On Saturday Fox Sports will distribute its first pay-per-view boxing event featuring the Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garcia welterweight championship fight.
The PPV fight card, which will take place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas and retail at a suggested retail price of $74.95, is the second PPV boxing event for the industry in 2019, following Showtime’s Jan. 19 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner, which garnered a reported 400,000 PPV buys.
Fox Sports’ fight coverage will begin at 8 pm with FS1’s live coverage of several undercard fights before the PPV event launches at 9 pm. More than 3.1 million viewers have already sampled shoulder programming surrounding the Spence-Garcia bout, according to Fox officials.
I recently spoke to Fox Sports executive vice president of live operations and research Bill Wanger about Fox’s decision to jump into the pay-per-view boxing ring with Spence-Garcia as well as performance prospects for the fight.
Why did Fox Sports choose this fight as its inaugural foray into the PPV boxing arena?
This is a unique fight. You have two of the top pound-for-pound best fighters on the planet, so we think it’s can’t miss TV. Plus, we have the intrigue of Mikey Garcia going up two weight classes to face a bigger Errol Spence. They are both undefeated and world champions
Areyou confident that the name recognition of the two fighters is strong enough to attract both hardcore and casual boxing fans?
I think that’s where our marketing and PR teams come in, and they are working hard to promote this fight. We have the power of Fox behind this, so we think it will attract the casual boxing fan. We’ve been airing quite a bit of shoulder programming to help promote the fight that’s run on Fox broadcast, and that’s been a great way to capture the interest of the sports fan. We’re also using all of our cable channels, including Fox News and FX, to promote the fight. We also have an extensive media buy outside of the Fox family to promote the fight across all platforms.
Will the fight be available on a digital streaming basis?
Yes, the fight will be available for purchase on FoxSports.com where you could watch it on any device. History tells us that [online buys] fall in the neighborhood of 8% to 10% of the overall buys typically.
Having said that, do you have any general predictions on the PPV performance of the event?
We don’t generally comment on potential sales figures for pay-per-views.
How many PPV boxing events are you looking to do this year?
We’re going to have approximately four to five pay-per-view events a year. They’ll be an announcement shortly on our next PPV card.
In general, how important is boxing to the Fox Sports brand?
I think you can see by all the marketing that we’ve been doing since we started our new deal with [Premier Boxing Champions] in December that the sport is important to Fox. We felt that some of these great fighters, particularly in the glamour divisions like heavyweight and welterweight, were really underexposed. We felt that with the power of Fox and the Fox Sports brand we could elevate these great PBC fighters. We’ve already had a couple of fight cards on the broadcast network that have done over two million viewers. We’re very invested in Premier Boxing.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.