Boxing spectators expect the most anticipated fight in recent history as IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua goes up against former WBO, IBF and WBA champion Wladimir Klitschko at London’s Wembley Stadium.
On Saturday night, an extraordinary sum of money will have changed hands in ticket sales, fight purse and betting by the time the bell rings some time after 22:00 GMT.
Match sponsors William Hill are predicting that the bout could be the biggest contest in the sport’s betting history, with turnover expected to reach £100 million ($130m). Spokesman Tony Kenny predicted that more than £20 million of that sum would be from UK activity alone.
Of course, William Hill’s estimate takes no account of illegal betting.
The number pales in comparison to the revenue of more mainstream sporting events ‒ the 2010 World Cup Final, for example, was estimated to generate between $1bn and $3bn ‒ but would make the fight the richest event in British boxing history.
As for the fighters themselves, the purse is reported to be around £20 million. With the addition of pay-per-view royalties and ticket revenue, that’s closer to £40 million ($52m), which would be split 50/50 between the Briton and the Ukrainian.
Next Stop The Ring 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/5cdYmKCVe1
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) April 28, 2017
Sky Sports confirmed that a record 90,000 of Wembley’s seats were sold for the fight night. Ticket prices range from £40 to £2000, but with an average tag of £100-150, ticket turnover will total at least £9 million ($11.5m).
Sky Box Office holds UK exclusivity on a live stream of the event. More than 1 million viewers are expected to pay the near £20 pay-per-view fee to watch online.
Joshua goes into the ring as the favourite against the older athlete, but ‒ whatever the outcome ‒ tonight will be a historic moment for the financial standing of a sport whose public image evermore correlates with money.
Wellldone @anthonyfjoshua good fight, you had life & death with @klitschko & I played with the guy, let's dance 💃 pic.twitter.com/alLRHPb513
— TYSON2FASTFURY (@Tyson_Fury) April 29, 2017