Like with any other media and entertainment, it’s clear that the future of sports lies in streaming. More and more streaming services dedicated solely to sports are popping up, making it easier than ever to watch sports online without cable. Leagues are signing deals left and right with major streaming services or even launching their own streaming services to provide their games directly to consumers. The sports streaming world has been rocked this week by some huge and somewhat unexpected news: middleweight world champion and boxing’s biggest superstar Canelo Alvarez has signed a whopping $365 million deal with DAZN, a brand-new and relatively unknown streaming service.
Alvarez’ deal is being hailed as the largest sports contract in history, making him the richest athlete in the sporting world. In a statement given to ESPN immediately after signing the contract, Alvarez says the deal is not only to make him unbelievably rich, but also to give his fans an easier and more affordable way to watch his matches:
The most important thing to me was being able to give the fans the opportunity to see me fight without having to pay the $70 or $80 for my fights on pay-per-view. That was the most important thing, more important than what I am making. It’s very important for me to give the fans the biggest fights and the most important fights, and I promise you I will always do that. […] I am very happy my fans will be able to see me fight for a small cost.
Some journalists have noted, though, that signing with such an unknown and unproven streaming service is risky. DAZN launched in 2016 but has only come to the U.S. this year. In the U.S., DAZN is busy buying up rights for boxing broadcasts after HBO announced it will phase out boxing coverage later this year. So far, DAZN’s United States offerings included the Chliean Primera División and AFC Champions League soccer, Bellator MMA, Matchroom Boxing, and the World Boxing Super Series. Internationally, the service has much more lucrative rights including broadcasts of the NFL and UEFA Champions League in Canada.