Many DAZN ‘issues’ fixed: NFL
No TV packages on offer after streaming service debut ‘did not go as planned’
Those hoping an all-NFL-games package might return to cable and satellite this week, after DAZN’s disastrous debut, are out of luck.
DAZN, a live and on-demand sports streaming service along the lines of Netflix, says it has resolved “many of the issues” dismayed Canadian subscribers experienced last weekend in trying to watch the company’s video/audio feeds of NFL games on web-connected digital devices — such as Smart TVs, tablets, smartphones and games consoles.
According to social media complaints, some brands of the above devices could not connect to the DAZN service. For those that could, constant rebuffering, or lack of HD video, or dropouts in audio, or other technical snafus ruined the experience.
What’s more, many Canadians who live in rural areas complained their wifi reception will never be strong enough to watch NFL games via streaming. Still others complained that to stream games for eight or more hours every Sunday could cost hundreds more dollars per month in wifi charges.
DAZN is the exclusive Canadian provider of all live access to all NFL games. The England-based company bought those rights this summer for the next five years, meaning no more “Sunday Ticket” cable or satellite all-games packages available in Canada.
CTV and TSN continue to show all Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night NFL games, but only select games in both windows of Sunday afternoon doubleheaders.
In a statement provided late Thursday afternoon to Postmedia, DAZN’s managing director for rights and strategic development, Alex Rice, said:
“Our debut in Canada did not go as planned. No excuses — it is not how we wanted our journey to start in a country of such passionate fans. Our top priority has been getting to the root cause of the issues and giving fans the viewing experience they expect from us. We have reviewed the entire customer experience so far and can confirm that many of the issues subscribers faced last weekend have been resolved.”
The NFL had no immediate comment Thursday.
In a statement given to Postmedia on Monday, the NFL’s 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.”
Many fans had been hoping since the weekend that the NFL would do whatever necessary this week to bring back cable and satellite options. But that’s not happening.
DAZN’s entry into Canada seemed to be a big win for NFL fans here, at least financially. DAZN’s firstyear price to purchasers is only $20 a month, with one month free, and with no monthly minimum — whereas Canadian cable and satellite providers in previous years had been charging about $35 a month, with a minimum four-month commitment.
But the DAZN service proved unreliable from the get-go, starting with all four weeks of preseason games in August, and exploding last Thursday, Sunday and Monday with Week 1 regular-season games, as many more purchasers bought the service.
In his statement Thursday to Postmedia, DAZN’s Rice provided more detailed updates on some of the technical issues Canadians experienced:
“The audio issue on Thursday, and the late start to the Colts @ Rams game on Sunday, were the result of human error. We understand the frustration for fans and we can assure them these are not ongoing issues. We have put in place additional checks and measures to strengthen this process.
“The error codes subscribers were seeing have been resolved. Again, we understand why fans were frustrated having to troubleshoot this during the game.
“Some subscribers have been experiencing picture quality issues. We’ve completed detailed diagnostic analysis and found that while the majority of fans are connecting to DAZN in HD, some have been unable to enjoy our full HD experience due to connectivity issues. We are working as hard as possible to bring this to everyone. We’ve identified a number of technical solutions, which will help more of our subscribers to access the full HD experience across all connected devices. Some solutions will be in place beginning this weekend. We will be making further enhancements over the next few weeks, during which time those affected will see incremental improvements.
“Some subscribers have also been experiencing a broadcast time lag. While an element of lag is inherent with OTT (over the top) streaming (usually up to 30 secs), we know that our feed has been delayed longer at times. We are working to close this gap so that DAZN is where it needs to be.
“DAZN was built by sports fans for sports fans. Please believe us when we say — we feel your pain. We will continue to engage with our subscribers and the broader sports fan community in Canada to listen and understand the issues. We’re continuing to explore further ways to improve the experience for those currently affected and will be reaching out to them to ensure they’re suitably compensated.
“Live streaming of sports is complex, but offers many benefits. We’re committed to fixing the current issues and delivering on our goal of providing the best sports viewing experience possible for Canadian fans.”
Tennessee offensive guard Josh Kline, right, recovers a fumble against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Canadian fans watching the game via the league’s new DAZN streaming service may have had issues with the quality of the stream.