DAZN’s boxing-led OTT launch back in focus

DAZN’s launch of a global OTT streaming service initially focused on boxing is being readied, after the initial launch was postponed amidst disruption to the boxing calendar and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the international subscription streaming broadcaster’s business.

Ahead of full details being released in the coming weeks on the launch, DAZN has invited users to register their interest in testing a beta version.

Events that will be made available free of charge to the beta testers include the Golden Boy Promotions fight between Vergil Ortiz Junior against Samuel Vargas in Indio, California on July 24.

This will be followed by streaming of Julio Cesar Martinez’s defence of his WBC flyweight title against McWilliams Arroyo in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 15 in a fight promoted by Matchroom Boxing USA. The trio of boxing bouts to feature on the beta version will be completed by the fight on August 28 between Jorge Linares and Javier Fortuna in another bout presented by Golden Boy.

DAZN had planned to go live with a service in over 200 countries in time for Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez’s super-middleweight fight on May 2.

However, the launch was suspended amidst the postponement of various boxing bouts and with DAZN hit hard by the global sports shutdown and financial measures were put in place to ride out the crisis and revive the business later in the year. Chief executive Simon Denyer recently left his role as chief executive and has been replaced by James Rushton as acting chief executive, as exclusively reported last month by SportBusiness.

The beta testing phase is targeting users outside DAZN’s existing markets of Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the US.

The launch is expected to centre on a global boxing event and pricing details in different markets will be announced in due course.

The global English-language OTT service will be able to showcase DAZN’s international rights to various fightcards through tie-ups with Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing USA and GGG Promotions. DAZN will be able to support the live boxing content with archive fight programming, athlete features and original programming, including boxing’s 40 Days and One Night, along with The Making Of, a football series focused on Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and José Mourinho.

The global launch means that DAZN will go live for the first time in the UK. A price point of £4.99 (€5.54/$6.25) per month had been decided upon in the UK ahead of the planned launch in May. The price point will vary in each country depending on the broadcast rights secured in that territory and the market conditions.

DAZN first launched in German-speaking countries and Japan in August 2016. A service in Canada followed just under a year later and a boxing-focused US service arrived in September 2018, hot on the heels of the launch of the Italian service on the back of the Serie A rights acquisition. Services have since been added in Brazil and Spain.

In May 2018, DAZN (then Perform Group) announced an eight-year $1bn (€887m) deal with the Matchroom Boxing promoter to stream top bouts to fans in the US market. In its deals with promoters Matchroom, Golden Boy and GGG, DAZN secured global streaming rights and has until now sold on rights in markets in which it is not yet active.

In March last year, DAZN doubled the price of its US subscription from $9.99 to $19.99 per month.