DAVID HAYE’S comeback was mostly well received, not least due to the fact his one-round demolition of Aussie underdog Mark de Mori in January was free to watch – for UK viewers on terrestrial channel Dave and to the majority of overseas fans via his YouTube channel. Now the former two-weight world champion has exclusively revealed to Boxing News that he will do all he can to ensure fans are able to watch David Haye next fight – dubbed “Haye Day 2” – at no charge.
“The last fight, it [free TV] worked well, whether it works for the next three or four fights, who knows, but I’m going to do everything within my power to get it [his next fight] on a Freeview channel,” Haye insisted from his gym in Vauxhall. “Dave are definitely still in the game. They did a great job, the marketing side. They only had a week to promote the fight, which is hilarious, and I believe they did a tremendous job. They got a lot of praise from sectors of the media who were kind of sniggering when they first heard of it. Great production, great event and everyone there enjoyed it. I didn’t want to go down the tried-and-tested event route. We’re talking with Dave and a few different possibilities. We want at least seven or eight weeks of promotion from a channel to get the maximum possible bang for their buck. They got 3.2m viewers promoting it for one week so a lot of people might have missed that so I feel that given a good lead-up it could do some astronomical numbers.”
While Haye is keen to secure as many sets of eyes as possibly as he prowls along the comeback trail, he admits that once he is mixing with the top names again, the free-to-air channels may find it hard to compete with pay-per-view platforms.
“From a financial side of things, it’s hard for a terrestrial television network to rustle up the type of numbers that a pay-per-view platform could offer or generate,” he points out. “That’s why big-time boxing has, up until now, been solely on a pay-per-view or subscription platform. For instance, if Wladimir Klitschko owns the TV rights to his rematch with Tyson Fury, he’ll look at UK TV and say, ‘How much is ITV gonna pay? How much is Channel 5 gonna pay? How much is Sky pay-per-view gonna pay?’ He’s got no alliance, he doesn’t care how many people [from the UK] watch him, so he goes, ‘Pay-per-view, well when I fought David, there was £10m chucked into the pot.’ I could want to fight on a free channel but if it doesn’t generate enough money to pay the opponent – who may be a big name – am I supposed to lose money on an event just so people can watch it, risking my life and losing money as well? There has to be enough money in the pot to justify the opponent you’re fighting.”
#HayeDay returns to The O2 on May 21, tickets are available on general sale now via AXS.com.