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Today's word count: 1,768 words (7 minutes).
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
DAZN (pronounced "duh-zone"), an international sports streaming company, said yesterday that it will expand to more than 200 global markets this year.
Why it matters: DAZN is looking to take on ESPN as a global leader in sports streaming. Its current chairman, John Skipper, is ESPN's former president.
By the numbers:
The backdrop: At ESPN, Skipper was noted for negotiating large TV contracts that locked competitors out for years, including a nine-year, $12 billion deal with the NBA and a $7.3 billion deal for the College Football Playoff.
"Our competition so far has been to mostly be where they [ESPN] ain't, but it is our intention over time to compete aggressively everywhere."— Skipper, per CNBC
The big picture: DAZN is currently available in eight countries outside the U.S. (Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland), different content available in each market.
What to watch: Sources have told Axios that DAZN is eyeing rights to major U.S. sports leagues, and that the company plans to bid for NFL rights when they go on the block later this year.
The bottom line: Expect to see DAZN vying for live sports rights over the next few years, alongside traditional players like ESPN and FOX and tech companies like Amazon and Facebook.
Connor McDavid (left) and Leon Draisaitl. Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images
With four goals and an assist in last night's 8-3 win over the Predators, Oilers star Leon Draisaitl is now on pace for 133 points (54 G, 79 A) this season.
Why it matters: The last time an NHL player had 130 points in a season was in 1995-96, when Penguins linemates Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) both did it.
Meanwhile, teammate Connor McDavid had a goal and four assists, and despite missing six games, is now on pace for 117 points (40 G, 77 A), which would be the seventh-most this century.
The bottom line: McDavid is almost universally regarded as the NHL's best offensive player; the lesser-known Draisaitl is an unstoppable force; and together, they have emerged as one of the highest-scoring duos in recent NHL history.
A string of losses to unranked teams led to upheaval in this week's AP Top 25, but Kansas kept winning, strengthening its grip on No. 1 as the regular season winds down.
Bracket projections, per ESPN:
As teams finish up their regular seasons and turn their attention to the conference tournaments, South Carolina, Baylor and Oregon remain a step above everyone else.
Bracket projections, per ESPN:
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
In his post-combine mock draft, ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has Utah State QB going No. 6 to the Chargers — a spot most analysts have reserved for Oregon QB Justin Herbert.
"Love's 2019 season won't excite too many folks — he managed just 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions — but you have to remember that the Aggies lost nine players off their offense, plus the full offensive staff."
"In apples-to-apples situations, like the Senior Bowl and the combine, Love stood out. He has a huge arm, strong instincts and mobility in the pocket. NFL teams want quarterbacks who can create in today's game, and that's exactly what Love does."— McShay
McShay's top 15, per ESPN+:
P.S. ... Is the Raiders new abbreviation VGS like the Golden Knights use? Or is it LV? Or maybe its LVR? Or LAS? I miss Oakland (OAK) already.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
One of the world's biggest esports leagues is working with Nielsen to develop the first-ever comprehensive measurement system for viewership of esports broadcasts, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Photo: Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
36 years ago today, Peter Ueberroth was named the sixth commissioner of baseball, a role he held from 1984 to 1989.
MLB commissioners: I swear all of these names are real.
🏴 WINCHESTER, England — A rainbow formed in the background as riders competed in the opening event of the 2020 Motocross World Championship.
🇺🇸 ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Dogs compete in the 2020 Open World Championship Sled Dog Race during this year's Fur Rendezvous, a 10-day Alaskan winter festival that dates back to 1935.
🇦🇺 PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia — American Garrett Gerloff (blue) suffered a concussion after German Sandro Cortese (green) crashed into him during warm-ups before the opening race of the 2020 Superbike World Championship. Such a wild sport.
Answer at the bottom.
🏀 Steph Curry's injury rehab takes a G-League tour (Scott Cacciola, NYT)
"Out since October with a broken hand, the two-time MVP looked like the 'Steph of old' while practicing with his club's developmental team in Santa Cruz."
⚾️ Inside MLB's plan to crack down on cheating (Tom Verducci, SI)
"The cleanup in baseball is about to begin. ... MLB is informing clubs about planned in-game protocols to bar non-uniformed personnel from the clubhouse, close video rooms, turn off all live video feeds except for the replay review monitor, and crack down on the use of 'engineered' substance mixtures by pitchers."
🏈 Let's play matchmaker for Tom Brady (Justin Sayles, The Ringer)
"The six-time Super Bowl champion will reportedly test free agency, where he should have many suitors. Does he make sense in a Las Vegas Raiders uniform? How about in Tennessee Titans blue?"
Kendall "Brady is 100% staying" Baker
Trivia answer: Albert Pujols (2008-09 with the Cardinals)