The commercial wing of sports broadcaster and publisher Dazn is carving out a niche advising major brands like Nissan, Santander and Mastercard on how to best activate their expensively acquired football sponsorships on social media.
The jewel in the crown of the group's growing media empire is Dazn, a live sports streaming service that will be available in 20 markets by 2020. In North America, this 'Netflix of sports' boasts Champions League, Europa League and Premier League rights. It is this proximity to the action that Dazn Media (previously branded Perform Media) is now leveraging.
It manages global media partnerships and commercial inventory across Dazn, Goal, Spox and Sporting News and it is this division that is now informing brands how to create and distribute social media content around major football tournaments.
Dazn Media has the privilege of counting among its clients several Uefa Champions League sponsors. Around football's elite club tournament, it produces Nissan’s Goal of the Week, manages Santander Football social accounts and delivers its Player of the Week work. There’s also the Mastercard Player Escorts, and in the Europa League, Hankook’s Play on the Pitch. Separately, it has worked with Coca-Cola on the World Cup trophy tour.
The output is global: the Santander account is run in three languages on social, while the Nissan content is produced in 14 languages and distributed by Goal accounts around the world. This global, sprawling nature of modern football fandom is a virtue for Dazn Media, according to its senior vice president of strategy, Hugh Sleight.
“It is an advantage that we have people on the ground with expertise and understanding of local nuance," he said. There are about 200 staff within Dazn Media, with 45 in London and the rest clustered globally.
The company is placing itself as a middleman between creative and social, working with brands and agencies to get the most from their social posts and best activate on pricey partnerships.
For Santander, it is part of an agency group that features Havas España, Minerva, Arena & Fuse. This work saw young Nickollas, a visually-imparied football fan, enjoy the experience of feeling the ball move around the pitch due to a special device. Havas delivered the film, but Dazn Media delivered the social edits and optimised it for shortform.
Part of the Dazn Media pitch is the fact that the editorial output proves a daily tester to learn what performs on social.
Sleight said: "Fans latch onto certain behaviours so the value of us having our own channels is that we do this on a day-to-day basis and monitoring what is new and successful, and then we apply that to the work we do with clients."
It’s not just brands seeking its expertise but also rights holders like Fifa and J.League and clubs like Man City, Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla.
On the distribution front, there’s the Dazn Player, a video player which distributes content across its properties and sites like Mail Online, MSN, Mundo Deportivo and La Repubblica - which can be pre and mid-rolled by bold partner movies like the story of Nickollas. But the group can also push content out to social channels, influencers, talent, rights and even get placements in certain stadia. Nissan has clearly identified it football as a key part of its European expansion and Santander has handed it the keys to its substantial football presence.
For Nissan, it is helping distribute the ‘Movers & Makers’ campaign which will preview the upcoming matches and celebrate the best plays after every match day. Nissan's play in sport is built around intelligent mobility and innovation and these data-heavy match briefings appear to align with those objectives.
The broadcaster's partnership with Opta for real-time stats is helping to dig out insights.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"> Rodrygo<br> Callejon<br>?? Sterling<br> Messi<br><br>Will our Movers and Makers be the ones to influence the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UCL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UCL</a> this week?<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/InnovateYourGame?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#InnovateYourGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/NpXb1nArj7">pic.twitter.com/NpXb1nArj7</a></p>— Nissan Football Lab (@NissanFootball) <a href="https://twitter.com/NissanFootball/status/1199027861623103488?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 25, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
There are more briefs coming to the table due to the growing prominence of Dazn, and it is slowly moving beyond tournament sponsors into more ambitious projects.
“Because of its position in the industry we are having more organic conversations. In the past, we had to beat down the door to get in, but not we are naturally having conversations with platforms like Samsung, Apple and Amazon. Opportunities also come up with traditional media agencies too.”
As for its output, Sleight concluded: “I don't think we won't do anything that doesn't touch social.”
The next step for the group is to be involved earlier in the creative process with brands via Dazn Creative which is led by the recently hired executive creative director Toby Burnett, who previously led the Nike account at AKQA.
It is eyeing a bigger slice of spend by offering up its editorial and creative output to help create and inform the videos in future.