Despite heavy pre-fight promotion from FOX Sports, Deontay Wilder’s second appearance as a pay-per-view headliner was not exactly a great one.
Wilder’s sensational seventh-round KO of Luis Ortiz failed to outperform his PPV debut against Tyson Fury last year, which did an estimated 325,000 buys. ESPN reported that Wilder-Ortiz II drew in 225,000 buys, whereas BoxingScene’s sources say it will finish just north of 275,000 buys. This also speaks to the light year it’s been for boxing pay-per-views in 2019, with no show exceeding 500,000 buys.
ESPN reporting from an industry source #WilderOrtiz2 did an estimated 225,000 buys.— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) December 5, 2019
From Multichannel News research, here is a look at the estimated PPV buys for the major #boxing events in 2019. pic.twitter.com/TjsBEDLelD
Of course, this has also been a year with no Floyd Mayweather or Canelo Alvarez on pay-per-view, with the latter tied to DAZN and Floyd alternating between retired and not retired at any given moment.
Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs), the reigning WBC heavyweight champion has only recently elevated his profile as one of boxing’s major names, but it hasn’t yet translated into massive pay-per-view sales. His previous bout, a first-round KO of Dominic Breazeale, was broadcast on Showtime after DAZN’s failed bid for Wilder’s services. Ortiz has never headlined a pay-per-view before, so his B-side status failing to eclipse that of Fury is not shocking; the substantial push of this contest through NFL and other sports programming from FOX is what would term the buyrate as underwhelming.
In addition to the pay-per-view numbers, Wilder-Ortiz II officially had a live gate north of $4 million, with about 7,400 tickets sold and a listed attendance just over 10,000 at the MGM Grand. Wilder and Ortiz had guarantees that totaled a reported $27 million, not including pay-per-view revenue split.
With that said, attention can now be turned towards the highly anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury, which is penciled in for February 22nd at a site to be determined. In a co-promotion venture, the broadcast will be covered by both FOX and ESPN in a joint pay-per-view production, so that means there are multiple outlets that will have a lot of reason to market the matchup. Wilder and Fury fought to a draw last December, and the assumption was that we’d see an immediate rematch, but Fury signing with Top Rank/ESPN made us play the unwanted “marination” game. Thankfully, the marinating process isn’t this long compared to other mega-fights.
Ultimately, a lack of spectacular numbers for the Ortiz rematch will be soon forgotten given the huge financial blockbuster that another Fury fight figures to be.