In his return to the ring, Manny Pacquiao won by unanimous decision against Brandon Rios. It appears that the Pay-Per-View buys reflect the one-sided nature of the bout.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum tells Sports Illustrated that the buys for Pacquiao vs. Rios are somewhere between 500,000 and 550,000. According to Chris Mannix of SI, that number could be even lower, falling between 450,000 and 500,000.
The number of buys could be viewed as disappointing, considering what Pac-Man has drawn in the past. Before facing Rios, four of Pacquiao’s last five fights did over one million buys. His fight with Timothy Bradley that saw him lose the WBO Welterweight title is the only one that did less than seven figures at 700,000.
The seemingly low numbers might not come as much of a surprise. For the first time in over seven years, Pacquiao fought outside of the United States. With the fight being held in China, it didn’t get nearly as much media exposure as a traditional Pacquiao bout, though Mannix describes the site fee that Top Rank received as “huge.” Having Rios take on Pacquiao also hurt the buyrate. Rios isn’t very popular in the U.S. and he came into the fight as a major underdog. Arum says the numbers won’t stop Pacquiao from going back to China soon.
One could’ve predicted a lower than usual buyrate because of the surrounding circumstances. Still, Arum appeared confident heading into the match.
“Conventional wisdom is that if you do a fight outside the U.S., you will adversely impact the number of pay-per-view buys, but balancing that is that there is tremendous curiosity about an event in China,” Arum told ESPN before the fight. “It’s a selling point. Everyone talks about the fight and mentions that it’s taking place in China. Will that curiosity help with the sales? Will having the fight in China help or hurt? The answer is we’re not really sure.”
The numbers do seem very disappointing when compared to the money that Floyd Mayweather brought in for his last bout with Canelo Alvarez. The fight drew 2.2 million buys and set a record for PPV revenue.
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Pacquiao was guaranteed $18 million with the opportunity to make close to $30 million. Rios was guaranteed a $4 million purse.