LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao proved a box office smash, even if their welterweight title fight didn’t live up to the hype.
The May 2 fight obliterated the pay-per-view record, with 4.4 million buys generating more than $400 million in revenue. With a live gate of nearly $72 million and other revenue, the bout grossed more than $600 million and likely made Mayweather more than $200 million.
Showtime and HBO officials reported the whopping PPV figures Tuesday, saying the fight broke the previous record of 2.48 million buys generated by Mayweather’s 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya by nearly 2 million buys.
It also nearly tripled the record $150 million in pay-per-view revenue generated by Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez in 2013.
“We did not anticipate this number of buys,” said Mark Taffet, who heads PPV operations for HBO. “It reinforces the notion that when you give the fans the fights they demand, they always respond.”
Mayweather was the big winner both in the fight and at the bank. He was guaranteed 60 per cent of the net revenue to the promotion, while Pacquiao’s camp got the remaining 40 per cent.
The total figures to be around $400 million after satellite TV and cable systems take their cut, meaning Mayweather — who is his own promoter — could walk away with $240 million for his night’s work. Pacquiao would share in the other $160 million with promoter Bob Arum.
The Nevada Athletic Commission says the live gate for the fight was a record $72,198,500, far eclipsing the previous mark of $20 million set by Mayweather and Alvarez. The fight also did another $50 million or so in foreign sales, sponsorships and related income.
It also sold 46,000 closed circuit seats at various MGM Grand operated hotels in the Las Vegas area at $150 a ticket, and was sold to more than 5,000 bars, restaurants and other businesses throughout the United States.
However, the fight had some technical problems for last-minute buyers and was seen for free by thousands on services like Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, which stream video to the Internet.
“To do almost twice what the prior record was and nearly triple the previous high water mark for revenue is really something,” Stephen Espinoza, executive VP and GM of Showtime Sports said. “I thought we would be doing very well if we got to 3 million buys, which would have broken the record by 20 per cent.”
Mayweather won the fight by unanimous decision, and it was later revealed that Pacquiao had injured his shoulder in training. That has led to a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of people who bought the PPV, claiming they were defrauded out of their money because the injury was not revealed.
Taffet said the strong interest in boxing continued with Saturday’s fight between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland in Houston. The fight, which drew more than 30,000 people to Minute Maid Park, was watched by an average 2.1 million viewers on HBO, the highest rating for a fight on the network in nine years.
“We’re in a period of tremendous viewership for the sport,” he said.