When the streaming service DAZN announced plans to expand to the United States last year, it vowed it would change the boxing business.
And after six months, there is no denying it has done just that.
For $9.99 a month, DAZN has offered almost weekly events in boxing and mixed martial arts. Its marketing campaign has been based upon bringing pay-per-view level fights to the public without the high cost.
It has signed some of boxing’s biggest stars, including Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Joshua.
But DAZN executives in those six months noticed two different kinds of fans, and so they’ve made an adjustment to their pay structure to accommodate them.
The person who paid $9.99 a month essentially was paying $119.88, or roughly about the cost of one-and-a-half traditional boxing pay-per-view shows. Beginning on Monday, DAZN will now offer a yearly $99.99 plan that is about a 20 percent price decrease.
For the fans who are interested in seeing the biggest fights but don’t want to subscribe year-round, it’s offering a $19.99 monthly plan in which one can cancel at any time and then resume at any point.
In this plan, if a person subscribed for a month on May 4, they would get to see Alvarez and Jacobs meet that night in Las Vegas in a middleweight title unification bout, but they’d also get to watch the heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller on June 1 in New York.
Under the current pay-per-view system, those two fights would probably be at least $75 apiece, so it would cost $150 under the old system. Under the new plan, a few could watch those fights for as little as $19.99.
Fans who are currently paying the $9.99 a month can convert to the yearly plan next week, but if they want to keep their current monthly plan, they can do so for one year.
There is great competition in the combat sports space among broadcasters. ESPN has deals with Top Rank boxing, the UFC and it streams fights on its ESPN+ service, which is $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. ESPN announced on Monday that it would be the exclusive distributor of UFC pay-per-view shows and anyone who would want to buy a UFC card would have to become an ESPN+ subscriber.
Showtime announced Tuesday that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder would defend his belt on the network on May 18 against Dominic Breazeale instead of putting the fight on pay-per-view. Showtime’s pricing varies by cable operator and by plan, but is roughly $10 to $15 a month for most. It has a streaming service that includes all of its content for $10.99 a month.
DAZN has had a lot of fights since its launch, but the Canelo-Jacobs bout will be the first that will be one that would have been guaranteed on pay-per-view under the prior system.
They’ve been aggressively bidding for talent but Wilder turned down a four-fight deal that would have guaranteed him $120 million to fight for it. Alvarez’s $365 million deal was the richest contract in sports, until it was surpassed by Mike Trout’s $430 million deal.
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