The move comes as previous executive chairman John Skipper steps down to launch a new content company, though he remains on the DAZN Group board. DAZN plans to invest in his new Meadowlark Media outfit, which was launched with fellow ex-ESPNer Dan Le Batard.
“I’m incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished over the past several years. We’ve secured rights to the world’s premier sports leagues, dramatically increased subscriptions and revenues, and launched our platform in more than 200 countries and territories,” Skipper said in a statement. “It’s the ideal moment to transition the company into its next phase of growth. Having worked closely with Kevin at The Walt Disney Company for more than two decades, I can’t think of a better person to lead the DAZN Group Board of Directors.”
Mayer’s tenure at Disney included executing acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm as chief strategy officer. He also ran Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international. He left Disney to become the CEO of TikTok last year, though he resigned three months later, as parent company ByteDance prepared to turn over U.S. control of the company amid government pressure.
Since November, Mayer has been advising UK-based DAZN’s controlling shareholder, Access Industries. DAZN has established itself in the U.S. as a go-to source for boxing content since launching in 2018. Skipper had previously said DAZN would be active in trying to acquire some of the major sports rights coming up this year, though Mayer signaled that any plans for aggressive U.S. expansion appear to be on hold. “The intention is to continue the growth trajectory mainly in European and Asian markets,” he told The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news.
Co-CEOs James Rushton and Shay Segev will operate DAZN while Mayer is tasked with setting an overall strategy. DAZN is now available in more than 200 markets.
“As Chairman, I’m looking forward to partnering with the management team and my fellow directors to help DAZN build on its impressive track record of success in developing a truly global sports platform,” Mayer said in a statement. “Since I began working with Access Industries last year, I’ve been impressed with DAZN’s ambitions and ability to quickly grow from a new entrant to an important player in key markets throughout the world. I look forward to guiding DAZN’s strategic development into its next chapter.”