A few years ago, it seemed like DAZN had all the ingredients for fulfilling its vision of becoming a global Netflix for sports, including a billionaire backer who had already made a killing betting on media and a leader who was the onetime head of ESPN. It even had a goofy, vowel-challenged name (pronounced dah-zone) that hinted at its plans for tech disruption in a field that has stubbornly resisted it.
Now the company has been forced to retreat from its global ambitions. In key markets like the U.S. and Latin America, DAZN hasn’t found much of an audience for its subscription service, which streams boxing, soccer and other sports matches. It is now focusing on acquiring sports rights only in Japan and key European countries, such as Germany, Italy and Spain, according to people familiar with the situation, although it is streaming the service in over 200 countries.