DAZN signs Canelo Alvarez to Biggest Deal in Sports History


The sports-centric OTT streaming service DAZN has inked unified middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to a 5-year 11 fight pact, worth $365 million; the most lucrative contract ever issued to a professional athlete. Alvarez can reportedly earn additional money should DAZN reach subscription benchmarks during the life of the deal. In addition to the Alvarez deal, it was announced DAZN would live stream up to 10 “high-caliber” Golden Boy Productions fight nights, per year, beginning in ’19.

Howie Long-Short: DAZN is part of the recently rebranded DAZN Group, a subsidiary of privately held Access Industries (also owns Warner Music). The sports media company also counts The Sporting News and Goal among its U.S. publications. DAZN Group’s recent decision to spit those 3 assets (and Spox.com) off from their betting-related content and data business has many believing the gambling content and data business is up for sale. Founder Simon Denyer’s comments about his desire to focus the company’s “efforts around our primary growth engine” (see: DAZN), did little to change those beliefs.

While you can’t invest in DAZN Group, there is one way to play DAZN; via investor Dentsu, a Japanese advertising firm that trades publicly on the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the symbol (TYO: 4324).

Fan Marino: September’s Alvarez/GGG fight sold for $84.99, so Alvarez fans will appreciate DAZN’s $9.99 mo. “all you can watch” offering. Alvarez acknowledged it was important for him to be able to give fans the opportunity to see him fight without having to pay “$70 or $80” on PPV.

Alvarez’s first fight on DAZN will be December 15th against Rocky Fielding. The last time out, Alvarez won a majority decision against Gennady Golovkin. While Alvarez is moving up in weight and trying to sell this as “a dangerous fight”, he’s too skilled for Fielding. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way; Mike Coppinger (Ring Magazine) reported one industry source told him, “just watched highlights of Rocky Fielding, he’s pathetic. Canelo will probably knock him out in the first round.”

Alvarez is saving his fans a few bucks (even if they never watch anything else), but it’s unclear how much (if any) he might be leaving on the table by signing a long-term deal. While he earned +/- $50 million for his fight with GGG (after PPV bonuses), opponents like Fielding wouldn’t allow him to draw that kind of pay day and I’m not sure there are 9 other potential opponents (assumes GGG trilogy fight) that would; though, DAZN does have steer in terms of which opponents are “accepted” for Canelo.

That’s not to say this isn’t a great deal for DAZN. They now have the 2 most marketable fighters in the world (see: Anthony Joshua) fighting on their platform and can guarantee at least 4 tent-pole cards/year, which makes their $9.99/mo. subscription fee a no-brainer for fight fans.

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Author: John Wall Street

At the intersection of sports & finance.

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