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MLW SIGNS DEAL WITH DAZN, BRINGING PRO WRESTLING TO POPULAR SPORTS STREAMING PLATFORM FOR FIRST TIME & MORE ON MLW'S FUTURE PLANS

By Mike Johnson on 2020-06-09 12:05:00

Major League Wrestling has signed a deal with sports streaming giants DAZN, making MLW the first professional wrestling property to stream on that platform, PWInsider can confirm. 

Neither side has made an official announcement, but MLW Fusion TV episodes as well as the complete MLW Opera Cup event are already available for VOD streaming and MLW will be rolled into DAZN’s linear programming schedule.    PWInsider.com has also confirmed with a source close to the streaming platform that if and when MLW resumes live events, DAZN will be carrying some of that content live as well.  This would give MLW the platform to broadcast live PPV specials on DAZN as well.

For those unfamiliar with DAZN, it is the Netflix of sports, with a massive international footprint, holding rights for BELLATOR as well as Canelo Alvarez boxing fights. John Skipper, who ran ESPN, is DAZN’s Executive Chairman.  DAZN launched in September 2018 and is $19.99 per month or $99.00 for an annual subscription.  DAZN touted earlier this year that it has eight million subscribers globally, which puts MLW before more potential eyeballs than the WWE Network has ever had.

We are told the DAZN deal is not a replacement for MLW Fusion’s run on BeIN Sport but is in addition to their relationship with BeIN, giving Major League Wrestling a bigger footprint overall.  Currently, that cable sports network airs MLW content nightly with MLW broadcasts often the top rated broadcast of the day.  MLW is not leaving BeIN Sport.  We are told, however, MLW Fusion is unlikely to continue in the future to be distributed on YouTube as those within promotion (specifically Bauer) have noted that monetization via YouTube has been poor and the feeling is that the series would be better monetized elsewhere.  There is a feeling within MLW that WWE gets the preferential treatment for advertising dollars on the platform, which given WWE's massive subscriber base on YT, makes sense.

PWInsider.com can also confirm, however, that MLW has/had been in discussions with ESPN about potentially bringing programming to some of ESPN’s platforms.  Those talks began in January 2020 and pre-dated WWE providing ESPN with Sunday evening TV content of old Wrestlemania broadcasts.  Once that content began airing on ESPN, it complicated and slowed the MLW discussions.    The WWE relationship ended quickly with vintage Wrestlemania broadcasts shifting over to FS1.    We are told that the DAZN deal would not mean the end of MLW pursuing additional cable deals, whether that be ESPN or elsewhere.  

Attempts to reach MLW head Court Bauer regarding the DAZN deal have been unsuccessful over the last 48 hours.  Whether this is the potential deal Bauer has been teasing as “transformative” for MLW remains to be seen.    If and when Bauer responds to a request for comment, we will add those comments to this article.

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