On the eve of KSI’s six-round cruiserweight clash with Tommy Fury, all the predictions are that this bout could pass one million pay-per-view (PPV) buys. Should this happen, then this crossover showdown would have achieved higher PPV sales than Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight unification title fight with New Zealander Joseph Parker in 2018.
With this in mind, the question has to be: are YouTubers more marketable than professional boxers?
A mismatch set to break records
It’s a question worth asking when you consider that the latest Tommy Fury v KSI betting odds suggest that this fight could be a walkover. At least, with Fury priced at odds of 3/10 to win, the indication is that he has the tools to comfortably beat KSI.
In this sense, the fight isn’t expected to be a showstopper in terms of delivering a boxing classic.
Nevertheless, despite this being a mismatch on paper, millions will be tuning in to watch this match with legendary promoter Eddie Hearn also predicting over one million PPV purchases. Why then is this the case?
The short answer is that YouTubers are adept at creating narratives that will capture the attention of their followers.
🚨 #KSIFury 🚨 #PaulDanis 🚨— MF & DAZN X Series (@MF_DAZNXSeries) October 6, 2023
The #XSeries10 PPV is now LIVE
Buy the boxing event of the year now at https://t.co/fmB3r5o4fv @KSI | @tommytntfury | @LoganPaul | @dillondanis | @MisfitsBoxing pic.twitter.com/eZNrAnE9Lx
Furthermore, their ability to build a large online presence is an invaluable skill to have when marketing an upcoming boxing event.
They are able to do this successfully by engaging their audiences directly which is how the most popular YouTubers have built up millions of subscribers. It is this ‘personal’ connection and admiration from followers that enables YouTubers-turned-boxers to convert their subscribers into PPV sales, as fans are emotionally invested in the journey they’ve been on.
While boxers are also able to use their social media accounts to stir up interest in one of their upcoming fights, they’re often uploading generic content from their promoters that don’t tend to generate the same level of publicity.
Of course, you can understand why as their job is to go toe to toe with the best boxers in the world and not promote their own fights. Conversely, stirring up public interest for YouTubers comes as second nature to them, which is why their foray into the world of boxing has been so profitable.
Let me entertain you
Above all, YouTubers are in the business of entertaining, and at times, they know this requires pulling off over-the-top marketing stunts. KSI did as much during the build-up to fighting Fury when he revealed that he would be wearing a mouthguard that cost £40,000 to make. Unsurprisingly, it will be the most expensive mouthguard to have ever been worn during a professional boxing match.
Does this make any sense to the seasoned boxing fan? The answer is most likely no but the fact remains that the headlines on every global sporting publication are about the somewhat obscene cost of KSI’s mouthguard.
KSI is set to wear the "world’s most expensive mouthguard" in his fight vs Tommy Fury on Saturday night. It features 108 diamonds, a 24 carat gold leaf, and is valued at "over £40,000". pic.twitter.com/2Xa4lus6iz— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) October 9, 2023
As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity and on the eve of a huge crossover bout, this surge in interest will undoubtedly increase PPV sales.
The perfect match
When it was first announced that YouTubers would be stepping into the ring for the first time, it was a concept that many felt would fizzle out before it ever got started. The reality is that these individuals are a natural fit in the boxing industry and will be here to stay for the foreseeable future.