by Radio Rahim
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum is not currently worried about the financial competition from DAZN, a sports streaming service which crashed hard on the boxing scene in 2018 - with several talent acquisitions.
They first arrived with an exclusive content deal with promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom - to showcase Hearn's British talent in the United States. DAZN is also showcasing a growing stable of fighters under Hearn's Matchroom USA banner - which fully promotes or co-promotes several world champions.
Their biggest move was signing the biggest boxing star in the United States, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, to an five year, eleven fight deal - worth well over $300 million.
Arum's company has an exclusive content deal with ESPN.
DAZN, which charges a $10 monthly fee, is looking to become the sport's alternative to pay-per-view and linear TV.
Arum's company is showcasing talent on ESPN, their ESPN+ streaming service (a $5 per month subscription) - and next month Top Rank will stage an ESPN pay-per-view event, with Terence Crawford facing Amir Khan in the main event.
Both sides have different philosophies.
Arum is far from convinced that a streaming service on it's own is the future. He believes Top Rank has the clear edge, because they have the backing of linear TV with a major network like ESPN. And Arum strongly feels that pay-per-view will never go away.
While Arum admits that DAZN's high volume spending has changed the market when it comes to paying fighters - he also feels their spending is not a reflection of a high subscription base.
"Well they have certainly raised the numbers for fighters - because they are paying very big numbers. But whether or not they move the needle at all is questionable, because their subs haven't justified the amount that they're spending..... maybe it will, maybe it won't, I don't know," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
"But they are in the sport, they are pouring a lot of money in the sport, and that's only good for the sport."
DAZN's Executive Chairman John Skipper would not provide any hints regarding their subscription numbers, but he's satisfied with the current growth of their service.
Skipper was directly asked, on a scale of 1 to 10, for his overall feelings regarding their current subscription numbers.
“I will be at a ten, but I don’t know when exactly, but I will be at a ten. We have had good success and one landmark event and that’s the Canelo fight. I expect to have four to five landmark events this year and to move to from my current three or four, which means I’m satisfied with where I need to be towards knowing what we need to accomplish in the long run and that’s when I’ll be at a ten," Skipper said.