By Keith Idec
The Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight was a critical success and a commercial success.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight show, headlined by their riveting heavyweight title fight Saturday night from Staples Center in Los Angeles, slightly exceeded 300,000 buys in the United States. Figures from many cable companies in the U.S. haven’t been officially submitted, but initial indications from cable and satellite operators that have reported to Showtime are that Wilder-Fury should reach a maximum of 325,000 buys when the numbers are completely compiled within the next three months.
Showtime has not confirmed the number of buys produced by the 12-round split draw between Wilder and Fury.
The Wilder-Fury buy rate is roughly a third of what was generated by boxing’s last major pay-per-view event, the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight championship rematch.
Alvarez’s controversial majority-decision win against Golovkin reportedly produced approximately one million buys September 15 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. HBO Sports, which distributed that event, hasn’t confirmed the Alvarez-Golovkin buy rate, either.
That disparity aside, Wilder-Fury was a successful event from a financial standpoint because Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champ, and Fury, the lineal champion, were paid seven-figure guarantees in accordance with their fight attracting 250,000 buys in the U.S. Both boxers are expected to earn eight figures from a compelling, competitive clash in which Fury survived a knockdown apiece in the ninth and 12th rounds.
Wilder-Fury was not expected to approach, much less surpass, Alvarez-Golovkin in terms of buys because Mexico’s Alvarez is boxing’s biggest active pay-per-view star in the United States. The 33-year-old Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the 30-year-old Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs), of Manchester, England, each headlined a U.S. pay-per-view card for the first time when they fought for Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title.
Fury previously has been featured in pay-per-view events in the United Kingdom, but not in the United States.
The price point to watch the Wilder-Fury fight on pay-per-view ($74.99 in HD) probably impacted the buy rate. Piracy – an extremely costly issue for fighters, promoters and television distributors – definitely diminished returns on what was a well-received event, likely by hundreds of thousands of buys.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.