£4£ King: DAZN owner tops Sunday Times Rich List

DAZN owner Sir Leonard Blavatnik has topped the Sunday Times Rich List for a second time after the 2021 rankings were released.

Per the list, unveiled on Friday, Blavatnik’s wealth rocketed by £7billion during the last year, from £16billion to £23billion. He had earlier topped the list in 2015 with a wealth of more than £13billion and had placed fourth in 2020.

The 63-year-old, born in Odesa in the Ukraine but who now lives in a £200million mansion in London, also has a £12billion stake in Warner Music. His investment operation – Access Industries – now reportedly has holdings of $25billion in 30 different countries.

DAZN launched in 2016

Blavatnik launched DAZN in 2016 – it was born out of his successful Perform Group sports media business. Branded as ‘The Netflix Of Sports’, it first hit reality in Germany and Japan.

A massive U.S. launch followed in 2018 with boxing at the forefront. That was underpinned by a landmark $1billion eight-year pact with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.

DAZN continued to spend big to get a foothold in the boxing market Stateside, inking P4P king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to a $365million deal for 11 fights. That lasted only three fights as Alvarez divorced from promoter Golden Boy Promotions.

The relationship between the Mexican and DAZN remains strong though – his last three bouts have all been promoted by Hearn and streamed globally by DAZN. Most recently a spectacular promotion saw Alvarez stop Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders in front of more than 73,000 fans in Arlington, Texas.

Now DAZN a global brand

DAZN launched globally into more than 200 territories in December 2020, with boxing again a major driver.

The partnership between DAZN and Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is expected to strengthen further with an expected UK deal which sees Hearn end his successful partnership with Sky Sports in July of this year.

The streaming platform had been the subject of gloomy forecasts when the pandemic struck in early 2020 and live sport paused.

But DAZN if anything appears to have come back even stronger, taking a more prudent approach to its spending and putting the focus more on building a global subscriber base.