Advertisement: IBO Boxing
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com
Advertisement

Could The DAZN-Canelo Deal Lead To The Demise of PPV?

image

By Michael Rosenthal

Pay-per-view is the perfect business model for those involved but bad for boxing in general.

It allows the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez to earn in one fight what the vast majority of us make in multiple lifetimes but, because of the exorbitant cost, the audience for their fights is limited.

Those fighters entice hardcore fans to lay out as much as $100 for their events but many would-be viewers won’t or can’t pay that kind of money, which locks out potential fans needed to grow the sport.

That’s why something promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said in the wake of Alvarez’s monstrous deal with the subscription streaming service DAZN caught my attention.

“I believe today, with this announcement, you will see the end of pay-per-view boxing in the U.S. over a period – not today,” Hearn said on Wednesday.
Will we?

As Hearn said, not today. Mayweather is talking about coming out of “retirement” again, possibly against UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov. And Pacquiao reportedly will fight Adrien Broner in January, with an eye on a pay-per-view rematch with Mayweather.

Mayweather and Pacquiao are too old to sign a long term agreement like Alvarez’s – reportedly 11 fights for a minimum of $365 million, which is at least one of the richest deals in sports history. They are determined to make as much money as possible now, meaning pay-per-view is the best option for them.

canelo-dazn

Alvarez could’ve stayed with the business model that has worked well for him and continued to build obscene wealth but opted for DAZN because of obvious benefits:

1 - He’s guaranteed an average of more than $33 million per fight and he could earn more if subscription goals are met, which is at least comparable to what he has averaged the past several years.

2 - The length of the agreement had to be a strong incentive for the 28-year-old to sign on the dotted line, as it will guarantee him huge paydays well into his 30s even if he begins to decline for whatever reason unless the contract stipulates otherwise.

3 - And, as he and his team pointed out, he becomes part of the future of sports viewing – streaming, as opposed to traditional television. HBO recently announced it would end its boxing programming.

For the fans, the deal provides access to Alvarez’s fights – and other combat sports events – for the DAZN subscription rate of $9.99 per month, less than it costs to subscribe to HBO and Showtime.

Alvarez’s first fight for DAZN, against Rocky Fielding at super middleweight on December 15, will be free. That will give fans a taste of what they can expect from the service and, if Hearn and Co. have their way, get them to subscribe.

“That’s an early Christmas present for fight fans that on HBO … would’ve had to pay $84.99 for that Canelo pay-per-view fight,” said Hearn, who signed a lucrative deal with DAZN in May. “So (the) aim is to take boxing away from pay-per-view. Pay-per-view is a very important model in the U.K., where we’re from. But it’s $25 for a major fight. Eight-five dollars, a hundred dollars is so much money, and I think fight fans will embrace this move and embrace DAZN.”

Of course, there are risks and question marks for DAZN, Alvarez and fans.

DAZN, owned by London-based Perform Group, only recently entered the U.S. market and is just starting to build its subscriber base. Hearn is optimistic but there is no telling whether fans will “embrace DAZN” or how quickly. Alvarez will fight before relatively small audiences in the U.S. for a while, which isn’t exactly growing the sport in the short term.

And while DAZN has the financial backing to sign the likes of Alvarez and its other star, Anthony Joshua, the service will have to catch on in a big way domestically to fulfill its obligations to those fighters, sign other stars and remain viable long term.

Some knowledgeable observers are already questioning whether DAZN can maintain such lavish spending, which seems reasonable.

Of course, DAZN’s success or failure will depend in good part on the quality of the product. One pitfall of long term contracts with premium cable outlets has been a lack of motivation on the part of the fighter to face the best possible opponents. Why take the risk when paydays are guaranteed?

Alvarez has never shied away from tough fights but we’ll see how he operates under this deal. One thing is certain: Fans will let him know if he faces many more marginal foes like Fielding.

And where will the opponents come from? DAZN has just begun to build its stable of fighters, meaning most of the best fighters are aligned with other promotional outlets. That could make it difficult to put together compelling matchups, although you can bet Hearn is working long hours to make that happen.

This is obviously a work in progress. Other major players in boxing – including Premier Boxing Champions and Top Rank, who are aligned with television networks – are watching closely as DAZN and Hearn attempt to change the nature of viewing boxing. That might also be the case for other streaming services that might be open to boxing programming.

If DAZN’s foray into boxing in the U.S. works, it seems reasonable to think that others will move the same direction. Top Rank already has on a smaller scale, showcasing some of its fighters on the subscription-based ESPN+.

For now, Mayweather (if he actually fights again) and Pacquiao will rely on pay-per-view. The same goes for other fighters who believe the established model will earn them the most money possible. Fights like Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia vs. Vasyl Lomachenko certainly would be pay-per-view events.

