Hearn: YouTubers Will Help Boxing Survive
As the Pay-Per-View age has begun its transition to the streaming age, promoters have looked to what ways they can not only survive the change, but embrace it.
Fights like Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. and Canelo Alvarez’s quest to win world titles in new weight classes have helped buoy Eddie Hearn and DAZN’s efforts into a sustainable streaming model. The Matchroom Boxing boss also knows to build an audience; you must reach out to others.
“The only way we can bring new people into the sport is to change it, to switch it up,” Hearn stated on The Main Event with Jake Asman & Cody Stoots during Super Bowl LIV media week.
“One of the ways we do that is to bring in these big names with big followings who can bring that new audience.”
By big names, Hearn does not mean a Conor McGregor, who’s 2017 fight with Floyd Mayweather made money at both the box office and on Pay-Per-View, but YouTubers/Streamers Jake Paul and AnEsonGib, who are set to face off on January 30 inside the Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami, FL.
This comes after Logan, Jake’s brother, fought another YouTuber, KSI in a main event fight in Los Angeles on November 9, their professional debut after a 2018 amateur bout in the U.K. KSI won via split decision in a bout that included a number of legitimate boxers, including Billy Joe Saunders, Devin Haney and Nikita Ababiy. Hearn previously stated the numbers for Paul v. KSI II were better in terms of viewership than Andy Ruiz Jr.’s upset of Anthony Joshua earlier this year.
During the buildup to KSI v. Logan Paul II, millions tuned in on YouTube for the press conferences, weigh-ins and other pre-fight events. Following the fight, Hearn claims that those same viewers stayed on to watch Joshua v. Ruiz II, Danny Jacobs v. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Cris Cyborg’s historic win at Bellator 238 over Julia Budd. Hearn acknowledged the only way to keep those initial viewers is to put in a lot of work.
“When they are in, we have to keep them in. We have to show them what’s great about the sport of boxing” Hearn went on to say.
“We found with the Logan Paul v. KSI fight, we did hundreds and hundreds of thousands of subscribers for DAZN. For us, really, we’re responsible to the broadcasters and the people paying the money. And when they see the numbers, these broadcasts are saying, ‘we want more!’
Fights between YouTubers aren’t going to be the classics stated above. They don’t need to be, according to Matchroom’s fearless leader. An anomaly like Paul v. AnEsonGib just needs to look good. With Paul’s training, that is possible.
“Jake Paul has been in camp for twelve weeks with Shane Mosely, but you shouldn’t take it too seriously. They’re never going to be Leonard and Hagler, but what it is is a very enthralling matchup between two guys who are just getting into the sport,” Hearn continued.
“Anything that is competitive, that’s 50/50, I liken it to Floyd Mayweather v. Conor McGregor. That was like a pound-for-pound great against someone who isn’t particularly good at boxing. These guys, while they aren’t going to be pound-for-pound greats, it is even keel.”
With the way we use the internet nowadays, several organizations are looking to take advantage of the situation. Hearn is even drawing up plans for Logan Paul v. NFL star Antonio Brown. YouTubers are considered influencers, and what better way to influence today’s youth than by utilizing what is working.
“It is interesting. A new world, isn’t it? My kids, they’re not looking up to, sadly in my opinion, Olympic medalists,” said Hearn. “They are digesting content on YouTube every day, they follow these guys and they do as they say.”