Boxing’s languishing PPV buys
For whipping Jessie Vargas in front of 16,000 plus fans at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas last Nov. 5, Manny Pacquiao earned $4.1 million, plus a percentage of revenues from the fight.
That’s mere pocket lint compared to the reported $100 million he got while losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year and the $20 million paydays in his prime.
Pundits expected the first-term Filipino senator to take the WBO welterweight belt like candy from the young Vargas that both fighters became proxies to a bigger deal—boxing’s languishing pay-per-view sales.
Industry giant HBO passed on Pacquiao’s comeback fight after a short retirement, prompting his promoter Bob Arum to sell the PPV himself.
Arum is taking his time releasing the PPV figures from the Vargas fight. But he told scribes earlier that although the bout was a tough sell, “anything north of 600,000 buys would be a big night. I’m hoping he (Pacquiao) makes money like the Manny of old.” (Pacquiao-Vargas PPV hit 300,000 plus, according to Arum—Ed.)
The promoter’s shoot for the moon stance was not only meant to deodorize the stinky 300,000 PPV sales for Pacqauiao’s supposed farewell fight with Timothy Bradley Jr. last April. It was also a self-injected adrenalin boost while he ponders the new direction pay- per-view takes in the future.
Arum, still boxing’s top barker at 84, believes that cable giants like HBO and Showtime are losing interest in PPV. That leaves the business wide open to promoters like him who think they can do it for less profit, but profit nonetheless.
“There is no reason (for premium cable providers) to be in the pay-per-view business,” Arum told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. “They don’t make any more… When you add in the staffing expenses, it’s not a profit center.”
“Take a good 500,000-buy pay-per-view. They make $1.25 million and pay a [replay] delay [cost] of $750,000. When you take into account the expenses—travel, hotels—if they make $250,000, it’s a lot of money. It’s not worth it; $250,000 is nothing. So I believe pay-per-view will be left to promoters, or a company who can do it. … There’s no real role for a premium network to do pay-per-view anymore.”
Meantime, Arum and the cable networks are still drooling over the 4.6 million PPV buys and more than $600 million in revenue from the disappointing Pac-May “fight of the century.”
Is a rematch in the works?
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