As the world of sports broadcasting undergoes major shifts, one event stands as another litmus test for the industry’s future: the upcoming heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois.
Scheduled for August 26, 2023, at the Tarczynski Arena in Poland, this bout promises to be a spectacle for fight fans – who will have to pay extra to watch the event.
But while the clash in the ring is set to be monumental, the viewing experience offered by the newly named TNT Sports Box Office leaves much to be desired for those not subscribed to traditional cable services like Sky, BT TV, or Virgin Media.
Want to watch the Usyk v Dubois fight on your big-screen TV, without a pay-TV subscription? It’s not going to be simple (even though you don’t need a separate sports subscription).
Read ahead for all the ways to watch – and why there’s still hope for the future.
BT Sport Box Office Is Now TNT Sports Box Office
The UK sports broadcasting landscape has undergone a significant transformation with the recent emergence of TNT Sports, which replaces the well-known BT Sport.
BT Sport has been a major player in the UK’s sports broadcasting scene since its launch in 2013. It boasted an impressive portfolio of sports rights, including Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and Europa League matches, among other sporting events.
However, the advent of TNT Sports marks the end of BT Sport’s era and the beginning of a new chapter.
This change is the result of a merger between BT Sport and Warner Bros. Discovery / Eurosport, aiming to consolidate their TV and streaming rights under the Discovery+ umbrella – and the Discovery+ app.
The new platform brings in fresh faces to its presenting team, like Laura Woods, while retaining some of the old favourites.
And, similarly to BT Sport becoming TNT Sports – BT Sport Box Office, the platform for Pay Per View sporting events – has now been renamed to TNT Sports Box Office.
The Fight of the Year: Usyk v Dubois
The anticipation is palpable. Oleksandr Usyk, the unified heavyweight champion, will defend his WBC, IBF, and WBA world titles against British contender Daniel Dubois.
Usyk, with a 20-0 record, is a formidable opponent, having defeated British fan favourites like Derek Chisora and Anthony Joshua.
On the other side, Daniel Dubois, with a 19-1 record and 18 knockout wins, is hungry for his first full world title.
The stage is set for a clash of titans, and the UK and Ireland can watch it exclusively live on TNT Sports Box Office for a one-time fee of £19.95.
The boxing match will take place on August 26, 2023, at 11pm (UK time).
How to Watch Usyk v Dubois
The are various ways to watch TNT Sports Box Office – and they’re all identical to how BT Sport Box Office used to work.
It’s important to note that those who wish to watch the event don’t need to be TNT Sports subscribers – in fact, it doesn’t even matter if they are – the price is still a one-time fee of £19.95 for everyone.
But the way to watch does depend on whether you’re a pay-TV subscriber or not. If you are, things are easy:
Virgin Media TV Customers: If you have a TiVo and/or V6 set-top-box, go to the On-Demand section and choose Live Events. For those with a Virgin TV360 and/or the Virgin Media Stream box, navigate to the Pay Per View Events rail.
BT TV Customers: Simply go to channel 494 and pay using your remote control.
Sky Customers: Purchase TNT Sports Box Office on channel 490 via their remote control or through Sky’s website.
Limited Big-Screen Options for Non-Subscribers
For those who aren’t subscribed to traditional pay-TV services like Sky, BT, or Virgin Media, the options for watching the Usyk v Dubois fight on a big-screen TV are disappointingly limited.
While TNT Sports Box Office does offer an online platform and a dedicated mobile app for streaming, these options come with their own set of challenges.
How to Watch Via The App/Website
Online Website (via browser): Viewers can visit the TNT Sports website, navigate to the Box Office section, and follow the instructions to subscribe and watch the fight online.
TNT Sports Box Office App: The app is another option for those who prefer mobile viewing. After downloading the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, users can purchase the event and stream it live on their mobile devices (phones and tablets).
The service allows for flexible payment methods, including adding the cost to your mobile bill if you’re a customer of EE, Three, Vodafone, or O2.
The Disappointment: No Direct TV Streaming
Want to pay and watch Usyk v Dubois on your TV without a pay-TV subscription? Your options are quite limited, and surprisingly – they do NOT include the Discovery+ app.
You need to pay to watch the fight on your mobile phone / tablet – and then use either a Google Chromecast streaming device or Apple Airplay to cast the fight from your phone – to your TV.
The inability to stream directly to a big-screen TV is a significant drawback that can’t be overlooked.
This limitation is particularly disappointing for a high-profile event like the Usyk v Dubois fight, which many would naturally prefer to watch on a larger screen for a more immersive experience.
The lack of direct streaming options to smart TVs forces viewers to resort to alternative methods like Google Chromecast or Apple AirPlay, which may not be readily available or convenient for everyone.
Moreover, for those who aren’t tech-savvy, setting up these alternative streaming methods can be cumbersome and detract from the overall viewing experience.
In an age where streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video offer seamless big-screen streaming, this feels like a missed opportunity for TNT Sports to attract a broader, more diverse audience.
Furthermore, this limitation was inherited from BT Sport Box Office, which had the same issue. Those who hoped for a more streamlined big-TV option to come with TNT Sports Box Office, are in for a disappointment.
It’s likely that a dedicated, Pay-Per-View TNT Sports Box Office section will be added to the Discovery+ app in the future (where the subscription-based TNT Sports platform now resides) – but for now, such an option does not exist.