Eddie Hearn reluctant, yet open to PPV for DAZN
When the DAZN app stormed the American market, it was something of a novel idea for US boxing fans. Here in the states, fight enthusiasts are conditioned to watching their pugilistic action by a few standard medium; basic cable, premium channels, and pay-per-view, to be precise. Tuning in exclusively through an app, while somewhat abstract, could be a very useful tool if done correctly. Even better, the front man for the US branch of the global service and UK Matchroom Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, would promise that the best part of the deal was the low monthly subscription. Initially, boxing fans could take part in DAZN for the reasonable price of $10 a month. Regrettably, DAZN would find it necessary to raise their prices to $20 a month.
NEW DAYS, NEW TACTICS
The jarring hike in prices led many to believe that the US venture was hemorrhaging money. It was only a short leap of logic from there for certain fans and media members to speculate that DAZN would have to begin using the pay-per-view format as well; especially since they had promised several fighters staggering sums of money. One high-profile name on that list being WBA super world middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO’s).
Back at that time, Hearn insisted that there would be no need for PPV shows via the app. Even now, he maintains that rhetoric…kind of. While answering a battery of questions issued by the Athletic, the Matchroom Boxing CEO would explain that there were no plans for instilling a PPV option for the DAZN app. At the same time however, Hearn openly expressed that it would not be a bad idea. It would provide more flexibility in making mega level prizefights.
“What’s happened in the last few months is going to change everyone’s business model. The idea behind DAZN was a subscription service without PPV and I think that was one of its biggest selling points to a fan. Fighters always have in their mind: ‘I want to be a PPV fighter,’ and I think the purses have gotten out of control in the sport – that’s partly my fault, or partly DAZN’s fault, as Bob Arum keeps telling me.
But we need to establish a model where the fighters will get the purses that their value and profile represents. The easiest way to do that is via a PPV model. The DAZN model has been so great for fighters because you get a guaranteed purse – there’s no risk; especially at a time when, for certain fights, the PPV numbers might not have been as good as you would have hoped.
I certainly wouldn’t like to see DAZN become a PPV platform because that’s not the ethos behind the product. But I do think to introduce the capacity to do it would be interesting and the PPV model enables you to be more flexible to make certain fights. In certain situations, the only way they’re going to be able to air certain fights is via PPV – that’s not in terms of finances, I’m talking about fights like Tyson Fury v AJ.”
It doesn’t appear that DAZN is on the verge of adding a pay-per-view option. However, listening to Eddie Hearn, it shouldn’t be shocking news if they choose to do so in the near future. Stay tuned to 3kingsboxing.com for all the latest boxing news and updates.
By: Bakari Simpson