By Mohamed Horomtallah: Being an accountant for DAZN USA must be one the toughest and most stressful jobs.
The streaming app took on the U.S market in May of 2018 with general Eddie Hearn and his troops of Matchroom ready for war.
He came in as a conqueror with a sword-shaped checkbook and threats of putting rival networks out of business, with phrases like “American networks are shaking in their boots” and “pay-per-view is dead.”
The plan was to make a hostile takeover and squash the competition. Four years later, it is clearly a failure. A huge one.
Hearn’s arrogance and total lack of knowledge of the local market make him and DAZN look like novices.
The first red flag should’ve been his failure to attract PBC fighters despite offering bigger purses.
Then they signed Canelo to a 365 million dollar contract and coupled that with a 100 million deal with Golovkin.
Never did they put clear language in said contracts to ensure a good level of opposition for both fighters, nor did they read the fine print.
Canelo got out of his contract and came back as a free agent, making double what he was getting paid per fight, while Golovkin was cashing 15 million dollar check against the likes of Steve Rolls!
In the meantime, the app kept making suspect moves along the way, like paying Mikey Garcia 7 million purses for regular Showtime type of fights, and they weren’t able to get Jaime Munguia or Ryan Garcia to face a descent fighter.
Fast forward to last Saturday night and the much desired, much-anticipated fight by DAZN: Canelo vs. Golovkin, part three!
In order to make their dream come true, the executives at DAZN paid no less than 80 million plus PPV upsides (55 for Canelo and 25 for Golovkin) to get the two fighters to step into the ring. Canelo did not impress, and Golovkin might have fought wearing a suit because he was only there to cash his last big check.
I’m no expert accountant but all signs point to PPV sales being in the neighborhood of 400-500k, which is a disaster for the app.
For comparison sake, Canelo vs. Caleb Plant did north of 800k PPV buys.
To add insult to injury, DAZN recently signed Anthony Joshua to a 100 million dollar deal, and he just lost back to back to Oleksandr Usyk, and should Tyson Fury and him fight later this year, BT sports will be in the driver’s seat. In other words, AJ’s value is rapidly declining, and it will take a miraculous resurrection of Joshua for them to see a profit from him.
That leaves us with Canelo, but first, the DAZN board of directors must ask themselves one question: are we willing to keep paying Canelo 40-50 million purses for soft touches, and other than a Bivol rematch, who can we match him with to excite the fans?
Last time I checked, David Benavidez and Jermall Charlo were at PBC, and both will do more than a million buys against Canelo.
In the meantime, DAZN is left on the outside looking in and they won’t even have a say on Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia, should it happen, at least not the first fight.
When it’s all said and done, Eddie Hearn single-handedly brought DAZN to its knees.
Had he been a little more humble and acted like a business partner instead of a conqueror, things might have been different, and DAZN could’ve had a working and mutually beneficial partnership with other networks.
Eddie Hearn’s case is like that of a rich kid whose parents bought him a supercar, and he pulled up on professional drivers, warning them that there was a new sheriff in town.
A few years from now, somebody at DAZN will sit in a chair and reflect on what unfolded and ask himself: was it worth it?