Tubi, DAZN ink deal for FAST sports channels

Fox-owned Tubi is bringing sports content to its free streaming platform through a new deal with DAZN that includes a women’s soccer FAST channel now available in the U.S. and Canada.

The launch, announced Wednesday, marks the first time DAZN’s Women’s Football free ad-supported streaming TV channel is available in North America.

The DAZN’s Women’s Football channel on Tubi is a 24-hour feed featuring a mix of live and classic soccer matches from tournaments, including UEFA Women’s Champions League and the Saudi Women’s Premier League, among others.

Also joining Tubo’s platform in the U.S. is the DAZN Ringside FAST channel, delivering MMA and boxing programming from its partners Matchroom Boxing, Golden Boy, Wasserman and MF & DAZN: X Series. Content on the channel includes live undercards, before the bell, weigh-ins, over 300 hour of archive fights, exclusive documentaries and The DAZN Boxing Show. According to Tubi, full run backs of World Title fights will also be available after an embargo period.

Tubi viewers in Canada can also now get in on boxing and MMA action, as well as international soccer through the launch of the DAZN TV channel on the platform in the market. In addition to the fights, users in Canada can watch live Champions League and Europa League soccer games each match week. Full fights, matches and highlights also available on the FAST channel “after a brief embargo.”

The sports content from DAZN will only be available in the linear FAST channel environment on the platform and not on-demand, a Tubi spokesperson confirmed to StreamTV Insider.

In its announcement, Tubi said the launch of DAZN’s Women’s Football channel in both markets feeds “the growing demand for top-tier women’s football in North America” as well as highlights “a shared commitment by DAZN and Tubi to spotlight not only the incredible athletes, their stories and these elite soccer competitions but also women’s sports in general.”

Women’s sports have been generating increased fandom and viewership. That includes the recent NCAA March Madness championship between Iowa and South Carolina, which set records for basketball viewership (as the most-watched basketball game, men’s or women’s and college or pro, since 2019) with 18.7 million tuning in.

E.W. Scripps is another company looking to serve up women’s sports on FAST, with live WNBA and NWSL games and matches that air on its ION broadcast network also available for free live on streaming via the ION FAST channel.

But it’s not just women’s sports content finding its way to FAST. The Roku Channel earlier this month teamed up with the NBA to launch the league’s first-ever FAST channel, alongside an NBA Zone, which is exclusive to the platform for a period of time and features re-airs of games, highlights, recaps, along with other NBA content like documentaries and original series.

In a column on StreamTV Insider TVREV analyst Alan Wolk categorized so-called sports “shoulder content” like the Roku-NBA deal as “a smart move” for leagues and FAST services.

“It gives the leagues a very monetizable place to put all that shoulder content, which also allows them to promote merchandise, tickets and eyeballs for the games themselves,” wrote Wolk. Roku, meanwhile, gets brand-safe ad inventory that it can sell to advertisers at a premium, he continued, while also presenting an opportunity to get its entire FAST service in front of sports fans “who will, most likely, remain on the platform longer.”

Additionally, the analyst suggested sports shoulder content feels fresher than series rerun content that proliferates FASTs and noted it’s inexpensive, quick and easy to create.

“If you are one of the other FAST services, you need to try and strike your own sports shoulder content deals. An exclusive one if possible,” Wolk advised. “These will become as big a deal amongst FASTs as the rights to the actual games are amongst SVODs.” 

Plex is another free ad-supported streamer that’s looking to play with sports content. This week it announced partnering with the NFL to stream the 24/7 NFL Channel just ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft. Plex users can get live nonstop coverage of the NFL draft from Thursday, April 25 through Saturday April 27. The free streaming channel also features NFL news, videos and highlights, along with NFL game replays and original shows.

Tubi is the latest to get in on sports action through its deal with DAZN, as the service continues to be the leader among FASTs in the U.S., based on share of TV time. That trend continued in March, when Tubi captured 1.6% share of TV time in the U.S., according to Nielsen’s The Gauge, outpacing fellow FASTs Pluto TV, Roku Channel, as well as SVODs Peacock, Max and Paramount+.

Tubi counts 78 million monthly active users and in March disclosed 59% growth in total viewing time on its platform in 2023 to reach over 8.5 billion streaming hours last year.

Article updated with additional information from Tubi spokesperson about linear/on-demand viewing.