Boxing has been on the up for some time now and fans have been afforded some of the most sought-after-fights in recent times to keep them entertained.
The likes of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor, Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko, Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux, Andre Ward v Sergey Kovalev, Canelo Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin and Amir Khan are just a few of the top encounters to make it across the line in the past three years.
Add to that the forthcoming heavyweight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury and the boxing fraternity must be pleased with the direction the sport is heading in.
That maybe until they check their bank balances, as the introduction of several new TV players on the scene will escalate the cost of being a boxing fan considerably in the next few months and years.
In the United States, there have already been several companies dealing in one-off Pay-Per-View events for years now, although it seems as though the climate stateside is changing.
The Netflix era is heralding several changes, with the likes of ESPN and Golden Boy launching streaming services and PPV leaders HBO and Showtime relaxing their efforts to put fights on the paid platform.
Premier Boxing Champions continues to keep it promises to stay of free-to-air, with only the Wilder fight set to break the mould when ‘The Bronze Bomber’ fights Fury in Las Vegas this November.
Showtime, Mayweather aside, has stayed away from PPV since Canelo made the move to HBO but will come back with a vengeance in the coming months with the biggest heavyweight bout for some time.
Early rumors Wilder v Fury will cost $59.95 are already doing the rounds, which does seem a small (ish) price to pay considering there’s been no major PPV events all year in 2018.
US viewers now need the ESPN+ App, to also sign up to Golden Boy’s social media channels, as well as having HBO and Showtime through cable to gain a foothold on the major boxing action. From next month, US fans will then be required to sign up to DAZN for $9.99 per month or risk losing the biggest fights Matchroom Boxing have to offer and the upcoming World Boxing Super Series Season 2.
All in all, it’s a big effort but not a patch on what the United Kingdom fans can expect to pay for the remainder of 2018 and beyond.
In England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, pugilistic followers have to pay between £40 ($50) and £80 ($100) per month for Sky Sports and that’s without the £16.95 ($20) to £19.95 ($25) charge to watch each pay-per-view on Sky Sports Box Office, of which there have been a total of SEVENTEEN in the last THREE YEARS.
BoxNation is required to keep up with all the action Sky overlooks, which is an extra £12 ($15) per month, whilst ITV Box Office having been charging £9.95 to £14.95 since February 2017 for certain contests, most of which stem from the WBSS.
BT Sport, which costs £35 for HD to the average fan without EE Mobile (cutting the cost to £10 for casting from mobile to TV), is about to launch it’s BT Sport Box Office service with Golovkin v Canelo 2 in September, whilst the newly-formed Eleven Sports will rival those channels for future coverage after entering the reckoning for football last month.
The only completely free-to-air boxing is broadcast on Channel 5, whilst Dave Channel (through their deal with Hayemaker Ringstar) won’t cost fans if they already have a Sky subscription with the whole package (as stated above).
Beginning with September 15th’s GGG v Canelo event, the middleweight collision will be followed just one week later with Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin on Sky PPV. Six days on, fans will have to fork out a reported £14.95 to witness George Groves v Callum Smith in the World Boxing Super Series Final.
Carl Frampton v Josh Warrington and Aleksandr Usyk v Tony Bellew, both yet to be given a date, are both heading to Box Office on BT and Sky Sports respectively, whilst the aforementioned Wilder v Fury will also be on BT’s monetized viewing stage.
It’s an eye-popping cost for those based in Blighty and will see plenty of cash hemorrhaging from their loyal pockets just in time for Christmas.
Here’s a breakdown of what UK fans can expect to pay BEFORE December:
Sky Sports subscription: 3 months (Basic package £40 per month) – £120 ($155)
Sky Sports Box Office: Joshua v Povetkin / Usyk v Bellew – £39.90 ($50)
BT Sport: 3 months subscription (HD package no EE Mobile £35 per month) – £105 ($135)
BT Sport Box Office: Frampton v Warrington / Wilder v Fury – £30 ($40)
**Note: Rumoured and based on two £15 events
ITV Box Office: Groves v Smith – £14.95 ($20) – add two more unconfirmed events from Season 2 – £44.85 ($57)
BoxNation: (3 months) – £36 ($46)
Total cost for all UK televised boxing: £375.75 ($485)
Through 2019, things may only get worse…
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay