NFL Gamepass On DAZN: A Billion Dollar Golddigger

In June 2023, the NFL and DAZN signed a 10-year agreement for the international streaming rights to the NFL Gamepass rumored to be approximately woth $1 billion USD (via Forbes). 

Thus, the transition began, as football fans all over the world signed up and paid, buckling up for a ride that has been nothing short of a vertical freefall into the depths of fan hell.

Before we jump into the short and already baggage-filled toxic history of the NFL’s newest flagship international programs, let’s get to know the NFL’s global ambassador for the next decade in DAZN

Founded in 2008, DAZN began streaming with the rights to Japanese soccer before finding its niche as a Pay Per View streaming service for MMA and boxing fights. 

In 2017, DAZN went ahead and got done taking over the rights to NFL streaming in Canada. Canadian fans almost immediately and unanimously gagged at DAZN’s streaming services quality rushing to the computer to give the company a less than inspiring 1.1-star rating on trust pilot while flooding social media with their complaints.

However, DAZN is a multinational company that just paid one BILLION for the NFL’s international streaming rights. Surely, surely they will enter the space prepared and looking to win over the diehard fans watching at 2 AM and learn from their prior mistakes…right?

Chapter 1:

“She take my money when i’m in need” – Me (via Jamie Fox)

Ahh the first week of September, the birds are chirping, the cool breeze hits your back just right as a hot summer is coming to an end. Forget all that! Football is back!

At this point, thousands of NFL fans eagerly signed up for the NFL’s Gamepass which announced that it had moved to DAZN. Others chose not to purchase the service (perhaps because they were wary of the new unknown provider with terrible reviews ;). Either way, customers were charged an auto-renewal from DAZN at a hefty price (anywhere from $200 to $300 USD depending on the country), a significant price hike from 2022. Obviously, this came to the surprise of thousands of fans. 

Rather than face the reaction of fans to this underhanded maneuver, DAZN customer service went offline for the following three days leaving thousands of their new customer base frustrated, confused, and hundreds of dollars poorer.

Attorneys in the US are looking into DAZN and the NFL’s actions to see if they violated auto-renewal laws. The NFL automatically transferred all billing information of customers to DAZN without consent and auto-renewed for all 2022 customers for a remarkably different service through a provider with a cloudy reputation.

Chapter 2:
“You will see him on TV any given Sunday

Win the Super Bowl and drive off in a Hyundai” – Kanye West

Despite some bumps, fans bit the bullet, paid the higher price, and signed up. They invested in the product they loved in order to participate in their passion.

From brave US military service members living abroad to international NFL fans promoting the league’s niche sub-culture all over the seven continents. For these lovers of football, this streaming service was a rite of passage, the toll they pay to bask in the glory of NFL football, no matter what the price, stress, or quality.

DAZN, eager to recoup the BILLION dollars it just paid the NFL, sniffed out the vehement and child-like excitement for the return of the NFL. Rather than satiating the world’s want, or better yet, need for football, instead it shoveled crap down our throats for breakfast.

What’s the basis?

As fans signed up for the NFL Game Pass, often signing up for DAZN for the first time, the NFL’s newest global ambassador took the liberty of serving fans up a Pay Per View Logan Paul fight. All the for the low low price of $60 USD. If fans didn’t see the fight wasn’t ticked and unticked it themselves they would have been charged….

 If there’s one thing I want when signing up for NFL streaming service, it’s unknowingly paying 25% extra for a staged boxing fight between talentless people I don’t care about.

Skip to 2:26 below

Chapter 3: 

“I don’t care what any of y’all say. I still love her” – Me via Kanye West

Fine, whatever, screw it, I’ll pay. I just want to watch football. Even if I spent like four hundred bucks on this. I mean I have to watch it this Sunday….I can’t even go to the grocery store without a shirt with a team. 

“The past is the past, I paid the price, I went through the hoops, finally it’s time for football,” said the collective voices of all those global fans just prior to the opening weekend of NFL ball.

Many fans around the globe woke and rushed to their computers to watch the highlights of the NFL’s opening Thursday night game of the reigning Super Bowl Champs Kansas City Chiefs and the upstart Detroit Lions. It didn’t take long before they realized this season would be long and frustrating for any Gamepass buyer, as the product they once loved has regressed into a shell of its former self.

Slow motion plays, late starts, commercials in the middle of plays, and audio and video being out of sync by over 30 seconds. DAZN’s product was simply terrible. Surprise! The tech of boxing fights doesn’t translate to football. Fans often watched buffering, skipped plays for ads, out-of-sync audio, and video quality of your grandpa’s Facebook live from his Nokia.

The experience is simply not what it was prior to the move to DAZN. The quality of streaming is worse, as DAZN adds no new features to the product. Unless watching in 240p is a new innovation. 

NFL fan Micheal Marzett complains

“Why have you done this to us?! This is unwatchable”

Chapter 4
“This week he mop the floor, next week it’s the fries”

As the season went on the issues have only continued with no signs of life or frankly care from the either inept or indifferent people of DAZN. We are now more than halfway through the NFL season and DAZN has not addressed its issues despite an onslaught of public outrage. The low quality of streams jacked-up condensed games, and lack of features remain FAR below industry standard, when looking at the MLB and NBA’s international packages.  

The ethics of DAZN must be called into question as they continue to peddle an inferior product at a premium price. 

Looking at it from DAZN’s perspective, there is little ambition to improve as they own the rights for the next decade, and they are practically daring us not to watch. 

Let’s hope the NFL’s broken marriage with DAZN does some serious work in couples counseling. Otherwise, NFL fans around the globe will be flocking to grandma’s house to watch illegal streams just like they did before. We can find other trifling friends way over town by our own damn selves.

PS Let’s hope there is a prenup.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and