Floyd Mayweather is renowned for three things. The first is boxing, the second is showmanship, and the last which is by no means the least is money. A great deal of it.
So when the undefeated boxing legend announced on Sunday that he would be taking to the ring once again, this time against YouTube boxer, Logan Paul, it was basically the same old story of him fusing all three aspects of his popularity, yet again.
Floyd Mayweather is not only the king of pay-per-view (PPV) in boxing, he is the PPV king in all of combat sports.
His 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao remains the highest PPV buys, not just in boxing but in all of the combat sports with more than 4.6 million buys. With one buy costing a whopping $90, the bout realised at least $414 million in pay-per-view sales alone.
But it didn’t just end there. The Moneybag is also in the Top 2 PPV sales in combat sports history. His epic 2017 bout with former UFC two-division champion, Connor McGregor sits comfortably in the second spot with 4.3 million PPV buys.
Selling at roughly the same price, the fight amassed around $387 million in streaming revenue.
As a matter of fact, Floyd Mayweather featured in 4 of the 5 most-streamed events of all times in combat sports. It is not surprising that he belongs in the exclusive list of only 7 sportsmen who have made more than $1 billion in career earnings.
The list was even more exclusive as at July 2018 when only Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods shared it with him. Currently worth $450 million and still possessing a huge appetite for money, the legend, with his latest announcement, seems to have his eyes fixed on the fast-rising sport of Youtuber Boxing.
The almost complicated sport of YouTuber Boxing
YouTuber boxing isn’t exactly a thing yet. But even then, it is becoming really quite popular. So popular that the fight between Logan Paul (Mayweather’s next opponent) and KSI generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys. This is excluding live purchases totalling over 800,000 and more than 1.2 million illegal viewers on Twitch.
This is huge if you consider that YouTuber boxing is essentially a brand of white collar boxing where regular professionals, say a lawyer vs a doctor, train to fight each other in a boxing ring. Logan Paul for instance is just a YouTuber from the US while KSI is also YouTuber from Britain whose real name is Olajide Olatunji.
In essence, more than 2 million people paid to watch two YouTubers fight each other. For emphasis, many pro boxing fights don’t get so much pay-per-view buys, this includes fights like Oscar de la Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao and Evander Hollyfield vs Lennox Lewis.
One of the reasons YouTuber boxing is becoming increasingly popular is the popularity and of course the controversial nature of the YouTubers themselves. As Julia Anderson of The Verge puts it, the idea is bringing YouTube creators — especially those with spotty histories like KSI, and Logan and Jake Paul to fight each other.
Considering that YouTubers are often complaining about irregular pay as YouTube content creators, this represents another stream of income for them. So much so that YouTube boxer, Jake Paul (brother of Logan Paul) announced that he was quitting YouTube to become a boxer. While he didn’t quite quit, it was a testament to how much remuneration he was looking to get off YouTuber boxing.
Another important reason for its popularity is the fact that sports fans, especially in the western world, are always looking for something to consume. There is a large appetite that needs sating and any content that looks good would be devoured as soon as it hits the menu.
But perhaps the most important factor of all is Dazn Network which found a way to make this ridiculous idea work.
Not one of the more popular boxing streaming services, Dazn has been on the lookout for new strategies to improve its 8 million subscribers. Its Executive Vice President of North American Content, Joe Markowski, seems to have found this brilliant strategy that not only creates exclusive content for the streaming platform but also draws users from popular YouTubers straight to its network.
But not a lot of people have been impressed by Dazn’s discovery though. Many observers and fans alike feel it is a sport that shouldn’t have been in the first place. Many berate the network for wasting too many resources promoting fights by non-professional fighters.
Others feel the idea of pithing YouTuber boxers against real boxers is a joke that is going too far and wondered why anyone would want to watch what would end up being a very one-sided affair.
Nonetheless, bringing the pay-per-view King, Floyd Mayweather might yet be a masterstroke that will not only blow the new sport open but also drive subscribers straight into Dazn’s arms.
True this fight will not be exclusive on Dazn, it, however, has the potential of putting YouTuber boxing in a more serious light.
The Moneybag doesn’t get paid by the hour though and if the Pay-per-view numbers, the hype and the money aren’t right, the fight might be overly brief. If you doubt it, ask Japanese boxer Tenshin Nasukawa what happened to him the last time Mayweather stepped foot in a boxing ring.
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