All the ways Mayweather-Pacquiao will be the biggest boxing match ever

Business of Sport
Business of Sport

After years of tense negotiations, boxing legends Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will finally square off in Las Vegas on May 2. Not only is it a momentous fight for boxing—Mayweather and Pacquiao are the two greatest pugilists of this era—it will also shatter every revenue record in existence.

Much of that is owed to Mayweather’s business acumen; he’s at least as good an entrepreneur as he is a fighter.

The fight will generate an estimated $250 million in pay-per-view revenue, dwarfing the previous record of $150 million set by Mayweather’s 2013 bout with Canelo Alvarez. The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight should also easily overthrow the record of 2.5 million pay-per-view buys, set by Mayweather’s fight with Oscar de la Hoya in 2007.

Notice a trend? They don’t call him “Money” Mayweather for nothing.

Pair Mayweather with Pacquiao—the second-biggest draw in boxing—and you’ll get records that won’t soon be broken (unless there’s a rematch, though there’s no clause in their contract obligating one). Perhaps the most astonishing record is the predicted $100 that it will cost to watch the bout in HD, making it the most expensive pay-per-view event of all time. Mayweather’s last fight, with Marcos Maidana, sold 925,000 buys at about $65 each.

Dan Rafael of ESPN reports that, including pay-per-view revenue, the fight could make close to half a billion dollars. Fight organizers want to make $40 million in ticket sales alone, which would double the record set by Mayweather-Alvarez. Some tickets may cost $5,000, and few will be available to the public.

Economics aside, the most fascinating aspect of this mega-fight is that it will force bitter TV rivals to collaborate for the pay-per-view broadcast. Time Warner’s HBO, which has a deal with Pacquiao, and CBS’ Showtime, which airs Mayweather’s fights, will collaborate and broadcast the bout on both networks simultaneously.

According to Rafael, Showtime’s James Brown (normally of CBS) will host the telecast. HBO’s Jim Lampley will call the fight, flanked by an analyst from both HBO and Showtime. And each network will have a reporter in their respective fighter’s locker rooms pre- and post-fight.

Just as Mayweather and Pacquiao had to put aside their differences to give the people the fight they’ve been clamoring for, HBO and Showtime acknowledged that it was in the best interest of both parties to work together. It has happened only once before—the networks co-broadcast Lennox Lewis’ 2002 defeat of Mike Tyson—but this fight is much, much bigger in about every way imaginable and will soon become a fabled moment in television lore.

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