Sir Leonard Blavatnik is patching losses for sports streaming company Dazn which has reported a $1.3bn shortfall for 2020.
Blavatnik, the world’s 32nd richest man with a fortune of $37.8bn according to Bloomberg, has been helping to finance Dazn with billions of dollars since it was set up in 2015. Last week he agreed to a $4.3bn refinancing of Dazn days before the company reported pre-tax losses of $1.3bn in a delayed set of accounts published to Companies House, the Telegraph first reported.
Revenue for the sports streaming site totalled just $871.8m for 2020, growing just six per cent compared to a rise of 76 per cent a year prior.
“Revenue growth in 2020 was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with most sporting events being significantly reduced or cancelled during the initial few months of the pandemic,” the company said.
Operating costs fell 27 per cent to $2bn, driven by a fall in rights costs as sporting fixtures were cancelled worldwide during the pandemic. Amid the turbulence of 2020, the company borrowed $1.05bn from its direct parent company AI Perform and $1.1bn from Access Industries, a company owned by Blavatnik and Dazn’s principal share holder.
Despite the setbacks faced in the first months of the pandemic Blavatnik is still backing Dazn to conquer the sports streaming market.
The company, which already streams in the UK, Germany, Japan, Canada and the US among others, is pursuing further expansion and last year walked away from a deal to buy BT Sports, which would have given it the rights to the English Premier League and UFEA Champions League matches.