By Keith Idec
DALLAS – Richard Schaefer explained the reasons for his seemingly extreme optimism.
The veteran promoter told BoxingScene.com on Thursday that pay-per-view and ticket sales for the Errol Spence Jr.-Mikey Garcia card are tracking higher than those involved in promoting it anticipated. What Schaefer suspects was underestimated regarding Spence-Garcia projections is the effect the support of network television might ultimately have on the commercial success of this event.
The card headlined by Spence and Garcia on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington will mark the first boxing pay-per-view card distributed by one of the United States’ four major broadcast networks. It has been promoted heavily by FOX through a channel that reaches 118 million homes in the U.S., as well as its basic cable channel, FS1, which is available to approximately 84 million American subscribers.
Several boxing industry insiders have predicted to BoxingScene.com that Spence-Garcia could cap out at approximately 350,000 buys because neither Spence nor Garcia has headlined a pay-per-view event. Schaefer believes the pay-per-view sales will be much stronger than that for this 12-round, 147-pound title fight.
“The impact of network television promoting an event, we’ve never had that before,” Schaefer said. “The movie theater ticket sales for this fight and the sales to bars and restaurants are tracking ahead of where the first Canelo and Triple-G fight were at the same time. Usually, when you see these things starting to build like this, historically, that means it’s going to be a home run. There’s clearly momentum. All of those things point in one direction. Can it do a million homes? At this point, I’d say yes.”
The first Alvarez-Golovkin middleweight title fight produced roughly 1.1 million pay-per-view buys in September 2017.
Schaefer, who has worked closely with Garcia in recent years, also is confident ticket sales for the Spence-Garcia card at least will approach the record for boxing at the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium. That benchmark was established in September 2016, when an announced crowd of 51,420 attended the card topped by Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez’s ninth-round knockout of England’s Liam Smith.
“We were tracking at over 30,000 [on Wednesday],” Schaefer said regarding ticket sales. “Compared to what other fights were, they feel very confident they’ll get a record crowd here. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we broke the indoor record for a fight in the United States?”
The indoor record for a boxing card in the United States was established in September 1978. An announced crowd of 63,350 attended Muhammad Ali’s unanimous-decision victory over Leon Spinks that night in their heavyweight championship rematch at The Superdome in New Orleans.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.