NFL apologizes to Canadians for ‘inadequate’ DAZN service

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The NFL on Monday addressed DAZN’s d’zastrous debut as Canada’s exclusive option for watching games live.

In a statement provided by the NFL to Postmedia late Monday afternoon, VP of international media and business development Michael Markovich said:

“We are aware of the issues that our fans may have faced this past week / weekend and apologize for the inadequate service. We are absolutely committed to working with DAZN to provide our fans with the NFL experience that they deserve.

“We are urgently assessing the information and data from the weekend, as well as closely monitoring tonight’s MNF double-header. With a full weekend of games behind us, we will then define the right next steps to best serve our Canadian fans.”

Should those next steps include a Week 2 return to cable or satellite TV options for all-game viewing, hundreds if not thousands of angry Canadians would rejoice.

As it is, domestic cable and satellite providers no longer carry the Sunday Ticket all-games service, nor the NFL RedZone channel.

DAZN — a live and on-demand sports streaming service along the lines of Netflix — has bought those rights in Canada for the next five years. Based in England, DAZN provides its video feed only to web-connected digital devices such as Smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and games consoles.

But hundreds of Canadian purchasers of DAZN have taken to social media in outrage over a wide range of service problems, after four weeks of preseason games and the first week of regular-season games.

For instance, the Colts-Rams game Sunday wasn’t available by game time on the DAZN app. Some devices apparently can’t get any games, period, including some makes of SmartTVs. No matter the platform, many complain that the streaming feed hiccups and rebuffers far too much. Or the picture is pixilated. The announcers for last Thursday night’s Patriots-Chiefs game were muted on all platforms of the English-language DAZN feed for more than half an hour.

Alex Rice, DAZN’s managing director of strategic partnerships, sounded wholly confident in assuring Postmedia in July thathis company’s Canadian NFL rights acquisition was no grand technological experiment for the company. He said DAZN has been “streaming services for the best part of 10 years” in Europeand beyond, thus it is experienced with high-volume spikes that might involve “hundreds of thousands” of simultaneous users.

On Monday night, DAZN provided this statement to Postmedia from Rice:

“We understand that for many fans the experience of DAZN this past weekend was not a great one. Our top priority is fixing those problems to give fans the experience they deserve.”

A day earlier, DAZN tweeted out suggested fixes for some of the many technological issues, one of which was, “Try a different device or browser.”

Trying a different provider isn’t an option. At least not yet.

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