JERRYWORLD FACES SEA OF EMPTY SEATS FOR SPENCE-GARCIA FIGHT
With just a week remaining before welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr., takes on undefeated lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia at mammoth AT&T Stadium in Dallas, ticket sales for the Premier Boxing Champions event are, to put it kindly, light.
That so few seats have been purchased is made all the more remarkable considering:
- In addition to his unblemished record, the power-punching Spence is from the Dallas suburb of Desoto and since 2015 has twice fought at venues in close proximity to the Metroplex.
- Undefeated, Mexican-American Garcia has fought in the state of Texas six times in his career, including headlining in 2013 the first “major” fight card ever staged at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
- AT&T Stadium is an established boxing venue, having staged at least three major fights since it was opened in 2009.
- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – the man most responsible for AT&T Stadium itself and the highest profile National Football League owner by far – has twice participated in Fox television broadcasts promoting the fight.
- Most importantly, Spence-Garcia is justifiably regarded as the first big fight of 2019
So how is it that enormous swaths of seats remain unsold for what is, at the very least, an intriguing fight?
Barring a biblical-sized flood of ticket buyers in the next seven days, the blame for all that unsold inventory can’t help but come down squarely on the organization primarily charged with promoting the fight: Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).
PBC is staging the fight with its broadcast partner Fox, which is handling the PPV at $74.95 a pop and has at least one additional incentive to promote the fight: keeping up appearances with Jones, who wields considerable influence when it comes to the NFL’s business relationship with current league broadcast rights holder Fox.
While Fox, along with Jones himself, has indeed participated in what has been a steady, though somewhat understated drumbeat of on-air promotion of Spence-Garcia, PBC promotion of its fight on other readily available sports television networks like CBS, NBC and ESPN has been all but non-existent.
While ESPN’s affiliation with PBC rival Top Rank Boxing is most likely the reason for the lack of television appearances by Garcia and Spence on the world’s biggest sports television network, it is hard to imagine ESPN-TV – which fancies itself as the sports media outlet of record and includes noted boxing commentator Max Kellerman on its daily talkshow roster – would turn down a chance to feature on-camera interviews of Spence and Garcia in the leadup to the fight.
In other words, it isn’t unreasonable to think that PBC’s reticence to engage ESPN-TV in promoting Spence-Garcia is the reason that the fighters – and the event itself – has maintained such a low profile on the sports television network.
There are certainly other factors in play when it comes to the ticket sales of Spence-Garcia, including price points and whether other unpublicized companies were contracted to assist with selling tickets and/or marketing the fight.
But the fact remains that if a fight as attractive as Spence-Garcia ends up being staged on Fox PPV in front of tens of thousands of empty seats, it will be impossible for Premier Boxing Champions to escape a large measure of blame.