You may already pay for one sports subscription — you might well be paying for two. So is it asking too much to fork out for pay per view events as well?

With British boxing making a comeback as impressive as George Foreman's return to action in the 1990s, many more will be weighing up the options. Here's a look at how pay per view could be worth having in your corner.

 

Round 1

British boxing is on the up

 

 

British boxing had been on the ropes but new champions and contenders across various weight divisions are capturing the attention of the public.
Lee Price, the former BII Licensee of the Year, who runs The Royal Pier in Aberystwyth, believes interest in boxing is as high now as it was when Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe ruled the ring.

He says: "The Bellew versus Haye fight led to an increase in revenue of 300 per cent compared with a typical Saturday night. We'd normally get a 100 to 120 per cent increase — it depends on the quality of the fight."

Ross Sutton, who runs The Railway Bell in South Woodford, London, has had a similar experience: "We noticed the interest ramp up when Karl Froch was fighting George Groves a couple of years ago. The heavyweight division has really taken off now and the Joshua fight will be huge."

Broadcaster Sky agrees. The Haye v Bellew fight attracted more than 600,000 viewers out of home. Sky expects even more to tune in this weekend when Anthony Joshua goes toe-to-toe with Wladimir Klitschko.

 

Round 2

The pub's purse can dwarf the fee

 

 

 


There's no point pretending the cost isn't a factor and the truth is the smaller you are as a business, the more difficult it will be to justify the fee you have to pay for a fight. Can you make a return on the investment?

For big venues such as The Pier, which shows boxing in the pub and the pool room, it is a straightforward decision. However, Lee makes a point of not just cherry-picking the best fights. "We show lots and they don't all attract the same kind of crowd but we believe if you are going to do it you have to be committed so people know you are the place to go," he says. "We pay between £150 to £250 and it's worth it for the big fights. WithMayweather v Pacquiao we could have filled the place three or four times over."

The Railway Bell has a smaller capacity — around 350 people — but Ross says the investment is worthwhile. He saw a 25 per cent uplift on the Saturday night when Haye fought Bellew.

"It's a good opportunity because lots of customers are not willing to pay the £25 fee to watch it at home and lots of pubs are scared of putting it on," he says. Furthermore, a recent survey by Sky indicated 20 per cent of sports fans had watched boxing at home in the last 12 months.

 

Round 3

Fight night ramps up the atmosphere

 

 

 

Pubs flocked to The Railway Bell for the Haye v Bellew bout

 

Not many sports can generate an atmosphere like two warriors slugging it out for glory. Both Lee and Ross say only major football tournaments or rugby internationals can compete with a big fight.

Lee says: "We had people singing the same songs that were being sung in the stadium for Haye v Bellew, which is when you know you have got it right and people feel like they are virtually there."

However, he does add a note of caution. "We don't have a fight without security personnel. You have the assess the risk of public disorder. There's a fine line between atmosphere at its height and anarchy, so we have to make sure one doesn't spill over into the other. We really train our
managers to pay attention."

The Pier has a late licence, which means it is well set up for pay per view events and will even show fights from Las Vegas in the early hours.

 

Round 4

Being your own promoter has benefits

 

 

Lee (above) says showing every fight means The Royal Pier has become known as the venue in the area for pay per view events. He is now looking at a ticketing system to ensure people don't miss out.

"We are considering selling tickets for the first time for the Joshua v Klitscho fight because sometimes we have regulars who can't get in and this would guarantee their place," he says.

Ross takes to social media to ensure that people in the area know they can catch the action at the pub.

"We promote it on social media, mainly with Twitter and Facebook. We boost our posts and even spending as little as £3 allows us to reach a few hundred people who we know like us and are in the area. It can make a big difference."

 

The Big Fight: April 29
Anthony Joshua takes on Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in a clash of the Titans. Can the young Brit beat the division's dominant force of the last decade?

Live on Sky Box Office.