Boxing has always been at the forefront of broadcast technology (where else can you see someone bite someone’s ear off?). Not long ago, the sport has often been relegated to second- or third-tier status. However, nowadays, there are several channels, either on television or online, than ever before to broadcast boxing events. Can you name them all? I can. Here are the top boxing streaming services in 2019.
Boxing Finally Embraces Digital Streaming
Boxing in Broadcasting History
Over the years, boxing heavily influenced the way entertainment transmission has progressed. In fact, if you look at the history of filming and transmission, something pioneered by Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson, it was originally done with the idea of shooting prizefights to target the sporting fraternity.
From the very beginning, motion pictures producers in the US always associated broadcasting technology with boxing. Between 1895 and 1896, boxing pictures were one of the first genres of moving pictures to get a special distinction. That is when the trend of boxing showing the way of broadcast started and carried on for the next 100 years.
Even when live radio broadcasts became popular, it was boxing that was the biggest sporting event in history. Boxing was what introduced people to regular live sports broadcasts. Later on, it shaped the sponsored programming model and even the satellite and cable TV industry.
The Waning of Boxing
In recent times, while boxing was still popular when it came to television presentation, it had started to lag behind in the way the sport was distributed and transmitted. Everyone knows that being on cable TV isn’t enough anymore.
With the number of cord-cutters increasing by the day, for any sport to be able to make a decent profit from a television transmission, there have to be other means. It was because of boxing’s lack of enthusiasm about newer technologies made people lose interest in the sport.
It isn’t surprising to hear that boxing is hard to follow or that no one knows when boxing games are on. And while these questions could easily have been answered by Google, it does point to a big issue: in today’s market, without mass accessibility, it is hard to remain popular.
Being accessible to the masses in every way gives an edge to the competition. That’s because in the age of rapid cord-cutting and customized offerings, being on satellite or cable TV won’t cut it anymore.
Previously in the Boxing World!
Earlier, boxing game broadcasting was effectively the domain of HBO and Showtime. The strategy of several promoters revolved around building up a new fighter up away from television in the hopes that a premium cable broadcaster would offer them a six-figure deal for showing them to the public.
Although popular at one time, it was also a high-risk model. Broadcasters were forced to give chances to many fighters without the assurance of success. Promoters knew there was no way to become desirable if nobody could even see them.
But the year 2018 has brought a dramatic change in the boxing broadcast industry, probably as big as the launch of HBO pay-per-view or the first broadcast of Showtime Championship Boxing.
However, after nearly five decades, HBO has decided to stop broadcasting boxing events. The giant has seen a decline in viewership of boxing matches in recent months. Subscribers mostly prefer TV shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld.
Therefore, the company decided to call it quits on boxing. Most probably since more and more streaming services are setting their sites on broadcasting fights nowadays.
Change in Boxing Broadcasting
Although boxing has made previous attempts at making use of web technology in the past, including Golden Boy club shows on RingTV and Major League Baseball’s streaming platform, the sport had never tasted much success with it. Today, you can be a diehard boxing fan and enjoy every major fight, without even owning a television.
Yes, something that boxing lovers have been doing for a long time illegally is now not only legal but also turning out to be quite popular. You don’t have to turn on a television to catch a fight. Why? Well, because every major fight is available on a specific streaming website/channel. Let’s take a look at our options:
Ever heard of Top Rank? Well, it’s a boxing promotion that incorporated in 1973 and has become one of the biggest companies in boxing history. In case you didn’t know, is the official broadcaster for the promoter’s fights.
Back in 2017, ESPN broke a record that no other channel has done in boxing. It became the first non-premium channel to broadcast a Pacquiao fight. Also, it marked Pacquiao’s first non-PPV fight since 2005.
While HBO is no longer in the boxing-broadcasting mix, ESPN officially announced that it’s going to repeat what it did in 2017. The channel aired two more Top Rank cards: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga and Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo.
ESPN is well-known as one of the biggest sports channels in the United States. It’s available using any pay-TV provider in the country. It’s a very popular platform that has 86 million in the US. 93.2% of them are with pay television, but who’s counting?
ESPN has replaced its previous WatchESPN app with a new one. With that, you can tap into its channels’ content whether at home or on the go. That’s all in an effort to simplify and create a better, more centralized experience for fans. In case you’re wondering about previous content on WatchESPN, all of it has migrated. But still, you can access its content on:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Xbox One
- PlayStation 4
Just for the information, ESPN+ doesn’t come as a stand-alone service, but it will help you avoid a long term cable deal. The Disney owned channel costs $4.99 a month ($49.99, if you pay annually).
