YouTuber boxing fights attract new audiences as ‘Sportainment’ continues to grow

Boxing bouts such as Tommy Fury’s fight with YouTuber Jake Paul are “bringing millions of online followers into new territories” according to entertainment group Entain.

Sunday’s fight in Saudi Arabia sees boxing and YouTube meet again when Fury and Paul go head to head in a cruiserweight clash for the newly-made WBC Diriyah Belt.

This bout is the latest in a series that sees YouTubers take to the ring and data from sport betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group Entain suggests that some of the biggest fights in recent years have involved an internet star.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key numbers going into the Paul and Fury clash.

Introducing new audiences

The first so-called ‘YouTube bout’ saw KSI face Joe Weller in 2018, but the one that really garnered attention was KSI’s clash with Logan Paul in the same year.

According to Entain, the top three fights with the highest percentage of new customers stemmed from those that featured a YouTuber and over one in four customers who bet on the KSI v Logan Paul fights in 2018 and 2019 were new customers.

New audiences are also expected for Sunday’s fight between Jake Paul and Fury, with Entain predicting that over one in four customers placing a bet will be new.

More interest in YouTube bouts

One of the big questions is whether these new audiences are sticking with YouTuber fights, or moving into more traditional sporting markets.

Entain found that of those who placed a bet on the 2018 KSI v Logan Paul fight, 10.4 per cent then went on to make a bet on the 2019 fight.

Additionally, of new customers who placed a bet on their 2019 rematch, over a third continued to bet on “traditional” sports including boxing from 2020 onwards and Entain believe the collision of sport and entertainment is a growing trend.

They said: “Content creators are entertainers. There have been boxers over the years that are natural-born entertainers too, just look at Tommy Fury’s brother and WBC World Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury.

“But, the explosion in content creators on platforms such as YouTube has been nothing short of staggering in recent years.

“They are becoming household names and bringing millions of online followers into new territories – in this case, it’s bringing eyeballs that wouldn’t traditionally be interested in boxing, to boxing.

“Sportainment is a trend we will continue to see grow through both online platforms and traditional broadcasting for many years to come.”