Mayweather-Pacquiao Perspective

May 3, 2015

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at what was dubbed as the “Fight of the Century” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada as Floyd Mayweather took on Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather takes care of Pac Man

It was the likeliest of outcomes despite the wagering line drawing down as many bet with their hearts and not with their heads.  Mayweather muted Pacquiao’s flurries with well-calculated right hands to counter his attacks.  It was a comfortable decision for Mayweather amid many voicing their displeasure for a variety of reasons.  Of course, we could have done without the Pacquiao excuse of injury despite the fact it may have been the truth.

The unholy alliance of Showtime/HBO and Mayweather/Arum will likely never come to pass again.  Yet, the mission was accomplished. Without an official tally, one need only eyeball the dollar amounts with egregious amounts of zeros to know that the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was the highest grossing boxing event in its history.

Attendance and Gate

The goal was $74 million and with the astronomical prices for seats and the decree that there would be no comps, it likely made it.  Even Pacquiao paid $3-$4 million for tickets for his hefty entourage to attend.


With the 60-40 split of the fight purse, Floyd Mayweather should take in $180 million.  Pacquiao will pocket $120 million.  As we reported, the amount of gross revenue favored the winner between $160-$180 million with 51-49 split.

Promotion of the Fight

The unique co-promotion between rivals was to the benefit of fight fans from one perspective.  It saw a week with past fights from Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on cable television.  CBS Sports Network replayed most of Mayweather’s fights under his current Showtime contract and it aired the one Pacquiao fight he did with Showtime – a battle with Shane Mosley.

With the c0-promotion, both networks worked with distributors in pro-actively targeting satellite and cable customers that had order past PPVs to pre-order this event.  Essentially, making sure that their customers ordered Mayweather-Pacquiao.  The question is how many people actually pay for the PPVs a day or two ahead of the event?  Yet, it appears that the strategy worked.

Although there was no full blown HBO 24/7 or Showtime All Access 360, both networks aired shows to promote the fight.

The Pac-May press conference did better ratings-wise than the second episode of TUF last Wednesday.

Of course, there were tons of media, both sports and mainstream, too numerous to mention.


Pacquiao’s camp reported that he would receive over $2 million in sponsorship money from ad space on his trunks.  The sponsors included Wonderful Pistachio, Smart Communications, Nike and Butterfinger.  Butterfinger leveraged its sponsorship with a social media campaign which included tweets specifically from Pacquiao.  He also had a deal with Samsung which was a reason why Freddie Roach took a selfie with Manny during the walk-out.

Mayweather, who usually has little if any sponsors aside from his TMT clothing brand, had luxury watch-maker Hublot and Fan Duel on his trunks.  He also wore Reeboks. Also of note was the Burger King walking out with Mayweather.

Freddie Roach forged a sponsorship with Geico.  In addition, Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s second, wore a ton of sponsors on his shirt including the use of long sleeves to include the SoCal Mitsubishi sponsors.

Odds and ends

The dual use of ring announcers and the mixed broadcast team was unique and awkward at the same time.

The replay will be aired at the same time on Showtime and HBO on Saturday night May 9th.  It will be interesting to see the ratings for each network.

What are we to make of the Michelle Beadle and Rachel Nichols credential-gate?

Jimmy Kimmel dressed as Justin Bieber > Burger King dressed as Burger King.

For the first time, fans were charged $10 to attend the weigh-ins and even those were being sold for more on the secondary market.

HBO Sports confirmed that the fight was delayed “about 45 minutes” to help fix PPV issues.

Seems like the first weekend in May (with boxing, Kentucky Derby and NBA and NHL Playoffs) is bound to be the best Saturday of the year in sports.

For those wondering, the PPV buy record is 2.48 million (Oscar de la Hoya-Mayweather) and PPV revenue record is $150 million (Canelo-Mayweather).  These numbers will fall with ease.


For all of the hype and promotion, this was one event that was too big to fail.  Even though PPV distributors experienced some technical difficulties last night, the overarching issue was that people were trying to get in and order the $100(HD) PPV.  We should see this fight eclipse PPV records.

But do you think it goes over 4 million PPV buys as Kevin Iole predicts?

Despite the last minute decrease in prices and hotel rooms in Vegas, this event drew immense attention and the casual viewer was willing to pay the steep price to see it even though they were not keen on heading to Vegas.  I would tend to think this event drew near 4 million PPV buys but would not be surprised if the reports of surpassing 4 million were true.

Klitschko draws 1.63M viewers on HBO

April 28, 2015

HBO’s Saturday night boxing featuring World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko drew the highest rating among its subscribers drawing an average of 1.637 million viewers for the fight with Bryant Jennings.  The overall telecast drew an average of 1.3 million viewers.

