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The real fight isn't Tyson vs. Paul — it's Netflix vs. its livestreaming infrastructure

The exhibition match is a major test of Netflix's push into live events.

Netflix

Netflix has been experimenting with live sports over the last few months with golf and tennis exhibition events. The company has announced the biggest test for its livestreaming capabilities to date: a boxing match between YouTuber (and pro boxer) Jake Paul and former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

The fight is going to be a spectacle for a number of reasons. Both fighters bring star power to the table. There's a 30-year age gap between them. Despite his 9-1 record, Paul can hardly be described as an elite fighter. While Tyson is regarded as one of the best heavyweights of all time, he retired 19 years ago and has only fought in two matches since then. Paul's second match was on the undercard of Tyson's last bout, which was against Roy Jones Jr. in 2020.

The battle will take place at the 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It's bound to attract a decent audience through Netflix as well. Most major boxing matches are on pay per view, but Netflix's 260 million subscribers will be able to watch at no extra cost.

Netflix hasn't released viewership figures for the Netflix Cup (its golf event) or the Netflix Slam (a recent tennis exhibition). Combat sports tend to deliver high viewership, though, suggesting that Netflix's infrastructure will have to handle more simultaneous streams than any of its other live events so far.

The company has dabbled with other live events over the last year or so, including a Chris Rock comedy special, the SAG Awards and a weekly cooking show with David Chang. However, the company has faced issues with livestreams in the past — it was forced to abandon plans for a live Love is Blind reunion due to technical issues.

Netflix has around nine months to make sure its livestreaming capabilities are in order before it embarks on its most ambitious sports (well, sports-adjacent) project yet. Starting in January, Netflix will be the home of WWE's live weekly shows in many markets, including the flagship program Raw in the US.