As to the question of whether PBC is good for boxing, the answer may depend on which branch of the industry you scrutinise. “It’s good for some, not so good for others,” Michael Woods, Editor of The Sweet Science, says. “It’s great for the fighters signed to Haymon; they are making money hand-over-fist, many times for fighting foes they are clearly superior to, on paper. It’s great for the entities getting paid multi-millions to use their platform, their stage… what’s not to like from the perspective of ESPN? For the fans, though, who simply want the best fighting the best, it hasn’t been a win. Yes, they are getting free content, but these consumers are actually willing to pay up for quality, as evidenced by the fact that they have been doing so for too many years, to see quality bouts, which are too often shifted to the PPV platform. The consumer is not being best served, so far.”
On the other hand, the exposure boxing has been receiving over the last few months can only be considered a plus for the game. “I know people who won’t buy premium cable who are watching these fights,” said Clifford Rold, Managing Editor of Boxing Scene. “It’s exposure that the sport hasn’t had and volume means more chances for people to catch a round and stay there.”
A few months ago The Sports Business Daily published an article about the unprecedented logistics of Premier Boxing Champions. Ryan Caldwell, formerly a fund manager for Waddell & Reed, but now COO of PBC, made it clear that Haymon would be fighting for the long haul.
“You have to be capitalised for three to five years to do this,” Caldwell told SBD. “To weather the storm. Because in some regards you were going to be the irrational player for a while.”
Boxing has always specialised in irrationality. In the case of Haymon, however, it just may be a question of scale.