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DAZN to change price structure

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Roughly seven months after its U.S. launch, DAZN, the streaming service that has become the home of some of boxing’s biggest stars, as well as both Bellator and Combate Americas, is making a significant price change.

The John Skipper-led service had been charging $9.99 per month across the board. The new price structure will be $19.99 per month, but a discount for regular subscribers to $99.99 per year, which works out to just under $8.50 per month.

The $19.99 per monthly subscription price tag represents a significant increase from other similar subscription services like Netflix, which changed the game, or ESPN+, its sports competition which is $4.99 per month and $49.99 per year. ESPN+ this past week announced a $59.99 separate charge for monthly UFC pay-per-views.

DAZN officials announced the change on Thursday after studying subscriber patterns. They found that their audience in general fit into two categories. One category was those who subscribed and watched regularly, whether it was the boxing, MMA or Major League Baseball coverage. That group maintained its subscription.

The other group treated DAZN more as a pay-per-view entity, subscribing, watching a single event, and then canceling after the event.

The mentality is to discount the price slightly to those who commit for one year. For those who subscribe based on the event, like a pay-per-view, the mentality is that $19.99 is still far less expensive than the price of a Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin pay-per-view would have been.

All current subscribers to the service will be grandfathered in and be able to maintain subscriptions at $9.99 per month for one more year without committing to the full year.

The price change comes right before the company has three major events. Alvarez will defend his WBA and WBC middleweight titles against IBF champion Danny Jacobs in a May 4 fight from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Anthony Joshua will defend his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles on June 1 in Madison Square Garden against Jarnell Miller. This is Joshua’s first fight in the United States.

The other major event is Bellator 220, on April 27 at the SAP Center in San Jose, headlined by Rory MacDonald facing Jon Fitch for the welterweight title in a bout doubling as a first-round fight in the company’s welterweight tournament, plus Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defends her flyweight title against Veta Arteaga.

DAZN greatly changed the boxing pay-per-view landscape when signing Alvarez, the current biggest star, to a $365 million deal for 11 fights over five years, removing him from traditional pay-per-view. They followed by signing his biggest rival, Golovkin, to a six-fight deal at more than nine figures. Earlier this month they offered Deontay Wilder a $120 million four-fight deal which would have included two bouts with Joshua, a deal that Wilder didn’t accept.