By Craig Daly: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum doesn’t see how the Terence Crawford vs. Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence fight can be made this year without somebody subsidizing it.
It’s too risky to put the fight on because of the purse requirements for IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champion Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and WBO champ Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs).
The number of pay-per-view buys required to cover the “freight” would be enormous, and Arum believes that piracy in the form of illegal streams would limit the PPV buys.
One theory Arum has to defeat piracy would be to reduce the price of PPV from $80 to $20, but he’s not sure that’ll work. If the PPV buys don’t increase, there would be even less money to cover the cost of the enormous purses.
With Spence and Crawford, they will want guaranteed purses rather than taking their money from the pay-per-view upside, which would involve risk, particularly if the two fail to promote their fight enthusiastically.
Spence & Crawford have laid-back personalities, and they don’t have the same over-the-top character as fighters like Keith Thurman and Ryan Garcia to get boxing fans excited.
Piracy hurting pay-per-view
“It has tremendous interest from people who follow boxing, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into revenue from pay-per-view, which is the biggest source because of the piracy,” said Bob Arum to Fighthype about the Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence fight.
“PBC has to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we’ll put it on, we’ll give you nice guarantees, but you’ve got to really live from the upside.’
“Unless somebody wants to subsidize that fight, I don’t know how it gets done,” said Arum.
There’s little chance that Crawford and Spence would agree to get their money through the upside from PPV because they know that boxing fans may choose to save their money and watch the fight on an illegal pirate stream instead of paying $80.
With the cost of gas going through the roof, some fans can’t afford to pay $80, especially with Canelo Alvarez fighting on DAZN pay-per-view in September against Gennady Golovkin.
“If we drop the cost of the pay-per-view down to 20 or 25 dollars, which is what we started with on pay-per-view. Would people then forgo pirating the signal and pay the money to watch the fight legitimately?” said Arum.
Many boxing fans would choose to purchase the Spence vs. Crawford fight on PPV if the price were dropped to $20, but PBC is unlikely to make that move, unfortunately.
That’s a doable number compared to the enormous $80 price tag, considering it will not have nearly the same impact on fans’ pocketbooks.
One problem that has made fans less willing to purchase PPV nowadays is the constantly poor undercards that are packaged with the fights.
The promoters generally only put one good fight on the card in the main event, and then his mismatches involving their prospects on the undercard. Fans get very little value for their money, especially when the main event turns out to be a dull affair.