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  • Wilder vs. Fury 2 prediction: PPV will underperform on Feb. 22, 2020

Wilder vs. Fury 2 prediction: PPV will underperform on Feb. 22, 2020

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Joseph Herron Updated
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Although most die-hard boxing fans have been in "the know" for quite some time, PBC and Top Rank, Inc. just made it official.

On Friday, December 27th, 2019, the long-awaited rematch between WBC Heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and lineal Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) was finally announced to the general public, and is slated to air via FOX and ESPN PPV on February 22nd, 2020.

The highly anticipated return bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with tickets going on sale Saturday morning, December 28th, 2019, at 1PM ET/10 AM PT on AXS.com. Interested fans can purchase tickets by clicking on the attached link:

https://www.axs.com/events/389526/wilder-vs-fury-ii-tickets?skin=grandgarden

The two behemoths met almost exactly a year ago at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in a thrilling but controversial twelve round affair, in which most ringside observers believed the self-proclaimed Gypsy King deserved the victory. Although the UK based puncher was floored in the ninth and twelfth rounds of the drama-filled bout, Fury felt he did more than enough to earn a decision.

The three judges at ringside controversially scored the entertaining fight 115-111 for Wilder, 113-111 for Fury, and 113-113, resulting in a "Split Draw" verdict.

According to ESPN, the first meeting, which took place on December 1st, 2018, seemingly underperformed, only generating 325K PPV buys. The Showtime presented replay didn't fare much better, only drawing a surprising 488K viewers on average with a peak audience of 590K.

Because the rematch will be presented by two mainstream sports networks, FOX and ESPN, both promotional parties handling the event, Top Rank Inc. and PBC, are optimistic Wilder vs. Fury 2 will achieve much greater financial success.

The PPV is expected to carry another $74.99 price tag, with 50% of the proceeds going to ESPN, FOX and the various cable and satellite distributors showing the contest.

Earlier this month, Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum, had this to say about the match-up's earning potential.

"I would be disappointed if the PPV did less than 2 million buys," the Hall of Fame promoter stated to BoxingScene.com on December 18th. "That's the goal and estimation. I think it's doable and PBC thinks it's doable, and we're pulling off all the stops to reach that number or exceed it."

Due to the rising popularity of the "app method" in presenting premium entertainment content, it remains to be seen whether or not the antiquated and seemingly overpriced method of presenting special events will generate that kind of financial success.

In comparison, the HBO and Showtime presented super fight between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in 2002, which was considered to be a huge financial success, achieved 1.97 million PPV purchases, raking in an impressive $110 million. Keep in mind, the antiquated cable and satellite PPV model was the only way to distribute an event of this nature back in 2002 with little to no piracy issues.

And due to the fact that neither Wilder nor Fury have the mainstream name recognition of Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis, it's highly unlikely the February 22nd PPV will reach equal or greater numbers.

Although "Wilder vs. Fury 2" will be heavily promoted on both FOX and ESPN, the rematch's biggest obstacle will be the ongoing piracy issue, which continues to plague boxing's premium and most expensive events.

In an anonymous poll recently conducted on Facebook.com, almost 40% of all interested fight fans plan to view the pricey event illegally through various internet sites.

This is a huge problem for the sport and its fighters moving forward.

Compared to an average "app-based" entertainment cost of only $10 per month, paying over seven times that amount for a single event seems unreasonable for most fight fans, who are expected to pay regularly for their boxing entertainment. It's the only major sport in America that demands this from its fans on a consistent basis.

Fight fans have seemingly grown weary of the older cable and satellite PPV model.

To fully understand the impact this issue currently has on the sport, fans absolutely must realize how fights of this nature are made.

Premium match-ups like Wilder vs. Fury are very expensive and depend on huge site fees and licensing fees customarily paid by casinos and networks with deep pockets. Because a casino like the MGM Grand, who is slated to host the February 22nd event, stands to generate massive amounts of income through combined revenue streams like the live gate, gaming tables, and sportsbooks, they are customarily willing to pay a big multi-million dollar site fee for a popular event of this nature.

But if networks like ESPN and FOX who depend on generating income through PPV sales are expected to pay the huge licensing fees to air the special events, fans absolutely must be willing to financially support them if they hope to see these match-ups made on a regular basis.

Otherwise, fighters like Wilder, Fury and the like will be forced to reduce their purses substantially...something inevitably has to give.

In my opinion, droves of fight fans will once again elect to illegally stream the highly anticipated event, consequently sending a very strong message to all participating promotional groups and networks that they've collectively "had enough" and will not support the overpriced and unreasonable antiquated PPV model any longer.

Memo to PBC and Top Rank: The app method of purchasing events seems to be the future of boxing.

Expect "Wilder vs. Fury 2" to generate only 600 to 700K PPV buys in the US on February 22nd, 2020.

 
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