David Haye vs. Tony Bellew: How Many PPV Buys Will The Card Do On Sky Box Office?

I’ve written extensively about true PPV buy rates previously & how notoriously difficult they are to decipher at the best of times. With a great deal of frankly obsessive effort they are only ever partially decipherable from publicly available financial records (in the case of the UK’s #1 PPV vendor Sky Sports Box Office via statutory declarations from their parent Sky Plc).

In fact any Google search for ‘PPV buy rates’ will simply return the figure claimed by the promoter at the time. But readers are just that gullible & willing to believe the moral equivalent of allowing a parent to simply claim a 100m time for their children instead of – you know – actually timing them. Buy rates of 500,000 to 1,000,000 are often thrown around but considering the average PPV buy is viewed by 4 or 5 people (only 1 of which is paying) – this implies the laughable suggestion that 2,000,000 to 5,000,000 people are watching the event on a pay per view basis in the UK. Simply ludicrous when we have easily verifiable data showing only a handful of football matches per decade achieve even the low end of that range.

Sky Plc report ‘transactional revenue’ – which encompasses boxing PPV revenue; WWE PPV revenue (not unsubstantial); Buy and Keep (“The easy way to buy or rent movies”) [which accounted for between £45 & £52 million of the £173 million in all source transactional revenue in financial year end 30 June 2015] and NOW TV transactions. That is – the true PPV revenue figure is obscured by at least three different revenue streams. To add to the murkiness there is a time delay in reporting. The NOW TV portion includes a claimed 1.5 million transactions at between £6.99 for a Sky Sports Day Pass & £33.99 for a Sky Sports Month Pass. If we take £10 as a ‘for argument’s sake’ mean payment the 2014/2014 total would be £15 million via this income stream.

So having studied the UK PPV market & knowing the extremities (both high & low) of possible outcomes – the easiest, most readily available PPV buy rate method is to simply utilize various metrics of public interest – Google search interest in the headliners; Twitter trend sizes as well as competition from other entertainment options on the same day at the same time. From these comparative metrics I can place a given PPV card on a continuum of possible outcomes & come out with the most honest; accurate; PPV estimate you are going to hear outside of the walls of a Sky boardroom.

So where is David Haye vs. Tony Bellew trending? Google search interest is bouyant if not yet exceptional; other digital metrics all look good if not great & tellingly there is a dearth of major entertainment options vying in the same time slot (beyond the bog standard weekly ones).

The buy rate is looking GREAT to FANTASTIC as of 6/3/2017. This equates to a working projection of the PPV buy rate at present of 200,000 PPV buys with 4.75 viewers per PPV buy (when last did you buy a PPV event and then watch it by yourself?) for a total audience on a paid basis of 950,000 people.

My 10 Point UK PPV Buy Rate Model Key is as follows:

PISS POOR = Under 15,000

POOR = Between 15,000 & 25,000

LOW AVERAGE = 25,000 to 35,000

MEDIOCRE = 35,000 to 55,000

FAIR TO GOOD = 55,000 to 80,000

GOOD = 80,000 to 110,000

VERY GOOD = 110,000 to 140,000

GREAT = 140,000 to 200,000

FANTASTIC = 200,000 to 280,000

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR = 280,001 or more

My projection will be updated regularly as we head toward the event itself & its aftermath.

*UPDATE: Google search trends show Haye vs Bellew doing very well – outperforming relative to Anthony Joshua’s fight with Eric Molina less than 3 months ago at a rate of 2.25 to 1. Stunning/shock defeats (ala Ronda Rousey) generally bring with them lopsided (not directly attributable to PPV buys) search interest so its unlikely Haye vs Bellew bettered or necessarily even matched Joshua vs Molina but the picture, generally, is looking very very good for the PPV buy rate for this event.

David Haye, historically, is a luke warm PPV A-sider & has enjoyed his single biggest success as a PPV entity when he was the B-side vs. Wladimir Klitschko in Germany in 2011. Hilariously, Haye said, “He’s a fraud and I’m good at exposing frauds” of the long time kingpin of the division before blaming his own pitiful performance on a sore toe.

David Haye v Tony Bellew
David Haye v Tony Bellew

Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye

One of the worst fights in heavyweight history was broadcast as follows:

  • Free-To-Air in Germany on RTL.
  • On standard (simple monthly subscription) HBO in the United States.
  • On Sky Box Office Pay-Per-View in the UK.

    stream vs ppv
    Streams continue to be a threat to the PPV model..
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