The Sky Box Office Pay Per View Boxing Debate

The Sky Box Office Pay Per View Boxing Debate

The Sky Box Office Pay Per View Boxing Debate
Picture Credit: Sky

A typical British PPV event radiates prestige, or at least it should.


The hype and chatter prior to fight-night on these rare occasions accelerate as the day of reckoning inches ever closer. Subsequently, a feeling of excitement takes hold of all watching.

The propaganda machine which is Sky Sports normally does a great job in maximising buys. This time round though, something is different. Two British fighters headline a decent looking card, yet nobody I know of seems to be particularly enthralled by the prospect. Why is this the case?

Frankie Gavin is a solid British level fighter. But he has thus far demonstrated little to say he is of an elite calibre. The fact he is 29 years of age suggest the odds of sudden improvement are unlikely.

Nonetheless, he has earned the respect of many for his toughness. And for surviving for so long despite the fact he has been overlooked by the British boxing community.

In the last two years we have all been clamouring for the Brook-Khan fight, whilst Gavin has been an obscure figure in spite of having his own fairly innocuous domestic dust-up with Bradley Skeete. The fight offered Frankie a dose of ‘redemption’ following his loss to an ageing Leonard Bundu.

I had the rather tepid affair scored as a draw but the judges saw it differently. On that performance like all of his others, there is simply no evidence to say he is a ‘PPV star.’

Benn, Eubank, Hamed and Haye were the last of the Mohicans in that respect. Carl Froch only earned the status in the twilight of his care as evidenced by the fact his first PPV event was in 2013 against Kessler.

It isn’t right to just shove two decent British fighters into a scrap and label it as a PPV. We, the boxing audience, must be invested into the personalities.

Unfortunately Frankie Gavin is hard to invest in because of his lack of star appeal. More importantly though, I like many others, just cannot make a case for him to overcome Kell Brook.

So that kills any sense of unpredictability as well as excitement. Why bother watching then? If it was on regular Sky I would watch but certainly not on subscription television.

I don’t blame Frankie Gavin for seeking a world title fight, after all it is what any boxer with ambition seeks more than anything else. However, I take issue with the declining status of the British ‘PPV.’

Eddie Hearn and Sky used to be content with only putting 2 events on box office. Last year those events consisted of Froch-Groves II and Bellew- Cleverly. The year before that it was Froch-Kessler and Froch-Groves.

By kicking off 2015 with Brook-Gavin, Matchroom are lowering the bar in my opinion. Bellew-Cleverly was bad enough, but at least those tuning in were 50/50 on the outcome. Can that be said for Saturday’s clash? No it cannot and therefore it should not be a PPV fight.

If we are not careful, boxing will lose it’s soul in Britain. We do not want an American style system whereby fans are often get little value for their seats. American boxing fans fork out on average $300 per year on box office clashes, whilst British fans pay £35.00 (ordinarily). This figure will not be sustained at it’s current trend.

Those who think the ‘event’ also includes the under-card would argue we are getting  decent value for money. Examining the card as a whole merely reinforces my negative sentiment about the whole night.

Callum Smith, Anthony Joshua, Lee Selby and Nathan Cleverly are all good names. However, I regard their victories as inevitable. Maybe not by knock-out in every case, nevertheless I know they will overcome their opponents, thus reducing all possible motivation to pay for the event.

Admittedly, Kevin Mitchell is in a tricky encounter, but Mitchell has never been a PPV star before, so one cannot justify paying £17.95 just to see him box a guy not many have seen before.

All in all, if you are not satisfied with Saturday night’s card being PPV, vote with your remote. If we cave in and purchase an ordinary main event, where will it all end?

A world title fight should always be an exciting prospect, especially when the fans are expected to part with hard earned cash to view it. In America, the fans are time and time again disrespected and subsequently this has impacted the overall atmosphere at live events.

Sky ought to realise that it’s customers cannot be exploited in this way, by all means showcase these bouts, just do not do it at our expense as boxing fans.

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