By Keith Idec
If you already subscribe to DAZN, you will have received much of this information in an email Thursday afternoon.
If you’re considering subscribing or have been hesitant to do so, what you need to know is that the emerging streaming service has made some alterations to its subscription packages. Since its official launch in the United States with the Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin fight September 22, DAZN has offered mostly boxing and MMA content for a monthly subscription cost of $9.99 per month.
Starting Monday, DAZN will become available at two price points.
A yearly subscription plan will cost $99.99, or slightly less, $8.33, than the current monthly subscription rate of $9.99. New subscribers also can continue paying on a month-to-month basis, but at twice the cost, $19.99, than the current $9.99 per month.
DAZN’s plan understandably is to put pricing in place that’ll help build its base of sustained subscriptions. Unlike U.S. boxing competitors ESPN, FOX and Showtime, DAZN’s viewership figures aren’t known because DAZN doesn’t release its subscription figures.
Its current model affords boxing fans and others opportunities to pay $9.99 or to use a one-time, free, 30-day trial, through which fans can watch a particular fight of interest. Then they can cancel before that trial expires or prior to paying another $9.99 for a subsequent one-month subscription.
A change in pricing and strategy for monthly subscriptions seemed inevitable once DAZN began spending inordinate, unprecedented sums of money to lure top-tier boxing talent to its platform. Multiple sources have confirmed to BoxingScene.com that DAZN will pay approximately a combined $100 million to stream the Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs, Anthony Joshua-Jarrell Miller and Gennady Golovkin fights over less than a two-month period in May and June.
DAZN boss John Skipper also offered WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder a four-fight deal recently that would’ve been worth $120 million. Wilder turned down that deal, which would’ve included a heavyweight title unification fight against Joshua and an immediate rematch.
The Alabama-based knockout artist cited his loyalty to Showtime and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions among the reasons for not accepting that offer. Showtime will televise the May 18 bout between Wilder and mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, current DAZN subscribers also will be afforded the option of continuing to pay $9.99 on a month-to-month basis until March 2020.
“That’s an acknowledgement and a thanks to a group of people who’ve joined us early in our U.S. journey,” Joe Markowski, executive vice president for DAZN North America, told BoxingScene.com. “For those people, their [monthly] price will be maintained for one year. So, you will pay $9.99 a month until the end of March 2020. At that point, you can either move your subscription onto one of our new monthly or annual subscriptions that go into effect next week.”
The plan and pricing changes coincide with the launch of DAZN’s new Major League Baseball show, “Changeup.” That show – basically baseball’s equivalent to NFL’s “Red Zone” – will cost DAZN a reported $100 million per season over the course of a three-year contract.
Markowski understands that these pricing and subscription changes will invite criticism, but he reminded subscribers and potential subscribers that DAZN still offers boxing fans and fans of other sports value for their money.
“What we’re doing, in addition to that annual pass, is continue to offer that monthly option at a price of $19.99 a month,” Markowski said. “For that month, it would be offered in the exact same way as our [yearly] pass. You would get all content, all programming, in the 30 days that follow your entry to our platform. I think the best illustration of that value is if you join DAZN under that monthly option on May the 4th for, let’s be honest, a fraction of the value of one pay-per-view fight elsewhere in the market, you’re gonna get Canelo-Jacobs – without question the fight of the year on the schedule right now – the semifinal of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, AJ at Madison Square Garden and every single day of that month, the live MLB show that we’re launching at the end of this month. That’s a true reflection of that value, at a fraction of one-pay-per-view fight night.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.