For Canelo-Bivol, DAZN switches to Pay-Per-View

LAS VEGAS – At their last press conference on Thursday, Saul Alvarez, known as Canello, glanced at Dimitri Bevol, who was photographed before a routine brawl.

For Saturday’s match at the T-Mobile Arena, Alvarez, the undisputed world champion at 168 pounds, jumps into the 175-pound weight category to face the buffalo. The match has fascinated boxing enthusiasts who are wondering whether the 5-foot Alvarez’s ability and strength will be transferred to a higher weight category against the 6-foot buffalo. And he has a built-in audience with Alvarez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, who is heading for a battle card after the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

The event will be broadcast on DAZN, a service that recently signed Alvarez to two fights. Only DAZN subscribers will have to pay an additional $ 60 for a Saturday card. A non-subscriber will pay $ 80 for a quarrel, followed by a one-month subscription.

DAZN sells Saturday Fight Card as a tax, a major strategic change for the company, which has positioned itself as a sports-focused version of Netflix, where subscribers pay a monthly fee to access the company’s full content library. When DAZN started working in boxing in 2018, its then-CEO, James Raston, called the pay-per-view model exorbitant and inefficient.

The tax payment point suggests to DAZN critics and competitors that the financial reality of high-level boxing has hit the streaming service as an Alvarez apex.

“Calling for payment is a good marketing angle, but the reality is very different,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports. “They did not have the capacity to have a consistent customer base.”

But Joe Markowski, DAZN executive vice president, called the tax move a natural response to emerging markets.

“This is not a case of miscalculation,” Markowski said. “This refers to a new phase of DAZN’s growth in the United States. If we want to continue to fight similar battles with fans, we have to make similar decisions from time to time.”

At its inception, DAZN entered the boxing market through two major transactions. First, he signed an eight-year contract with $ 1 billion Matchroom Sports to ensure a steady supply of quality matches that would justify users’ decision to subscribe. He then announced a $ 365 million deal with Golden Boy, Alvarez’s promoter at the time, who would provide 11 of his matches with streaming service, ensuring that boxing has the most individual appeal on the DAZN platform.

DAZN hoped the deal would end in a third fight between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, who also partnered with the streaming service. Alvarez-Golovkin’s first two fights amounted to 2.4 million pay-per-view purchases, which is huge in a sport where 300,000 are considered successful.

But after these blockbuster contracts, Alvarez’s relationship with Golden Boy ended in a series of lawsuits. As an ad-free agent, Alvarez conducted a series of matches under Matchroom and DAZN, one of which attracted 73,126 spectators at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

In November last year, Alvarez jumped on Showtime and defeated Keleb Plant to win the undisputed super middleweight title and grossed $ 40 million. These big guarantees made Alvarez’s tax return inevitable, regardless of the platform, said Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn.

“It is impossible to do the Canelo Alvarez battles as part of a small subscription cost without bleeding millions and millions of dollars,” Hearn said. “Time is evolving. The’s are changing. The market has changed. “If you want to fight Canello, you have to.”

There is no analogue of team sports for the boxing payment perspective model. The NFL is not paying the Super Bowl, nor is it paying Netflix extra money for the new season of “Ozark”. But the signatures, sponsorships and rights fees do not generate enough revenue to support Alvarez’s eight-digit warranty.

Espinoza suggests thinking of pay-per-view as a crowdfunding program funded by fighting fans.

Alvarez, 31, brought in 800,000 acquisitions for the November match in which he disbanded Plant, he expects a tougher challenge this Saturday. In his first lightweight bout, knockout victory over Sergei Kovalev in November 2019, Alvarez, who stands 5 feet tall, needed several rounds to qualify for the size of a 6-foot-tall Kovalev. Buffalo shares Kovalev’s height, but is a better tactical boxer with a long, timely pocket that could deter Alvarez.

He is light in weight and one of the best in the division. “A great fighter,” Alvarez said in an interview with Zoom. “It opens up the possibility for me to be the undisputed champion at the age of 175.”

Buffalo, who is undefeated in 19 professional fights, also enters Saturday’s fight with bulletproof self-confidence.

“I believe in mine,” Beauvoir told a news conference. “I have had a long journey so far and now I have to do my job.”

Boxing fans may find the style combination intriguing, but selling the match to a wider audience still depends on Alvarez’s stellar strength. His $ 15 million guarantee is a small portion of his advance pay for plant warfare, but it also hints that Alvarez is expecting unexpected revenue when he receives an income tax cut.

After Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano attracted 1.5 million viewers for their main event on DAZN a week ago, Markowski expects strong sales from Alvarez and Beauvais.

“We have targets to hit,” Markowski said. “We will observe Saturday and the following days.”

The emerging market has changed the definition of pay-per-view success. In 2015, the long-awaited controversy between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao brought in 4.6 million acquisitions; Prior to that, each fighter regularly paid more than $ 1 million in taxes. But Mayweather and Pacquiao were the stars of the mainstream generation. For most other headliners, Espinosa said, 100,000 purchases are honorable, while 300,000 are impressive.

Espinoza and Markowski both argue that the tax bill is best used as a programming supplement from time to time so that broadcasters do not get tired or offend customers by accruing premiums for inconvenient events.

“As long as when we write the prices of fillet mignon, we supply the contents of the fillet mignon, then I think everything is fine,” said Espinoza. “The problem is when you price fillet mignon and serve ground beef.”

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