07
Apr
2020

Question marks over future of Sky Sports Box Office ahead of DAZN UK

Phil Jay 03/03/2020
Anthony Joshua Sky Sports Box Office

📸 Mark Robinson

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.

At present, US fans pay a little as $9.99 per month to watch the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin and British star Anthony Joshua.

Sky put all of 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 own path elsewhere.

Frank Warren ended up join forces with BoxNation and then BT Sport, whilst Ricky Hatton and Kellie Maloney never really found a home after that.

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, it’s highly likely that Joshua will have to be to confined to DAZN, at least 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 in regards to high-profile boxing events after that.

They’ll need to keep their biggest star nailed down to a Sky Sports Box Office contract. But with DAZN charging so little for other Matchroom fighters, a huge backlash will be expected.


PPV SALES

The Londoner carries the full weight of Sky Sports Box Office purchases, which have been getting worse and worse year-by-year.

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 a solitary 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 now been brought forward, primarily as a necessity, and 2022 has evolved into 2020.

This leaves Sky possibly contemplating their next move as the market squeezes considerably.

The views expressed in this article are that of the Editor, Phil Jay. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay