Early indications show Spence-Crawford pay-per-view may sell well
PPV.com, the go-to streaming arm for iNDEMAND that brings prime fights into your homes, has not been in existence that long. Launched in December 2021, PPV.com has been treated to a benchmark year in 2023. In April, the Tank Davis-Ryan Garcia fight in Las Vegas drew 1.2 million pay-per-view buys.
On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena, the historic clash between IBF, WBA, and WBC welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 knockouts) and WBO counterpart Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) for the vacant Ring championship and first undisputed welterweight world champion in the four-belt era promises to garner a big number.
The live broadcast will be shown on Showtime Pay-Per-View and streamed on PPV.com (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Early indications show crossover appeal is growing and the fight could sell very well.
Feeding off the energy Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions has developed in 2023, potentially making this year the best in the existence of both companies, PPV.com could have its greatest year since iNDEMAND traditionally existed and started the pay-per-view business 40 years ago.
“There’s no doubt 2023 will be one of the best years pay-per-view boxing has ever had, definitely, and this comes from a perspective of doing pay-per-view fights since iNDEMAND existed,” said Mark Boccardi, the senior vice president of marketing and programming at PPV.com and in his 20th year overall for iNDEMAND. “There has been a difference recently in boxing, and that’s because we are seeing the fights that fans want to see. The promoters are working well with each other. The Davis-Garcia would not have come together if PBC and Showtime did not work well together with Golden Boy and the DAZN. A lot of times big fights don’t happen because promoters would prefer to work within their own silo and are unwilling, or unable, to work with other promoters.
“The second reason why these fights are being made, and everyone was surprised, believe me, at how well Davis-Garcia did, but it showed that megafights can still happen with the fighters making it possible through social media. I think it’s the first time a fight like that was made through how they made their names through social media. You put those two factors together and you see how big fights are made. Boxing, like any sport, is cyclical, and this year we’re seeing really good timing and why we’re seeing these really good fights.”
It is a small sample size PPV.com has been working with, but because it’s been a great year so far for boxing, that has translated into an exceptional year for PPV.com.
The best per-per-view event last year was Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin III. This year has produced numbers multiple times better.
“We’re on this upward trajectory right now from these great boxing events, but also through the growing awareness of PPV.com a place to watch the best boxing events, which is a result of the harr work we’re putting into it,” Boccardi said. “And here’s something else, we’re not done, boxing is not done. There is a whole lot more coming this year, and it’s a reason why this year as been so big. You have Canelo and Jermell Charlo coming up on September 30, and some of the heavyweights have not fought yet this year.
“There is talk of big fights coming up in the fall. We’re really excited how well the year has gone in 2023, and it’s unbelievable how it’s gone so far. Things are happening in boxing. Yes, we’ve only been existence for 18 months, and apparently, pay-per-view boxing is not dead, and apparently boxing is far from dead. The timing of this Spence-Crawford fight has been big. Both boxing and pay-per-view are both very much alive, and very healthy. When you put the biggest and best talent and names against each other, consumers will pay for those events, and that is not going to change.
“The feedback we’re getting a week away from Spence-Crawford, we’re getting an enormous groundswell of attention that’s been building. The pre-buys we’re seeing have been exceptionally strong, and the best we’ve seen for any fight, by the way, and that was a week away. It’s all going to culminate in a massive event. It’s a picture that is coming together and it has a chance to be a huge event.”
Looking at boxing now, the sport is more available across more media platforms than it ever has at any point in boxing’s history.
Beginning with man-machine Naoya Inoue stopping Stephen Fulton in eight for junior featherweight multiple titles on Tuesday, Spence-Crawford concludes one of the greatest weeks in boxing history.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.