The chances of Serie A football being streamed on Dazn are increasing. Are we really ready?
The battle for Serie A TV rights in the next three years is getting more and more heated. Dazn has put in over 800 million, surpassing Sky’s offer and putting clubs in a rather complex situation. Many wonder whether it is right to relegate the entire championship to the internet with a country that is not yet ready from an infrastructural and connection point of view.
Will such a high economic offer and the constant assurances of the goodness of the service of the DAZN itself be enough to radically change the way we see football matches? While Sky continues to fight not to lose its dominant position, let’s try to understand how football could change by moving from satellite to the network.
Where are we at?
The current situation of the assignment of rights is rather confused. Sky has immediately put on the plate about 750 million per season, an offer that has been largely surpassed by Dazn, reaching 840. An unprecedented all-in, with the aim of taking home all the matches on the platform, with seven match in exclusive and three to be transmitted also on satellite, in a situation that, in essence, would reverse what has been seen in recent years, with Sky having the exclusive of 7 matches and DAZN that of the remaining three. The offer, for many indispensable, especially in a moment of economic crisis like this, remains very high and impossible for anyone to equalize, yet the clubs seem not to have dissolved their reserves yet.
Serie A is divided: some want to accept DAZN’s money with their eyes closed, others still have doubts. The last Serie A League meeting, which was supposed to formalize the choice, was postponed due to the absence – desired – of numerous teams. In all this Sky has re-proposed its first offer to the League, but guaranteeing the instant payment of 500 million euros, fresh money that teams urgently need. A move that again messed up the cards on the table and raised the ire of DANZ, who considers the offer illegitimate and out of time.
Whatever the final decision, it is clear that the streaming model is starting to impose itself on sport as well: if DAZN were to really take Serie A, there would be an epochal change in the habits of many fans, certifying the definitive overtaking of the network with respect to transmission methods. traditional. With Amazon that from next year will broadcast a Champions League match on Prime Video and Mediaset that will use its Play platform to show the remaining Champions League matches for which it has purchased the rights online, only Serie A is missing to complete the picture of football in streaming.
The last three years, with only three matches exclusively for DANZ, could represent a small taste of what the future holds: football in streaming has never been so close, yet doubts still remain numerous, for the holding of a Italian network that does not give guarantees and for a service, that of DAZN, which on more than one occasion has proved, often for faults not its own, limp and difficult.
The battle between Sky and DAZN is a no holds barred battle: on the one hand the novelty, the one that would guarantee more money and a finally smart and modern way of watching matches, on the other the satellite, which has been offering fans a service for years punctual, concrete and without any technical problems whatsoever. DAZN leverages a streaming model now prevailing in the vision of any type of content: platforms such as Prime Video, Netflix and Disney offer a complete and problem-free service, a service that DAZN also applies to sport and which now also wants to expand to the entire football championship.
The League looks with interest above all at the money placed on the plate during the auction, too “greedy” to be able to give it up. Sky is trying in every way to convince the clubs, thanks to its position and long-standing relationships built during all these years of militancy, for a game that is still open.
Costs for subscribers
The main revolution will naturally be in the ways of use and in the greater freedoms that streaming offers, but there are many reservations about the price. To date DAZN offers its service at a monthly cost of € 9.90, a subscription that includes the three Serie A matches, the MotoGP, the various foreign championships and all the events on which the platform has the exclusive. It is unlikely, despite the proclamations three years ago about the immutability of the offer price, that the cost will remain so low. Too much money was spent to offer everything at such a low and peremptory price, the no of the League that does not want to see its product devalued.
In the idea of the top of football, passing on to the fan the idea that you can see everything for less than ten euros would strongly push down future auctions: hence the only diktat imposed on Dazn: the subscription must be charged at least € 29.90 per month. A price more or less in line with what has been seen in recent years but with less quality and much less guarantees. Football, for all insiders, must remain a “luxury” and “exclusive” good, which must be paid a lot and which cannot adapt to the prices and methods of the network. A risky and questionable choice, for numerous reasons.
An unprepared network
The Italian network is not ready for a massive entry of matches into the world of streaming. If traditional TV, at a significant cost, was able to guarantee high quality of service and various methods of use on different platforms, DAZN will offer the service only on its app, and this will never be the same for everyone, but subject to numerous variables and a much more backward and much more crowded basic infrastructure. We all remember how the service presented itself years ago, with games impossible to watch for many, with continuous blocks and poor viewing quality. DAZN today is another platform, much more stable and performing, but the problems, especially during cartel matches, are still there. While some users always have perfect vision, others are often suffering from troubles of various kinds.
The state of our network is what it is and in many areas there are no broadband connections at all essential for live streaming nationwide. We still remember all the choices to lower the quality of the various streaming platforms during the lockdown: too many simultaneous connections jeopardized the stability of the entire infrastructure, a situation that could occur in the same way during one or more cartel games live and simultaneously.
The race for cover
The solutions to overcome these drawbacks are already on the plate: the first concerns a new rethinking in the planning of each round of the championship. Streaming would force the league to cancel each event at the same time: to avoid unpleasant situations in which multiple games would clog the network, each will be played on different days and spread over different times. One on Friday evening, four on Saturday and four on Sunday, approximately at 12.30, 15, 18, 20.45, and one on Monday evening. A stew in all respects, which however should, at least on paper, guarantee a more than good service.
The second solution would concern a real one DAZN technical partnership with a network operator. The increasingly insistent rumors speak of Tim, with the possibility that a digital terrestrial channel will be built on the Tim platform, accessible through Tim Vision Box and visible for those with connection problems or a network that cannot support streaming on DAZN app. An idea, however, designed only for Tim subscribers and not for everyone else, except for an even stronger partnership in which DAZN and Tim were offered together in the same subscription.
Solutions that still leave many doubts open about a future and a championship that with DAZN risks taking the longest step of the leg. Serie A deserves new ways of viewing and deserves streaming but Italy, with its problems, is perhaps not yet ready for the big step. Offering everything exclusively to a web platform is a big risk, especially if you decide to offer everything for 30 euros. If the quality of the Italian networks were good, we would certainly have talked about calculated risk but so, with the unknowns and inefficiencies around the corner, the price risks being really excessive.
Much more prudent, but perhaps less economically profitable, would be the possibility of a double option, with the possibility for fans to choose to watch the entire Serie A on traditional TV or in streaming, perhaps with offers and prices tailored to the platforms.
In this way, users could choose the best for them: internet for those with a good connection and satellite for everyone else. Thus you risk finding yourself in front of a revolutionary service on paper but without the guarantees that until now had been offered. So you risk always spending a lot, but with many more unknowns and possible problems, than those that would make subscribers very angry. Only when the game is over will we find out if it was worth it.