The pay-per-view boxing category has a new event-revenue champion and a ton of momentum, as Showtime’s Sept. 14 presentation of Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez shattered expectations and industry records.
The fight, in which Mayweather dominated the popular and formerly undefeated Mexican champion, drew more than $150 million in PPV revenue, according to fight distributors Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions. That surpassed the previous high of $136 million set by HBO’s May 2007 PPV fight between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya.
“The fight reinforced boxing’s ability to garner mainstream attention at the highest level,” Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza said. “For Showtime, it’s a real step forward in the pay-per-view category.”
Mayweather-Alvarez had the highest suggested retail rate ever for a PPV event at $64.95 for a standard-definition feed and $74.95 for HDTV. By contrast, Mayweather- De La Hoya sold for a suggested $54.95.
Preliminary reports from cable, satellite and telco distributors have the fight pacing at 2.2 million buys, which would make it the second-biggest event on record and the second PPV event in history to surpass 2 million buys, behind the 2.48 million generated by Mayweather-De La Hoya. A 1997 Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson heavyweight championship rematch had 1.95 million buys.
“We could tell in the three or four days leading up to the fight that everything was aligning to make this one of the biggest events of all time,” Mark Boccardi, senior vice president of programming and business development for In Demand, said. “Between the marketing support from the distributors and the mainstream press coverage, we knew that we really had something special with the fight. All the stars aligned and helped make it an event for all time.”
Showtime officials believe the fight also has a chance to break the PPV-buy record once all the numbers are in. Mayweather- De La Hoya was at 2.15 million buys during the same five-day period after the fight, as is Mayweather-Alvarez.
Showtime said this was the second Mayweather PPV event in 2013 to generate more than 1 million buys, following his May 4 bout against Robert Guerrero, and his sixth fight in a row to hit the PPV gold standard mark.
The fight’s performance could also bode well for other PPV boxing events scheduled for the rest of the year. HBO Sports will distribute an Oct. 12 Timothy Bradley- Juan Manuel Marquez fight and a Nov. 23 bout featuring Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios.
“It’s a vote of confidence for the PPV platform and for the sport of boxing on PPV,” Boccardi said. “There have been a lot of stories written and commentators on TV talking about the death of boxing, and I think this event is one of several things going on in boxing that shows that it is a healthy sport.”
As for Mayweather, Espinoza said he hasn’t set a date for his next fight, although the category’s pound-for-pound champion typically fights in the first week of May. Showtime has four fights left on its six-fight, multi-million dollar deal with Mayweather.
Espinoza, however, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Mayweather enters the ring again before then: “Each fight he gains an increased level of appreciation within the sport as well as awareness and visibility. He has yet to plateau in terms of visibility.”
The Floyd Mayweather- Canelo Alvarez fight shattered pay-per-view records with a take of more than $150 million.