Boxing has always been at the forefront of broadcast technology (where else can you see someone bite someone’s ear off?). Not long ago, the sport has often been relegated to second- or third-tier status. However, nowadays, there are several channels, either on television or online, than ever before to broadcast boxing events. Can you name them all? I can. Here are the top boxing streaming services in 2019.
Boxing Finally Embraces Digital Streaming
- 1 Boxing in Broadcasting History
- 2 The Waning of Boxing
- 3 Change in Boxing Broadcasting
- 4 Bypass Limitations – Global Channel Access
- 5 Something to Be Impressed About!
Boxing in Broadcasting History
Over the years, boxing influenced the way entertainment transmission has progressed. In fact, if you look at the history of filming and transmission something pioneered by Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson:
“It was originally done with the idea of shooting prizefights to target the sporting fraternity.”
From the very beginning, motion pictures producers in the US always associated broadcasting technology with boxing. Between 1895 and 1896, boxing pictures were one of the first genres of moving pictures to get a special distinction. That is when the trend of boxing showing the way of broadcast started and carried on for the next 100 years.
Even when live radio broadcasts became popular, it was boxing that was the biggest sporting event in history. Boxing was what introduced people to regular live sports broadcasts. Later on, it shaped the sponsored programming model and even the satellite and cable TV industry.
The Waning of Boxing
In recent times, while boxing was still popular when it came to television presentation, it had started to lag behind in the way the sport was distributed and transmitted. Everyone knows that being on cable TV isn’t enough anymore.
With the number of cord-cutters increasing by the day, for any sport to be able to make a decent profit from a television transmission, there have to be other means. It was because of boxing’s lack of enthusiasm about newer technologies made people lose interest in the sport.
It isn’t surprising to hear that boxing is hard to follow or that no one knows when boxing games are on. And while Google could have easily answered these questions, it does point to a big issue:
“In today’s market, without mass accessibility, it is hard to remain popular.”
Being accessible to the masses in every way gives an edge to the competition. That’s because in the age of rapid cord-cutting and customized offerings, being on satellite or cable TV won’t cut it anymore.
Previously in the Boxing World!
Earlier, boxing game broadcasting was effectively the domain of HBO and Showtime. The strategy of several promoters revolved around building up a new fighter up away from the television. That’s all in the hopes that a premium cable broadcaster would offer them a six-figure deal for showing them to the public.
Although popular at one time, it was also a high-risk model. Broadcasters were forced to give chances to many fighters without the assurance of success. Promoters knew there was no way to become desirable if nobody could even see them.
But the year 2018 has brought a dramatic change in the boxing broadcast industry, probably as big as the launch of HBO pay-per-view or the first broadcast of Showtime Championship Boxing.
However, after nearly five decades, HBO has decided to stop broadcasting boxing events. The giant has seen a decline in viewership of boxing matches in recent months. Subscribers mostly prefer TV shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld.
Therefore, the company decided to call it quits on boxing. Most probably since more and more streaming services are setting their sights on broadcasting fights nowadays.
Change in Boxing Broadcasting
Although boxing has made previous attempts at making use of web technology in the past, including Golden Boy club shows on RingTV and Major League Baseball‘s streaming platform, the sport had never tasted much success with it. Today, you can be a diehard boxing fan and enjoy every major fight, without even owning a television.
Yes, something that boxing lovers have been doing for a long time illegally is now not only legal but also turning out to be quite popular. You don’t have to turn on a television to catch a fight. Why? Well, because every major fight is available on a specific streaming website/channel. Let’s take a look at our options:
Ever heard of Top Rank? Well, it’s a boxing promotion that incorporated in 1973 and has become one of the biggest companies in boxing history. In case you didn’t know, is the official broadcaster for the promoter’s fights.
Back in 2017, ESPN broke a record that no other channel has done in boxing. It became the first non-premium channel to broadcast a Pacquiao fight. Also, it marked Pacquiao’s first non-PPV fight since 2005.
