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DAZN to raise monthly price and offer new annual pass

FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017, file photo, Gennady Golovkin reacts following a middleweight title ag
Gennady Golovkin joined DAZN’s stable of fighters earlier this month.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

The less-than-year-old streaming service DAZN is adjusting its pricing as it starts a new Major League Baseball live look-in show and heads to a busy stretch of important combat sports events.

While current subscribers paying the original $9.99 monthly fee that was set at DAZN’s U.S. debut last year can continue in that model for one year, the service will alter its monthly fee to $19.99 for new subscribers next week while instituting a new $99.99 annual plan.

“The annual cost, broken down, is just over $8 a month and it will offer baseball, boxing, MMA – all you can eat – for about the cost of one pay-per-view” on Fox, Showtime or ESPN, said DAZN’s Executive Vice President Joe Markowski.

The pricing, Markowski said, emerged as a result of company research of its undisclosed current subscriber base, which he classified into two groups.

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Those called “value seekers” are primarily motivated by the feeling they are getting a bargain from their purchase, and those labeled “flexibility seekers” aren’t as concerned with cost as they are with accessing DAZN’s programming on an as-needed basis.

“In recognition of both, we wanted to propose a model that serves both optimally,” Markowski said.

He admits many consumers will only focus on the new $19.99 monthly fee.

“Do I expect initial blowback from the U.S. boxing fan base?” he asked. “Yes, sure. It’s the nature of the 21st century. We are making this change after a significant research project. In the end, I believe they will be understanding and recognize the continued value, but I’ve got my tin hat over the abuse I’m expecting from social media. I will say we wouldn’t make any change without this analytic.”

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Markowski assured that current subscribers who opt to remain in the $9.99 monthly package for now will be able to transition into the $99.99 annual package in one year’s time.

He also touted the additions to DAZN’s stable of content, starting with the MLB “Changeup” show that will stand as the equivalent of the NFL’s “Red Zone” package, offering live look-ins at crucial moments of games throughout the season.

The monthly price increase comes less than a month after DAZN added former long-reigning middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin to its stable of fighters that includes current two-belt middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, who signed a 10-fight package for $365 million with DAZN last year -- the richest deal for any North American athlete before Mike Trout and the Angels struck their deal this week.

Golovkin is expected to debut on DAZN in the first half of June, following Alvarez’s May 4 unification bout against International Boxing Federation champion Daniel Jacobs, a Bellator MMA card later in May and three-belt heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s June 1 U.S. debut against Brooklyn’s Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller at Madison Square Garden.

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“The flexibility seeker could now pay for the $19.99 monthly pass for May 4 and get the Canelo-Jacobs fight, a Bellator [welterweight tournament] semifinal, the A.J. [Joshua] U.S. debut and MLB ‘Changeup’ show for one-fourth of the price of one normal pay-per-view fight,” Markowski said.

The bargain of the annual pass for new subscribers could include a September trilogy showdown between Alvarez and Golovkin should both win their coming fights.

“The interest in — and the value of — the annual pass will continue to evolve as we continue to build out content beyond fight sports,” said Markowski, who has helped DAZN align with major sports leagues in other international markets.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire


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