There is a 7-day free trial available to new subscribers in case they feel like they need to take the service for a test drive. But what will you be getting in return? Well, you’ll be able to stream live matches from MLB, NBA, MLS, PGA Golf, and of course, our main attraction today, Boxing.
That variety of sports got ESPN+ more than 2 million subscribers. That number will keep on increasing especially if Disney decided to add ESPN+ as a bundle within its new service, Disney+.
Luckily for fans in the US, ESPN has renewed its deal with Top Rank for an addition 7-year period. It’s dubbed as “the most comprehensive, exclusive rights agreement in the history of boxing.”
The deal will run through August 2025 where 54 annual matches are set to be broadcasted. That’s amazing for boxing fans who already have a subscription or tend to sign up for one.
If you live in the UK, I have to tell you that you own the means to stream top boxing events live and on-demand. BoxNation is an around the clock boxing channel that broadcasts domestic and international boxing events. If there’s a place to stream some clobbering action, it’s definitely BoxNation.
In 2018, the channel extended its deal with Top Rank Promotions. That makes them the official broadcaster of the promoter in the United Kingdom. I guess ESPN isn’t the only top boxing channel now, huh? UK subscribers will also get to see Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford in their region.
BoxNation started as a small free-to-air channel via Sky back in 2011. Over time, it started expanding its services to become what it is today. Now, you can access BoxNation via five cable channels:
- Free View
- Virgin Media
- BT TV
In 2013, BoxNation became what we call, its own individual. You can still get the service through the aforementioned providers. However, BoxNation designed an app where users are charged £10 a month to view the full BoxNation coverage without worrying about any SKy or Virgin Media subscriptions.
That was back then, now, the fee is £12 with the same benefits. You can stream all the fights live on Android, iOS, PC, or Mac. Oh, by the way, there’s a small selection of free videos on their website in case you want to test out their quality.
Thanks to the “Perform” group, we now have a streaming service that looks to take on the giants of pay-TV. DAZN (pronounced Dazone) has become a game-changer for boxing fans in the U.S.
Before the channel’s inception, there was little to no way viewers can stream European boxing matches.
Alright, I’ll bite. HBO and Showtime broadcasted dozens of huge fight cards along the way. There’s also ESPN. But now, HBO threw the towel altogether and DAZN stepped in to take the boxing streaming industry by storm.
Fans were promised more than 100 fight cards per year and some of the biggest names in all of boxing. We’re talking about the likes of Anthony Joshua and my personal favorite, Golden Boy’s own, Canelo Alvarez.
Speaking of Alvarez, he got the highest-paying athlete contract in history. DAZN agreed to a five-year deal (11 fights) that will pay the boxer at least $365 million. This is what he had to say:
“I am humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which without a doubt will be for the benefit of the fans.”
With Canelo fully aboard with DAZN, the channel tends to turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers. It will be a step up in the industry. After all, by the time of signing, he was 50-1.
Availability and Subscription
HBO used to charge $70 to $100 for a pay-per-view. Well, DAZN’s main target is to challenge this PPV concept by amassing millions of customers who are looking for a cheaper way to watch a wide range of sports content. 4 million to be exact, including 1.2 million who were just watching Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs.
As of 2019, DAZN has spread its wings over 9 markets. Please check below as each country has a different subscription price. However, there’s a common benefit for new subscribers and that’s the 30-day free trial. Once that ends, you’ll be billed as such:
- Italy: (€9,99/Month)
- Austria: (119,99€/Year, €11,99/Month)
- Switzerland: (12.90CHF/Month)
- Canada: ($150/Year, $20/Month)
- Japan: (¥1,750/Month)
- Spain: (9.9999€/Year, 9,99€/Month)
- The United States: ($99.99/Year, $19.99/Month).
- Brazil: (R$37,90/Month)
- Germany: (119,99€/Year, 11,99€/Month)
If we were to compare DAZN to ESPN+, you’ll notice that DAZN is more expensive than ESPN+. However, let’s not forget that it shows more combat sports on a weekly basis than Disney’s streaming service.
Now, once you get a subscription, rest assured that you’ll be watching the top boxing fights around the world using any platform that comes to mind. You’ll be able to stream DAZN on Chromecast, Apple TV, Smart TVs, Roku, FireStick, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Something to Be Impressed About!
With boxing finally turning to digital streaming, there are benefits for everyone. Fighters will have more exposure. Not only that, but promoters will also have more ways to build up players and more fights for everyone to watch. It’s a win-win for everyone, from broadcasters to promoters to viewers.