DAZN Steps Into PPV Ring with Canelo Alvarez Fight

Canelo Alvarez to fight on DAZN Dec. 19
(Image credit: DAZN)

Streaming sports service DAZN is taking a unique approach to adding subscribers with Saturday’s distribution of the Canelo Alvarez middleweight championship fight.

The SVOD streaming service will offer the Alvarez-Callum Smith fight via pay-per-view through PPV event aggregator In Demand for $69.99. As part of the deal, viewers purchasing the fight will receive a four-month subscription to the sports service, according to DAZN officials.

Alvarez will be fighting on PPV for the first time since signing a 12-fight deal with DAZN in 2018. That deal was nullified last month after Alvarez settled a breach of contract suit filed in September against DAZN and boxing company Golden Boy.

Also Read: DAZN Sets Canelo Alvarez Fight for December

DAZN senior VP of marketing Rob Stecklow said the offer provides an opportunity for the SVOD sports streaming service to introduce itself to boxing fans while luring back former subscribers who may have dropped the service earlier in the year when the pandemic halted most pro sports events, including marquee boxing shows.

“We’re taking the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport and someone who has been on our platform for three fights," he said. “We want to put this fight in front of as many fans as possible, which is why we’re opening up the DAZN subscription package through the more traditional pay-per-view purchase.”  

For In Demand, the Alvarez-Callum fight is the third PPV boxing event in four weeks, following the successful Nov. 28 Mike Tyson -Roy Jones Jr. exhibition bout -- which drew 1.9 million PPV buys, according to industry sources -- and the Dec. 5 Errol Spence Jr.-Danny Garcia welterweight championship fight. Neither In Demand nor DAZN would say whether cable distributors would receive a split of the revenue generated from Alvarez-Callum PPV buys.

“We just came off two hugely successful fights with Tyson/Jones and Spence/Garcia; in fact, the Tyson event was one of the top 8 PPV events of all time,” said Mark Boccardi, senior VP, programming & marketing for In Demand. “While we recognize that the structure of the deal with DAZN is unique, it gives us the opportunity to get Canelo back on PPV and allows our customers to conveniently order from their existing cable, satellite, and telco providers. DAZN clearly recognizes the broad reach that we provide, and wants to tap into our audience with this arrangement.” 

DAZN’s recent run of big fights, including the Dec. 12 Anthony Joshua-Kubrat Pulev fight and tomorrow night’s (Dec. 18) Gennady Golovkin-Kamil Szeremeta middleweight fight, has helped the service reach its pre-pandemic subscriber numbers, although the service would not reveal specific figures. Stecklow added the PPV offer will provide greater exposure for DAZN’s combat sports-centric lineup of programming, but he would not project how many PPV buys the Alvarez-Smith fight will generate. 

Stecklow also wouldn’t rule out stepping into the PPV ring for future fights. “We ideally would like to do this with other fights, potentially with our Ryan Garcia-Luke Campbell fight on Jan. 2,” he said. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.