Pacquiao-Cotto: 1.25 million PPV buys

November 20, 2009

Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press Press is reporting that last weekend’s blockbuster boxing event that featured Manny Pacquiao against Miguel Cotto sold 1.25 million PPV buys:

LAS VEGAS (AP)—Manny Pacquiao is a box office hit, selling 1.25 million pay-per-views for his fight with Miguel Cotto in a performance that could set up the richest fight ever against Floyd Mayweather Jr.


The fight not only made the top 10 of best-selling pay-per-view boxing events, but beat the 1.05 million figure notched by Mayweather for his September comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.


HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said Friday the fight grossed $70 million, with 650,000 buys coming from cable television homes and 600,000 from satellite television viewers. It was helped by a record 110,000 buys from Puerto Rico, Cotto’s home.


The biggest PPV fight was in 2007—Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya, which was sold to 2.4 million homes.

Payout Perspective:

Not only did Pacquiao-Cotto exceed Mayweather-Marquez in PPV buys, but it apparently also beat the September fight at the live gate by around $2 million.

The results of the fight are said to be good news for boxing, because it increases the likelihood that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can reach an agreement to fight one another sometime next year. Mayweather had been clamoring for a greater percentage of the fight purse – citing his superior drawing ability – but the latest results should ensure that both men get an equal cut.

The news comes on the heels of comments from Bob Arum, just yesterday, saying the fight did in excess of 1.5 million buys, and was the highest grossing PPV of the year – including the UFC.

While it looks as though the UFC will come out the winner this year – both in terms of gross PPV revenues and the single highest event – all bets are off for next year. If Mayweather-Pacquiao is signed some are expecting well over the 1.3 million mark – perhaps something even as high as the 2.4 million range that De La Hoya – Mayweather accomplished two years ago.


Just the other day we talked about the ability of the UFC’s brand-first strategy to hedge against injuries – or an outright lack of star power – on its fight cards. The latest high-profile boxing fights, however, point out the deficiency in a brand-first strategy: there’s only so much you can do to draw people to the brand. The consumer likes being told a story and likes becoming emotionally involved. To that end, the UFC may eventually need to alter the way in which it approaches its marketing strategy.

The organization did not build Brock Lesnar – he was already a star when he arrived – but there are other fighters the UFC hasn’t exactly pushed as hard as they could. The enormous potential of men like GSP, Anderson Silva, and BJ Penn to demonstrate their tremendous fighting skills to a wide audience should not be overlooked. None of them may ever be cross-over stars, but let’s face it, neither are Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. Nobody would have any interest in these guys if they weren’t great at fighting.

To begin pushing the individual fighters more heavily is dangerous, because the UFC would risk shifting negotiating leverage to its stars. However, the flip side is that if they can make more money as the result of higher grossing events, they can then afford to pay these guys more in the long run anyway.

6 Responses to “Pacquiao-Cotto: 1.25 million PPV buys”

  1. Brain Smasher on November 20th, 2009 12:32 PM

    Its a double edge sword. If the UFC loses a star. They would end up strengthen a rival promotion.

  2. joe on November 20th, 2009 3:26 PM

    Issue laden article, which raises serious questions.

    main ?: If the UFC is going to continue to experience growth in popularity and profit, should they strategically emphasize the star power of the individual fighter or rely on the brilliance of the UFC brand to attract ppv purchases.

    Awesome ? could spurn even a more interesting answer.

    stay tuned, lets discuss

  3. dojo on November 21st, 2009 8:21 AM

    Brock was already a star? So how many ppv’s did Brock sell when he was in K-1 Dynamite? yeah.

    You’re assumptions are wrong. First Boxing has generations of good will already built up whereas the UFC does not. It’s amazing where the UFC numbers are and where it’s trending considering this little tidbit.

    Boxing went from like 8 to 3 real ppv’s this year.

    Star first doesn’t just mean they have monetary leverage but it also means they would have leverage over what opponents they fight. So the ducking will begin. This is just a horrible business strategy.

  4. mma guru on November 21st, 2009 11:25 AM

    Do you have stats for all of boxing PPV’s this year and the total gross? It would be interesting to see the gate numbers as well.

  5. pinoy on November 22nd, 2009 2:13 AM

    can you please research the real ppv buy of ufc 100…because when richard shafer challenged dana white regarding it..dana(usually boastfull)kept quiet..also arum said its south of 1 million….and dan also kept quiet.l….i think its true!!

  6. Rick on November 23rd, 2009 11:43 AM

    Dana stays quiet with a bunch of stuff and sometimes he says all it out lound. But its like playing poker sometimes you have a good hand and you choose to show it, sometimes you have a bad hand but you dont show, vice versa, etc.. Its the fact that you really dont know what is true and not true that makes ufc interesting.

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