The End of PPV in the USA is Near. And Boxing has itself to blame!
Over the past year we have seen some consistently shocking PPV results in the USA. Today Dan Rafael, who is just about the leading journalist in boxing, mentioned that piracy has had a big impact on the PPV system in the USA. When we look at the problems across PPV in the USA, it actually is quite unique & doesn’t reflect other international markets, which reveals it’s actually not a piracy problem.
These are the following reasons why the PPV structure in the US is failing:
Lack of quality. Fights that shouldn’t be on PPV are now appearing on PPV. Fights like GGG vs Lemeiux & Cotto vs Kirkland etc are just a couple of examples of this. What were previously decent headline bouts on normal cable subscription services have now turned into PPV bouts.
Media Coverage. The US has lot touch with the fighters. It’s near impossible to get any consistent information out of the promoters or fighters. In the UK the media coverage is so significant that fans feel as if they know the fighters or promoters personally. The fans are engaged. They interact with fighters. And therefore they pay. At the moment in the United States it’s difficult to get a unique interview with a major fighter more than every 2-3 months. In that period in the UK the major fighters have done close to 10 interviews. Essentially the relationship & interactions between fighters and the US fight fans is now well and truly gone. Take James DeGale for instance. I never even watched his interviews before. Then all of a sudden I was invited into his house via the IFLTV interview & DeGale gave the viewers insight into his personal relationships & what he wants to achieve in the future. This was all through a video from IFLTV that I watched.
Marketing Statements: A decade ago, when a promoter came out with an outrageous quote about a fighter, it would be recognized. These quotes were so rare, they had added legitimacy to them. In the current age of boxing. Every week promoters are coming out with the most ludicrous statements that it’s impossible not to laugh. Look at what Arum said about Ruiz Jr this week “Andy Ruiz Jr has the fastest hands since Ali”. We are now at an age where promoters in the USA are known to come out with ridiculous comments, which are actually turning casual sports fans & boxing fans away.
Scorecards: Another key factor is the inability of boxing to come up with a competent and accurate way of scoring a fight. At the moment we have judges at 3 corners of the ring. So while 2 judges are seeing a punch land, one judge might be watching the back head or shoulder of a fighter. Given the advances in technology, we are at a time where the bouts should be judged based on a live broadcast feed with no sound. It’s also worth noting the average ages of the judges and those in important positions is very old. Nothing against old age, however it is well and truly time for the younger generation to develop into positions of importance in relating to judging and other matters. Take a look at the photo’s of judges, it’s not a personal insight but some are wearing thick glasses in there photos. Would this eyesight impact scoring?
Cash Grabs: Furthermore the last factor is Mayweather vs Pacquiao. That fight couldn’t have flopped any worse than it did in terms of entertainment. The one chance boxing had to expose millions more and help transform them from general sports fans to boxing fans, essentially failed. And in the process a lot of sports fans were charged INSANE PRICES such as est $100 per PPV, which has most likely left a sour taste in buyers memories. This will take some time to heal.
Have another look at Cotto vs Kirkland which is on PPV next year. 10 years ago this would struggle to get approved as a main event on normal cable subscription services. The mismatch is huge. It’s actually a dangerous bout. Both fighters have 36 months of inactivity combined since last fights. That is a horribly dangerous fight & insanely undeserving fight for PPV.
Conclusion: It’s obvious that the American PPV system is on it’s last legs. It can be revived, but it’s highly unlikely. It’s not due to piracy. It’s due to the lack of interaction between promoters, fighters & the fans. When was the last time we heard Al Haymon’s views on boxing? When was the last time we had one on one interviews with Oscar & Arum about their fighters? The thing is, we don’t. Everything is a secret. Everything is private. We aren’t being informed and we aren’t getting honest answers. The UK has well and truly taken over boxing. If you want to get paid, go to the UK. The structure is there. The connection between the fighters, media & fans is there. The USA needs a quick change, however ego’s and a lack of insight will likely lead to the end of PPV in the USA. We are likely going to continue to see PPV events tank & tank badly. The long term vision of the sport isn’t being directed in an effective way. The motto right now is ‘Make as much money as possible – even if no fans are left in 10 years’.