Friday, October 30, 2020

All aboard the money train: Should networks invest more in Celebrity boxing fights?

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Jay Rock
Jay Rockhttp://mmaindia.com
MMA, Boxing, NBA, Cricket, Betting
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Jake Paul, who is one of the most popular YouTubers in the world knocked out AnEsongib in the first round. The fight was a highly anticipated one.

While combat sports purists might not care much about these match-ups. It’s important to note that no matter how hard they try, they’re going to get sucked in.

It all started last year when DAZN secured the streaming rights for Logan Paul vs KSI rematch. The pair had previously fought on PPV platform in the UK. The fight generated massive interest amongst the young internet demographic. The fight was a super hit blockbuster with them fighting at a sold-out crowd at the Manchester Arena which seats about 20,000 fans.

KSI, LOGAN PAUL, JAKE PAUL, DAZN

The man in charge of making sure that DAZN gets the exclusive rights to this fight was Eddie Hearn. If you’re a boxing fan, chances are there isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t hear this name. Eddie Hearn is the head of Matchroom Boxing promotions.

DAZN is a sports streaming platform that aims to become the Netflix of sports. In 2018, DAZN signed an 8-year, $1 billion deal. Over the next few months, DAZN went on a spending spree backed by Billionaire Leonard Blavatnik. The 62-year old Ukrainian born Blavatnik has a net worth of $25 Billion.

Some of the biggest stars in the boxing world were now signed to DAZN. Last year, four-division world champion Canelo Alvarez signed an 11-fight, $365 Million deal with DAZN. DAZN also featured the heavyweight title fights between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. After Andy Ruiz knocked out the British superstar, the rematch took place in Saudi Arabia. DAZN got the rights to stream this fight as well. They also have a stable of upcoming superstars like Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz etc along with legit world championship boxers like Oleksandr Usyk, Billy Joe Saunders, Demetrius Andrade, Gennady Golovkin etc.

So if DAZN has a stable of world champion calibre fighters and superstars like Canelo, Joshua and GGG, why are they acquiring rights to stream a boxing match between two YouTubers?

Well, the business model of DAZN is similar to Netflix. Subscribers pay a monthly fee and in return, they get access to quality content. DAZN really put some extremely good fights last year. But those fights don’t come cheap. For DAZN to continue sustaining, they have to bring in lot of subscribers.

The thing is, DAZN hasn’t been able to do that. The fight between Canelo Alvarez vs Sergey Kovalev was the fifth most-watched event of the year on DAZN, but it had a viewership of only 800,000. To put this into perspective, Canelo Alvarez’s rematch with Gennady Golovkin sold 1.1 Million PPV buys, which generated a revenue of $94 Million. The cost of the PPV was $84.99.

DAZN on the other hand only charges $19.99 and if one purchase yearly passes which cost $99/year, then the price declines further. At this rate, it becomes extremely hard for DAZN to churn a profit on these events.

This forced DAZN to turn to extremely new demography. An audience who would have never purchased a DAZN subscription had YouTubers like Logan Paul, KSI, Jake Paul never competed in their platform.

Logan Paul and KSI had collectively over 40 Million youtube subscribers. When DAZN secured the streaming rights to the rematch, the plan was to convert a small percentage of those 40 Million youtube subscribers into paying DAZN subscribers.

This move was extremely successful for DAZN, as the rematch became the most viewed fight of the year on the streaming platform. Although the record was later broken by the heavyweight rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua.

Saturday night was a big success,” DAZN’s executive vice president for North America Joseph Markowski said following KSI vs Logan Paul 2 (via news.com.au). “The KSI versus Logan Paul event generated a significant boost in subscriptions, caught the attention of mainstream media and introduced the sport of boxing to a completely new audience. Those were our goals at the outset and we are very pleased with the results.”

DAZN never released as to how many views did the fight did. But the fact that KSI vs Logan Paul 2 managed to do such great numbers despite the fact that it was the professional debut for both the influencers were enough reason for the streaming platform to continue putting on celebrity boxing matches.

I’ve had five or six calls this week from probably the highest-profile people in their fields, from sport, music, acting, who said: ‘Look, don’t say anything, but can I fight the winner?’ so now we have to look at that, and by the way two or three of them can really fight,” Eddie Hearn said during the KSI vs Logan Paul 2 fight week.

For now, it was an experiment that went really, really well. People criticized it, then people started getting on board, then people started benefiting from the numbers and the audience, and the next thing everybody loves it.

Anything that grows this sport that we love, I’m all up for, whilst making sure we always respect the code,” Eddie concluded. (H/T – RT.com)

Fast forward two-months, Jake Paul, who is the younger brother of Logan Paul and has 19.7 Million subscribers on Youtube is fighting a British YouTuber AnEsongib, who has 2.3 Million subscribers on youtube.

The fight was staged at the Meridian at Islands Garden in Miami. The City is also hosting Superbowl LIV and the heavy media presence definitely boosted the fight between the two youtube stars. While we would have to wait for the official viewership numbers, it doesn’t take an expert to believe that this fight would have boosted the subscriber number for DAZN.

Following his first-round TKO victory, Jake Paul called out KSI. Paul wants to avenge his brother’s loss to KSI and this sets up an interesting storyline, which I believe DAZN will definitely capitalise on.

So expect this charade of influencer/Celebrity match-ups to continue. It’s all about the Benjamins for the networks.

ALSO READ:

Jake Paul knocks out AnEsongib in the first round, calls out KSI

 

 

 

 

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