Parker's handlers expect good financial result from Samoa fight

By Patrick McKendry in Apia

New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker and his opponent American southpaw Jason Bergman. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
New Zealand Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker and his opponent American southpaw Jason Bergman. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

Joseph Parker's promoters Duco Events acknowledge taking their heavyweight fighter to Samoa for tonight's bout against Jason Bergman was a financial risk, but after expecting to lose money on the event they now believe they will break even.

Duco's David Higgins travelled to Apia six times in 12 months in order to drum up sponsorship for the fight - a travel schedule which has paid off and is likely to mitigate against any potential risk should pay per view sales disappoint.

Parker's fight against American Bergman is a pay per view event on Sky in New Zealand and to that end a TV studio has been air-freighted here at a six-figure cost for both Sky and Duco.

Duco own the broadcast rights, licence the event to Sky, and share the pay per view revenue.

"We're not going to get rich out of this fight but it's not about money and I'm sure Joseph, with all the photos, will always remember this," Higgins said.

"There's a lot of talent here with the physical make-up and genetics [of the people] so it's a bit of a travesty that they've never had a major internationally televised highly-ranked boxing event in Samoa.

"It's easy to keep doing business in the New Zealand market where you know everyone; it's complicated and more difficult to come to a new market and people will say things like 'be careful' and 'you won't get paid, you're going to lose a lot of money' and I'm pleased to say that that's not true.

"We thought we would lose money and that it would be more difficult in terms of commercial partnerships, but as I say, I think a lot of businesspeople in New Zealand or Australia are reluctant to come to Samoa because they might assume there's no money here... but if they make the effort they might find it's the same as any other market and because of that we're going to do better than we thought."

Higgins, who didn't rule out a return to Samoa for Parker, said pay per view sales success would only become apparent in the hours before the fight. Parker and Bergman are scheduled to take the ring at 10.15pm NZT.

"People often ask 'how many pay per views have you got?', but it doesn't come in [until later]. In fact, 80-90 per cent of the pay per view will come in the last 15 hours. You think about that - one of the biggest revenue streams. You could be in a situation where on Friday you're staring at a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars and at some point on Saturday afternoon at say 2 o'clock you break even and then you might go into profit or you might not."

Tourism Samoa is one supporter of the event, with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegoai saying he hoped the fight would put Samoa on the map as a holiday destination this year.

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