Sports | May 29, 2019 12:31 pm

Heavyweight Boxing Is Fighting Itself Over Broadcast Rights

Viewing rights are a big road block to Deontay Wilder v. Anthony Joshua

Deontay Wilder after a first-round knockout. (Edward Diller/Getty)
Deontay Wilder after a first-round knockout. (Edward Diller/Getty)
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Before the much-anticipated bout between undefeated heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua can take place — if it ever does — the viewing platforms they are associated with are going to have to duke it out.

Joshua, an Englishman, is signed to DAZN, while Wilder, an American, is under contract with Showtime. (A third undefeated heavyweight, Englishman Tyson Fury, has a deal with ESPN and also factors into all of this.)

That means, in order for the two fighters to meet, the two sides will have to reach an agreement about how the bout will be broadcast and how the proceeds will be split.

But, since the viewing platforms offer different subscription options and have different business models, hammering out an agreement isn’t as easy as it once was.

The sport’s top three heavyweights are now affiliated with three different platforms. And, with the traditional pay-per-view model under threat, all three are betting on slightly different business models to lead them into the future,” according to Kendall Baker of Axios Sports. “In the past, rival broadcasters would work together by putting on a pay-per-view fight and splitting the proceeds.”

As a result, Joshua will fight Andy Ruiz Jr. on Saturday while Wilder will have a rematch with Luis Ortiz for his next fight. No matter what happens in either of those bouts, there won’t be an undisputed title fight between Joshua and Wilder this year.

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