DAZN dips into baseball, occasionally giving Dodgers, Angels fans glimpses at games

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA MARCH 25, 2019-Angels Kevan Smith beats the tag of Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes
Angels’ Kevan Smith beats the tag of Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes to score during the second inning of Monday’s Freeway Series game.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

It’s not a complete solution to the void of Dodgers baseball on television, but the new DAZN baseball series “ChangeUp” is offering an alternative.

The streaming service’s live Major League Baseball look-in series debuts Thursday at 10 a.m. PDT. It will be hosted on weeknights and weekends by Tony Luftman, who understands the hunger for Dodgers’ action given the stalemate preventing games from being televised to DirecTV viewers.

DAZN, which offers a $9.99 monthly fee to existing subscribers and a $99.99 annual pass or new $19.99 monthly rate for new subscribers, can provide liberal portions of action from any game.

While a DAZN spokesman said they won’t focus attention to one team as a courtesy to the nation’s regional sports networks, it is aware of the Dodgers’ situation and understands the “ChangeUp” coverage will be “a selling point” in the L.A. market.


“I totally recognize and understand the importance,” of Dodgers’ fans clamoring for more television coverage, Luftman said. “I remember coming down the home stretch of Vin Scully’s career, how important those games were and how pivotal it was to hear those broadcasts. It’s one of the top reasons I’m excited about ‘ChangeUp.’

“If you just want to see the ‘Blue Crew,’ DAZN is going to give you the opportunity to do that.”

“ChangeUp” offers Major League Baseball an opportunity to satisfy fans who’ve turned away from watching a game in its entirety, cutting to the chase of critical situations, as the NFL’s “Red Zone” channel offers. It’ll showcase the at-bats of the games’ top players, like the AngelsMike Trout and San Diego’s Manny Machado.

“That’s a really cool way to look at it. It’s the most high-leveraged moments, the most dramatic situations,” Luftman said. “I’ve loved baseball since I was a little kid watching the Dodgers during ‘Fernandomania.’ While the game has remained great, the world’s gotten faster.


“The way our show is structured -- it’s like water from a firehose – you get a tremendous amount of pace. It’s all the best moments from all the best games, seeing them in a way in which time is flying by, and it’s a great way for the viewer to keep up, not only with their team, but the rest of the league.”

Luftman, a former UCLA basketball team manager who attended Grant High School in Van Nuys, arrives at “ChangeUp” after stints at The NHL Network and CBS Sports. He’ll anchor the weekend show with former ESPN anchor Adnan Virk and Scott Rogowsky of the popular HQ Trivia game, and he’ll take over on weeknights at 7:30 p.m. with co-host Lauren Gardner.

“We’re very well prepared. We have a great research staff, and the people you’ll see in front of the camera all love baseball, so none of it feels like work,” Luftman said. “If a guy has an Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham moment, we’ll be ready for that.

“Every team has rabid fans. What’s cool about DAZN and ‘ChangeUp’ is that we’re going to get the fans to their team’s most compelling moments,” Luftman continued. “If you’re a fan of one team, you’re going to want to know how every other team in the division is doing, and when it comes to players like Trout, who’s must-see TV, we’ll have different inserts and gadgets to make it very creative, brilliant and entertaining. It’s baseball with personality and flair.”

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