It was Klitschko’s first appearance in the U.S. in years and many fight fans tuned in with the fight peaking at 1.742 million viewers.  The undercard featuring Sadam Ali defeating Francisco Santana drew an average of 1 million viewers peaking with 1.134 million.

According to Bad Left Hook, it was the highest rating for HBO Boxing since 2012.

Payout Perspective:

The HBO telecast, which competed with UFC 186, reflects the fact that Heavyweight boxing is still a draw and Wladimir Klitschko should fight stateside more often.  One need only look at the 17,056 fight fans that came to saw him at Madison Square Garden to know that despite Deontay Wilder, Klitschko is the dominant fighter in the Heavyweight division.  Despite PBC’s recent dominance of television, the viewership from Saturday reflects the fact that boxing can still be viable on the premium networks.

UFC 186 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 26, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s UFC 186 from Montreal.  Demetrious Johnson led the bonus winners with his last second submission over Kyoji Horiguchi.

In addition to Johnson’s submission bonus, Thomas Almeida, Chad Laprise and Bryan Barberena earned $50,000 bonuses.

The event drew 10,154 fans for a gate of $668,000 according to Dana White in the post-fight press conference.  The event took place at the Bell Centre and multiple reports indicate it was a disappointing turnout largely due to the changes made to the card.

Payout Perspective:

According to the MMA Blue Book, it’s by far the least attended card for a PPV event in the venue.

UFC 158 GSP-Diaz, March 2013 – $3.71M, 20,146

UFC 154 GSP-Condit, November 2012 – $3.143M, 17,249

UFC 124 GSP-Koscheck, December 2010 – $4.6M, 23,152

As you can see, the constant was that GSP headlined the show, so there’s that factor regarding attendance.  The card could have used GSP as this event suffered numerous blows including the shifting of the main event, shuffling of fights due to injury and the Rampage Jackson issues.  You can add in the obstacles in trying to garner more fans for Demetrious Johnson and this card was destined to be one of the least-watched PPVs of this year.

UFC on Fox 15 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 19, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from UFC on Fox 15.

The event drew 13,306 fans for a gate of $1.2 million at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  The last time the UFC visited Newark for UFC 159 (Jones-Sonnen) it drew 15, 227 fans for a gate of $2.7 million.  In comparison, last April’s UFC on Fox 11 from Orlando, Florida drew 17,000 fans for a gate of $1.55 million.  Numbers via MMA Payout Blue Book.

In addition, the bonuses announced last night went to Luke Rockhold, Max Holloway, Gian Villante and Corey Anderson.  Each scored an extra $50,000 for their performances.  Villante-Anderson won Fight of the Night in which Villante won via TKO stoppage.

Payout Perspective:

It was an entertaining night of fights with the main card offering some good performances.  Although she did not win a bonus, Paige Van Zant impressed with two judges scoring 10-8 rounds in her favor.  Max Holloway and Luke Rockhold also earned impressive victories with their dominating wins.

UFC Fight Night 64 attendance

April 12, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 64 from Krakow, Poland.  The announced attendance was of 10,000 for a live gate of $720,000.

The seating capacity of Tauron Arena in Krakow is 15,328 for sporting events.  It was the first event in Poland for the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Good debut for the UFC in Poland?  Even though it may have not been a sell-out, 10,000 fans for the fight card is a respectable turnout.  One might think that Joanna Jedrzejcyk will headline an event when the UFC returns.

The Interview with Professor Nicholas Watanabe

April 7, 2015

MMA Payout had the opportunity to speak with University of Missouri professor Nicholas Watanabe. His most recent study focuses on research related to the PPV habits of UFC fans as opposed to those that attend live events. The results are interesting.

Notably, his findings suggest that Heavyweights draw more on PPV than other weight classes.  However, those that attend UFC live events are not as picky when it comes to which weight classes are on a particular card. In the interview, we cover his study which is featured in the latest edition of the International Journal of Sport Finance (cite: 2015, Vol 10, No. 1, 26-41). The study is entitled, “Sources of Direct Demand: An Examination of Demand for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.”

We also talk a little Mayweather-Pacquiao as well toward the end of our talk.

Nicholas Watanabe

Nicholas Watanabe

UFC Fight Night 63 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 4, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for Saturday afternoon’s UFC Fight Night 63. There was no “Fight of the Night” bonus as 4 received bonus checks for stoppages.

