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Is Pay-Per-Views the way forward for Boxing? A Critical Analysis

Is Pay-Per-Views the way forward for Boxing A Critical Analysis

Nothing compares to the Adrenaline-filled experience of watching your favorite boxers go head-to-head. Boxing has gained immense popularity from the 1960s starting from the brawls of Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. While it still manages to pull in good numbers, Boxing is slowly but steadily losing its charm.

Today we have stars like Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and Andy Ruiz, etc yet they are not managing to pull in numbers like old. Unlike MMA, Boxing has always been PPV and currently, it might be the ideal time to rethink that matter.

Boxing and PPV: The Old Story

The concept of PPV began as early as the 1950s where people gathered in closed-circuit theaters to watch Boxing matches. As a result, most of the people did not attend the matches in person. This went on for a good period of time until the 1970s.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the world witnessed the rise of Global icons like Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. As a result, the sport gained much more attention. In fact, the fight between Ali and Frazier aired live in 1971 and managed to cross the 2 Million buys. Overall, it reached about 2.5 million buys as it was shown worldwide. However, this was also a Closed-Circuit fight.

For home-cables, the first PPV fight was one between Floyd Patterson and Ingemar Johanssen II that took place in 1961. At the time, it did not manage to attract the audience but by the 1980s, PPV managed to shrug of closed-circuit television and emerged as the de-facto service to view Boxing fights.

The reason for the increased popularity of the PPV was due to the HBO and showtime services in the US. In the UK, it was Sky Box Office that managed to bring these shows to the homes of the fans.

Currently, Boxing and MMA make use of PPV. However, the rise in popularity of MMA has led to the decline in viewership for Boxing. MMA shows are also being streamed on services as well. Despite all the challenges, the PPVs for Boxing still generate decent revenue. Amazon Fire TV devices user can also watch PPV on Firestick and Fire TV Cube.

Why Boxing Should Move on from the PPV structure

Despite generating decent numbers, the time is now to leave behind the PPV model. Here are a few compelling reasons.

  • Pricing-Boxing matches are quite unpredictable and you don’t know what you are going to get. To pay 50 dollars for a fight that could last only a few seconds is not at all smart. In fact, paying 100 Dollars the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight which turned out to be quite uneventful might be one of the worst decisions by a Boxing fan.
  • The inability to penetrate the young audience-Boxing is a technical sport and one that is slow-paced. As a result, youngsters prefer the fast-paced brawl style of MMA. Also, the youth are always on the move and the ability to stream MMA events have not helped Boxing either.
  • Neglecting the undercards-Besides the main event, almost all the other matches on PPVs are simply below par. It is basically, a hyped-up training session wit no vigor, no challenge, etc. At least, they should be looking at developing younger stars instead of contemplating on how to extend the duration of the PPV.
  • Unpredictability-Imagine buying a PPV expecting to see a lot of blood and gore while you get a boring one-sided rollover. People pay their hard-earned money and should be getting a decent return on that. If they wanted boring and lackluster fights, then why pay in the first place?

What’s next for Boxing?

To be fair, it is perfectly reasonable as to why they adopted the PPV model in the first place. Fights between big-names are quite rare and happen possibly once or twice in a year. As a result, it is quite normal for service-providers to churn out a bit of extra money from subscribers. That was quite reasonable and a logical decision before. However, with new sources of entertainment like MMA, UFC fight, and other sports, it has simply become an outdated model. To keep up with the times, it is necessary to remove the PPV structure or opt for more creative ways like digital streaming.

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