Perform Group To Launch DAZN OTT Service in U.S. With $1B Matchroom Boxing Deal
The eight-year deal comes just days after Perform Group named former ESPN President John Skipper as executive chairman
Perform Group announced on Thursday creation of an eight-year, $1 billion joint venture with Matchroom Boxing that the two UK-based companies are calling the biggest boxing deal ever. The Matchroom Boxing USA partnership will mark the U.S. launch of Perform Group’s VOD and live-streaming service, DAZN, which will be the exclusive U.S. broadcast partner for 16 U.S. fight nights per year and Matchroom’s existing 16-fight nights in the UK. The news comes just days after Perform Group named former ESPN President John Skipper its executive chairman.
“Perform Group has a rich history of long-term strategic partnerships with the best rightsholders in world,” said Perform Group CEO Simon Denyer in making the announcement. “I’m excited about working with Matchroom; we share the same passion and vision for reigniting boxing in the U.S., and it’s time for DAZN to provide an exciting new platform for these great events. It’s a better deal for everyone, especially fight fans.”
At a Thursday-afternoon press conference in New York, Denyer and Matchroom Boxing Managing Director Eddie Hearn highlighted plans for Matchroom USA and beyond. According to Denyer, Perform Group plans to announce DAZN’s official launch date and pricing in the U.S. in late June or early July. He also noted that additional live sports content will be included in the subscription service, including “loads of international sports, and, sooner or later, we’ll have some other U.S. sports as well.
“We think the future of sport is OTT and streaming,” he continued. “We’ve built a platform for the future. To us, it’s very very clear that the U.S. broadcasting space does need to change. I think the average broadcast subscriber is paying $150-$160 for a monthly subscription. And, if you’re a boxing fan, you could be spending anywhere from $70-$100 for a boxing pay-per-view. For us, it just seems ridiculous. It’s a huge amount of money, and that’s why not a lot of people are watching it. So the whole thing needs to change.”
DAZN launched in Japan, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in 2016 and in Canada in 2017 priced at a flat monthly fee and featuring a variety of global sports properties. According to Denyer, the average DAZN user watches five events per week across three sports. In addition, 60% of the viewing is on connected TV and devices.
Skipper, who on Monday joined Perform Group as executive chairman, did not speak at the press conference but said in a statement, “DAZN has already proven itself in Japan, Germany, and Canada as the best platform for delivering great live sport to passionate fans. It’s time to bring DAZN to America, and the amazing events we have planned with Matchroom is a great place to start.”
Matchroom Boxing USA will stage 16 fights a year in the U.S. featuring “some of the sport’s biggest stars at the best venues across America,” according to the announcement. None of the Matchroom fight nights will be on PPV; all will be available as part of a DAZN subscription for one monthly fee and no long-term contract. DAZN will also be the exclusive U.S. broadcast partner for Matchroom’s existing 16 fight nights in the UK.
“This is a historic moment for Matchroom and the sport of boxing,” said Hearn. “Since our expansion to the U.S., we have been looking for a partner that shares our vision, and that can give us the volume of dates and rights fees required to build the strongest stable in world boxing and take it to a new level. This is a dream scenario for us. We can build a formidable team of fighters and also put our stamp on events from production to talent to an arena experience. Our plan is to make DAZN the home of boxing, and, with 32 big fight nights already confirmed in the U.S. and UK, we are nicely on our way. America, we have well and truly arrived; let the fun begin!”
The two British businesses, which have worked closely together for more than 10 years, are partnering on this joint venture to be the change that the U.S. boxing world needs. Matchroom Boxing, which has sold more than 1 million tickets to fights in the past five years through its promotion of boxing, helping raise the profile of the sport in the UK. Perform Group is being backed by Access Industries.