Cord-cutters are about to have one more streaming option for live sports, thanks to DAZN, a new sports service that specializes in boxing and mixed martial arts.
ESPN+, an add-on service that complements the ESPN network, launched in April 2018. Sling TV, DirecTV, Hulu, and YouTube TV all allow you to peruse live sporting events without having to pay for traditional cable. Showtime boxing matches occasionally show up on YouTube or Facebook, while a variety of streaming services let you stream live NFL games.
That’s already plenty of players to choose from. No matter which you go with, it will be fascinating to see whether DAZN (pronounced Da Zone) will survive and thrive in what has become a more crowded marketplace.
That’s particularly true given the coronavirus crisis that’s impacted live sports. According to a Sports Illustrated article, DAZN is withholding rights payments to sports leagues, fueling speculation about whether it can survive several months with the live events its business model is built on.
Here’s everything you need to know about DAZN.
What is DAZN?
Launched in the U.S. in September 2018, DAZN is the newest entry in sports streaming. Perform Group announced earlier in 2018 that it signed a deal with the Matchroom Boxing promotion company worth $1 billion over eight years. DAZN offers both live sporting events and original programming.
But DAZN is already well established in other parts of the world. The service first launched in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland in August 2016, and it quickly expanded into Japan and, in July 2017, Canada, where it offers NFL games and NFL RedZone, as well as MLS live matches, PGA Tour events, WTA tennis events, and a variety of world-class international soccer competitions (inlcuding Champions League, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1).
In total, DAZN streams more than 8,000 sporting events per year, but what’s available varies by territory. In the rest of the countries DAZN serves, it also has rights to Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, and various European soccer leagues.
In the U.S., the service focuses much of its attention on boxing and mixed martial arts. It features fighters from Matchroom Boxing, one of the most powerful boxing promotional companies in Europe with some of the world’s best boxers.
In October 2018, DAZN made international headlines by signing Canelo Alvarez, one of the world’s best and most popular boxers, to a five-year, 11-fight deal worth $365 million, making him the world’s highest-paid athlete. Considering most of Alvarez’s appearances these days are on pay-per-view, where fans have to pay between $70-$85 to watch him compete, the fact DAZN subscribers can watch him with their subscriptions is a great feature. To be frank, Alvarez is a massive get for the service. His first fight on the service, against Rocky Fielding in December, helped DAZN become the most downloaded app on Android and iOS the weekend of the fight. In March 2019, DAZN added Gennady “GGG” Golovkin with a six-fight deal.
For MMA, it will show Bellator matchups—which is certainly a step down from the quality of the UFC but nothing to sneeze at. As the DAZN website states:
DAZN is the best way to watch fight sports. Period. We bring you unlimited access to the biggest events without the runaround. No blacked-out matchups, no pay-per-views, no bullsh*t. Just the thrill of being right in the action, anytime and anywhere you want.
How to watch DAZN boxing in the U.S.
DAZN is watchable on smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles, and you can watch live events on two devices at the same time. To watch the stream on your TV, you can use Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
DAZN also works with computer browsers Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Opera, and it’s available on iOS and Android phones and tablets.
What channel is DAZN on?
DAZN isn’t a channel. You won’t find it on cable with DirecTV or with your satellite service. DAZN is an app you’ll need to download on your streaming device of choice. If you have a Roku TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, or a smart Samsung TV, you can download the app directly from your TV. Or, as covered above, you can download the DAZN app on Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4.
In the U.S., DAZN originally cost just $9.99 per month. But in March 2019, DAZN announced a rate increase. New subscribers can choose between paying $19.99 per month or $99.99 annually. While the monthly rate doubled, subscribers will actually save money if they commit to a full year of service.
DAZN live events
Trying to capitalize on the increasing popularity of combat sports, DAZN is focusing much of its attention in the U.S. on boxing and MMA, but it has plans to expand. In November 2018, DAZN struck a three-year deal with MLB to produce baseball’s answer to NFL RedZone.
“DAZN’s multisport streaming platform provides Major League Baseball and our Clubs an important opportunity to extend the game’s digital reach,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the time. “Our collaborative production will benefit DAZN’s subscribers with new ways to follow the captivating storylines, talented young stars and impactful plays happening around the game every day.”
Produced in partnership with MLB, ChangeUp is a nightly program that brings you all the big plays from around the league, both with recaps and in real time via drop-ins to the various games in progress. It’s part SportsCenter highlights, part sports talk radio, and incredibly addicting. In short, ChangeUp hopes to do for MLB what NFL RedZone has done for watching football on Sundays: cut out the filler—commercial breaks, timeouts, etc.—and replace it with instant analysis and humor.
Where is DAZN available?
If you have an internet connection and a smart device, you can stream DAZN in the U.S.
Matchroom Boxing and Perform Group unveiled a large press conference in July 2017 to announce the boxers that had been signed to fight on the streaming service. The first big event for U.S. viewers featured heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defending his titles vs. Alexander Povetkin.
As DAZN noted at the time, “We’re kicking things off with Matchroom Boxing and Bellator MMA events, and that’s just the beginning. We’re working on expanding our catalog to include even more fight events, and all your other favorite sports too.”
Is DAZN worth it?
At launch, it was hard to know if DAZN would be worth it. Even for a hardcore boxing or MMA fan, that $19.99 per month price is a little heavy, especially since Bellator isn’t the same quality as UFC for MMA fans and since boxing fans might already be paying for Showtime, HBO, ESPN+, and a couple of $70 pay-per-views per year.
But the addition of Canelo Alvarez and “GGG” makes DAZN worth investing in, and given the frequency with which DAZN has produced top-shelf boxing events thus far, it’s hard not to feel compelled to at least try the service.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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