By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Eddie Hearn expects Canelo Alvarez to make an immense impact immediately for DAZN.
The British promoter predicted Wednesday that Alvarez’s first fight on the new streaming service “probably” will account for “a million subscribers overnight.” DAZN doesn’t release its subscription figures, but its executive chairman, former ESPN president John Skipper, obviously is counting on the Mexican superstar to lure subscribers to the fledgling platform.
Skipper announced Wednesday during a press conference in The Theater at Madison Square Garden that DAZN has signed boxing’s most proven, active pay-per-view star to a five-year, 11-fight deal that reportedly could become worth $365 million. The WBA/WBC middleweight champion is heavily favored to defeat England’s Rocky Fielding in his DAZN debut, a 12-round fight for Fielding’s WBA world super middleweight title December 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Hearn, whose company promotes Fielding, envisions Alvarez’s star power producing plenty of subscriptions come December because his fight against Fielding can be streamed either for a $9.99 monthly subscription or for free if a viewer hasn’t already used DAZN’s free one-month trial. Nine of Alvarez’s past 10 fights have been pay-per-view events distributed by either HBO or Showtime.
“Ultimately, whatever the subscriber number is going into December, it will quadruple in one day for a Canelo fight,” Hearn said following the press conference Wednesday. “If you’ve got 1.1 million people who’ll spend $84.99 on a fight, how many would get it for free or for $9.99 a month?”
The 1.1 million people to whom Hearn referred represents the reported pay-per-view buy rate for Alvarez’s last fight – a majority-decision defeat of rival Gennady Golovkin on September 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. While it’ll be much cheaper to watch the Alvarez-Fielding fight, there’s not nearly as much interest in it as the Alvarez-Golovkin middleweight championship rematch.
Hearn remains more than optimistic about how much business Alvarez-Fielding will generate for DAZN, which provides 32 dates per year in the U.S. market for Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
“What does the Fielding-Alvarez fight do, 300,000 buys on HBO [Pay-Per-View]?,” Hearn said. “You’ve gotta think at least half-a-million are gonna watch it for free, probably a million. So you’re gonna add a million subscribers overnight. And then, when they do the next one in May, at $9.99 a month, you’re gonna get another chunk of subscribers. But you’re gonna have great retention because they’re not gonna leave.
“You know, by the way, it’s not just Canelo, it’s not just Anthony Joshua. It’s 32 Matchroom shows. You know, it’s now Golden Boy shows. It’s three weight classes in the World Boxing Super Series. It’s Bellator [MMA]. It’s Combate Americas [MMA] and a whole load of other new sports coming over the next couple months. So it’s like, these guys, they don’t mess around.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.