Boxing: DAZN to become first global sports streaming platform

A photo taken on Nov 2, 2019, shows Canelo Alvarez (left) and Sergey Kovalev in the third round their WBO light heavyweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
A photo taken on Nov 2, 2019, shows Canelo Alvarez (left) and Sergey Kovalev in the third round their WBO light heavyweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Online sports platform DAZN is to embark on an aggressive expansion that will see it become the world's first global live sports streaming service.

The London-based platform is already available in nine countries, including the United States, Japan and Canada, where it shows boxing and a lineup of other sports.

But it is to launch in the spring in more than 200 territories where it will concentrate solely on boxing, according to a statement published on Monday.

The platform will rely on deals with promotion companies including Golden Boy - which boasts the star power of middleweight Mexican counterpuncher Canelo Alvarez.

It also has agreements with Matchroom Boxing USA, which has two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of Britain on its books, and GGG Promotions, owned by Kazakhstani former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

The first fight available across DAZN's markets on May 2 will feature Alvarez, a world champion in four different weight categories, against a yet-to-be announced opponent.

According to a source close to the project, the subscription price will be between US$5 (S$6.92) and US$15 per month, depending on the market.

DAZN, which has about eight million subscribers, according to the source, has rights to the National Football League (NFL) in Canada and, in Germany, has just acquired Champions League football, beginning with the 2021-22 season.

The company is majority owned by Access Industries, a US-based multinational industrial group that also controls football news website Goal.com and general sports site Sporting News.

 

Regarded as one of the major growth drivers in streaming, live sports at an international level has faced two major pitfalls so far.

The first concerns streaming rights, which are usually sold country by country instead of globally.

The second is tied to the need for a platform that is technically capable of supporting millions of connections to a single live event.

Multiple platforms have already experienced failures during the football World Cup - notably the US televised sports giant ESPN and the BBC.