HBO expects its May 5 Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view event to break the 1 million-buy mark, and it could set an all-time PPV-performance record, according to HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg.
The fight, for De La Hoya’s junior-middleweight championship, arguably pits the two most popular fighters in the sport against each other.
Greenburg, who spoke to Multichannel News during the bout's New York press conference Monday, said the event is expected to be the second non-heavyweight fight to break the 1 million PPV-buy barrier. The first was the 1999 De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad fight, which drew 1.25 million buys.
The event, which will retail at $54.95, also has an outside chance of surpassing the $103 million generated by the 2002 Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight as the most lucrative PPV event of all time.
“The market will have to determine how big a fight this will be,” he said. “This fight will give us an indication as to how high the PPV [buy] cap is.”
HBO and fight promoter Golden Boy Productions are making sure the fight’s message gets out to the masses. HBO will launch a four-part reality series in April dubbed De La Hoya-Mayweather 24/7 that will focus on the two fighters’ training camps.
In addition, Golden Boy said the fight will benefit from $70 million worth of marketing exposure and hundreds of millions of households impressions through deals with several sponsors, including liquor company Tequila Cazadores.
Overall, Greenburg said, HBO will offer about five or six PPV-boxing events this year, including De La Hoya-Mayweather and its March 17 Marco Antonio Barrera-Juan Manuel Marquez junior-lightweight fight.
Last year the network distributed 11 PPV boxing events and generated $177 million in PPV revenue.
“We’ll try to do only significant fights and see where the market ends up,” Greenburg said. “In order to capture the imagination of the PPV market, you have to have an event that measures up … there has to be a Mayweather-De La Hoya or a Barrera-Marquez fight that features two significant fighters in the ring together.”
Greenburg added that the proliferation of Ultimate Fighting Championship and other mixed-martial-arts PPV events was not a major factor in HBO’s decision to reduce its PPV-boxing dates. Further, he said, UFC hasn’t hurt boxing’s PPV performance. “The UFC is here to stay. It's got a great fan base. But I don’t think its impacting the PPV boxing market at all,” he added.
Greenburg did say, however, that HBO continues to talk with UFC about distributing some of the company’s live events. “We’re still measuring it, looking at it and getting comfortable with the UFC,” he added.