Tyson Fury’s rematch with Deontay Wilder will be shown live on BT Sport on February 22nd
Sky tabled what has been described as ‘a huge offer’ to snatch the first mega-fight of the new decade, partly with a view to pre-empting competition for a Wembley Stadium title unification spectacular between the winner and Anthony Joshua later this year.
But the decision for Fury to stick with BT has been swayed by the potential for millions of extra subscribers buying Wilder-Fury II on pay-per-view.
The mega-fight drew a massive bid from Sky Sports, but BT managed to secure the deal
The BT Sport Box Office broadcast from Las Vegas late on Saturday night of February 22 will be available not only to their regular customers but also for purchase by the general public through a variety of TV channels and via streaming to multiple devices including smart phones.
That wider audience reach raises the prospect of this repeat of Fury’s epic draw with Wilder eclipsing the UK record 1.6million buys set by Sky Box Office in December when Joshua regained his collection of championship belts from Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia.
At the asking price of £24.95 that night Sky will have generated some £40m in sales revenue alone, before advertising income.
The scale of money now involved in big-time boxing gives credence to an understanding that Sky’s bid for the second edition of Wilder v Fury was well in excess of £10m.
The first fight saw Fury knocked down in the 12th round, one of the most dramatic in history
BT charged £19.99 for the first Fury-Wilder fight and may resist raising their price, given optimism that they could surge through the 2m barrier next month.
That expectation has been raised by the thrilling and controversial climax in Los Angeles 13 months ago when Fury rose miraculously – and still virtually unconscious – from a brutal last round knock-out to finish the fight and claim he had been robbed of victory by the judges.
All that excitement, plus the marketing of Fury in America by way of two routine fights last summer, leads to his US promoter Bob Arum predicting more than two million buys in the Bronze Bomber’s home country. At a probable $75 a hit, that would raise more than £115m.
In a rare break from the usual one network monopoly, the pay-per-view telecast in America will be shared between ESPN, who are bank-rolling Fury’s $80m deal for which this is the third of five fights, and Fox Sports, who work with Wilder’s promoter Al Haymon.
The only precedent for such a deal was set when HBO and Showtime both beamed out Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao, a $600m bonanza from which Mr Money banked more than $200m and the PacMan $120m.
Fury is hunting to become heavyweight champions of the world once again
If Fury overcomes knock-out merchant Wilder it is conceivable that BT and Sky could come to a similar arrangement in the UK for a fight with Joshua, who meanwhile has brought home $85m from gaining revenge in Riyadh for his gigantic upset by Ruiz in New York.
The TV details for February 22 at the MGM Grand in Vegas are due to be confirmed following the first face-to-face meeting of Fury and Wilder since the rematch was made, at a media conference scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on Monday night.
The Gypsy King and the Bronze Bomber have set the scene for the big sell in typical fashion by exchanging insults on social media, notably calling each other b******.
The fight could surpass Joshua v Ruiz II’s UK record 1.6 million buys next month
Whichever of them loses is understood to have the contractual right to demand an immediate trilogy fight. But there is widespread speculation that Fury will make a second WWE appearance at WrestleMania 36 in Tampa Bay on April 5.
Fury, who knocked out Braun Strowman on his first $15m flirtation with wrestling in September, is said be planning a challenge to WWE champion and former UFC title-holder Brock Lesnar.