Chad Mendes, Dustin Poirier, Julianna Pena and Timothy Johnson all earned $50,000 bonuses for their wins on Saturday. Johnson was the sole fighter on the Prelim card to earn a bonus.

In addition, the Saturday afternoon event drew 5,417 fans for a live gate of $545,604. Despite the lowest attendance at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, it received the highest gate out of the 3 cards held there by the UFC.

Per MMA Junkie:

  • UFC Fight Night 63 (April 2015) – 5,417 attendance for $545,604
  • UFC on FUEL TV 3 (May 2012) – 6,668 attendance for $343,175
  • UFC Fight Night 20 (January 2010) – 8.078 attendance for $753,962

UFC on Fuel TV 3 featured the Korean Zombie taking on Dustin Poirier. It drew 173,000 viewers on Fuel TV. UFC on FUEL TV 3 was on a Wednesday.

UFC Fight Night 20 featured Gray Maynard (who fought in the Prelims) taking on Nate Diaz.

Payout Perspective:

The Patriot Center is on the campus of George Mason University and its capacity for basketball is 10,000. It’s the lowest attended event at the Patriot Center despite having the highest gate which may be an indication that either ticket prices have gone up since 2012 and/or less comps are being given out. Of course, we do not know this since the comps are rarely divulged anymore. Perhaps the holiday weekend and early start may have contributed to the low attendance. Still, the gate is good for these type of events.

WrestleMania 31 sets gate record, attendance record for Levi’s Stadium

March 30, 2015

The WWE announced an attendance and gate record for Wrestlemania 31 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  In a press release it indicated that it grossed $12.6 million with an attendance of 76,976.

It was the 5th highest attendance figure in Wrestlemania history.  It also set a mark for attendance at Levi’s Stadium (previously 70,799 for the first regular season game for the San Francisco 49ers).  Wrestlemania 29 at MetLife Stadium in 2013 had the previous record for highest gross with $12.3 million.

For the Bay Area, Wrestlemania served as preparation for Levi’s Stadium to host Super Bowl 50 next February.

Payout Perspective:

The company’s annual event proved once again why cities vie to host WrestleMania each year.  All of the events during the weekend surrounding Sunday’s show also provided a great influx of revenue to the Bay Area economy.  Many fans make it an annual trip and local businesses benefit.  While the attendance figure might be skewed, and as Dave Meltzer pointed out, the attendance record for Levi’s Stadium will likely be eclipsed by Super Bowl 50 next year, it still shows the continued popularity of the event.  Even though the WWE has received criticism over the build of this show, it pulled off one of the best shows in Wrestlemania history.

UFC 189 gate predicted at $7 million

March 28, 2015

Dana White is stating that UFC 189 will do a gate of $7 million which would eclipse the biggest gate which would eclipse Silva-Sonnen II on July 7, 2012.  The event is headlined by Jose Aldo defending his Featherweight belt against Conor McGregor

UFC 148 which was the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen drew $6,901,655 according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.  The paid attendance was 13,600 at the MGM Grand.

White is in the midst of a world tour for UFC 189 which will headline the annual International Fight Week this July.  The tour is chronicled through the ongoing “UFC Embedded” online features highlighting the tour from the perspectives of Aldo and McGregor.  In interviews, including this one with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, White indicates that the gate will be $7 million.

Payout Perspective:

Let’s get this out of the way.  Yes, the gate would pale in comparison to the $74 million gate that is expected at the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight in the same venue.  However, if we are strictly to view this in terms of MMA gates, it would be the second biggest to UFC 129 in Toronto.  Of course, the UFC is spending an unprecedented amount of money on this tour.  While there is no public dollar figure on the investment, the private jets, expensive hotels and extensive traveling would make it a pricey venture.  Still, the promotion has been well done and if it means a big gate and PPV buy rate for essentially a Featherweight title, it is worth it.

UFC Fight Night 62 attendance and bonuses

March 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 62 from Brazil.  There was no Fight of the Night bonus as four fighters were awarded Performance of the Night honors.

The following received $50,000 bonuses.  Gilbert Burns, Godofredo Pepey, Kevin Souza and Fredy Serrano all earned the awards on a night where there were 9 stoppages.  In addition, Dana White stated that Erick Silva and Amanda Nunes would receive an extra check for their performances on Saturday.

The event drew 7,707 fans at the Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The event was less than Mendes-Aldo II from UFC 179.  That event drew 11,415 in the same venue.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not too surprising that this event did not draw as well as UFC 179.  In fact, it’s the lowest attendance for a UFC event in Rio de Janeiro since 2012.  One could have picked any number of the stoppages for Performance of the Night as the event had many entertaining stoppages.

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