Streaming service DAZN launched in September 2018 to a fanfare event in the United States. Before too long began snapping up boxers without representation.
Any stars who were on the lookout for a new US TV home were added to the roster, alongside a couple of already well-known stables.
The clamor for boxing content was beginning to become a huge competition as DAZN added to FOX, Showtime and ESPN+ in the States after the demise of HBO.
Offering a ‘top quality product for just $9.95’ – it was clear DAZN meant business. All they needed was a big star to carry the load.
DAZN turned to Anthony Joshua, gazumping his deal with Showtime. They immediately gave themselves a selling point.
Joshua fought Povetkin in the first event and DAZN was off and running.
Initial reports of sales were poor, though. Joshua wasn’t enough of a name stateside yet. DAZN needed something even bigger. They turned to Oscar De La Hoya.
A meeting was set-up to discuss the potential to bring over the entire Golden Boy stable. A shrewd move which would include boxing’s pound for pound superstar Canelo Alvarez.
One of the biggest deals since Floyd Mayweather was done. But it came at a price to those who had already shown faith.
The $9.95 quickly became $19.95 ($100 per year). That could soon become $29.95 ($150 per year) on the back of deals to sign Gennadiy Golovkin, Mikey Garcia and others.
Without a lot more subscribers, the current DAZN model is unsustainable, hence bringing in the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and YouTubers in a desperate bid to improve monthly incomings.
The massive layout, which included heavy advertising fees across the board, means DAZN either has to push more sales of the app or hike up the prices.
By 2023, DAZN needs to be turning over those projected profits of a five-year plan. Something that could prove impossible as they continue to add more and more fighters.
It’s not a bottomless pit of money. DAZN wants to be the Netflix of the sport and be highly profitable into the bargain. This first half-decade is crucial to the self-sustaining future.
As things currently stand, it’s unlikely DAZN will be able to do that without balancing the books. Meaning those currently wanting to keep the service can expect to pay more, as early as this year.
Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has already put the feelers out on charging punters an eye-popping 50 bucks per month. Something which could be commercial suicide with ESPN+ just a fraction of that in price.
A smaller increase of $10 seems more likely. Whilst by 2023, that $50 figure may be impossible to avoid unless targets are reached.