Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao: Daily Fantasy Sports To Ride Wave Of Boxing Megafight’s Hype

Written By Dustin Gouker on April 27, 2015 - Last Updated on April 30, 2015

The upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is historic for boxing, matching up two iconic fighters in one of the sport’s biggest bouts.

At least one fantasy sports provider is trying to build off the hype, as Kountermove is launching contests that include the megafight.

Boxing and DFS?

The fight on May 2 will break records in terms of both the live gate and pay-per-view buys. Why wouldn’t DFS want to hop on that bandwagon?

The idea of combat sports being paired with DFS isn’t a totally foreign concept:

  • The UFC and DraftKings signed a sponsorship deal that is trying to bring mixed martial arts fantasy sports to the masses.
  • Kountermove has been providing contests across a range of sports — including MMA, kickboxing and jiu-jistu — for several years.
  • Another site, DraftOps, has been trying to break into the MMA DFS market as well.

“Fans have always loved to wager on boxing and it’s a very social sport, a great foundation upon which to grow DFS,” said Christie Sullivan, who heads up Kountermove’s communications and marketing.

“The boxing promotions are seeing a resurgence in popularity, primarily driven by viewers in the younger male demographic, [the same as] the DFS demo.

“DFS boxing offers boxing fans a more socially acceptable, social, skill-based and low entry way to engage in gaming around the sport.”

Despite the huge amount of interest in this fight, the future of boxing after Mayweather-Pacquaio — and the possibility for DFS boxing to work — is a bit murky. While some see a sport in constant decline and lacking star power, there is also reason for optimism.

The premiere episode of the newly launched Premier Boxing Champions did a 2.53 rating and 3.13 million viewers, giving NBC the night’s highest network rating on that Saturday in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

PBC is a new promotion trying to help bring boxing back to the mainstream, with bouts also airing on CBS and Spike TV. Recent numbers for fights on Showtime and HBO — premium cable services — eclipsed a million viewers.

The sweet science, taken to fantasy

How does it work?

The contests will run over the course of the next month (obviously a little longer than the typical short-term games in the industry), starting with bouts on April 10 and culminating with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao on May 2.

The fights included in the contest will be shown on Showtime, HBO Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions shows, and obviously the Mayweather-Pacquiao pay-per-view.

The contest’s scoring is pretty simple and fan-friendly:

  • Half a point is awarded for every strike landed
  • Ten points per knockdown
  • knockout is worth 100 points.
  • If the bout goes to decision, then the boxers will receive 10 points for every round won.

The contests offered by Kountermove certainly aren’t huge in terms of prize pools — the largest guarantees $500 — or entry fees as the site feels out the market.

The real question for them and DFS observers is if boxing fans, like their brethren in MMA and other sports, are going to be interested in the fantasy format.

“Like MMA, [boxing] has structural advantages that lend itself well to DFS — weekly cadence of events, with the marketing concentrated into a week and the events taking place over one day, Sullivan said. “It’s also a year-round sport, so there’s no drop off after a season.”

Kountermove, which started offering contests back in 2011, helped set the stage for the growth of MMA daily fantasy. Could it do the same for boxing?

Photo by Akira Kouchiyama used under license CC BY 2.0.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.

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