From my seat, the Saturday PPV show topped by Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, which saw The Gypsy King steamroll the WBC heavyweight champion, was a worthy buy.
I hit the buy button, and dug the action, put together by ESPN, FOX, Top Rank and PBC. How many other folks did?
I asked promoter Bob Arum this question on Tuesday, during a hit on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast. He said he knew that digital ie streaming numbers were superb, and shared a story of how baller Dwyane Wade said he loved being able to order the fight, and watch in the sky, as he jetted from one locale to another.
Two industry vets I spoke to on Wednesday offered a range as to what the PPV buy level was:
One person said they heard the buy number for Fury-Wilder 2 (pictured in Mikey Williams photos, for Top Rank) was close to, but under one million buys. Mind you, the first Wilder v Fury bout, in December of 2018, did around 325,000 buys (US).
Another industry staple said that they heard, from multiple people, that Fury-Wilder 2 did “around 1.1” million buys.
And then, a new number, a lower number was making the rounds, hours after I posted this original “guesstimate” piece. It might be that the higher estimates were given by people who heard the number from cable/satellite buys, and then the number of digital buys, and then combined them. But the new buys number ricocheting around the horn of insiders is this: around 850,000 buys, combined, old school and digital. Maybe up to 900,000, but very likely no higher than that, said one person with three decades in the sphere said.
Another top of the heap mover and shaker said 750-800,000 were what their interpreters were saying.
Do the math–an increase from 325,000 to 1 million or so seems successful, in this age of endless entertainment options. But 750,000 would be seen as a stumble, and even 900,000 would be surprise, for those that believed the ESPN and FOX marketing muscle would be a needle mover on HGH.
Now, my guess would be that a third fight could double from there. But maybe that was my post-fight high talking.
Another person, smart as a whip, said no, a third one would do worse, people won't want to over pay for the Wilder possible redemption song.
Note: FOX doesn't comment on PPV buy numbers.
Note 2: As always, readers should know that this guesstimating is a most inexact science, and also, numbers are important, but that our society usually places too heavy an emphasis on numbers, and revenue, and using those as metrics of “success.” I am not privy to the economics of this promotion, but from my seat, I got my money's worth, and am a satisfied customer…which bodes well if Wilder decides to saddle up, and agree to Fury vs Wilder 3. Regardless, the world keeps turning, and it seems like boxing fans and the industry is indeed enjoying an uptick in momentum.
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