Mainstream boxing in danger of being overtaken by ‘poor quality’ YouTube fights
Sport has an issue with attracting 16-24 fans – that’s why we have IPL and The Hundred
Speaking to BettingSites.co.uk after KSI’s fight with Tommy Fury, Dr Rob Wilson, sporting finance expert and professor of economics at Sheffield Business School, issued a warning for boxing after PPV success of the fight.
Dr Rob Wilson said, "The KSI v Fury fight was representative of Generation Z and Generation Alpha enabled them to achieve what they were looking for in terms content consumption. There's a proliferation of platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on. You have so-called social media stars who have been able to generate a brand by activity on those channels. That leans into broader entertainment and products, such as the PRIME drink. They have legitimacy in the market, and, critically, the legitimacy they have is in a different market from what we might term a traditional supporter.
"However, the people who buy tickets won't be the same ones who buy tickets for Klitschko versus Tyson Fury. They're very different markets – these are people who watch YouTube versus people who are interested in the sporting impact. We know we've got a major issue in attracting the 16-24 demographic. They don't consume live sport as we know it, which is why we've seen a shortening in competition format, things like the IPL, The Hundred, and so on. The impact that the 'YouTuber' has on mainstream competition will be quite interesting."
Mainstream boxing in danger of being caught up by YouTube fights
"Mainstream boxing is in danger of being caught up by YouTube fights. When you look at the audience markets in Esports, you'll notice that access to celebrity culture through social media certainly has a big impact on mainstream sports.
"Marshmello's concert on Fortnite attracted a bigger audience than has ever been seen at a Premier League game! It's more sustainable because it can be streamed. That's why there's been a proliferation of behind-the-scenes documentaries on Netflix – it's all about that connection."
The quality of YouTuber boxing is really poor – but there’s more access for fans
"Anecdotally, when I've been with my son to watch YouTubers box, the sporting spectacle is dire. I wouldn't pay to watch it. The celebrity culture existing around these people is so big, they sold out Sheffield Arena! The kids get a lot more access to the athletes, and it's all over their own Instagram. That connection is much higher. If you go back to the late 80s or early 90s, you had that access, but you don't get that now. They're different markets, but they're equally as profitable. It will be interesting to see how mainstream sports try to combat it."
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