While HBO is no longer in the boxing-broadcasting mix, ESPN officially announced that it’s going to repeat what it did in 2017. The channel aired two more Top Rank cards: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga and Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo.
ESPN is well-known as one of the biggest sports channels in the United States. It’s available using any pay-TV provider in the country. It’s a very popular platform that has 86 million in the US. 93.2% of them are with pay television, but who’s counting?
ESPN has replaced its previous WatchESPN app with a new one. With that, you can tap into its channels’ content, whether at home or on the go. That’s all to simplify and create a better, more centralized experience for fans. In case you’re wondering about previous content on WatchESPN, all of it has migrated. But still, you can access its content on:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Xbox One
- PlayStation 4
Just for the information, ESPN+ doesn’t come as a stand-alone service, but it will help you avoid a long term cable deal. The Disney owned channel costs $4.99 a month ($49.99, if you pay annually).
There is a 7-day free trial available to new subscribers in case they feel like they need to take the service for a test drive. But what will you be getting in return? Well, you’ll be able to stream live matches from MLB, NBA, MLS, PGA Golf, and of course, our main attraction today, Boxing.
That variety of sports got ESPN+ more than 2 million subscribers. That number will keep on increasing, especially if Disney decided to add ESPN+ as a bundle within its new service, Disney+.
Luckily for fans in the US, ESPN has renewed its deal with Top Rank for an addition 7-year period. It’s dubbed as “the most comprehensive, exclusive rights agreement in the history of boxing.”
The deal will run through August 2025 where 54 annual matches are set to be broadcasted. That’s amazing for boxing fans who already have a subscription or tend to sign up for one.
If you live in the UK, I have to tell you that you own the means to stream top boxing events live and on-demand. BoxNation is an around the clock boxing channel that broadcasts domestic and international boxing events. If there’s a place to stream some clobbering action, it’s BoxNation.
In 2018, the channel extended its deal with Top Rank Promotions. That makes them the official broadcaster of the promoter in the United Kingdom. I guess ESPN isn’t the only top boxing channel now, huh? UK subscribers will also get to see Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford in their region.
BoxNation started as a small free-to-air channel via Sky back in 2011. Over time, it started expanding its services to become what it is today. Now, you can access BoxNation via five cable channels:
- Free View
- Virgin Media
- BT TV
In 2013, BoxNation became what we call, its own individual. You can still get the service through the providers mentioned above. However, BoxNation designed an app where users are charged £10 a month to view the full BoxNation coverage without worrying about any SKy or Virgin Media subscriptions.
That was back then; now, the fee is £12 with the same benefits.
You can stream all the fights live on Android, iOS, PC, or Mac. Oh, by the way, there’s a small selection of free videos on their website in case you want to test out their quality.
Thanks to the “Perform” group, we now have a streaming service that looks to take on the giants of pay-TV. DAZN (pronounced Dazone) has become a game-changer for boxing fans in the U.S.
Before the channel’s inception, there was little to no way viewers can stream European boxing matches.
Alright, I’ll bite. HBO and Showtime broadcasted dozens of huge fight cards along the way. There’s also ESPN. But now, HBO threw the towel altogether, and DAZN stepped in to take the boxing streaming industry by storm.
Fans get more than 100 fight cards per year and some of the biggest names in all of boxing. We’re talking about the likes of Anthony Joshua and my personal favorite, Golden Boy’s own, Canelo Alvarez.
Speaking of Alvarez, he got the highest-paying athlete contract in history. DAZN agreed to a five-year deal (11 fights) that will pay the boxer at least $365 million. Here is what he had to say:
“I am humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which without a doubt will be for the benefit of the fans.”
With Canelo fully aboard with DAZN, the channel tends to turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers. It will be a step up in the industry. After all, by the time of signing, he was 50-1.
Availability and Subscription
HBO used to charge $70 to $100 for a pay-per-view. Well, DAZN’s main target is to challenge this PPV concept by amassing millions of customers who are looking for a cheaper way to watch a wide range of sports content. Four million to be exact, including 1.2 million who were just watching Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs.
