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To (Legally) Stream or Not To Stream That Is The Question? 

By now the vast majority of the hardcore boxing community has already heard the major announcement made by Matchroom Sports Boss Eddie Hearn pertaining to a long term U.S. streaming deal. On the surface, Hearn & DAZN is offering American fight fans 32-live show’s a year, with 16 here in the states and another 16 being U.K. themed Sky Sports card. All for the price of, something we haven’t been informed of is the price, which is estimated to be anywhere from 10-20 dollars per month.

The length and size of the deal is impressive to say the least but the proof will be in the pudding once the ball gets rolling in September. Speaking of the length, many rumors have swamped the twitter-sphere stating it’s actually a 4-year deal with a possible 4-year extension, while other reports say 2 guaranteed, with a 6-year extend options.

For years fans have clamored for a boxing channel similar to what the U.K. has in Box Nation. Although boxing will be a focal point for the launch of DAZN, the fledgling company dubs itself as the “Netflix of Sports”. In late June we should know more about the other sports included in the package along with a few events planned to start September 22. Will also get a list of fighters Hearn has collected which standing on the outside looking in, is an ongoing fluid process. 


With well over 100 million to spend per year, Eddie claims to have anywhere from 12 to 20 superstars interested in signing on the dotted line. First thought that comes to mind is, we don’t have many superstars let alone double digits. As of late we’ve gotten a peek at what kind of purses Eddie is offering via Adrien Broner’s Instagram. As well as a few nuggets of information via Robert and Mikey Garcia thanks to ESnews. 

Hearn’s plan was to take America by storm time will tell us much more as to what extent Hearn and DAZN footprint takes hold. Several items stand out to why a fighter would jump at this tremendous opportunity. Like anything, there’s also negatives that will likely have some fighters (mostly Haymon’s stable) turning down Eddie’s aggressive offerings. It really depends on who the boxer has backing him and which network is willing to spend.

 

Obviously, branding a new sports streaming company in the United States won’t be easy to gain traction without the rights for a few of the major sports. If the sports are of the niche variety in the early goings it will be difficult to build up a large subscription base. Without the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. your asking people to pay for sports that they likely already pay for as part of their cable bill. Even cable cutters may be drawn to ESPN+ for sports such as boxing, the UFC, professional baseball, and more. Not to mention has a price point of 4.99.

Lots of folks scoffed at Adrien Broner’s ridiculous comments and couldn’t figure out why he would turn down Eddie Hearn lucrative 3-fight deal worth close to 7 million dollars. Many focused their attention on his silly comments and his recent purse numbers release by state commissions. What the press and fans fail to realize is some named fighters get extra money put on top of the networks licensing fee. Whether it is part of their contract agreement as a minimum or it comes from ticket/foreign sales percentages. 

Hearn’s long list of PBC fighters he’s shown interested in has not necessarily hit a snag, rather stuck in a negotiations limbo of sorts. He’s made a few offers to Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence, and as mentioned, Broner to no avail. In fact Hearn made runs at the likes of Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Deontay Wilder, striking out ever at bat in round 1. That’s not to say Hearn won’t eventually get some of the top PBC guys to put pen to paper.

Members of the press and their sheep like followers cherish any opportunity they get to dump on Al Haymon. I’m not talking about the legit criticism, it’s the over top, completely bias unfair complaints that other promoters don’t get. Examples would be, hyping up the frivolous GBP promotions lawsuit or all the boardroom Waddell and Reed talk. My favorite is the great exodus of Haymon fighters because PBC is out of money or when Top Rank signed on to ESPN. Once again talk of a massive exodus of PBC fighters to Eddie Hearn’s new streaming service is all the rage.  

Just how many subscribers will sign up for DAZN including not just boxing fans but sports enthusiasts in general? Will it be 200-300,000, 500-600,000, maybe over a million like it is in Japan? This scribe is not going act as if I know the answer. That said, it surely won’t be 20 or 30 million, or say 70-80 million. Those numbers are put forth to show the difference in potential exposure from DAZN compared to SHOWTIME/HBO, ESPN/FS1, or CBS/FOX.

Now ask yourself, why would a fighter that makes similar money or more, shrink his or hers exposure? It doesn’t make a ton of sense if you already make around the offered purse, have the support of a network behind you, and a top-flight manager (advisor). 

If you’re not sold and think Broner makes the exact amount that Dan Rafael tweets, then just ask the head of Showtime Sports Stephen Espinoza. Espinoza chimed in on a twitter debate tweeting, “It was silly of him (Hearn) to think AB doesn’t already make over 2.5 million a fight. “

Also, with no PPV platform on DAZN a fighter will see a decrease in exposure and a salary cap. If a boxer is backed by Showtime/PBC/ESPN at least you have the potential to land a big fight on CBS/FOX/ABC to maximize exposure. 

So far the rumored names read as followed: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Jarret Hurd, Gabriel Rosado, and Artur Beterbiev amongst others. Beyond some American prospects, the only named guys are the Charlo Twins, who seem to be the most interested and have actually discussed this with you guessed it, Al Haymon. Personally I think the Charlo’s are a perfect fit and win-win for both. It drums up some interest in DAZN and it keeps the twins busy while they search for bigger and better opponents. If Eddie signs Hurd that works for Jermell and Hearn will have big money to entice say a Billy Joe Saunders for Jermall.

Of course Eddie Hearn probably has a few names held under his sleeve all ready to go in September and October. It’s a work in progress that this wanna-be-scribe will not fully praise or criticize until we see the stable and the product. Eddie claims to have more yearly budget then Showtime and HBO combined at his disposal. What he may have underestimated was PBC creator Al Haymon, not knowing what the actual total purse of Al’s guys would be a huge mistake for a men obsessed with the numbers. We should let it all play out but let us not forget how Hearn clearly overlooked Wilder’s side of the negotiations after gleefully proclaiming Deontay’s side can’t make an offer. 

As we should’ve done and should do today with the PBC, we have to wait and see then judge fairly. If a promoter/network puts on a showcase or worse, then it should be labeled exactly that across the board. I for one am over the moon at the prospects of more quality boxing and a yet another large investment in the sport we all love (to hate).

Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast – Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio