Official figures released for the recent Sky Sports Box Office Pay-Per-View events have once again confirmed the UK market is drying up.
Ongoing attempts to save plummeting figures from events involving Vasyl Lomachenko and Dillian Whyte since the summer have seemingly failed.
Sky bought out the rights to broadcast the World Boxing Super Series Final between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis. But despite a Fight of the Year contender, sales were poor.
In what was seen as a startling panic buy, the purchase of a YouTube fight which on the whole had nothing to do with the sport, also bombed.
Final BARB ratified sales of just 216,000 for the Los Angeles show are not good. But which may not be too much of a concern as the YouTubers were primarily snapped up to secure American subscriptions to DAZN.
Comparing the last four months’ British figures with the last Anthony Joshua bout, it’s clear the former heavyweight champion is now carrying the whole UK PPV market on his back.
A price hike for Ruiz 2 in Saudi Arabia to £24.95 is the clearest indication yet. TV bosses could now be cashing out on the platform altogether.
As WBN previously reported, Whyte vs Oscar Rivas sold just 289,000. Bringing P4P star Lomachenko over to battle Luke Campbell last August did even worse on 205k.
Taylor vs Prograis on Sky Sports Box Office drafted in just 176,000. This is the lowest since Kell Brook fought Frankie Gavin in May 2015.
It all means without Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Joshua on June 1st is the only firm success of 2019. But with just over half a million itself, Ruiz vs Joshua was still a world away from Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin just nine months prior.
The Povetkin win saw over 1.1m pay the £20 asking price.
Should Joshua now lose on December 7, the whole market could collapse with no real Pay-Per-View stars left on British soil.
Whyte is back on undercards after his career took a downward spiral following an adverse finding in the Rivas fight. Whilst Taylor is a tough sell judging by his first effort on PPV.
The likes of Tyson Fury and Carl Frampton, signed to Frank Warren, are both now competing in the US. Not to mention, massive opponents would be needed for BT Sport Box Office to pick up the numbers sufficiently.
A rematch between Fury and Deontay Wilder could be the only hope of salvage for the dying UK PPV market, although that still can’t save 2019.
The likes of DAZN and ESPN+ could be alerted to the situation. UK fans continue to talk with their pockets about the ongoing situation.
Since the launch of DAZN in the United States, a streaming service offering Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy for just $20 per month, UK fans remain flummoxed as to why they must still pay over $25 per PPV event.
DAZN is due to head to the UK in the coming eighteen months. But with Sky Sports having exclusive rights to Matchroom, that will initially scupper hopes of a similar offer to UK punters.
Maybe Sky, DAZN and Matchroom could club together so everyone is happy, who knows?
Whatever happens, a forthcoming change is inevitable…and let’s be honest it has to be.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay