DAZN chief executive Denyer steps down

Simon Denyer is leaving his role as chief executive of global sports streaming business DAZN – which has spent heavily on acquiring top-level boxing rights.

A $1billion pact with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and a $365million deal with Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez are just two of the high-profile signings DAZN has made since launching in the United States in 2018 with boxing at the forefront of its content portfolio. The platform also airs British heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua’s fights in the U.S.

And despite reports of billionaire owner Len Blavatnik seeking investment or a buyer to secure the brand’s future after the three-month shutdown of live sport due to COVID-19, DAZN shows no sign of slowing down – only last week it sealed a package of German Bundesliga rights through to the end of the 2024-25 season.

According to SportBusiness however, Denyer is stepping down from his role as part of a restructure which “increases the involvement of owner Access Industries”.

James Rushton – like Denyer another mainstay of the business back to its early Perform Group days – will take over as acting chief executive, while Denyer takes a sports investment advisory role at Access.

Rushton, a former commercial director at Birmingham City Football Club and head of APAC for Perform Group, had been the initial chief executive of DAZN when it launched in Germany and Japan back in 2016.

According to the SportBusiness report, staff were informed of Monday’s changes in a memo by DAZN Group’s executive chairman John Skipper, the former ESPN supremo.

DAZN is expected to be a major player if and when broadcast rights for any Tyson Fury vs Joshua fights become available. The platform had been planning a global rollout of its app just before the pandemic struck, again with fight sports a central focus of its offering.