Tuesday marked the official press launch of DAZN (pronounced “Da-Zone) in the United States. For the time being, unlike DAZN in other countries such as Canada, Japan, or Germany, the feature product of DAZN US is solely combat sports, with Bellator MMA, Matchroom Boxing, and the World Boxing Super Series tournaments all streaming on this platform.
DAZN US officially goes live on Tuesday, September 10th. Potential customers obviously want to know how much this will all cost, and we have our answer. Much like UFC Fight Pass, the monthly subscription is set at $9.99, although unlike Fight Pass or ESPN+ (which is $4.99/month), there is no annual option. A one-month free trial is being offered first to give fans a taste of what’s to come.
The first live fight card is set for September 22nd, and it’s a heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium. This partially explains why Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder isn’t happening yet. As for Bellator MMA, the champ vs. champ superfight between Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald is the first DAZN-exclusive event under the new broadcasting agreement.
Here’s the current schedule through October:
- Sept. 22 – Matchroom UK card in London featuring Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin main event
- Sept. 29 – Bellator 205: Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald, plus welterweight Grand Prix in San Jose
- Oct. 6 – Matchroom USA card in Chicago featuring Jessie Vargas, Demetrius Andrade, Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson title fight, Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano title fight, Jarrell Miller, and more.
- Oct. 12 – Bellator 206: Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader*** in Connecticut
- Oct. 20 – Matchroom USA card in Los Angeles featuring Danny Roman vs. Gavin McDonnell title fight
*** Simulcast with Paramount Network
There will be no pay-per-view aspect to DAZN, so everything you see is included in the subscription.
“We don’t think the Pay-Per-View ecosystem is working,” DAZN CEO James Rushton told Yahoo Finance last month. “Fight fans, mixed martial arts fans, come and try us.”
The breakdown of annual events is as follows:
Bellator MMA – 22 events, with 15 simulcast on Paramount Network, and the remaining 7 exclusively on DAZN. According to the press release, the 10-fighter welterweight tournament “will play out over the next year exclusively on DAZN.”
Matchroom Boxing – 16 USA events, as well as 16 UK events, with the entire fight cards streamed and not just the usual 1-4 bouts as you’d see on HBO, Showtime, or ESPN.
World Boxing Super Series – 15 events featuring 21 tournament bouts spread across three weight classes. The WBSS draw for the super-lightweight and bantamweight tournaments is set for July 20th.
Tape-delay, which has been a recurring issue for Bellator MMA shows on Paramount Network, will not be an issue on DAZN.
“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” said James Rushton, DAZN CEO. “When you get DAZN, you’ll get all the fights; we won’t stash our best matchups for PPV, linear TV or a higher-tier package. And you’re going to get the entire card live, no matter the time zone and without constraints for one affordable price.”
In addition to the live and on-demand content, “fans will also enjoy access to a robust content portfolio ranging from new shows premiering on the service, behind-the-scenes features leading up to big events and real-time news stories about the upcoming matchups.”
Subscribers can stream on up to three devices at once, and these are the media players and apps that are compatible with DAZN. (Via Sporting News)
Given that combat sports is shifting more and more towards streaming paywalls whilst simultaneously not abandoning the PPV model — the UFC is still expected to run 12-13 PPVs annually under the ESPN deal — it might be a hard sell to fans to pony up even more money to watch boxing or MMA. Between UFC Fight Pass, DAZN, and ESPN+, that’s roughly $30 per month tied up to watch the top fights. If you’re a Showtime subscriber, tack on another $15. While I’m sure many would love for the best fights to be on ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC or ESPN/FS1/NBC SN, neither MMA nor boxing is mainstream enough to command such attention for TV time.
Alas, this is the response to the cord-cutting revolution that has seen many bypass traditional cable or “pay-TV” packages for the likes of Netflix and Amazon, as is the case in the United Kingdom and the United States. Unlike Netflix and Amazon, however, the top-shelf content on those services usually don’t also involve recurring $65 costs like a UFC PPV.
Whether television packages or OTT subscriptions, the bottom line remains the same: it all depends on what you want. DAZN may be of significant interest to boxing fans, particularly as Eddie Hearn vows to have more “stacked” boxing cards akin to what you see in the UFC or a major Bellator show. The World Boxing Super Series has also garnered much praise for its tournament format containing many of the top boxers in the world. Should boxing not be your thing, then I doubt there will be many subscribing just for Bellator MMA, which is the only property that is not exclusive to DAZN.
Nevertheless, the one-month free trial is there for everyone who lives in the United States, and you can make your own decision as to whether or not you’ll be giving DAZN $9.99 per month.