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MLW announces streaming deal with DAZN

MLW’s Court Bauer has been teasing a “transformational” deal for the company since it came out early this year they’d hired the entertainment agency ICM Partners to represent them in negotiations with broadcasters and streaming services.

He hasn’t explicitly confirmed the partnership with DAZN they announced today is that deal, but it certainly has the potential to transform the promotion Bauer brought back in 2017.

The announcement is light on specifics. The article on the MLW website is mostly about how to subscribe to the service for $19.99 per month or $99.99 per year. The section on what you get for your money lists the combat sports the service is known for (Bellator MMA and boxing from fighters signed with promoters Oscar De La Hoya & Eddie Hearn) and “Major League Wrestling!” Existing Fusion episodes and their recent Opera Cup shows are available on demand on the service now, but there’s no details about when future shows like Fusion & Anthology, or new PPVs will stream via DAZN.

PWInsider and Wrestling Observer both report that Fusion - when it returns; MLW is on hiatus during the pandemic and ran out of material they taped before they shut down due to the coronavirus crisis - will continue to air on its current television home beIN Sports. They’ll also continue to upload shows to YouTube, but both Insider and the Observer make it sound like they’ll stop doing that as soon as possible. Bauer’s been very open about how little money MLW makes from the Google-owned video platform, and how whatever deal ILM got for them would likely mean the end of distributing complete shows on YouTube.

DAZN promotes itself as having eight million subscribers worldwide, although its been hard hit by the lack of content during the pandemic. In becoming the first wrestling promotion to stream on the service in the United States, this is certainly a win for MLW. But unless someone is also interested in their MMA & boxing content (when it comes back), the existing MLW product might not entice wrestling fans to add another subscription to their budget.

Knowing Bauer, there’s likely more to come.

Stay tuned.

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