"Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios only sold 90K PPVs," says Oscar De La Hoya
"To be, or not to be. That is the question" - William Shakespeare (1604)
215K, or not 215K? That is the question many curious fight fans seem to be asking a full week removed from Gervtona Davis vs. Mario Barrios, concerning the number of domestic PPV purchases.
On July 5, Mike Coppinger of ESPN reported that the June 26 Showtime PPV event generated in excess of 200,000 buys, estimating that the final number would likely reach the 210K to 215K range.
Why do the PPV numbers matter?
The financial success of the Davis/Barrios event will more than likely affect the quality of opposition for Gervonta's next PPV appearance on Showtime later this year.
Most experts believe that Mayweather Promotions will feel confident sticking Tank Davis in the ring with just about anyone if the numbers prove to be favorable from the June 26 event. While less than favorable figures will more than likely result in a search for a more mainstream attractive dance partner for the blossoming young star, and quite possibly a tougher match-up on paper.
According to Oscar De La Hoya's industry sources, the number hit well below Coppinger's reported figure.
When asked if Ryan Garcia could be taking on Gervonta Davis later this year, the Golden Boy gave a very interesting response during a recent interview with FightHype.
"It all depends. I know for a fact that Gervonta's fight (with Barrios), I think…from my sources…did about maybe 50K PPVs homes and 40K digitals. So if you combine that, it's about 90K PPVs. So I dont know if that fight is ready to be made but when it is, which maybe can be 1st quarter next year"
When Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe caught wind of the Golden Boy's comments, he took to the Twitter-verse to publicly respond.
"Everyone can see through this Clown!"
"Mayweather Promotions will pay Golden Boy $1 million per buy for anything under 215K buys, and Golden Boy has to pay Mayweather Promotions $1 million per buy for anything over 90K buys. Are you in, Oscar De La Hoya?"
"If not, shut the f*** up!!
By Ellerbe's firery retort, fans can deduce that Gervonta's latest stint on Showtime PPV didn't reach 215K purchases, but did well above Oscar's meager estimate of 90K. Or is the MP CEO merely bluffing the Hall of Fame fighter to discount his dismal and potentially embarrassing estimate?
So which one is it? And why can't fans seem to get an accurate figure from Showtime or Mayweather Promotions concerning their latest undertaking on the relatively expensive PPV platform?
Probably because the final numbers aren't impressive.
With the Logan brothers scoring big commercial hits in their respective PPV events on Triller and Showtime in 2021, even the 500K purchase mark seems a bit low these days.
What's going on here?
It's no surprise that boxing has become a niche pastime in the very competitive US sports market. Although events featuring retired prizefighters and popular YouTubers turned boxers are producing great PPV numbers, cards showcasing active, elite level prizefighters aren't finding the same success on the pricey revenue stream.
Why the drastic difference in revenue?
Tyson vs. Jones, Paul vs. Askren, and Mayweather vs. Paul all featured mainstream recognizeable names and appealed to a more mainstream and casual demographic.
Although Wilder vs. Fury 2 in February of 2020 pulled respectable numbers, reaching 850K purchases, the expensive event failed to break the million purchase mark and ultimately lost money. The Charlo Twins first effort on PPV pulled in less than 100K in September of 2020, Spence/Garcia only reached an estimated 250K purchases in December of 2020, and Gervonta's only two PPV events both attracted well under the 300K mark.
So what does this mean?
It means that the great majority of die-hard boxing fans are no longer purchasing PPV events, but streaming them live illegally. By reviewing the dramatic difference in event figures, it seems that the only demographic still willing to purchase these events are mainstream and casual sport fans.
Can you blame long suffering fans of the sport for choosing to watch their beloved boxing for free after decades of having to pay premium dollars to witness every major fight card live?
It's the only major pastime in the US that regularly asks its consumers to pay hundreds of dollars every year to see their favorite athletes compete.
What would happen to the NFL or the NBA if they started charging PPV prices to see the playoffs every single year? Their respective popularity would diminish exponentially.
Something has to give.
Either promoters and fighters must find a way to monetize illegal streaming, or all parties involved absolutely must put forth a greater effort to showcase the best match-ups on easily accessible free TV.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum knows this, which is why we haven't seen a PPV event on ESPN since February of 2020. The 89 year old promoter has little to no confidence that die-hard fight fans will purchase these expensive events any longer, which is why the Bobinator passed on the opportunity to stage Pacquiao vs. Crawford on ESPN PPV this year.
It will be interesting to see if Pacquiao vs. Spence and Fury vs. Wilder 3 both turn a profit for all parties involved this summer.
If not, something will have to change.
Because as it currently stands, boxing biggest PPV attractions consist of two YouTubers and two retired fighters.
Something absolutely has to change if our beloved boxing wants to remain relevant in today's competitive sports market.
- GERVONTA DAVIS
- Mayweather Promotions
- MARIO BARRIOS
- Showtime PPV
- Davis Barrios PPV numbers
- OSCAR DE LA HOYA
- BOB ARUM
- ESPN PPV
- Leonard Ellerbe
- RYAN GARCIA
- Tank vs Garcia
- Davis vs KingRy