Wednesday 3 March 2021 5:57 pm

Sports streaming firm DAZN taps former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as chair

Sports streaming service DAZN has appointed former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its new chairman.

DAZN, which is backed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, said Mayer will lead the nascent streaming platform as it pursues an “aggressive” growth strategy.

Read more: Tiktok boss Kevin Mayer quits over looming Trump ban

He replaces John Skipper, who is stepping down to focus on Meadowlark Media, a newly-launched content company in which DAZN plans to invest and collaborate with on original programming. 

Skipper will remain on the board of directors and serve as a strategic adviser to the company.

Mayer has more than three decades’ experience in the media industry, most notably at Disney, where he helped to launch the company’s Disney Plus and Hulu streaming services.

Prior to this he was chief strategy officer at the Mouse House, overseeing its acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

Mayer also had a short-lived spell as chief executive of Tiktok and chief operating officer of its Chinese owner Bytedance.

Read more: Supersizing DAZN: Why a UK launch is just the start of the sport streaming service’s global ambitions

The American executive quit the video-sharing app after just three months, citing political pressure amid a crackdown on Chinese companies by then-president Donald Trump.

“As chairman, I’m looking forward to partnering with the management team and my fellow directors to help DAZN build on its impressive track record of success in developing a truly global sports platform,” Mayer said in a statement.

“Since I began working with [Blavatnik’s] Access Industries last year, I’ve been impressed with DAZN’s ambitions and ability to quickly grow from a new entrant to an important player in key markets throughout the world. I look forward to guiding DAZN’s strategic development into its next chapter.”

In January DAZN hired Shay Segev, former boss of Ladbrokes owner Entain, as its new chief executive in a shock move. Segev had held the top job at Entain for just seven months.

Read more: Ladbrokes owner CEO to leave after just seven months for DAZN

DAZN, often dubbed the “Netflix of sports”, is headquartered in London but only launched in the UK in December. It was founded in 2015 and has since expanded to more than 200 countries.

The platform, which is focused on boxing, has hit the headlines through big-ticket sponsorship deals with prominent sportspeople, including a $365m deal with boxer Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.