Is Joshua vs. Fury a big fight right now?
By Mohamed Horomtallah: Is the Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury a big fight right now? I’ve been thinking about that very question, and from a financial standpoint, I’m having seconds thoughts. Allow me to explain.
The three major revenue sources for a mega-fight are the live gate, the site fee, and the PPV numbers.
THE LIVE GATE
Unfortunately, it’s almost nonexistent due to the global health crisis. There’s no place in the world right now, outside of Texas, where more than 20 thousand people can attend an event and certainly not in the UK.
THE SITE FEE
Some countries in the Middle East might be tempted to give a significant amount of money to host the fight, but will they be able to due to the pandemic?
Let’s take a leap of faith and say they will. Let’s also estimate that they will give up 60 million dollars for the privilege of hosting such an event. I’m quite confident that we’re talking best-case scenario here.
THE PPV BUYS
This is by far the best guarantee of revenue for the fight, as boxing fans will be eager to watch the bout.
However, outside of the UK market, they won’t be any PPV money as neither Joshua nor Fury move the needle in the US, not to mention that the fight will more than likely be on DAZN.
Joshua did poor numbers on DAZN for his hyped-up American debut against Andy Ruiz Jr, and Fury did even worse numbers on ESPN when he fought Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin.
Hardcore fans will tune in, but it might not attract the casuals.
In the UK, the record PPV number for a boxing event was Joshua vs. Joseph Parker, which sold 1.8 million homes, 1.832.000 to be exact.
That fight benefited from Joshua’s tremendous momentum following his win against Wladimir Klitschko (1.6 million buys).
Let’s assume that Joshua vs. Fury does 3 million buys. It’s a generous assumption since the UK, which is completely locked down, faces an economic crisis as well, and 3 million fans might not be willing to pay to watch a crowd less fight.
Let’s do the math. 3 million PPV buys at $30 a pop (PPVs in the UK cost much less money than in the U.S) will generate $90 million, half of which goes to the broadcasters. That leaves us with $45 million, to which we’re going to add the $60 million site fee and while we’re at it, let’s throw in $10 million from sponsors.
This will give us a total of $115 million.
A third of that goes to the different promoters, and we’re left with $76 million for both fighters, with each fighter taking home $38 million.
For a fight of this magnitude, the numbers should be better than these.
Based on the breakdown, Joshua vs. Fury is not bigger than Deontay Wilder vs. Fury 2.
Both Wilder and Fury made close to $40 million each in their second fight ($25 million guarantees + PPV percentage for each).
If somehow they face each other a third time, they will make close to $35 million apiece, the gate bringing in obviously less money (AT & T stadium with 20-25k in attendance), but the PPV both in the U.S and the UK will significantly increase.
The controversies (accusations of cheating, arbitration) that followed their last fight is exactly the kind of stuff that attracts casual fans.
With both fighters building up the fight as a ‘bad blood,’ unfinished business affair, the PPV should do better than the last one, which was considered a success with 900.000 buys in the US.
Fury can kill two birds with one stone and get a huge payday while having an opportunity to silence Wilder once and for all because should the Gypsy King dominate him again, no more excuses or doubts will be allowed this time around.
In the meantime, Joshua will have an opportunity to get Oleksandr Usyk, his WBO mandatory, out of the way.
Joshua and Fury will then have taken off all obstacles and paved the way for the biggest fight in boxing with no contract dispute, no step aside money, etc.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Bob Arum changes his mind and decides to go ahead with the Wilder fight, secure that payday in March, and wait for the vaccine to allow fans back for a sold-out Wembley Stadium before staging Joshua vs. Fury sometime in November.
Of course, the problem is the risk of Wilder finding a home for his right hand and knocking out Fury.
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