The Sneaky Power of Pay-Per-View (And How You Can Harness It)

If you’ve ever seen one of those listicles online about the world’s richest athletes, you probably recognize a lot of the names, even if you don’t follow sports: LeBron James, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods. 

But near the top of the most recent list is one name that’s not so well recognized, even by a lot of people who follow sports: Canelo Álvarez. He was the fourth-wealthiest athlete in the world on the Forbes 2019 list, above LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers, and many others. 

Two things make Álvarez different from his neighbors in this elite neighborhood: First, he’s a boxer, and second, he only worked two nights in 2019. LeBron schlepped up and down the court for more than 100 games, Tiger Woods walked the golf course four days a week for most of the year, and Lionel Messi put in 90 solid minutes on the pitch dozens and dozens of times, but Canelo Álvarez: two fights.

How is that possible? Is boxing really that popular? Well, ask yourself: do you ever hear people talking about boxing? Do you know a ton of boxing fans? In terms of TV ratings, boxing’s not even in the top 10 most popular sports in the country. It ranks way below soccer, for goodness sake!

Álvarez can make money like that because of one thing: Pay-Per-View events.

Pay-Per-View events are major events that people can pay to watch on a one-off basis on TV or on their computers. And people do! 

A couple of years ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr. made $275 million dollars for a single fight! That’s because nearly 7 million people paid about $100 each to watch the event live.

The famous boxing promoter Don King once reacted to the nine-figure payout given to a fighter after a single Pay-Per-View event and said, “I mean, that’s an entire season of revenue for some [professional] teams.

Yeah, that’s one way to put it! 

Why does this matter to you? Because words matter. The term “online event” or worse yet, “virtual event” may not fully convey the opportunity that new platforms like Stellar offer to live entertainment and arts creators. 

When you hear ‘online event,’ you might picture half-baked Zoom-type events like the ones that popped up right after the shutdown in early 2020. Forget those. They’re history. They have nothing to do with what we’re talking about now.

Instead, think of it this way: platforms like Stellar are democratizing Pay-Per-View and the incredibly rich opportunities the format opens up. Now, you don’t need a dozen satellite trucks. You don’t need a deal with Showtime. You don’t need to book 500 rooms at the MGM Grand Las Vegas for the support team. 

You just need to be able to create a great show that’s worthy of being watched by a lot of people who are happy to pay to see it. 

Over just the past couple of months, there have been several examples of artists and venues making as much money in a single night as it might take a season or an entire tour to generate the conventional way. Not bad, huh?

Some of you are going to say, “I’m not Canelo Álvarez,” and that’s true. It’s probably also true that you didn’t have any idea who he was before I mentioned him in this video. Some of you are going to say,  “I’m not BTS.” That’s true too. The K-pop band that grossed first $20 million, then $44 million in two online Pay-Per-View events earlier in the year are extremely famous.

But you don’t need $44 million to make a big impact on your organization’s financial health or your own bottom line! You might not be Floyd “Money” Mayweather, but you could bring in a LOT less than his $275 million payday and consider it a pretty good night’s work!

Mid-tier bands, regional theatres, independent artists, YouTube stars, and others are doing their own Pay-Per-View type events through Stellar and other platforms and reaping financial rewards that would have taken far more time and effort to achieve with in-person events. And of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events aren’t even possible.

So, if it helps, forget the term “online event” or “virtual event.” Think of this new power — this new capability in your hands — as a democratized form of Pay-Per-View, accessible to more content creators, producers, artists, and acts than ever before.

And if Pay-Per-View sounds a little dated, which it does, how about this:

Premium Broadcast Event. 

Stellar and platforms like it enable any live entertainment professional to create their own Premium Broadcast Events. Find out how Stellar can help you create your own Premium Broadcast Event.

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