DAZN’S significant 2023 price hike was not a risk, according to Joe Markowski, who has also opened the door for more promoters to get their boxers on the platform.
Markowski, DAZN’s executive vice president, has overseen a startling rise on subscription fees on both sides of the Atlantic, with American customers hit particularly hard in the pocket as the annual fee rose from $99 per year to $224.99.
In the UK, the monthly subscription cost rose from £7.99 to £19.99, although customers willing to pay for a year upfront received an annual price of £99.99.
The news was met by a degree of criticism across social media but Markowski, who has become the corporate face of the platform since its pre-pandemic move into boxing, insists this was a solid tactical move.
“I don’t think it was a risk,” said Markowski, suited and booted in a west London hotel.
“We run a global business and we are leaning on a lot of data and a lot of experience from a lot of global markets.
“I’ve led a couple of price rises in the US and they’ve been successful and have made business sense for us.
“We acknowledged of course that there would be criticism like there always is. But this is a calculated decision based on data and a lot of strategic planning. We are confident with it.”
The fear for those willing to swallow the increase in cost for their subscription is that the really significant fights, involving the likes of Canelo or Anthony Joshua, may still be subject to a bolt-on fee after DAZN launched their own pay-per-view product last year.
For example, the recently announced clash between Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia on April 22 will be live on pay-per-view in America, with their plans for international broadcast still yet to be confirmed.
Markowski added: “I think Canelo’s next fight will absolutely be a subscription fight in the UK. We don’t know who or if AJ is going to fight in the summer. He has a pretty difficult fight on April he has to get through. We will make a case-by-case assessment of which fights justify pay-per-view status and which don’t.
“But I’ve said before, when we launched pay-per-view, that we wouldn’t use it every second week like some of our competitors do in the US in particular and I think we’re standing by that promise. We are putting an AJ fight on subscription and it’s the first non-per-per-view fight in the UK for eight years. We are going to use it sparingly and only when it makes sense.”
Markowski also reiterated his desire for DAZN to be the platform where all boxing promoters can showcase their fighters, in an era which has been dominated by exclusive broadcast deals.
For example, Davis-Garcia represents an agreement between PBC (Davis) and Golden Boy (Garcia). In the UK, meanwhile, although Eddie Hearn and Matchroom are most associated with DAZN, Markowski is adamant they are open to business with anyone.
“There is no resistance from Eddie on that,” Markowski adds. “And with all due respect to Eddie he doesn’t have a voice on that - it’s our business and not his.
“It’s another misconception that Eddie runs DAZN but Eddie is a supplier of content to DAZN, a very good one, but he doesn’t sit and make strategy decisions for DAZN Group.
“If you look at our global investment in boxing, there aren’t many promoters we don’t work with in some capacity. I’m very keen to keep building relationships with different promoters in the UK and around the world.
“We are not exclusively tied to Matchroom and we want to work with the community of promoters generally and we want to make sure fights can happen and we get out of our own way when it comes to matchmaking, which is a problem in boxing generally. We recognize that exclusive relationships between networks or digital broadcasters and promoters can sometimes hamper that.
“I’m doing everything I can to navigate around that and develop relationships with promoters of all kinds. A bit like we have done for the last three or four years, I’m confident that on average, week-on-week there will be a show on DAZN, that’s 50+ events a year.
“I want the DAZN boxing schedule to be as full and high value as possible. In a way that DAZN was not doing three or four years ago, I’m going out of my way proactively, in the US and UK, to speak with everyone, the whole community.
“We want to build bridges not walls between DAZN and the rest of the community and I think, for a number of reasons, there were walls put up. People didn’t think that DAZN were open for business with other promoters, but that is not the case now.”
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