By Jim Calfa: Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza says big fights aren’t getting made because of the PPV piracy from fans, who choose not to purchase pay-per-view fights and turn to illegal avenues to see the bouts for free.
Espinoza’s solution for fans wanting to see the big fights happen is for them to purchase pay-per-view events. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult to stamp out piracy, but fans can help make huge fights happy by buying the events on PPV.
Espinoza says more big fights would happen if there weren’t piracy getting in the way. In the past, huge matches typically went over 1 million PPV buys. But in recent years, a fight will rarely reach even 800,000 buys.
The reason for that isn’t because boxing fans have lost interest in watching fights. It’s because of piracy. People are choosing to watch the fights on an illegal stream.
The upcoming Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight should, in theory, reach well over 1 million PPV buys, but because of piracy, it may fall short of that.
PPV Piracy keeping big fights from being made
“You say 2 million, and it hits 1.4. People are going to say, ‘Oh, that’s disappointing.’ No, it’s not. You shouldn’t set that bar if you list realistic figures,” said Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza to the DAZN Boxing Show on the pay-per-view numbers some people talk about for the Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia fight.
“I said this week ago, and I think there was some misunderstanding when I said 800 to a million. We haven’t seen 800,000 in a few years. Wilder-Fury was in that range. Canelo-Plant was in that range. I think you have to go back to Canelo-Golovkin to exceed a million.
“The thing with piracy. I understand the pay-per-views have gotten expensive, and right now, economically, it’s difficult. But the reason some of these fights aren’t getting made is literally because of the piracy.
“That’s part of the issue with Spence-Crawford. The uncertainty of how much revenue is in the pot because of piracy. So the reality is people should continue to vote with their pocketbooks. I’m not saying this for my benefit because, as you guys know, the network gets a tiny chunk. 80 to 90% goes to the fighters.
“So if your favorite fighter is taking a fight that you support, start buying the pay-per-view,” said Esponoza, giving a message on what fans can do to help make the big fights happen. Start purchasing more fights on PPV.