Satisfied Customer Didn't Buy Hopkins/Wright

BY Michael Woods ON July 21, 2007
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They almost got me. The Hopkins/Wright marketers almost got my $50. But I held firm, recalled the cable bill I received three days ago that was so bloated from absorbing the Holyfield/Savarese and UFC 73, and held off.

I almost reached for the cable clicker a few times (God, they make it easy to give in these days, you only need to push the "B" button, and push a button to confirm it, and you have bought a PPV offering), and my wife had given the OK to go there, but I knew TSS's David Avila was onsite, so there was no necessity to pony up.

This morning, I congratulate myself for staying within the family's budget, for not giving in, and satisfying my curiosity to see what the old man and the slightly less old man had left in the tank.

I started tipping towards buying the Saturday show after getting a load of the weigh in fracas. Was it a ploy, or a natural born offshoot of tension? We now know, as Hopkins stated after the fight on Saturday, "I was just trying to give the fight a little push and sell a few more ticket and pay-per-view buys."

Teddy Atlas' gut feeling on Friday was on the money, wasn't it?

I'm not able to shrug off Hopkins' blithe admission of manipulation so readily: in a way, I believe that the pre-fight fight was an implied promise that the fight itself would be a heated tussle, and therefore the consumer was misled by Bernard's ploy. Do most of you shrug this off as "it's boxing, it's business as usual?"

The results on the math won't be forthcoming, as we'll not be able to discern just how many folks were moved to buy the event after seeing the weigh-in mayhem.

We know that Hopkins will get $300,000 taken from his purse to go into the Nevada Commission's kitty for starting the faux tussle.

Think 10,000 more people bought the event because they assumed they would be viewing a heated scrap, based on the emotions on display at the weigh in? That's an extra $500,000.  Since we don't know the specifics on the backside revenue sharing from PPV sales, we can't be sure if Hopkins will see a profit or a loss from his ploy.

I do just know my account will be $50 fuller next month when my Time Warner bill comes, so today I will exult in my steadfastness in the face of temptation.

I felt a lot better when I read SI's Chris Mannix' description of the feature fight on Sunday morning: "What (viewers) actually saw was a maddeningly methodical, clutching-and-grab defensive fight that had the crowd booing by the seventh round -- and periodically voicing their frustration in the subsequent rounds of Hopkins' unanimous decision over Wright."

Turns out that our worst instincts on this fight were right. Some viewers and journalists at the event describe a fight that was a bit better than many expected, but nobody saw a barnburner, worth $50, that's for certain.

Then again, my wife and me went out to eat with friends on Saturday evening, when I would have been parked in front of the idiot box,  and our share of the bill came to $46, so in the end, I suppose I'm up $4.

But it's the principal that counts here, the message that I've repeatedly sent and will reiterate here: promoters should work to secure mainstream advertisers to help fund their efforts, rather than rely on the reliable hardcore fight fans to pad their bottom lines.

You notice I say "should," not "must." Because recent history shows that there are enough devoted fans who simply suck it up, and pay the premium to be a fight fan, to insure the PPV model stands as is.

Will that hardy bunch keep on buyin'?

Or will that cash-slingin crew be slowly diminished over the years, and not replenished by young fans who instead gravitate to MMA, or choose not to give boxing a try, because they hear their boxing fan friends bitch about the PPV costs?

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