Developments at DAZN over the last eighteen months in boxing have put considerable pressure on Sky Sports Box Office.
DAZN recently announced plans to move into 200 further territories, meaning boxing fans in the UK can enjoy a similar deal to those in the USA.
US fans pay as little as $9.99 per month to watch the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin, and British star Anthony Joshua.
Sky put all their eggs in the Matchroom basket when agreeing on an exclusive deal with Eddie Hearn almost a decade ago. This meant other promoters found their path elsewhere.
Frank Warren joined forces with BoxNation and then BT Sport, while Ricky Hatton and Kellie Maloney never found a home after that.
Sky Sports Box Office
Unlike Sky, Warren has quite a safe haven with BT, as all his fighters are on solid deals with the company. But with Sky, their top star is Joshua, who also features on DAZN.
Therefore, should DAZN give Hearn an ultimatum, Joshua will likely have to be confined to DAZN until subscriptions are high enough in the UK.
There’s no reason why both DAZN and Sky can’t work together in the future, but in all probability, AJ and the London-based streaming service may remain merged – as in the US.
Adam Smith, the Head of Boxing at Sky Sports, faces some tough decisions over the coming months as yet another competitor bids to televise the biggest boxing shows.
Sky already missed out on Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder II to BT Sport, with the third installment almost certainly going the same way.
Any hope of landing Canelo vs Billy Joe Saunders has gone, with DAZN poised to confirm the bout will be the first British broadcast on May 2.
Joshua vs Kubrat Pulev on June 20 has been confirmed for their paid platform, although Sky will potentially be in no man’s land regarding high-profile boxing events after that.
They must keep their biggest star nailed down to a Sky Sports Box Office contract. But a vast backlash will be expected with DAZN charging so little for other Matchroom fighters.
The Londoner carries the full weight of Sky Sports Box Office purchases, which have been getting worse yearly.
Take AJ out of the equation, and Sky Sports Box Office sales are less than one million for their last four events. Joshua usually gains that for an isolated event.
Initially sounding out Eddie Hearn for their US venture, DAZN seemingly had no intention of competing with Sky, at least in the immediate future.
But UK launch dates have been brought forward, primarily as necessary, and 2022 has evolved into 2020.
This leaves Sky possibly contemplating their next move as the market squeezes considerably.