One of the few drawbacks about the World Boxing Super Series — aka the B-1 World Grand Prix — was the lack of American broadcast coverage. Reportedly unable to land a deal with the likes of HBO, Showtime, or ESPN due to wanting to sell the entire tournaments instead of select fights, the second season of WBSS will not have such an issue.
Earlier this week it was announced that sports streaming platform DAZN (pronounced “Da-Zone”) has picked up US rights for the entire second season, which will include tournaments in three weight classes — bantamweight, junior welterweight, and a third division to be announced soon. Previously, WBSS streamed some matches free on Youtube, while others were on the AUDIENCE Network on DirecTV, which ironically has extremely limited audience reach.
Three of the four major bantamweight champions — Zolani Tete, Ryan Burnett, and Manny Rodriguez — have already signed up for season two, while junior welterweight is expected to include WBA champion Kiryl Relikh, as well as new WBO champ Maurice Hooker, plus a quarterfinal bout between Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit to determine the new IBF champ.
Of note from the Sporting News article is that “DAZN will show all 15 fight nights of Season 2 in the U.S., featuring 21 matches across the three tournaments.” This implies that unlike season one, there will be cards featuring multiple tournament bouts in one night, as opposed to spread out over the course of 4-6 weeks.
DAZN is run by Perform Group, who’ve had considerable success with the live and on-demand subscription service in Austria, Germany, Japan, and Canada, snapping up rights to major sports competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, NBA, NFL, MLB, and UFC (in Japan only). The US service is expected to launch in the summer, although the monthly subscription cost for DAZN is unknown at this point. Promoter Eddie Hearn recently inked an eight-year, $1 billion deal with DAZN for the launch of his Matchroom USA venture, having generated massive success in the UK.
Unfortunately, this announcement does not include television/streaming for the season one championships, as Oleksandr Usyk fights Murat Gassiev on July 21st in the cruiserweight finale, while Callum Smith and George Groves fight on a date TBD in the super-middleweight final. It is great news moving forward though that the WBSS now has a US home.