Boxing and its fragmented picture continue to be fertile testing grounds for broadcasters and streaming services looking to acquire live sporting rights amidst rising licensing costs.
Netflix is exploring further testing the live sports programming waters with a boxing card headlined by Jake Paul and a separate show headlined by fighters from Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, according to a report published by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
The development and potential venture from the streaming giant arrives after an Oct. 17 announcement declared that Showtime Sports would cease operations and end its 37-year run producing boxing shows.
PBC has been providing Showtime content throughout the last decade, and Showtime’s last two shows are set to be staged Nov. 25 on PPV and Dec. 16 on the premium cable network.
In recent weeks, media reports have indicated that PBC has been in discussions with Amazon and DAZN as they explore to stage their slate of events in 2024.
The PBC roster is headlined by high-profiled attractions like Canelo Alvarez, Gervonta Davis, Terence Crawford, Deontay Wilder, and Errol Spence Jr., among dozens of others.
Paul, meanwhile, continues to stretch his brand far and wide.
On Oct. 16, it was announced that Paul's next bout would be presented on DAZN on Dec. 15. On Oct. 19, Paul's promotional company MVP and DAZN announced a renewed pact to present a "Most Valuable Prospects" Series across six events in 2024. Paul's Aug. 5 PPV fight against Nate Diaz was presented by DAZN, ESPN+, PPV.com, as well as the Triller-owned FITE TV.
Netflix released a documentary earlier this year on Paul as part of its “Untold” series.
“We aren’t anti-sports, we’re pro-profit,” Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos previously stated in January when discussing the arms race for acquiring live sports programming rights.
Netflix's first foray into streaming live sports arrives Nov. 14 in an event billed as “The Netflix Cup” featuring golf professionals and Formula One drivers who star in separate Netflix documentaries.
As new players like Netflix and Amazon consider adding boxing to their menu of offerings, the sport’s power brokers realize there is a need for a market correction.
Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn recently called for reform across boxing, declaring that "broadcasters can't continually pay money for fights that don't deliver.”
As longtime players like Showtime leave the sweet science, new players continue to enter the space.
NBC Sports announced a deal last month that it would stream live boxing shows presented by UK-based promotional company BOXXER exclusively on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock with select events airing on NBC.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.