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Eddie Hearn: Anyone who roots for DAZN not to do well has an agenda

Eddie Hearn talks about pay-per-view prices and the DAZN model going forward.

Oleksandr Usyk v Tony Bellew - Cruiserweight World Title Fight Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Over here, they are saying PPV is dead, good riddance.

It had its day, but times have changed and we have the new model which will force the extinction of the way of making the biggest and best bouts for for going on three decades.

That is the stance, basically, taken by Eddie Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya, who seem to be getting along famously as they work together on a card to unfold Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and beyond that.

But that is NOT the stance taken by other power players in this sphere. There was a PPV show that ran on Dec. 1, and depending on who you ask, it did pretty well.

The Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury fight was enjoyed by the majority of those who plunked down the chunk to the cable company for the privilege of watching the heavyweight showdown. And certainly the two fighters seemed pleased with the hunks of pie they are devouring.

We’ve detected no dissatisfaction in the voices of the planners, the Showtime crew, led by Stephen Espinoza. But Hearn today in a one-on-one chat after the proper Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding presser finished at Madison Square Garden, before we were all hustled out of the room so Andrea Boccelli’s crew could do set up, said that he thinks the Wilder vs Fury fight was a bust. 300,000 buys, he said, was a weak outing compared to what they’d do in the UK.

Why, sir?

Because of the price point — 75 bucks — he told me.

“You’ve got to lower the price to expand the audience,” he explained. “I think what DAZN are doing is going to make them have to do that. The problem is now, the money’s gone so crazy, to the fighters, that Al Haymon and people like that, and even Bob Arum to a certain extent, have got no choice but to go PPV.

“Because that’s the problem we’ve had in England, it’s that the rights fees weren’t there for the broadcaster, the only way to make Bellew-Usyk, AJ-Klitschko, these kind of fights, is to go PPV. The bottom line is anyone who roots for DAZN not to do well has an agenda. Whatever you think, if they’re going to deliver you Canelo Alvarez free, rather than (having to pay an extra PPV stipend)…”

It was left unsaid, because Garden management swept the room of non-Boccelli people, but Hearn made himself clear. People rooting against DAZN are rooting against their own self interest.

My three cents: Fascinating divergence is going on here. To stay in the biz, to keep the people above him happy, and to, as Hearn said, get the fighters those purses they are seeking, Stephen Espinoza has decided PPV is the way.

Now, people could take a stand and say, hey, guys, the market will bear you guys fighting on PPV, you will make loads of cash, probably, but this isn’t helping the sport grow as quickly as it could, because we are putting our best product behind a paywall. And we are putting an excessive burden, arguably, upon our fans-consumers.

One could argue, though, rightfully, that no one puts a gun to the head of a potential buyer, so people are free to buy or not.

Like I said, it’s a fascinating dynamic at play here and maybe mostly because there aren’t so many spheres where the laborers don’t capitulate, and take less wages, when that is potentially one of the options that are presented to them.

And that’s mostly because they keep putting on PPVs, and people keep buying them. There is demand, so they supply product. When and if fans start putting their collective feet down and giving PPVs a pass, that’s when the market re-aligns, re-sets, and then maybe Oscar’s “PPV is dead” mantra proves to be fully true.

As of right now, it isn’t dead, and very persuasive people are working week in, week out to keep Oscar’s pronouncement premature, and ultimately fallacious.

Listen to Woods on his Everlast “Talkbox” podcast.

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