For nearly six years Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and their respective camps traded jabs outside the ring as the public yearned to see the sport’s two biggest stars face-off. The two boxers finally squared off last month after a series of tortured negotiations. Was it worth the wait? Most boxing fans would argue no, as Pacquiao delivered a listless performance, no doubt impacted by a torn rotator cuff, and Mayweather put on his usual defensive clinic. But for the fighters and everyone involved in the bout, it was an absolute knockout from a financial perspective.
The fight smashed every financial record in the boxing books. The gate, with tickets ranging from $1,500 to $10,000, finished at $73 million despite tickets not going on sale until nine days before the May 2 fight. It was more than three-and-a-half times the previous high of $20 million for Mayweather’s 2013 fight against Canelo Alvarez. Total sponsorships clocked in at $13 million with brewer Tecate paying $5.6 million and outbidding Corona for branding rights to the center of the ring. The foreign TV rights sold for $35 million guaranteed, but the huge international viewership will push that to $50 million once all the eyeballs are counted.
The pay-per-view audience provided the biggest bonanza with everyone eyeing the 2007 Mayweather vs. De La Hoya bout, which generated 2.5 million buys. “We were expecting three million U.S. homes,” says Top Rank chief Bob Arum, who co-promoted last month’s fight with Mayweather Promotions. The insatiable appetite for the event instead delivered 4.4 million PPV buys in the U.S. and 700,000 in the U.K. Those numbers will continue to climb and will approach five million domestically and should top one million in the U.K., according to Arum. The record price tag of $100 for the HD version of the fight ($90 for standard-def) meant roughly $430 million in PPV revenue. It crushed the previous record of $150 million for Mayweather-Alvarez.
The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will generate $600 million in total once everything is counted from tickets, PPV, sponsorships, merchandise, closed-circuit and international rights. It was a record tally for a one-day sporting event and triple the previous high for a fight. The only thing comparable is the Super Bowl, which produced $500 million in revenue last year and ranks annually as the world’s most valuable sporting event brand.
Want to know more? Got the drop at Forbes . . .