Sky Sports will no longer be presenting pay-per-view boxing in the United Kingdom, which comes after a series of blundering efforts that have led the company to believe that carrying fights on their Sky Box Office channel is just not worth the effort any longer. Boxing will still be a major part of the other Sky Sports channels, which is likely to delight UK boxing fans.
From The Daily Express:
Dull fights involving Haye against Audley Harrison and Wladimir Klitschko also gave Sky Sport food for thought and they decided it is expecting too much of an audience who pay a significant monthly subscription to shell-out for individual fights.
"We spend too much time trying to do deals on boxing for a limited return and do not think it’s fair on our audience to ask them to pay more for boxing," said a senior Sky source.
"That is not to say we will never return to pay-per-view. It’s just not right for us at the moment."
Oh, if only dull fights would lead to a lack of pay-per-view boxing on top of HBO and Showtime subscriptions in the United States. Boxing isn't headed back to network TV any time soon in the US, but it did get back there with strong ratings results recently in the United Kingdom, as Channel 5 aired the Dereck Chisora vs Tyson Fury bout on July 23. (That was also available in the US on pay-per-view, too, and though it's not likely we'll ever hear numbers, I'd really love to find out what Integrated Sports shows do on PPV here.)
This is a move that we won't see from HBO, which is really our equivalent, any time soon. American promoters are spoiled by PPV and an audience that will buy them even against their better judgment, because that's just the way it's been for so long now. But Haye vs Harrison was a sham that apparently the public in the UK bought into (for reasons that elude me to this day), and Klitschko vs Haye was just a letdown. Throw in the Nathan Cleverly farce on May 21 with repeated replacement opponents, and the Amir Khan disaster in April, and you've got a recipe for a decision like this one.