Eddie Hearn and broadcaster Mike Costello discuss DAZN commentary team
Veteran broadcaster Mike Costello is the new voice of DAZN and he’s excited about the challenges that lie ahead.
Costello is leaving his role at the BBC, where he has covered boxing and athletics, to be the figurehead of DAZN’s ringside commentary team and his position will see him lead the U.K. coverage but also be the voice of big shows in the U.S.
Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn was clearly delighted with his signing and Costello will be paired with Irish star Andy Lee, whom he has worked with on the BBC before. Tony Bellew will assist them but how the broadcast booth will look on fight nights is still to be finally determined.
“Having spoken to Eddie on this in the past, the Americans are very keen on three voices, sometimes even four,” explained Costello. “Whereas over here [U.K.] there are just the two voices, so that’s something we’ll work out but I think it can work anyway because I think they’re such good broadcasters [Bellew and Lee], they’ve got such good insight and they’ve got such experience getting that insight across, they’re both brilliantly articulate in their different ways, they have a different style of broadcasting, different characters come across in their voice and I think it will work whichever way we decide to go ahead with it.”
For big fight nights, including the upcoming Fight Camp series, there will be special guests added for special attractions but Costello, Lee and Bellew will form the core.
“From our side, Mike is always going to lead commentary for the principal fights on the night, prior to that Chris Lloyd will do commentary with Darren Barker for the earlier fights on the night and then as we go to the main card it will be Mike and Andy always, Tony Bellew is part of the presentation and commentary team so will be in and out of commentary,” Hearn explained. “We’ll also be looking to bring over individual names for individual fights, legends of the sport, current world champions during different fight weeks to integrate them into the commentary but it’s an interesting point on the two or three. It’s always been two at Sky, DAZN like to use three, we used three in Mexico but it’s going to be on a week-by-week basis but Mike and Andy are the principal two with Bellew in many weeks and part of the presentation team as well.”
That means previous commentary teams in the U.S. and the U.K. are gone with Costello leading the new era for DAZN’s boxing content.
Costello might still do some athletics for the BBC and he might be able to do historical-based podcasts with his old-sidekick Steve Bunce but the Bunce and Costello podcast in its current guise will be gone.
“The Americans [with DAZN] will get Mike,” added Hearn, when asked whether there was a choice of commentary teams depending on where DAZN subscribers tune in. “So Mike will be fronting up the English speaking world feed of DAZN. Now, sometimes, if there was a Canelo Alvarez fight in the U.K. there would be a Spanish presentation as well and so forth, but Mike’s role is a U.K. commentator but also you’re going to see Mike at many big U.S. shows as well, the shows we have quite a strong U.K. focus on in the US, Mike will be across that commentary as well. Although Mike’s principal role is across U.K. shows, you will see him in America and on a lot of the international cards as well.”
Costello has built a solid reputation adding excitement, gravitas and integrity to his broadcasts and he has been championed as an excellent signing and the pinnacle of a team that also includes Maya Jama, Laura Woods, Darren Barker and Chris Lloyd.
Costello also maintains that his famous impartiality will not be compromised and insisted that he will continue to call things as he sees them, “down the middle”.
Is he worried that people will question his integrity now?
“No,” he asserted, matter-of-factly. “Because I think one of the reasons DAZN and Matchroom wanted me on board is because of what I’ve done in the past, so why would I want to change that? There are bound to be people who don’t like it, and I’m ready for that too, but I won’t be changing my philosophy because it’s served me so well for so long.”