As of 2019, DAZN has spread its wings over nine markets. Please check below as each country has a different subscription price. However, there’s a common benefit for new subscribers, and that’s the 30-day free trial. Once that ends, you’ll be billed as such:
- Italy: (€9,99/Month)
- Austria: (119,99€/Year, €11,99/Month)
- Switzerland: (12.90CHF/Month)
- Canada: ($150/Year, $20/Month)
- Japan: (¥1,750/Month)
- Spain: (9.9999€/Year, 9,99€/Month)
- The United States: ($99.99/Year, $19.99/Month).
- Brazil: (R$37,90/Month)
- Germany: (119,99€/Year, 11,99€/Month)
If we were to compare DAZN to ESPN+, you’d notice that DAZN is more expensive than ESPN+. However, let’s not forget that it shows more combat sports weekly than Disney’s streaming service.
Now, once you get a subscription, rest assured that you’ll be watching the top boxing fights around the world using any platform that comes to mind. You’ll be able to stream DAZN on Chromecast, Apple TV, Smart TVs, Roku, FireStick, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Sky Sports has been around since 1990, which means it’s been entertaining sports fans for over 39 years. It has brought football broadcasting to a whole new level in the United Kingdom. After all, the ball has to come home eventually.
However, when it comes to boxing, the channel doesn’t disappoint one bit. First, it secured the rights to televise Queensbury Boxing League’s new promotion: The Reckoning. If you’re a Sky subscriber, all the promotion’s event will be free of charge.
On the other hand, Sky agreed to show 20 fights each year until 2021 from Matchroom Boxing. So, brace yourselves, you’ll be seeing British stars such as James DeGale, Kell Brook, and Anthony Joshua for quite some time in the future. According to Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis.
“A huge commitment to online and digital content will mean a more interactive experience for all fight fans,”
Well, Sky has to keep up with the market. In case you didn’t know, the broadcasting giant has more than 22,423,000 subscribers around the European region, which includes:
- 12 million+ in the UK & Ireland.
- 5 Million+ in Germany and Austria.
- 4.9 Million in Italy.
With its Sky Go service, you can tap into everything that your Sky subscription has to offer. All that’s required of you is a £10 installation fee and a 12-month minimum contract. Remember, some of the boxing events might be available as a PPV on Sky Sports Box Office.
When you see fights like Wilder v Fury and Warrington v Frampton, you have to, unwillingly, give the boxing sport the attention it deserves.
Well, the sport is getting the attention as BT Sport is the second channel to broadcast boxing events in the United Kingdom.
Alongside Sky, BT Sports is in association with BoxNation to show certain live fights from Frank Warren Promotions. Back in 2018, the channel showed its first PPV fight, and it got a lot of positive reactions from BT customers.
However, that all took a wrong route when BT started charging again for PPV events. You see, huge events used to be available with the BT subscription.
Fans went into a frenzy and started discussion threads on several forums, including BT’s own. That’s not all, some of them went to the end of the line by suggesting a boycott. Why would they have to pay an extra fee on top of their existing (not-so-cheap) subscription)? Here’s how BT Sport stands in terms of pricing:
- £10 a month (free with Starter or Max 4K combo) if you’re a BT TV customer.
- £16 a month if you have a BT Broadband.
- £29.99 a month. without broadband.
Once you’re all set and done, you can stream the top boxing events on Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Android, iOS, PC, or Mac.
Showtime launched 43 years ago as an American Premium television network. The channel has grown so much along the years to reach over 29.7 million households in the U.S.
That’s mainly because Showtime offers premium content just like HBO does. We’re talking motion pictures, original television series, and of course, boxing.
However, HBO and Showtime lost one thing in common and that’s boxing broadcasting. Since HBO waved the white flag on boxing, Showtime is the only premium network left with that task.
You can get your boxing matches through Showtime PPV. If the term isn’t familiar, you might remember it as Showtime Entertainment Television or SET.
