Last Saturday Night, a YouTube PPV boxing card featuring 4 “YouTube celebrities” (headlined by KSI vs. Logan Paul) reported 800,000 buys at a cost of $10. If you count those who watched the action on pirated streams, it’s been estimated that upwards of 2 million viewers tuned in for the event. An additional 15,000 fans bought tickets to catch the fights live at Manchester Arena.
Howie Long-Short: 800,000 buys is impressive considering UFC 226 (Miocic vs. Cormier) did less than 400,00 PPV; of course, the UFC event was priced at $64.99, not $9.99. With that being said, only 2 UFC events over the last 2 years have reached 800,000 PPV buys and there have been none thus far in 2018.
Comparing the UFC to an amateur boxing card isn’t exactly apples to apples, though. A better comparison would be to compare the YouTube (GOOGL) card to Barstool’s amateur boxing series Rough N Rowdy (RNR), which also streams their events. While I don’t have data on Rough N Rowdy 3 or 4, this past weekend’s event destroyed RNR 2 (February ‘18); a card that only drew 41,000 buys (between $9.99-$15.99).
Tiger vs. Phil is going to be priced at $24.99. Alan Shipnuck, Senior Writer at Golf.com wrote before that price was disclosed that “this ain’t the freakin’ Ryder Cup — I’m not sure there’s that much demand. For $19.99 only the lunatic fringe will buy in. Any more than that and it’s full-blown insanity.” Well, it’s full blown insanity and I’m not certain it’s going to post more buys than recent RNR events. For contextual purposes, in April 1988 Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman and Ian Woosman competed in a similar event called the “Desert scramble”. The event cost fans $12.95 ($30 today). Less than 65,000 people tuned in and the event failed to break even. With a $9 million prize, AT&T will need at least 360,000 PPV buys to break even; I wouldn’t think there are 360,000 on the lunatic fringe.
Fan Marino: While it’s likely you’ve never heard of these people, the two fights on the card featured Jake Paul (16 million YouTube followers) vs. Deji Olatunji (9 million followers) and his brother KSI (19 million followers) vs. Logan Paul (18 million followers). If you’ve heard of Logan Paul, it’s likely because earlier this year he made headlines for broadcasting a dead body in Japan’s suicide forest (i.e. he’ll do anything for views) on his channel. Jake Paul won his fight before challenging Chris Brown (of Rihanna infamy) to a match; KSI and Logan Paul fought to a draw (6 rounds) before announcing a rematch.
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