How much of a threat is Tyson Fury to the Sky-Matchroom partnership that has effectively owned British boxing with increasing ease in the last three years? Fury is the biggest A-side draw in the recent history of PPV in Britain, bigger – if British based Google search volume is anything to go by – even than Floyd Mayweather. Yes, you read that correctly.
Public interest in the controversial heavyweight (tracked in the month of his most recent PPV appearance & theirs) dwarfs that of Matchroom’s last three A-side PPV names – Anthony Joshua; Kell Brook & Tony Bellew, COMBINED. He is a glaring omission from the Sky/Matchroom stable & unless Sky Plc want to be held to ransom every time he fights they will need to seek out longer term contractual relations or work under the expectation that Fury can be drawn into a match-up with their Anthony Joshua & lose to him. On the evidence of Joshua’s last performance against a game if untested Dillian Whyte that sort of assured planning would appear foolish.
Of course boxing is a very minor consideration to Sky Plc, although a handful of activist shareholders – myself included – are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of transparency in company financial reporting when it comes to actual revenue derived from Pay-Per-View boxing. Sky Plc divulge ‘transactional revenue‘ which stood at £173 million (for the whole group) & £120 million (UK & Ireland) for the twelve months ended 30 June 2015 – that is all transactional revenue throughout the Group – including the Buy and Keep service & NOW TV transactions.
Transactional revenue excluding PPV boxing stood at £75 million for the Group in the first half of 2015. Considering that Buy & Keep revenue has more than doubled and NOW TV transaction revenue has more than trebled in the last two years it seems reasonable to assume that the second half of 2015 brought with it more what the first half did. The publicized PPV numbers in the broadsheet and tabloid press are fancifully implausible & even as a shareholder in Sky Plc I am left to attempt to ascertain the true numbers myself as they are omitted from company financials.
What were the REAL PPV Numbers?
Average revenue per user (total revenue divided by the number of subscribers) has hovered around £47 for the last 2 to 3 years in the UK on 12,283,000 residential subscribers. Thus despite the absurd level of success of boxing PPV reported in recent years the average amount forked over by a Sky customer hasn’t been effected.
Similarly, despite Fight Nights being free to view for anyone with SkySports we are asked to believe that more people paid for themselves and their friends/family to watch Joshua vs Whyte than PEOPLE (total people, not just tv set owners/bill payers) watched Joshua vs Cornish. 339,000 people watched Joshua vs. Cornish. We are asked to believe that on a paid for broadcast as many as 2,000,000 people watched on 500,000 PPV paying TV sets if an average of 4 people watched each set. Patently absurd when you consider that no single football match on Sky in 2015 registered 2,000,000 viewers.
Froch vs Groves 1
Froch vs Groves 2
Reality: More like 165,000
Bellew vs Cleverly 2
Reality: More like 120,000
Brook vs Gavin
Claim: Wasn’t really one.
Reality: As few as 75,000.
Mayweather vs Pacquiao
Klitschko vs Fury
Joshua vs Whyte
Frampton vs Quigg
Realistically: Would do very well to hit 150,000 or better.
Joshua vs Martin
Realistically: Would do very well to hit 100,000 or better.
May 2014 Google searches from within the UK: 1,973,160
England, United Kingdom 89.4% (1,764,251)
Scotland, United Kingdom 5.6% (109,930)
Wales, United Kingdom 3.1% (61,561)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 1.4% (28,314)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.1% (1,715)
Other provinces 0.4% (7,389)
November 2014 Google searches from within the UK: 482,200
England, United Kingdom 84.4% (406,937)
Wales, United Kingdom 7.6% (36,543)
Scotland, United Kingdom 5.9% (28,652)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 1.6% (7,744)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.2% (728)
Other provinces 0.3% (1,596)
May 2015 Google searches from within the UK: 364,990
England, United Kingdom 89.2% (325,465)
Scotland, United Kingdom 5.7% (20,979)
Wales, United Kingdom 2.9% (10,750)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 1.7% (6,067)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.1% (275)
Other provinces 0.4% (1,454)
May 2015 Google searches from within the UK: 2,604,820
England, United Kingdom 88.8% (2,312,055)
Scotland, United Kingdom 5.9% (153,363)
Wales, United Kingdom 3.0% (77,734)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 1.8% (47,836)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.1% (2,280)
Other provinces 0.4% (11,552)
November 2015 Google searches from within the UK: 2,927,790
England, United Kingdom 88.3% (2,585,938)
Scotland, United Kingdom 5.7% (167,822)
Wales, United Kingdom 3.3% (97,521)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 2.1% (62,031)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.1% (3,294)
Other provinces 0.4% (11,184)
December 2015 Google searches from within the UK: 1,397,160
England, United Kingdom 90.7% (1,266,699)
Scotland, United Kingdom 4.5% (63,492)
Wales, United Kingdom 3.1% (43,050)
Northern Ireland, United Kingdom 1.3% (18,237)
Isle of Man, United Kingdom 0.1% (1,325)
Other provinces 0.3% (4,357)