PPV.com will take fans on wild, immersive adventure for Spence-Crawford

PPV.com wants to take boxing fans on an adventure for the sport’s biggest, most highly anticipated showdown of the year.

Unified WBC/WBA/IBF welterweight world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. will take on WBO titleholder Terence “Bud” Crawford for the undisputed 147-pound world championship on Saturday, July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

We spoke to the Senior Vice President of Programming & Marketing for PPV.com, Mark Boccardi, on the significance of Spence-Crawford.

“I believe the hype with this fight. I do think that it’s going to be a monster event. Neither of these guys has the public flare of a [Gervonta] Davis-[Ryan] Garcia type of fight where there’s this enormous amount of social media back and forth between the fighters and sort of noise surrounding the event in the weeks leading up to it. I think this is going to be more of a classic boxing fight circa the 1980s where you got these two incredibly skilled guys; they’re buried in the camps, they’re completely focused on the event, and based on their records and their performance in the ring, I think it’s about as good a matchup as you can have in the entire sport. And any time that happens, it’s really special. I do think it’s going to be a huge event. And I think it’s going to be an event where it’s going to be because of everything that happens in the ring as opposed to any of the noise outside of the ring.”

Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) agree with Boccardi’s assessment.

Last week, the 33-year-old Spence told reporters the fight would sell itself and that acting out of character wouldn’t be necessary.

“It probably would be [a bigger fight] if we was talking trash, cursing each other out, talking about each other’s mothers and fathers, and, you know, saying crazy stuff to each other. It would be a lot bigger,” said Spence. “That’s what sells, especially in [these times]. That’s what sells.

“People love to see controversy; they love to see you acting [like] an ass. Since they not getting that, it probably [won’t be as big]. More people [would be] drawn to it if I get on stage and throw a punch at him, or try and slap him or something crazy. That’d be all over social media and cause a frenzy.”

Crawford also believes the bout isn’t being promoted properly outside of the sport.

“Die-hard boxing fans all know about the fight… but if I go to my next-door neighbor’s grandma’s house, is she gonna know who I am?”

However, Boccardi is working to change that.

Simply distributing the fight is bare bones in today’s generation. Everyone wants to be immersed in the experience; whether it’s a 3D movie or virtual reality, people want to be involved. For PPV.com, fan integration is a key pillar of their marketing push.

“The difference with PPV.com is we have the only pay-per-view experience that is immersive for the fan. We have a live chat that we always have hosted. It could be an industry journalist; it could be a boxer, an industry historian, any sort of person with any merit that’s involved. We have a host, and that really creates a lot of interaction with people who are watching.”

For Spence-Crawford, PPV.com has announced an all-star cast, including award-winning journalist Lance Pugmire, Dan Canobbio, and former junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri.

“We’re going to have three hosts, and we think it’s going to create real excitement around fan engagement,” Boccardi added. “As a fan, you sit there, and you can type in questions, comments, you can chat with these hosts, and they’re chatting back to you. It’s a totally different way of watching [the fight] rather than sitting back and watching it on the big screen.

“What we found is for the bigger events, we get the most interaction and chat with our hosts. I think it just shows the level of excitement that people have leading up to the fight, during the fight, and even post-fight. The other differentiator is we have what we call fan react videos, which is basically a GIF that someone can record off any of the devices that they’re watching on, and then you upload it to the PPV.com experience. So as you’re watching the event, you have the chat going, you have these GIFS that are flying across the bottom of the screen, and it just feels like you’re a part of this boxing community as opposed to just watching it full-screen on your own. For those that do want to do that, we have that full-screen option as well, and many choose to watch that way.”

Spence-Crawford will headline a four-fight Pay-Per-View event (PPV.com, $84.99; 8 p.m. ET; 5 p.m. PT).

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