year … These are wholly exclusive properties.”
Rice stressed that his company’s Canadian NFL rights acquisition is no grand technological experiment for DAZN. The company has been “streaming services for the best part of 10 years” in Europe and beyond, Rice said, thus it is experienced with high-volume spikes that might involve “hundreds of thousands” of simultaneous users.