Boxing Streaming Services
2019 brings with it a complex streaming service ecosystem that claims to threaten Pay Per View but really just acts as a secondary supplement to it. Promoters have rushed to attached their companies to new streaming services as a way to reach more fans without the burden of Pay Per View. But that’s created a complex web of, “Do I need that service”? Well, we’re here to help you navigate the waters of who is streaming fights, how much they cost, and who you can expect to see.
I do want to stress this article is gear towards American viewers.
ESPN+$4.99 Per Month
DAZN$19.99 Per Month
Showtime$10.99 Per Month
ESPN+ is a supplemental product for the cable ESPN package. It offers some enticing benefits in addition to boxing including college sports (want to watch some D2 Football? I do, don’t judge me).
The under card announce crew is headed by Crystina Poncher who is the one lone bright spot on the team. The main event is called by the professional and classy Joe Tessitore flanked by the inept and self serving Mark Kriegel and the knowledgeable but somewhat boring Timothy Bradley. ESPN recently brought on HBO refugee Max Kellerman which should help the booth, but ultimately the problems with the team is probably more related to corporate policy than on air personality.
ESPN+ sits well at the bottom on the streaming services list. It’s possible to conclude that an average boxing fan doesn’t need it. It has two top fights in Terrence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko however Crawford has moved his fights to ESPN PPV which essentially makes the service pointless outside of Lomachenko’s two fights a year.
ESPN+ is available on Fire, Android, iPhone, Apple TV, Chromecast, Oculus Go, Playstation 4, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, and Xbox One.
DAZN is one of the better streaming services around. With access to Matchroom Boxing they are able to showcase fighters such as Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua, Devin Haney, and Demetrius Andrade. The recent aquasitions of Canelo Alverez and GGG should only enhance the quality of the product.
DAZN doesn’t do pay per view. You pay your $19.99 per month (or $99.99 per year for a discount) and you get any fight from their fighters in the stable. The model is perfect, for less than a Canelo fight would cost on PPV you get 2 per year, plus a host of other great events.
For us at Absolutely Boxing, the World Boxing Super Series is the big draw. DAZN is the official home of the WBSS.
The announcers are not great. Brian Kenny is serviceable but Sugar Ray Leonard and Sergio Mora are again knowledgeable, but boring. LZ Granderson is good for a laugh occasionally but I don’t think that’s intentional.
By far, the worst part about DAZN is their production. Fights often have 45 minutes in between with clips of fighters training or talking about their lives before boxing. Those pieces are fine in small doses but there is no good reason to stretch 3 hours of fights into 6 hours of nonsense.
That said, I think DAZN is a strong buy, especially at the discounted $100 /year price. The fighters here are top notch.
The undisputed king (for the moment) of boxing streaming services. Showtime is tied in with Al Haymon and all those he advises. The list of fighters you can see on Showtime ranges through all divisions and all levels of the sport.
Showtime frequently has meaningful world title fights on. Showtime acts as the spiritual successor to HBO.
The broadcast team and production are both excellent. The critically underrated Mauro Ranallo is flanked by the smart but loquacious Paulie Malignaggi and the venerable Al Bernstein. The three is currently the best team in boxing and it’s not particularly close.
Showtime’s big problem is Pay Per View fights. They don’t milk it as much as ESPN but they are hard to find for cable cutters when they do. The streaming app has tons of problems on Roku and Fire often leaving users of those devices out. If you’re on cable though, it’s well worth it.
Showtime also comes with a variety of tv shows and movies, none of which I know much about but I assume they are fine?