Will the casual boxing fans buy Spence-Porter?

September 28, 2019

Saturday night Errol Spence meets Shawn Porter at Staples Center highlighting Fox’s latest PPV effort.  The PPV will be another test to see how much the pull of boxing PPV.

To its credit, Fox has backed this event with shoulder programming.  Notably, its PBC specific shows focusing on the fight have scored well in ratings in recent weeks.  PFC Face-to-Face featuring the two fighters averaged 334,000 last Sunday while PBC Fight Camp grabged 334,000 viewers.  Also, Porter appeared on Fox NFL Sunday for a segment which posted 4.817M viewers per Fox Media.  Fox promoting the fight during its NFL games have also assisted in getting a casual boxing fan to take notice of the PPV event Saturday.

The cross-promotion by Fox is similar to what it did for the UFC when the two companies were partners.  It helped for the UFC, will it help for the PBC?

One would think so.  But, if you are a fan that casually follows the sport, its hard not to forget the last Fox PPV (not including Manny Pacquiao).  Spence defeated Mikey Garcia this past March in what was an easy walkover for Spence over an overmatched, yet talented Garcia.  The matchup was a mismatch considering Garcia was fighting up in weight class which seemed to be a distinct disadvantage for him.  Yet, the PPV drew 360,000 buys for an event that drew over 47,000 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Can PBC replicate the same buy rate?  Kevin Iole doesn’t think so.

It’s hard not to disagree with this projection if you factor in what some may have seen in March with Spence-Garcia.  Yet, if you believe that the NFL push may have gain some traction with a casual fan, it could near what March’s PPV could do.

Certainly, there are some boxing fans that believe that the matchup is the ‘best you can do’ given that Terrence Crawford is a Top Rank promoted fighter.  Odds say that Spence wins via Unanimous Decision.  There is talk that the winner would face Manny Pacquiao although many would like to see the eventual showdown with Crawford.

For Spence, Saturday’s fight will help solidify him as a PPV draw.  He’s one of the best boxers in the world and despite his talent in the ring, he has not broken through as a recognizable star for the casual boxing fan.  There was the ratings for his one fight on NBC after the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team which drew 4.8 million viewers, but there was a set of circumstances (namely the Olympic team) that facilitated that big rating.  One wonders if another UD over Porter will get him the notoriety he deserves or will this be another stepping stone to either Pacquiao to get him mainstream praise.

In any event, Saturday’s PBC event at Staples Center should be interesting not for just the action in the ring but what transpires with business after.

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