Despite the near-constant wailing of self-elected boxing “hardcore” fans, there is no greater peak in the sport of boxing than an event being hosted on Pay-Per-View. It allows fighters to be paid the highest amounts, it is a pure indicator of actual popularity and it also allows for networks to focus their main channel budgets on generating the next crop of fighters in hopes they can create future PPV stars.
But the vocal minority against PPVs are generally undaunted by facts. Even in the light of the complete collapse of DAZN’s US boxing operations. DAZN actually bought into this concept that if a million people were willing to pay $75 for a Canelo Alvarez PPV, then just imagine the number of people that would be willing to pay $20 for a Canelo fight! Well, the number of people willing to pay the latter turned out to be less than the number of those willing to pay the former.
DAZN not only lost billions of dollars chasing this race to the bottom, but they actually started to impact Canelo’s popularity among the public. Now this is a concept the boxing fan will recoil at. Surely Canelo is the biggest draw in the sport? Beloved by all with the exception of those with Gennady Golovkin body-pillows?
Well, Canelo WAS popular but never to the level of the preceding largest name in boxing, Floyd Mayweather. Because as Canelo was ascending in the public consciousness in terms of being the only name in boxing, he signed with DAZN and then fought in a void for two years. You don’t have to take my word for it though, just look at the public interest in Canelo from Google Trends in the US.
The first spike is from Canelo’s fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr which then led into the Golovkin fights and then the precipitous fall as Canelo signed with DAZN. If anything, the five-year trend is kind to the DAZN years as the seven-year trend truly shows the reversal that DAZN worked upon Canelo’s career.
Which brings us to Canelo’s return to the fold of Pay-Per-View and specifically, Showtime PPV. Showtime seems to be associated in the minds of the buying public as a place of quality. They trust that when Showtime stands behind a product, the fans will get their money worth. This year alone has seen Showtime get strong responses for cards that others have fumbled when using the same participants.
Train your eye on the Google Trend chart and notice the end spike on both graphs. That is from the Canelo vs Plant press conference. A press conference got half the attention as Canelo’s premiere fight on DAZN against Rocky Fielding. Canelo testing positive for Clenbuterol because of contaminated meat that resulted in the delay of the rematch with Golovkin was less of a story in the mind of the public than Canelo and Plant pushing each other.
This is the impact of Pay-Per-View and its importance to the sport of boxing. While there was much ado in the world of boxing over Canelo doing a $9 million gate against Billie Joe Saunders, that should be seen as nothing but another Eddie Hearn and DAZN disaster when held up against the ticket sales for the upcoming Canelo vs Plant fight. For Hearn could not move $1500 tickets to see Canelo as evidenced by the gate report.
Let us compare that to a current image of the available tickets on the primary AXS website for Canelo vs Plant.
The price for those tickets in the image above? $5004 each. For the entire MGM Grand Garden Arena there are currently less than six hundred tickets available. The lowest price to get into the venue is $1254. The upper level is completely sold-out where ticket prices, aside from the few lower priced seats they toss out to look kind in the press releases, started above $500.
It’s not the power of Vegas alone that is responsible for this reaction as Canelo’s fights on DAZN in Vegas against Danny Jacobs and Sergey Kovalev did gates of $8.7 million and $8.1 million respectively. Those fights didn’t have the MGM hotels selling closed circuit tickets, unlike Canelo vs Plant.
What you are witnessing is the power of Pay-Per-View, a proven broadcast partner and an opponent that the buying public of the United States actually knows. While others in the boxing world may prefer to feast on supposition, I dine on facts. And the facts show that Canelo’s home is Pay-Per-View.