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8 Ways DAZN Can Grow Their Boxing Audience in the UK

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Introduction To DAZN

DAZN Launched in the UK in December 2020 offering international content for a price of £1.99, the app’s subscription base primarily consisted of hardcore fans until it saw a major boost from Billy Joe Saunders’ brave effort against Canelo Alvarez on May 8. 

Just 4 weeks later, DAZN announced a brand-new ‘game changing’ deal with Matchroom UK to broadcast their shows on DAZN, ending a long-term relationship with Sky Sports. DAZN promised that fighters like Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora would no longer be Pay-Per-View (PPV) and instead be on the 7.99 monthly subscriptions.

Fast Forward 8 months and DAZN have delivered two uncontested PPV equivalent fights – the rematch between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora and Lara Warrington 2 in Leeds with Katie Taylor and Conor Benn on the undercard.

They have also delivered several fights and cards that we would not see on Sky. It has largely been a success in terms of boxing quality, but the subscription base and brand awareness of DAZN in the UK is not what some had thought it would be. 

There are several ways that DAZN can become a bigger brand in the UK and be more accessible to the average person as well, let me talk you through eight.

Delivering a strong, consistent schedule of fights

The most important thing for DAZN is to continue to deliver the quality and quantity of fight nights it is delivering both in the UK and US as well as internationally. It also needs to live up to its ‘Game Changed’ branding which means I expect to see more PPV Headliners/Cards as part of my subscription, more big-name fighters boxing in the UK and cards from around the world every week.

If DAZN continues to do this, they will inevitably be the consensus home of boxing in the UK. At the moment, there is plenty of competition from Sky, BT, Channel 5, Discovery and even Fightzone but no one really comes close to the UK and international schedule of DAZN just 15 months into the market.

Sky did have a very strong February in the UK and BT has landed the Fury-Whyte rights; so there is still some fierce competition but the consistency is with DAZN.

Bringing Big Names/Fights regularly to the DAZN Non-PPV Platform

Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn insisted that the global strategy of DAZN was the primary reason behind the move and this would lead to an increased budget which would be better for everyone. Sky Sports, through its PPV platform, brought plenty of international names to the UK such as Gennady Golovkin, Errol Spence, Vasyl Lomacenko, Regis Prograis and Wladimir Klitschko all within the 4 years of pre-pandemic. 

Since Matchroom went to DAZN, the standout names they have brought over to the UK have been Joseph Parker and Daniel Jacobs.

Whilst this is a strong start in just 9 months, fans would like to see more big international names on DAZN Non-PPV such as Gennady Golovkin, Devin Haney, Demetrius Andrade, Mikey Garcia and Juan Francisco Estrada, plus Canelo Alvarez on DAZN PPV.

Doing an AJ Fight on DAZN PPV 

Something which will help DAZN become known to the casual sports fan is the addition of Anthony Joshua (even one fight) on the DAZN UK platform even if that is DAZN PPV.

The popularity of AJ transcends the sport of boxing into the casual market like nobody else and is truly the best way of getting the DAZN name out there to the average person. 

AJ alongside Froch Groves 2 took UK boxing to the next level of popularity in the UK and there is no reason why he can’t be the face of DAZN in the UK and help them reach out to the casual sports market.

Better Advertisement/Promotion

Some of DAZN’s social media and billboard advertising is really wasted and not at all useful. There are Social Media Ads as shown in the picture with just the name, website, catchphrase and price. The average person seeing it will not even know what DAZN is or anything about the app from looking at the branding.

Should DAZN invest in advertising, they should be smarter with the advertisement itself, where they put it and when they put it. For example, a poster with some of the biggest names on DAZN in the UK such as Conor Benn, Katie Taylor,

Derek Chisora, Joshua Buatsi, Leigh Wood etc and their upcoming schedule would be much more useful in garnering the interest of a casual sports fan.

Sit on a Linear TV platform – Sky/BT/Virgin

Whilst content on an app is accessible through multiple digital platforms in the future, it will limit the DAZN audience in the present. DAZN needs to be able to sit on linear platforms like Sky, BT and Virgin so it is easily accessible on a standard TV planner without having to use a firestick, games console or smart TV. Multiple smart TV’s haven’t even got DAZN available.

DAZN is available on Linear platforms in other countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany and most notable the USA on ‘In Demand’.

A Linear Platform will be vital if and when DAZN host a Pay-Per-View event in the UK and they could offer single big events such as Parker Chisora 2 on traditional Pay-Per-View (as well as DAZN subscription) with a free month of DAZN to boost exposure. 

Content Deal with major platforms such as the BBC

Boxing is one of those sports which benefits massively from highlight clips. There are often knockout clips as short as 10-seconds that go viral globally on social media; well beyond the boxing fanbase in the world.

Condensing the most enticing action into short highlights on platforms such as the BBC can serve as a terrific promotion for not only the DAZN platform but the sport of boxing as a whole. 

Sky Sports boxing videos on YouTube regularly reach over three-hundred thousand with a significant amount going over one million which is presumably much bigger than the DAZN subscription base. Through free-to-air content deals with major platforms, this kind of exposure can be matched by DAZN UK. 

Pubs/Entertainment places deal

One of the major reasons DAZN lacks exposure is because at this point in time you cannot just stumble into it. You have to actively look for DAZN instead of having it right in front of your face like you would with Sky.

Through DAZN being available in entertainment venues, it will be showcased to casual sporting fans around the country, some of whom may even be boxing fans that just don’t know about the concept of DAZN or previously not boxing fans who are encouraged to subscribe to DAZN through their experience.

There is no greater advert for DAZN than Fights such as Wood-Conlan being seen by sports fans around the country. Additionally, if they just did one-off deals with pubs to show major fights such as Buatsi Richards, it would be a good source of revenue. ‘DAZN for Business’ is already a concept in many other countries and should be vitalised in the UK.

Get Other Sports – UFC – Home of Combat Sports/Crossover Appeal

There is no doubt that there is significant crossover appeal between boxing and the UFC. Deniers of this should look towards things like the fight Disciples podcast which caters for both audiences in one and how even the core boxing weekend transitioned over to the UFC (with the exception of yours truly) for Fight Night London: Volkov vs Aspinall.

With having the UFC available on DAZN, they could brand themselves as the home of combat sports in the UK and a significant proportion of UFC fans also are ‘casual boxing fans’ so this is another way of tapping into that market.

The UFC has an exclusive deal with BT Sport in the UK, till the end of 2022, which is reportedly worth over £20m/year and would be a major investment for DAZN. With BT looking to no longer have full control over its sports arms, there is a chance it will not be as competitive in the bidding and this could be a real opportunity for DAZN.

Conclusion

Boxing is a niche sport and just having boxing on your platform limits you to a small number of subscribers excluding the odd peak with major events such as BoxNation peaking with Haye-Chisora at 250,000 subscribers.

Although boxing has grown massively since there will never be a huge subscriber base on a boxing only platform (a significant amount of ‘boxing fans’ still don’t have DAZN) so would need other sports, especially UFC which could work quite well and not as expensive as football. 

Also Read: Who Should Conor Benn Face Next?

By Darshan Desai

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