In somewhat surprising news, Canelo Alvarez’s post-HBO career will take place on the streaming service DAZN. Canelo’s 11-fight contract worth up to $365 million officially launches the new era of boxing. The ripple effect of Canelo’s decision will not only impact the boxing world starting today, but it will also change it for the coming decades. The reason, the sport’s biggest pay-per-view draw – not counting the maybe, maybe not retired Mayweather – has decided he will no longer be participating on pay-per-view.
With HBO’s decision to punt on the boxing business, the only remaining pay-per-view productions will be produced by Showtime. However, this decision is going to make that awfully challenging for what most would believe to be boxing’s greatest broadcast partner. Showtime will still be able to sell pay-per-views featuring their deep heavyweight class, but this will surely make those bouts less appealing for that price. If the most attractive draw in the sport can be seen for less than $10 bundled in with an abundance of others, all of sudden a $50, $60, $70, maybe $100 fight seems like yesterday’s ways.
DAZN’s signing today is not just going to impact Showtime, but also ESPN. ESPN’s partnership with Top Rank has gone as well as anyone with reasonable expectation could have predicted, yet now the momentum is not theirs. ESPN displays the two best fighters in the world in Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko, but neither combined have the drawing power of Canelo. 24 hours ago, if boxing fans had to choose what streaming service to invest in, it would undoubtedly have been ESPN+ (some of Top Ranks fights remain on ESPN). Today, that decision is likely changed if solely based on boxing. Being the money-hungry sport it is, expect that many more boxers of the middleweight division are now starving to get to DAZN to get that paycheck with Canelo. Yes, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is at the top of that list.
In addition, the odds are now greatly in the favor of the next great boxer, who is more Canelo than Crawford, making their name away from pay-per-view. Even if that fighter has the personality of Floyd Mayweather, the audience will reject going back to paying outrageous amounts of money to watch one fight after getting used to the much more reasonable monthly fee. The next great boxer to follow Canelo will have to do what Roman Reigns is doing in the WWE, carrying the brand for $9.99 a month on a streaming service.
Canelo’s new relationship is not going to only greatly impact boxing’s broadcast partners and their future fighters, but the UFC is not going to be immune, either. Timing may not be great after they just struck gold on pay-per-view with Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, but unless they have three or four McGregors lined up, they too are going to have to look into this model in the coming years. First wrestling, now boxing, and, yup, you know what that means…
Not even a day has gone by since Canelo Alvarez signed with DAZN, and things are already looking so much different.