Opinion: Sky must show Parker fight for free
Here's the deal: if the taxpayer hands over cash to keep the Joseph Parker fight here, then Sky must show the fight for free.
We don't want Sky or Dean Lonergan's pockets lined with money from the taxpayer.
There is a reasonable case for the Government to put up some money to support Duco Events putting on the world title fight.
But the Government's 'Major Events Fund' is not the 'Duco Events Slush Fund'.
That means Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has to put down the following conditions:
1. If Lonergan's Duco Events ends up making a profit, then any money put up by the taxpayer is paid back.
2. If taxpayer money is used, then Sky must screen the fight for free-to-air.
Sky has previously charged pay-per-view at $50-a-pop for Parker fights.
The fact of the matter is that Sky clips the ticket. Dean Lonergan clips the ticket. That's how the world rolls. But it's just not on for them to clip the ticket if taxpayer money is used to get the fight across the line.
Steven Joyce is a commercial hardarse from way back in the day and he now needs to play hardball with Lonergan and Sky on behalf of Kiwis.
If the Government puts up some cash now that effectively underwrites the fight, then Lonergan can get on with organising the fight.
The Government money would give Lonergan what every promoter craves - security.
There will be a lot more hype if it is in New Zealand and more chances to attract sponsorship and viewer eyeballs.
I think the Government will easily get the agreement that Duco will pay it back.
However I am not sure if the Government and Duco have the cojones to make the same demands on Sky. With a long-term relationship at stake, Duco will obviously want Sky to do well out of this.
I hope I'm wrong, but I get the feeling Sky will get to leverage off the taxpayer and laugh all the way to the bank.