DAZN: live sports at scale
Picture the scene: it’s August 2018, and it’s the opening day of the Italian football season. Cristiano Ronaldo is making his debut in front of thousands of adoring Juventus fans but we’re in the 93rd minute and the scores are locked at 2-2. Despite multiple attempts on target the Chievo keeper has bravely kept Juventus at bay, but can they hold out as Ronaldo closes in for one more attack. The tension is palpable. Millions are watching. This is no time for a buffering error.
Deep in the offices of DAZN a team of YLD engineers are on the edge of their seats for a different reason. As tens of thousands of new subscribers to DAZN’s sports streaming service had signed up in the past few hours, there were several key concerns: Would the payments microservice hold up? Could new user accounts be created smoothly? Would the playback experience be seamless enough to deliver the thrill of live sport? This is the kind of technical challenge that makes scoring a free kick from 20 yards look straightforward.
If you’re wondering, Juventus did break the deadlock to claim the match 3-2, and the DAZN micro services delivered an equally impressive performance in supporting a subscriber load of millions.
The game plan
At the start of our engagement with DAZN, the race to disrupt the live sports streaming industry was on and our new client was quickly becoming a market leader with rapid growth. Available in several countries, DAZN lets fans watch their sport, “their way” by featuring the widest array of live sports ever offered on one TV service and the ability to play, pause and rewind any game, live or on-demand, at home or ‘on the go’.
The initial version of DAZN was built in a monolithic way which presented technical limitations. DAZN product and engineering teams partnered with YLD to embark on developing DAZN 2.0; a flexible and scalable single page application using React.js, Mobx and microservice APIs using Node.js. Early days in the rebuild, YLD engineers and delivery consultants worked closely with DAZN internal peers and stakeholders to help shape a new front-end and back-end microservices architecture, independent of each other and able to offer scalability, resilience and agility. New front-end targets now launch with or without new back-end services, and vice versa. Working as part of a wider delivery programme, we provided delivery and engineering expertise on the design and development of DAZN’s user management and payment systems (subscribe, sign-in and sign-up), integrating with a large number of third party payment providers, having initially prototyped the various sub-systems and refined them to be flexible and scalable within the production environment.
The second half
Adapting to the existing environment at DAZN, we equipped the teams with delivery consultants, bringing strong experience to fully transition DAZN to agile development. We collaborated with teams on-site to establish a delivery roadmap and facilitate different teams and suppliers working together collaboratively. Bridging the gaps between product and technology, we encouraged agile and engineering best practices. DAZN can now rapidly deliver high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.
DAZN opened a development centre in Amsterdam during our engagement. YLD helped with all aspects of setting up and managing the new development capability; recruiting, setting up teams and roadmaps, onboarding and upskilling new engineers, mentoring, and creating healthy team dynamics. During frequent travels to meet the teams and face to face knowledge sharing sessions, we fostered a culture of learning for the teams and individuals, and left the teams with the necessary skills and knowledge to continue DAZN’s mission; to revolutionise the way users consume live sports. We thoroughly enjoyed partnering with DAZN and supporting them throughout the engagement.