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Matchroom and Sky have the Heavyweight pedigree
Three years ago in October 2011 two young and ambitious fighters in Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew fought in the light-heavyweight Division. The WBO World light-heavyweight Campion Nathan Cleverly was victorious and retained his title but all involved agreed it was a close fight. This spawned a fierce rivalry that had roots leading back from before the first bout. Finally, this Saturday the keenly anticipated rematch is on, Clevely v Bellew II, available on Sky Sports Box Office for £16.95. The pay per view (PPV) price initially met with criticism, especially from ‘hardcore’ boxing fans, as well as Sky viewers that pay a monthly subscription that includes British and International boxing in accordance with the deal Sky and Matchroom Boxing have in place. This show however is additional to the scheduled fight billings that are broadcast throughout the year on Sky. Matchroom Boxing chief and Sky’s principal boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has defended the PPV price tag. When discussing if it was possible to produce the event without PPV Hearn said ‘If you look at the purses for the card that is about to transpire, it’s impossible to do that on a normal rights fee for a Saturday night.’ When looking at the offering it is easy to understand why. Aside from the mouth-watering main event grudge match, also fighting on Saturday is the London 2012 Olympic Heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua, WBA super-bantamweight champion Scott Quigg, Liverpool’s super middleweight prospect Callum Smith, the Beijing 2008 Olympic middleweight gold medallist James Degale, and WBA World bantamweight belt-holder Jamie McDonnell. Not to mention George Groves who was in what was arguably one of the biggest British fights of all time with Carl Froch in the Summer. With the strength of this fight card most of the initial backlash from the decision to air the show as PPV has all but ceased.
A week on Saturday BoxNation, who staged the first Cleverly Vs Bellew fight, host their own British showdown in the heavyweight division as Tyson Fury competes with Dereck Chisora in a WBO world title final eliminator to face Wladimir Klitschko. BoxNation is a boxing subscription channel operated by Frank Warren, with a subscription cost of £12 per month for the right to view their content. They currently have a subscription base of around 350,000 people. Frank Warren said ‘It’s ridiculous for us to say that we’re competitors to Sky.’ If BoxNation can’t challenge Sky, then who can? It would seem that Sky and Matchroom’s PPV package on Saturday will do better viewing figures at a higher cost than BoxNation will the following weekend, which will of course further widen the gap. Sky are landing all the knockout blows by having access to over 11 million customers and recording revenues of £7,235 million during the financial year ended June 2013, according to MarketLine figures. Matchroom are clearly dominating boxing broadcasting in the UK with their stable of talented Olympic and world champion fighters and the might of Sky backing them. It’s hard to see how other boxing promoters and boradcasters are going to reach the final bell and challenge for the number one spot.
To view more business information on Sky, including their financial figures see this MarketLine report.