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  • Wilder vs Fury 2 PPV Price and Start Time: Don't expect a larger audience than UFC 246 in the US

Wilder vs Fury 2 PPV Price and Start Time: Don't expect a larger audience than UFC 246 in the US

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Joseph Herron Updated
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The plot does indeed thicken.

In a recent interview on the Everlast Talkbox Podcast, Bob Arum revealed how much it will cost every die-hard and mainstream fight fan to view the upcoming Wilder vs. Fury 2 super-fight.

“Yeah, I believe it’s $80, and that was done in consultation with all the providers," the Hall of Fame fight promoter recently told journalist Michael Woods.

"We were fooling around with a lesser price but they said no, with the power of this event, $79.95 was the appropriate price.”

In the same interview, Bob Arum mentioned how impressed he was with the buyer results of last Saturday night's PPV on Top Rank's supported platform, ESPN +, which featured UFC icon Conor McGregor and Cowboy Donald Cerrone in its main event.

Most estimates hover around the one million purchase mark for the commercially successful UFC 246.

Although Arum and his event collaborators, PBC, FOX, and ESPN, are targeting even greater numbers for their heavyweight attraction on February 22nd, all parties involved should look forward to relative disappointment.

But how can that be?

When one considers how much more historically significant the upcoming heavyweight event is in relation to a mere comeback fight and tune-up for Conor McGregor, it seems grossly unjust.

Like it or not, Conor McGregor is a rockstar...unfortunately Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder currently aren't.

Despite sharing the same kind of charisma and proficiency in their respective craft, neither Fury nor Wilder shares the same buyer influence or consumer demand as the Irish superstar.

Why?

It's a question fighters and promoters have been asking themselves for years.

Look at Canelo Alvarez.

The popular Mexican fighter has become a boxing icon in North America. And although the 29-year-old pugilist is recognized to be one of the best pound for pound fighters in boxing, he doesn't have nearly the same charismatic personality of a Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder. But he seems to sell a lot more PPV's than both Fury and Wilder combined.

At the end of the day, there's seemingly no rhyme or reason why any fan gravitates toward a specific fighter or entertainer...they just do or do not.

If such an algorithm or recipe for success did indeed exist, every entertainer would apply it to their own career.

The truth simply is what it is.

In the immortal words of the late, great Neil Peart: "You can twist perception, but reality won't budge."

So no matter how many times Top Rank and PBC attempt to mention Wilder/Fury 2 in the same breath as Tyson/Lewis, Tyson/Holyfield, or even Douglas/Holyfield, it won't help sales on February 22nd.

Yes, two undefeated heavyweights in their respective primes competing for the lineal heavyweight championship is indeed comparable to the aforementioned super-fights in terms of historic significance.

But that's where the parallels end.

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield were two mainstream sports figures during an era that seemed to embrace Heavyweight boxing as one of its favorite pastimes. And although the Heavyweight division has taken great strides as of late towards potentially reaching that once glamorous apex of popularity, it isn't there yet...not even close.

This match-up, for all intents and purposes, should be the boxing equivalent to the NFL's Superbowl, which will ironically be played out between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs just three weeks prior to Wilder vs. Fury 2.

But rather than performing in front of an estimated Superbowl audience of 103 million viewers, Wilder vs. Fury 2 will be fortunate to reach 600K paying customers in the US.

What's the solution? How can Top Rank and PBC salvage this promotion?

Perhaps ESPN, FOX, Top Rank and PBC should look to other markets for answers.

Tyson Fury may not yet be a household name in America, but he's currently a huge sports commodity in the UK.

BT Sport recently won exclusive rights to broadcast the anticipated heavyweight showdown in the UK with an estimated start time of 2 AM in the morning. Rather than catering to a US start time, perhaps event organizers should consider adjusting the event's start time to attract more purchases abroad.

When you analyze purchases for Wilder/Fury 1, it may not be a terrible idea.

The first meeting between the two best heavyweights, which took place on December 1st, 2018, sold only an estimated 325K purchases in the US on Showtime PPV, and 420K in the UK via BT Sport Box Office.

Imagine how many additional viewers it would have attracted at a much more reasonable start time in Great Britain? The main event between Wilder and Fury began around 11:30 PM ET. In England, viewers had to wait until 4:30 in the morning before the first punch from either Fury or Wilder was landed.

Would Wilder/Fury 2 reach the desired audience of 2 million viewers worldwide if the fight card were indeed staged at a start time of possibly 3 or 4 PM ET? That would mean preliminary bouts would be forced to begin at a dreadfully early 10AM in Las Vegas, Nevada.

But who cares? It's not like any preliminary bouts will be driving sales anyway.

At $80 a pop in America with a projected start time of 9PM ET, something has to be done to salvage this promotion and keep it from becoming a relative commercial failure.

 
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