KSI v Logan Paul: Is the 'biggest event in internet history' a sign of the future?

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KSI v Logan Paul: The biggest fight of 2018 so far?

It is the boxing match that was billed as the "biggest event in internet history" and despite months of build-up and trash talk, it ended in a draw.

More than 15,000 tickets were sold for Saturday's much-hyped fight at Manchester Arena between rival YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul.

But what does the fight say about the influence of YouTube and social media on modern sport?

BBC Kick Off has been finding out.

KSI (right) adopted the nickname "The Nightmare" ahead of the fight
KSI (right) adopted the nickname "The Nightmare" ahead of the fight

The Maverick or the Nightmare?

Amateur celebrity boxing matches have taken place for decades, but the format has enjoyed a resurgence on YouTube in 2018.

Olajide "KSI" Olatunji, a 25-year-old who has 19 million subscribers, fought fellow YouTuber Joe Weller at a packed Copper Box in London in February.

After that fight, which attracted over 20 million views on the Google-owned video-sharing website, KSI called out Logan Paul for Saturday's bout.

Paul, 23, made his name on the defunct social network Vine before moving to YouTube, where he has since racked up 18 million subscribers.

The former state wrestler, who goes by the name 'the Maverick', caused outrage earlier in 2018 for showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan.

What made Saturday's fight unique is that it attracted attention like that of - or even bigger than - a more conventional boxing match, as the weigh-in topped the trending list on YouTube with over six million views.

The undercard featured an array of popular YouTubers, with the two younger brothers of Logan and KSI, Jake Paul and Deji, facing off before the main event.

Attracting the stars

Jake Wood (left) poses at Saturday's KSI v Logan Paul fight at Manchester Arena with ex-boxer Spencer Oliver
Jake Wood (left) poses at Saturday's KSI v Logan Paul fight at Manchester Arena with ex-boxer Spencer Oliver

The fight attracted the attention of not only YouTube personalities and viewers but also boxing fans.

Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning in BBC soap EastEnders and also hosts the boxing podcast Pound for Pound, told BBC Sport: "I've been a fan of boxing all my life.

"When I was a kid I boxed for a couple of years and had some experience. My dad was a massive boxing fan."

The 46-year-old might not be the target demographic for the fight, but he was ringside at the event in Manchester.

"They came to us to facilitate the first fight, KSI v Joe Weller, and we have been involved in this event too, including getting the ring together, referees, getting [veteran ring announcer] Michael Buffer over from America," Wood continued.

"It's incredible, I have no problem with it, it brings new fans to the sport.

"I think it brings in a different audience and will probably be the most watched fight ever. It's 100 million views they are hoping for."

Thinking beyond traditional media

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Tyson Fury has a few thoughts

"We are trying to challenge the status quo."

It is not just boxing which is using YouTube and social media to cultivate a new market. Chris Hamill, an analyst on the popular YouTube channel Football Daily, is confident about the direction in which modern sport media is heading.

The channel features opinions on football and in 2017, Sky purchased their network representative Diagonal View, leading the traditional media company's entry into YouTube.

Since its formation in 2011 the channel has grown to 1.4 million subscribers and their presenters have gone on to work on a project with Sky.

Hamill states it is in part due to "people looking for an alternative voice" for football analysis and commentary, with many consuming both traditional linear television content as well as and online and digital content.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Hamill said: "YouTube is a more saturated market. People have to try harder to stay on top of the game.

"It's not jobs for the boys on YouTube, anyone can turn the camera around."

The flipside of online fame

YouTube's large audience of over a billion daily users has led to some football fans becoming popular figures online.

Arsenal fan Lee Judges features on the YouTube channel AFTV, formerly Arsenal Fan TV, and says fan-based channels dedicated to football clubs can have its downsides.

Contrasting his life before and after AFTV on social media, Judges told BBC Sport: "Before, if I commented on social media I wouldn't get a response. Now if I do, thousands of people respond.

"It's a great thing that people want to hear your opinion even if they don't agree with it."

AFTV member Robbie Lyle poses with a microphone outside the Emirates Stadium
AFTV were recently forced into a rebrand from their previous name 'Arsenal Fan TV' after discussions with the club

Despite AFTV's popularity, those who appear regularly on the channel can face a large amount of criticism from viewers from across the world.

"People are always looking to catch you out, if you make a mistake they are on you," Judges added.

From YouTube and beyond

In 2017, Manchester City became the first Premier League club to hit one million subscribers on YouTube
In 2017, Manchester City became the first Premier League club to hit one million subscribers on YouTube

YouTube is not the only platform where independent sport content has built a new audience, however.

City Watch, a Twitter feed which provides inside information about reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, has gained in popularity since its formation in 2011.

"City Watch grew quickly after its launch on Twitter. At the time, there was very little in the way of unofficial Manchester City coverage on social media and what started as a temporary hobby for me in the summer of 2011 became a passion," City Watch owner Stuart told BBC Sport.

"People came to count on City Watch for updates about the club. The growth was steady but after Twitter verified our account, I did notice the follower count accelerated much faster. We hit 100,000 followers in September 2017 and now have over 140,000 followers less than a year later."

A rematch on the cards

The aftermath of the fight spilled into the day after as KSI tweeted his thoughts the following morning
The aftermath of the fight spilled into the day after as KSI tweeted his thoughts the following morning

In front of a packed Manchester Arena, with thousands more paying £7.50 each to watch the stalemate live on YouTube, the fight proved a financial success.

In addition, a rematch in the United States is already being billed for 2019 in Los Angeles.

"I think there's only one thing to do. I think we have to have a rematch. Let's do it. That was fun," KSI said in his post-fight interview.

Logan added: ''I think it's what the people want. Let's give them a [expletive removed] rematch! … I feel like I won that fight, but it doesn't matter. What happened happened. The rematch is going to be crazy."

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