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.
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.