“The Fight of the Century” is finally happening Saturday night, and that title still holds even though the bout should have happened more than five years ago.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have been circling each other for years. In a perfect world, the two would have fought when they were both at the height of their abilities. But boxing is about as well run as a banana republic. Professional sports like the UFC or NFL have one governing body. Boxing is ruled by promoters and so contract negotiations can get ugly — in this case, five long years’ worth of ugly, with Mayweather demanding Pacquaio take a drug test, allegations by both camps that they are ducking each other, lawsuits and general bad blood between both camps.
In the end, though, a purse of over $300 million proved enough to draw the two best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation to step in the ring. The winner of the fight will get 51 percent of revenues from ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise, closed-circuit TV and international broadcast sales expected to be between $160 million and $180 million. The loser will get 49 percent. Each fighter is guaranteed $50 million, but Mayweather could potentially earn up to $180 million.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, will have to settle for relative peanuts — he may make around $125 million. Don’t feel too bad for him, though. Always a savvy marketer, he is expected to make $2.25 million from advertising six different companies on his boxing trunks. And the WBC title belt that they will be fighting for is valued at $1 million and encrusted with over 3,000 miniature emeralds.
It’s not just the two fighters cashing in, of course. The 1,500 seats that were available to the public sold out within a minute of going on sale. The MGM Garden Arena is expected to collect roughly $74 million in ticket sales. The most expensive ticket sold was for $77,500, and the cheapest was $4,500. The only way to get a ticket now is through the resale market, and the average price there is $11,000 — or $500 higher than the average price for this year’s Super Bowl.
With interest running so high, the pay-per-view revenue for this fight is expected to be double the previous record, which was the fight between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez in 2013. About 3 million- 4 million homes may order the fight at a price of up to $89.99 apiece in standard definition or $99.99 in high definition. Some 30 percent to 40 percent of that revenue will go to cable and satellite distributors. HBO and Showtime will collect 7.5 percent total.
Las Vegas bookmakers could rake it in, too. Betting on the fight is expected to range from $50 million to $80 million. The oddsmakers have Mayweather favored right now. More bets have been placed on Pacquiao, but more money has been wagered on Mayweather, according to reports.
With all that money changing hands, one question is bound to come up as soon as this fight is decided: How much money will it take for there to be a rematch?
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