Today’s consumers often complain about the rising cost of a pay TV package, costing an average $75 for roughly 300 channels.
Yet two weeks before the blockbuster May 2 Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view event, sports fans don’t seem too upset about dropping a C-note to watch the most anticipated boxing match in decades.
With a record $89 suggested retail price set by HBO and Showtime -- $99 charged by some distributors to watch the fight in high definition -- Mayweather-Pacquiao is the most expensive ever for consumers, costing upwards of $25 more than any previous event.
Some operators initially suffered “sticker shock” at the record-setting price point, but most are dealing with it within the scope of the massive interest the fight is generating, said Mark Boccardi, senior vice president of programming and business development for In Demand, which negotiates PPV licensing and marketing deals for most cable distributors.
“The price point has been in the marketplace for a while, and I haven’t seen any real groundswell of opposition with it,” he said. “What you’ll end up seeing is, you’ll have more and more groups of people getting together, and the commercial business for the fight will be off the charts.”
While the fight is almost a lock to knock out the $152 million PPV-revenue record, some observers believe the phenomenon of watching in groups — whether it’s 20 people in a house or 100 in a local bar — could jeopardize the fight’s ability to match or surpass the record 2.4 million buys generated by 2007’s Mayweather-De La Hoya fight.
Yet so far, the price doesn’t seem to be affecting early buys. Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza said some operators are already experiencing Mayweather-Pacquiao purchases at numbers comparable to those that usually come in two or three days before other huge PPV fights, a phenomenon also confirmed by several distributors.
And that’s before the lion’s share of Mayweather-Pacquaio marketing campaigns begin this week.
“We think there’s an enthusiasm that’s been pent up for many years for this fight and an awareness that this is a premium event,” Espinoza said. “It is slightly more expensive than a typical PPV, but then again, what the consumers are getting is not a typical PPV either.”
For boxing fans anticipating for more than five years this fight between arguably the two most well-known and popular fighters in the sport, the steep price tag could end up being well worth the money.