By: Shane Willoughby
We are almost there; the most eagerly anticipated fight of this era of boxing is less than a week away.
All of our questions and suspicions are almost answered. But there is one important question that is probably being ignored. How many PPV sells will Wilder vs Fury 2 do?
When you look at the landscape of boxing and the growth that sport has had in the past 2 years, there has been a consistent increase in the amount of attention the sport is getting, especially the heavyweight division.
So to assume the fight will do more than last time is more than fair.The first fight reportedly sold 325,000 PPV buys which was solid; but will be an absolute flop if the rematch doesn’t exceed that amount.
But reaching that amount shouldn’t even be an ambition for the parties involved – they need to go much further.How far you may ask. Well, let’s look at who has heavily invested in this.
Wilder has been with PBC for practically his whole career and their a partnership with FOX has created a new home for the Bronze Bomber. Whilst Fury has signed a mega-deal with Top Rank and ESPN.
Both ESPN and FOX are showing this fight on PPV in the States. ESPN reportedly signed Fury for 80 million for 5 fights. Fury has already had 2 fights on ESPN against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin. I can’t imagine ESPN made much from those fights, so to say that their profit rest on the success of this fight is an understatement.
Whilst FOX haven’t invested that much into Wilder on a long term basis, they have invested heavily in PBC which is Wilders promotional outfit. FOX did pick up the WBC champions last fight against Ortiz instead of Showtime, which was the home for Wilder for years.
But for Wilder, the success of this fight is more significant as he and his team have to justify the reason for him turning down 120 million from DAZN.
So both companies are heavily invested. Now to answer the question of how much more PPV sells this fight needs to do is difficult as we don’t exactly know how much they have invested.
However, Arum has spoken about the fight potentially doing 2 million which is an astronomical amount of buys in the States.
The promoter has set a high benchmark and I only hope that’s not the amount ESPN need to sell to make a profit because if it is then, it’s extremely unlikely they are going to be in the green.
To put it into perspective only 4 fights in the history of boxing has done over 2 million buys. And all of them involved “Money” Mayweather. So unless PBC are going to get Floyd out of retirement the fight will probably fall short of Arums target.
But it doesn’t have to sell that much to be a success. The first fight only generated approximately 25 million from box office sells in the States.
Which is considerably lower than what they are paying Fury and Wilder I assume. However, the price of this fight will be slightly higher.
Not to mention the fact that both fighters have raised their profile tremendously since then especially Fury who was unknown in America. After his WWE appearance and his partnership with ESPN, he has become somewhat of a known commodity in America.
For ESPN to recoup the 80 million, never mind making a profit they will need to probably sell 500,000 for this fight alone not including FOX sells.
To be fair, due to the Gypsy King still having 2 fights after this left on his contract they may be able to still get out of the red even if this fight falls short.
But when you consider the PPV price is $80 and they probably made a loss on Fury’s 1st fight in addition to investing a lot into promotion. 500,000 is probably what they are aiming for.
ESPN and FOX are well-established companies so they don’t just throw money out without knowing that they are going to get a return. So it’s fair to say that they will probably make their money back. But it’s more than just recouping their money.
These TV stations are not working together; like the fighters, they are working against each other – competing for the exact same thing that the fighters are fighting for, supremacy.
Who will outsell who? Can we do more than 500,000? Can we steal viewers from our competitors? These are the ambitions of the networks.
This also affects the fighters because the success of this fight may strengthen their hand in future negotiations. Which is a brilliant segway to my next point.
Eddie hearn has spoken recently about giving the winner of Wilder vs Fury 50\50 against AJ, something he wasn’t willing to do before.
This is a great indicator that not only are their profiles rising, but this fight is going to be extremely successful. At least in the eyes of Hearn. He wouldn’t be willing to give 50\50 if the fight was only going to do 400,000 combined.
1 million box office sells is a realistic amount for this fight and should be seen as a success.
Canelo vs GGG 2 sold 1.1 million which is the most PPV buys in recent years in America, obviously outside of Mayweather fights. However, that was only on HBO not 2 networks like this fight.
Nevertheless, if you are a fan of the sport; buy the fight. We are too quick to criticize when the best are not fighting each other, so there is no excuse for not purchasing the fight.