One thing we try to do is keep away from the world of boxing outside of Asia, whilst we obviously follow the goings on around the world we don't really want to spend too much time and effort talking about it. This week however has got us feeling that we might as well offer our 2 cents on an event that was expected to do massive numbers but now looks set to flop after due to some horrifically short sighted marketing by those involved, and an almost lazy mentality.
On Saturday night in the US DAZN will show the rematch between Logan Paul and KSI, two Youtubers with massive followings, who had a genuinely huge white collar event in 2018. The hope was seemingly for Eddie Hearn and DAZN to piggy back on the fame of the two Youtube stars, and get the huge followings from the two men to cross over to DAZN. It was a good idea on paper, and one many backed strongly. Afterall everything Eddie Hearn touches turns to gold, right?
What those involved didn't seem to realise was that things aren't as simple as simply putting things on and thinking a full market will move it's self from one thing to another. The Youtube scene, which Paul and KSI are genuinely massive on, is a scene that has massive market penetration. You can ask anyone on the street if they know what "Youtube" is and the odds are that the vast, vast majority will tell you.
If you did the same with "DAZN" you'd get blank looks, people looking confused and thinking you'd misspoke, maybe even sneezed.
Likewise while KSI and Logan Paul are big on Youtube, the actual reality is that they aren't really big names outside of Youtube. The average person on the street won't be interested in watching two people they've never heard of fight on a service they aren't even aware of.
That essentially left the market for the KSI Vs Logan Paul rematch limited to boxing fans and to subscribers of the two men.
The boxing fan base have been massively critical of the fight, and whilst we suspect plenty will tune in, after all we're all a bit like addicts and will complain about a fight but watch it just to get our fix, that market is already sealed in to DAZN. There won't be a sudden boom in boxing fans tuning in especially for the show, especially given that ESPN are also broadcasting a show of their own on the same night via their ESPN+ service.
That leaves us with the subscriber base of the two fighters. This is a market place that DAZN was expecting to tap into. Getting just 1% of their combined 40,000,000 Youtube subscribers to give DAZN a shot would mean a boost of 400,000 subscribers. However not all that subscriber base is in the US, or even in other DAZN markets. For example KSI is big in the UK, where DAZN doesn't offer a service, and we'll get back to KSI's UK fans in a moment. When you consider that none-DAZN market we then need to realise that 1% of what's left of the subscriber base is actually not very large at all.
When we also consider that two men tend to appeal to teenagers we come to two more issues. Firstly the tech savvy teenagers who follow the two men are the ones who know how to stream things illegally, they are also not cash rich. They are the ones who know how to get what they want for free online, rather than shilling out the $20 for a one off month of DAZN, or the annual subscription for the service.
It's even more noteworthy that much of the market place that DAZN is aiming for isn't even legally able to become a service user, as per their own terms and conditions:
"10. Age Restriction
You must be the older of 18 years of age (or over), or the age of majority in your state, province or territory of residence, to become a user of the DAZN Service."
So they were essentially expecting a cross over from a mass market product, Youtube, to a niche market with no market penetration, DAZN, which doesn't even allowed the target market to access it. If that's not ridiculously short sighted then we really don't know what is.
Oh we mentioned we were going to go back to KSI's UK audience. They, as mentioned, don't get to access the DAZN service, and instead get the bout on a 1-off PPV for £9.95 if purchased before midnight on Friday (today), after that it will depend on how it's booked. When you realise that the main bout will be shown well after midnight in the UK they have again destroyed the chance of their own target market paying. Yes it's a "cheaper" PPV than normal but the target audience is teenagers, not adults with cash to spend.
Like DAZN that same target audience isn't even allowed to purchase the bout officially, with Sky Box office stating:
"Who can sign up?
Anyone aged 18 or over living in the UK (including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands) and Republic of Ireland."
Now we'll admit the first bout between the two men did amazingly well, selling out the MEN arena in Manchester and did impressive PPV numbers, at a very reduced 1-off fee on Youtube. That was however targeting the market that knew the men, on at peak time in the UK. It was affordable, it was on a platform that knew and understood the participants and was on at the best time for the US and UK audiences of the "fighters". It was also done without greedy middle man publicly looking to cash in. It was, or at least felt, organic. This rematch feels like it's lost that identity and tried to prey on two different markets that either can't, or won't, back it.
We would love for this to be a genuine success, and attract a new, young, audience to boxing. In reality however we get the strong feeling it's set to be one of boxing's biggest marketing mishaps in recent memory, and it appears very much like those behind the event have failed to identify the audience they needed to appeal to.
Sadly we're not sure whether we'll ever find out if we are right or wrong here, given DAZN's secrecy, but we would be massively surprised if DAZN saw a massive and medium to long term boost in their viewing figures off this one event.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces