Wilder vs Ortiz 2 PPV (w/ Cost): How big is this (PPV) gamble?
The Good News: On November 23, hard-punching WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) will face Cuban wrecking machine Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KO; 2NC) n a rematch of their classic March 2018 bout.
The Bad News: The upcoming bout, unlike the first fight which was free for Showtime subscribers, will be broadcast on FOX Pay-Per-View (PPV) at a cost of $74.99.
First things first.... Wilder vs Ortiz 2 is a splendid match-up and the fighters deserve fat paychecks. And credit to Wilder for accepting four consecutive difficult assignments; Ortiz, Tyson Fury, Dominic Breazeale and Ortiz again.
As a hardcore boxing fan who loves both guys, I'm shelling out $75 to see this fight but have concerns about its potential at the box office.
Ten years ago when PPV was still the norm, this fight would have easily been a box office success at a sell price of $44.99. But these days, fans can purchase a one month membership from DAZN and ESPN+ and feast on numerous events (in addition to main cards) on both networks for a third of that $75 rate.
Wilder vs Ortiz 2
WBC Heavyweight Championship
MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas
Saturday, November 23, 2019
FOX PPV / $74.99
Yes, $25 will buy you a month of broadcasting on ESPN+ and DAZN. On latter, for example, fans can still see stars like Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Anthony Joshua - in addition to other fight cards and programming - without having to pay more than the $19.99/month rate.
And with ESPN+, a $5/mo subscription is sometimes enough to see stars like Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. Of course, it all depends on who those stars are facing. Promoters Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions will still slap fans with a PPV fee if one of their stars is facing another big name. Such was the case for Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner, Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman, Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia and Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan.
And that brings us back to Wilder vs Ortiz...
Despite nearly KOing the WBC champ last year in an epic back-and-forth affair, Luis Ortiz's stock is seemingly not on par with the main event PPV B-sides we've seen earlier this year; specifically Broner, Thurman, Garcia, Khan and Shawn Porter.
And yes, although Khan has been KO'd in his biggest fights he's a mainstream boxer with an enormous fan base. Amir has 2.1 million Twitter followers and 4.1 million on Facebook. Ortiz, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a Facebook fans page and boasts only 17K Twitter followers.
The Cuban's public stock is certainly no reflection of what he brings to the table. He's a top 5 heavyweight who can be bad news for anyone. He's big, strong and mean. And offensively, he the closest thing to a young George Foreman, style-wise, since... George Foreman. And his sole defeat is the loss to Wilder in a fight where he Deontay in dire straits.
Fact: Wilder and Ortiz will enter their rematch with a combined record of 71-1-1, 65 KO, 2 NC.
Make no mistake, this fight card is worth $75 but I'm not sure how many will pay for it given Ortiz's lack of mainstream name recognition and the fact the odds (misleadingly) suggest he won't be a threat in the fight.
Given Crawford vs Khan purportedly underperformed with only 150-200K buys, are the promoters taking a gamble?
Maybe. And maybe not.
Recent Purported PPV Buyrates (US only)
Crawford vs Khan - 150-200K
Spence vs Garcia - 360K
Spence vs Porter - 340/350K
Pacquiao vs Broner - 400K
Pacquiao vs Thurman - 500K
Wilder-Ortiz I, which was broadcast on regular Showtime in March 2018, peaked at 1.2 million viewers. Couple that healthy return with the fireworks the fight generated and Wilder's increase in name recognition (post the Wilder vs Tyson Fury drama last December) and Wilder vs Ortiz 2 could generate 300-400K buys.
I'm hopeful, but pessimistic because fans are slowly being weaned off PPV.
Are you purchasing this fight?
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I'm buying! I want Ruiz-Joshua in Dec., but it's in Saudi Arabia, so it'll be a morning fight. I'm in Pacific Standard time. No one wants to drink and watch boxing at 10 a.m. That's when you're supposed to drink and watch football!