Last year, NFL fans in Canada were able to watch a full slate of NFL games in the way you might expect. Simply pony up the money to your cable and satellite provider and you’d be able to get NFL Sunday Ticket and the RedZone channel. If you didn’t have cable, NFL Game Pass on NFL.com provided live streaming of every game.
But yesterday, a company named DAZN (pronounced “da zone”) announced it had purchased exclusive rights to NFL games for the next five years. No more NFL Sunday Ticket on cable or satellite. No more NFL Game Pass on NFL.com in Canada. Everyone will have to go through DAZN; it will be streaming only. DAZN won’t be distributing to any other platforms.
This sounds inconvenient for fans who want to switch providers, but not a huge deal. Except that DAZN is currently not available in Canada. An email sent to Canadian NFL Game Pass subscribers yesterday said that “DAZN will be live in Canada in time for the upcoming preseason.” The company says subscriptions will be available in Canada beginning July 31st.
“We know that for Canadians sport is a way of life, they are crazy about it and have had to put up with a costly experience for some time,” DAZN CEO James Rushton said in a press release. (No clue if he actually spoke these words. Let’s hope so!) “DAZN is designed to put fans first, so we’re confident fans in Canada will enjoy our product and proposition.”
“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.”
CTV and TSN (and related channels) will still show every Thursday, Sunday and Monday night game — as well as a doubleheader on Sunday afternoons. But if you’re a Canadian fan of a specific team and want to see all their games, you have a new service to get used to.
But there’s an upside. Rushton, the CEO, was right about NFL games being costly. Per the Star, Game Pass cost $300 a year in Canada. Cable companies charged about $30 a month for a sports package that included Sunday Ticket. DAZN is $150 a year or $20 a month. Canadians just have to hope it’s in service in their country before the season begins.