Crackle+ AVOD Service Announces Original Lennox Lewis Boxing Doc

Crackle Plus, the ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Oct. 6 announced the premiere of original documentary Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story, launching on Oct. 15.

The doc follows the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion as he defied the odds on an inspiring journey to become one of the most decorated boxers in history. Narrated by Dr. Dre, the documentary features never-before-seen footage from Lewis’ personal archives, extensive interviews with Lewis and some of his greatest competitors, including Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield.

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“We know our audience will appreciate Lennox’s passion and determination to overcome the obstacles he’s faced and reach his dreams both in and out of the ring,” Richard De Croce, SVP of programming at Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

Other original titles found on Crackle include Spides, Corporate Animals, Blue Iguana, Anything is PossibleThe Serge Ibaka StoryRoad to Race Day, On PointCleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters, The Clearing, “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and “Going From Broke,” recently picked up for a second season.

From a modest and challenging upbringing to an Olympic Gold medal and reign as undisputed heavyweight champion, Lewis’ story is one of redemption and forgiveness and the perseverance and strength needed to overcome obstacles. The doc is written by Josh Dubin and Seth Koch, and produced by Rick Lazes, Nick Koshoff and Tom DeNucci.

“The documentary delivers a powerful message and I am so glad we were able to tell this story,” said Lewis. “For anyone watching who feels they can’t make it in life, I am proof that you can.” 

Crackle is available in the U.S. and can be accessed on 26 devices and services including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain.

Amazon Prime Video’s NFL Deal Ends; League Coy on Successor

Amazon Prime Video has streamed NFL Thursday Night Football for the past two seasons. Whether that groundbreaking deal is renewed remains up in the air, according to media reports.

Prime Video, unlike Netflix or Hulu, has embraced live sports recently signing exclusive rights to English Premier League soccer. The New York Yankees reportedly are in discussions with Amazon to become the first MLB team to stream games directly to viewers who don’t have a pay-TV subscription.

The NFL is concerned whether Amazon can handle the capacity required to stream games to millions of viewers simultaneously — an interesting concern considering ESPN’s challenges streaming the Clemson, LSU college football national championship game on Jan. 13.

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“What Amazon’s doing over the next few weeks in the U.K. with their Premier League package will be very interesting to watch,” Brian Rolapp, EVP of media with the NFL, told a confab last month, as reported by Sports Business Daily. “They’re getting some pretty high ‘concurrents’ there.”

Rolapp said the NFL doubted any streaming service had the capacity to handle 25 million people simultaneously streaming a single game, much less in high-definition.

“It’s not just technical capacity the league is looking for. Production and promotion are just as important, he said. “In order to hold an NFL package, you’re … going to have to be able to distribute it at a high level of quality — no fan is going to accept less than HD, high-res all the time. You’re going to have to sell it from an advertising standpoint and market it. So we need to see that from any partner, and be satisfied with that before we entrust any game package to them.”

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Regardless, it’s likely money will play as important consideration going forward. Both DAZN and YouTube TV have expressed interest in football, with the latter a sponsor and distributor of Major League Baseball post-season games and World Series.

DAZN, of course, inked an exclusive deal with Mexican fighter Canelo Alvarez worth a reported $365 million.

Rolapp told the confab the NFL remains primarily interested in reaching viewers and fans across multiple distribution channels.

“We will not sacrifice reach for something less valuable, including a higher rights fee,” he said. “We will maximize our reach. We think we can get both, but the reach is really important.”

 

Streamer DAZN Inks Mexico Boxer Canelo Álvarez to Record $365 Million Fight Contract

In a move that could elevate OTT video in live sports, DAZN, the nascent London-based fight streaming platform, has signed Mexican boxing champion Canelo Álvarez to a 11-fight, $365 million fight deal – reportedly the richest athlete contract in history.

In addition to the size of the contract, which runs through 2023, the deal transfers boxing’s biggest draw from the lucrative pay-per-view market to a $9.99 monthly streaming service.

Indeed, Álvarez, the current WBA and WBC middleweight champion, most-recently defeated Gennady Golovkin in a rematch that generated more than $94 million in pay-per-view revenue – based on a $84.95 PPV price tag. The fight generated 1.1 million PPV transactions.

“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world,” Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN. “He’s extremely happy.”

The deal comes as HBO recently announced it would cease live boxing broadcasts after 35 years.

Álvarez’ first fight under the DAZN deal is against Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15 in Madison Square Garden.

 

Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions Inks Live-Boxing Streaming Deal with Facebook

Olympic Gold medalist Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has signed a partnership with Facebook to bring ad-supported live boxing to the social media giant’s Watch streaming platform.

The first of five live fights on Facebook Watch begin Aug. 11 featuring Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) at the Avalon Theatre in Los Angeles.

Watch is available for free on mobile apps across Apple and Android, on desktop, laptop and smart TV apps.

Launched last August, Watch is projected to generate $565 million in revenue this year, including $200 million on original content spending, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak. The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes daily on the social media platform.

The platform earlier this year inked content deals with Fox News, CNN and Major League Baseball – the latter involving exclusive access to 25 afternoon games.

“This is a game-changing deal for the sport of boxing,” De la Hoya said in a statement. “The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories.”

The 1992 Gold medalist and world champion in six weight divisions, De la Hoya will be the executive producer on each fight, with Facebook incorporating real-time viewer interaction through its social media platform.

“Through this unique partnership, a global community of sports fans will have access to some of boxing’s most exciting live bouts and be able to interact with the action like never before,” said Devi Mahadevia, North America live sports programming lead at Facebook.