In 1986, Showtime started to go big on boxing matches. It did that by introducing Showtime Championship boxing. That’s not all, it also provided ShoBox: The New Generation where up-and-coming boxers are the main attraction.
Showtime has made it easy for fans to follow up on the latest boxing events with its Showtime Anytime app. If you have a valid cable subscription, you’ll be able to tap into any Showtime content you like on A. Check out the list of providers below:
A Standalone Streaming Service?
Yes, you saw that right. HBO isn’t the only network that gets to do this; Showtime can play this game as well. With Showtime’s streaming service, you’ll be able to watch all of the channel’s award-winning content, sports, and stand-up specials for a small fee by the end of the month.
The best thing about this service is that you don’t need a cable subscription to access it. Say goodbye to long-term deals from now on. All you have to do is subscribe to Showtime using the website or the Showtime app. It’s only $10.99/month, so it’s kind of cheap considering what you’ll be getting in return.
Once you get a Showtime subscription, you can stream top boxing events live on Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick/TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, LG Smart TV, PC, Mac, Android, iOS, or Roku.
If you’re looking to watch boxing in Australia, you’ll find that your best place is “Main Event.” It’s Australia’s only PPV channel, which launched back 1997 as Event TV then Main Attraction.
Both Foxtel and Optus Television own the service. You know what happens when these two collaborate, you get the top content in the region.
The channel broadcasts all kinds of fight sports, including WWE, UFC, and boxing. But that’s not all; you can find select concerts as well. It’s really quite simple.
Just go to Main Event’s website and purchase your event. After that, you can stream it through Foxtel or Optus TV featuring Foxtel using:
- Smart TVs
Bypass Limitations – Global Channel Access
This part is very important for any streamer out there. You see, streaming channels abide by geo-restrictions. It’s the process of limiting access to a service’s content based on the consumer’s geographical location. I know this is frustrating.
They say that the internet makes the world a small global village where everyone is connected. Well, not according to many websites that are confined to specific regions. Streaming services like the ones mentioned above enforce such restrictions due to copyright regulations.
Streaming services can determine your location by examining your IP address. If you’re within the area where the channel has broadcasting rights, you’ll have no issue. However, if you’re not, that’s when things get tricky, starting with a geo-error message.
The best way to access whatever content blocked in your country is through the aid of a VPN. Virtual Private Networks allow you to tunnel your internet traffic through an encrypted connection. It’s a direct link between you and the website you’re trying to reach.
Once you connect to a server, your actual location will be shifted as well since you no longer hold your original IP address. Yeah, you’ve now obtained an IP address in the location where the server is based.
For example, if the server you connected to is in the US, you’ll receive an American IP address. As a result, the likes of ESPN+, Showtime, Hulu, and more will be available for streaming no matter where you are.
Now, let me teach you how to connect to a VPN in a comprehensive walkthrough:
- You’ll have to start by choosing a credible VPN to work with. Since I’m the one writing this guide, I’ll take upon myself to recommend ExpressVPN.
- After that, download and install the VPN application on your Android, iOS, PC, Mac, or Fire Stick.
- Now, activate the app and sign in with your VPN account.
- Connect to a server based on the channel you’ve selected.
- Wait for the connection to take place and launch your channel.
- Stream boxing events anywhere in the world.
Picking the right VPN for the process is pretty essential. I’ve already recommended my personal provider. However, it’s not the only one available on the market. Check out more top VPN services in the table below.
Something to Be Impressed About!
With boxing finally turning to digital streaming, there are benefits for everyone. Fighters will have more exposure. Not only that, but promoters will also have more ways to build up players and more fights for everyone to watch. It’s a win-win for everyone, from broadcasters to promoters to viewers. I’ve already stated everything you need to know about boxing streaming services.
Now, all you have to do is pick the right one for your streaming needs, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget, if the channel is in a different country, use a VPN, and you’ll be able to access its content in no time. In case you run into hitches along the way, contact me in the comment section below, and I’ll see what I can do about it.