Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao’s mega-bout in Las Vegas last weekend was expected to break the previous pay-per-view buys record, and early reports indicate the “Fight of the Century” may have doubled the mark.
Back in 2007, when Mayweather tangled with and beat Oscar De La Hoya, the PPV record was set at 2.45 million buys. Mayweather nearly broke his own record two years ago when 2.2 million orders were placed for his matchup with then-undefeated Mexican star Canelo Alvarez.
Now, Yahoo Sports estimates that there were nearly 5.63 million PPV buys for a fight that boxing fans waited more than five years to see. The report indicates that the combined buys from DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T’s uVerse, and Verizon themselves nearly broke the record at 2.25 million alone.
But while the numbers from other cable systems won’t be known until next week, Yahoo posited that if 60 percent of the buys were from cable providers then the full total would be 5.625 million.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, characterized the numbers he had seen from satellite and other telecom companies as “breathtaking,” according to ESPN.
Both fighters have already long held the distinction as boxing’s two most bankable stars. Mayweather’s 13 previous PPV events reportedly raked in $873 million, and Pacquiao’s 20 events pulled in $741 million, but their one bout could exceed even those totals.
With the cost of the fight set at $89 for standard definition and $99 for high definition, co-broadcasters HBO and Showtime are in for a massive payday. However, some television providers like DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, among many others, experienced massive overloads of their systems as many fans tried to order the bout at the last minute.
That led to outages and delays in service around the country, and HBO and Showtime dragging the night’s festivities out to give the providers more time to correct the issues.
Nevertheless, the total buys will be the cherry on top of Mayweather and Pacquiao’s massive take homes for the fight. Together the two already split a reported $300 million purse, with Mayweather originally tabbed to net the lion’s share at an agreed-upon 60/40 split. It’s estimated the undefeated Mayweather will earn $200 million, having already collected a $100 million check immediately after the fight and showing it off in front of television cameras.
The 38-year-old, who has addressed impending retirement on multiple occasions, was already the highest earning athlete in the world. According to Forbes’ 2014 rankings, Mayweather’s salary totaled $105 million.
Pacquiao’s estimated earnings are a bit lower than Mayweather’s in the $100 million-$120 million range. Arum was quoted as saying the Filipino star would be paid $50 million the Monday after the bout.
The numbers are mindboggling due to how they fared against previous mega-fights. No fight has come close to reaching 5 million buys, perhaps prompting the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps to reunite for another fight in 2016 despite negative current sentiment. Many viewers showed dissatisfaction with the fight for several reasons, but even if one-third of the buyers (1.87 million) decide to purchase the rematch, it would be an enormous success.
Here are the top 5 selling pay-per-view fights of all time:
1) 5.63 million - Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao (May 2015 - HBO/Showtime)
2) 2.45 million - Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather (May 2007 - HBO)
3) 2.2 million - Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez (Sept. 2013 - Showtime)
4) 1.99 million - Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield (June 1997 - Showtime)
5) 1.95 million - Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson (June 2002 - HBO/Showtime)