Hearn even admitted that Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder would likely end up as a joint pay-per-view event with Showtime because of the magnitude of the potential event. And don’t be shocked if DAZN also tweaks its business model – perhaps charging extra – the next time Alvarez is in a superfight.

Another potential problem not many are talking about relates to data usage. Some users could exceed their limit by streaming regularly on DAZN, which could cost them extra money.

All that said, I think DAZN and Hearn have a chance to succeed in time, as they seem to be at the forefront of sports streaming, they’re beginning to gain a foothold in the most important market in the world and they now have the two biggest moneymakers in the fold. That provides hope that pay-per-view will become a thing of the past one day.

Michael Rosenthal is the most recent winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism. He has covered boxing in Los Angeles and beyond for almost three decades.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by factsarenice on 10-23-2018

[QUOTE=Eff Pandas;19210035]THIS. I'm not really seeing anyone say the obvious. PPV isn't gone even if streaming is where all the big fights happen cuz streaming IS simply a hybrid PPV model if you really look at whats going on. And…

Comment by factsarenice on 10-23-2018

[QUOTE=marikudo;19210632]Canelo-DAZN deal will lead to DAZN demise. 🤣🤣🤣[/QUOTE] You forgot to put LOL, come on man step up. Give us that LOL at the end so when know when to laugh.

Comment by factsarenice on 10-23-2018

DAZN and ESPN just put PPV on life support and on it's way to VHS.

Comment by MinuteMaid5 on 10-21-2018

[QUOTE=sportbuddha;19211249]Anyone who cannot see the end of PPV, as I have been banging on about for 2 years, is living under a rock. PPV is poor value, streaming services are much better value. It’s also going to change the shape…

Comment by MinuteMaid5 on 10-20-2018

It probably could for obvious reasons long live boxing

ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (66)
Advertisement
Top Headlines
Alejandra Jimenez Tests Positive For Banned Substances Robles: Andy Ruiz's Father Said They'd Be With Me Until The End! Former 10x National Champion Kahshad Elliott Inks With Split-T Sampson: Josh Taylor-Khonsong Will Land in Great Britain or Scotland Stephen Fulton, Arnold Khegai - Ready For Scrap Jarrett Hurd, Francisco Santana - Set For Battle Danny Garcia, Ivan Redkach - Ready For War at Barclays Fury Trainer Steward: Davison Was Supposed To Be Part of Team Josh Taylor vs. Khonsong: Sampson Boxing Outbids Top Rank Alexis Rocha- Brad Solomon Added To Garcia-Fonseca Card Kell Brook: My Dream Fight? An Errol Spence Rematch! Anthony Fowler Joins Shane McGuigan After Coldwell Split Teixeira vs. Castano: WBO Orders Purse Bid, Jan. 29 In Miami Jason Quigley Calls Out Jaime Munguia For Next Fight Ryan Garcia: I Was Fragile Back In the Day, Now I'm Physically Stronger Fury: Andy Ruiz Should Train With Me If He Wants Titles Back Parker's Trainer Breaks Down The Wilder vs. Fury Rematch Chantelle Cameron Eyes Katie Taylor, Jessica McCaskill in 2020 Jumah Mandatory For Riakporhe After Hyde Win In Wythenshawe Scott Quigg Returns To Trainer Joe Gallagher Ahead Of Carroll Clash Hurd: No Matter What Anybody Says, I Have Best Resume At 154 Whyte vs. Andy Ruiz in Serious Talks, But Povetkin is Frontrunner Joseph Parker vs. Mariusz Wach in Play For Garcia-Vargas Card Marcos Maidana Finds New Motivation For Comeback in 2020 Jason Quigley Puts Away Fernando Marin in Three Rounds Ferdinand Kerobyan Blasts Out Azael Cosio in Two Quigley-Marin on DAZN - LIVE Results From Costa Mesa Danny Garcia: I'd Like To Have 3-4 Fights Per Year - It's Not That Easy Daniel Roman Sees Flaws That He Can Expose in Akhmadaliev Hearn Expects To Finalize Joshua-Pulev in Coming Weeks Ramirez-Postol Title Fight Postponed Due To Wuhan Virus Outbreak Stephen Fulton, Arnold Khegai - Face To Face, Final Presser Jarrett Hurd, Francisco Santana - Face To Face, Final Presser Wilder-Fury Rematch - Full Schedule of Extensive Programming Danny Garcia, Ivan Redkach - Face To Face, Final Presser Shane McGuigan Explains Shock at Josh Taylor's Jump To Top Rank Demetrius Andrade Inks Four Fight Extension With Eddie Hearn Andrew Cancio Expected To Make Top Rank Debut in April Fury: WWE Picked Me Over Wilder Because I'm Entertaining Joshua vs. Wilder-Fury Winner is Being Pursued By Saudi Arabia
Advertisement
Advertisement
Latest Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement