Arum: Linear/Stream Combo Gives ESPN Advantage Over DAZN

By Ryan Burton

On Tuesday,'s Keith Idec first reported that Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Alvarez reached a mega-million, multi-fight deal with DAZN.  The deep pocketed streaming service made their American debut in September with Anthony Joshua's knockout victory over Alexander Povetkin serving as their first main event.

On Wednesday, the complete terms of the deal were revealed and Alvarez will make at least $365 million over his next 11 fights which will all stream on DAZN and be available to their subscribers. The deal is the richest in sports history. As part of the deal Golden Boy will also get up to 10 additional fight dates per year beyond two yearly Alvarez fights.

There were several suitors for Alvarez's service when his contract ended with HBO who is getting out of the boxing business at the end of the year.  Showtime and ESPN were among those interested in retaining the Mexican superstar's services.


Earlier today caught up with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who is promoting this Saturday's Ryota Murata-Rob Brant WBA middleweight title clash on ESPN+ to get his reaction to Golden Boy Promotions' big announcement. Arum's company recently signed a 7 year extension to serve as ESPN's exclusive boxing content provider.

"We knew that was going to happen. That's terrific. It is great for boxing. With HBO going out of boxing ,Canelo and Golden Boy needed a home and they found a home with DAZN. It is a streaming service and a lot of people say streaming sports is the future and it may be. We believe in streaming sports with ESPN+ but we are hedging our bets early on because it is not going to be with sports completely streaming. I think you are going to need linear platforms to really attract eyeballs. Our deal with ESPN is a mix of both linear and digital and for us that is the best was to go. As for Oscar (De La Hoya), he has found a home with DAZN which is a digital streaming service and I wish him all the luck in the world," said Arum.

Arum believes the combination of a linear platform like ESPN, combined with a streaming service like ESPN+, gives his company the clear advantage of DAZN, which is strictly a streaming app.

"That is the advantage that we have with ESPN which for example DAZN doesn't. ESPN is a sports network and people who want to watch sports and sports commentary go to ESPN and therefore it is the best megaphone in sports," Arum explained.

Just 4-5 years ago major boxing was only found on HBO and Showtime.  With ESPN, DAZN and Fox now entering the sport with long term commitments, Arum believes that the sport is in a better position than it has been in at least 20 years.

"You better believe it. That is what I kept saying. Boxing was no longer a niche sport and more and more people are wanting to watch boxing. The premium networks did a very good job. They were the only ones in the game really. HBO has dropped out and I think Showtime will drop out eventually because they are essentially an entertainment network but with ESPN, ESPN+, DAZN, and Fox there are a lot of legs and a lot of platforms for people to watch boxing," Arum told

DAZN's next fight card will take place on Saturday in Boston and will be headlined by Demetrius Andrade and Walter Kautondokwa who will clash for the vacant WBO middleweight title.

Billy Joe Saunders relinquished the title shortly after testing positive for a banned substance that he claimed was ingested into his system when using an inhaler in training.

Send questions or comments to [email protected] You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ringsidewriter

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by seemore247 on 10-20-2018

Dazn only has steaming,everyone can't steam,that is BOB's point ESPN is on tv also,no buffering.

Comment by factsarenice on 10-20-2018

[QUOTE=boxingitis;19206822]DAZN has Canelo and Joshua. U already know who is the number 1 network in boxing.[/QUOTE] DAZN certainly owns the middle and heavy weights and soon more in-between. PBC had the welter weights and maybe the light middle but they…

Comment by factsarenice on 10-19-2018

Bob's right, the combination of a linear platform at ESPN, combined with a streaming service ESPN+, gives his company the clear advantage of DAZN, which is strictly a streaming app. Streaming alone will bring to an end the nonstop PPV's…

Comment by KTFOKING on 10-19-2018

DAZN has been promoting their shows on Sunday Night football games on NBC along with other networks. They are promoting just fine, but of course ESPN has the advantage of being on a MUCH larger platform and having lead ins…

Comment by Zaryu on 10-19-2018

Not when you don't stream every fight on ESPN+!

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