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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

DAZN, an international sports streaming company, is eyeing U.S. rights to NFL games, its CEO told Bloomberg. It's also reportedly exploring deals with the NBA and the NFL to launch a RedZone-style shows, according to a report last week from Sports By Brooks and a report Tuesday morning by Front Office Sports.

Why it matters: DAZN has been able to nab streaming rights for major leagues abroad, but so far has limited its influence in the U.S. mostly to pay-per-view type boxing matches. Now, it's looking to challenge the major U.S. sports broadcasters for rights to big-ticket events.

Driving the news: DAZN Chief Executive Officer Simon Denyer is "definitely interested in looking at the NFL rights." He told Bloomberg that the company's strategy is "to be a major player in sports rights via OTT, and the U.S. and Canada have the highest penetration of OTT in the world.”

  • The NFL has the option to exit from its current NFL Sunday Ticket deal with DirecTV, starting with the 2020 season.
  • In the past, the NFL has shied away from giving streaming companies exclusive broadcast rights, but analysts predict they may be more willing to eye those deals as consumers move towards consuming more sports via streaming TV.
  • DAZN currently holds streaming rights to the NFL in Canada. 

Yes, but: The company is waiting to see what happens with NFL Sunday Ticket rights first before committing another large pool of money for rights to the NBA or NHL.

  • The company agreed to a three-year live digital rights partnership in the U.S. with the MLB last year, setting up an MLB RedZone-style show with those rights.

The big picture: DAZN has long been able to compete for major sports rights in markets like Japan, Italy and Germany, but competition in the U.S. will be intense.

  • Fox has recently spun off its entertainment assets to focus on live sports rights, as well as live news.
  • ESPN Media and Disney Executive Vice President Justin Connolly told Axios at a recent Axios Media Trends event that the company was committed to bringing rights to premier sports leagues to ESPN's direct-to-consumer platform, ESPN+.
  • Tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and YouTube have all jockeyed for major sports rights, and are seen as formidable competitors to win rights, given their deep pockets.

The bottom line: Expect to see DAZN be more competitive in vying for live sports rights over the next year.

Go deeper: The sports rights arms race

Go deeper

Heat wave grips U.S. this week from coast to coast

Computer model projection from the GFS model showing an unusually hot airmass across the western and Central U.S. on Thursday, June 29, 2021. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread heat wave has begun across the contiguous U.S., with at least 30 million people likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100°F by the end of the week.

Why it matters: The hot weather, which comes courtesy of another heat dome building across the Southwest, Rockies and then sliding into the western Plains, will only aggravate drought conditions and worsen many of the western wildfires.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

4 hours ago - Health

Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for disability resources from the federal government, President Biden announced Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Driving the news: The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance Monday that categorizes “long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the the ADA.