Once the realisation hit me that we have finally been granted the good fortune to see Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao fight each other in the ring after years of waiting, a feeling of uneasiness came over me. This is set to be the richest fight event in history with both participants earning upwards of $80,000,000 each, tripling their usual fee for lacing up the gloves. So how will that extra cash be generated?
Well, the increased interest alone in this fight will obviously make the match on May 2nd a more lucrative affair, and seats inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas would start at $1000 apiece if they hadn’t already sold out, along with every room in the hotel for that weekend.
The main resource for generating revenue will be the price of the Pay-Per-View to be shown on TV. According to an article posted on uk.eurosport.yahoo.com, the Showtime and HBO networks in the US, who are working in a joint venture to promote the event, “are expected to charge $99.95 to watch the fight”, which is an extravagant amount regardless of whether people are happy to pay it or not. American fans have always been short-changed by the PPV model that was conceptualised around the late 80’s at the height of the Mike Tyson fervour.
Over in the UK, it has been a different story, at least in more recent years. Aside from big domestic clashes that are deemed to be significant enough to go on Sky Box Office at £16.95 a pop, such as the dreadful Nathan Cleverly vs Tony Bellew II card last November, British fans normally pay a monthly subscription for additional sports packages from their TV provider, and receive all the fights along with that deal.
Sky Sports, who show all of Matchroom Sport’s events with people like Carl Froch, James DeGale and Anthony Joshua, costs an additional £24.50 on top of a monthly Sky subscription.They also show a myriad of other sports events alongside the fights. Boxnation TV is owned by Frank Warren and displays all of his fighters; Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders etc, for an extra £12 a month after an £8 registration fee, while BT Sports is free if BT provides your internet, if not it’s £15 on top. So how much extra will Mayweather vs. Pacquiao cost in the UK on top of all of these other fees?
“According to the Daily Mail, bidding for the fight at the MGM Grand will start at £6 million with Sky Sports favourites to broadcast it on pay-per-view channel for around £20, although that price could change.”
£20 is pretty steep, but it still isn’t as much as our American cousins have to fork out, so I suppose that is something to be thankful for. That’s taking for granted that Sky are the ones who land the deal as “Box Nation have been linked to a bid having broadcast other Floyd Mayweather fights.” It would be a major coup for Frank Warren if the event was aired on his channel as it would force anyone who is interested to subscribe to his channel for the purpose of seeing one event only, unless he decides to slap an additional charge on top of the standard cost for the purpose of this event.
BT Sports are like the Mr Pibb of sports channels over here, they offer a good service and cover a lot of football(soccer) and some boxing, but there is just something off about them, and the fact they are the least recognised brand in the boxing arena makes me think they won’t be airing the fight.
“There are also suggestions that ITV may test the market having decided to broadcast Carl Frampton’s super-bantamweight title against Chris Avalos in Belfast on Saturday night, but the terrestrial broadcaster would need to use a pay-per-view scheme to fund it.”
And they’ve only just dipped their big toe back into the water after almost a decade of pug-free broadcasting so I doubt they’ll go all in for this one. It looks like it’s going to be a straight shoot-out between Eddie Hearn of Matchroom and Frank Warren, as ever on these shores.
The added cost is the only drawback of seeing the two biggest stars of this era face each other, and it was an obvious one. I resent the promoters and all the others involved who are taking advantage of our eagerness to see this fight, but like I said, that extra money has to come from somewhere. And let’s face it, if some magical creature told me this time last year that he could make Mayweather vs. Pacquiao happen for real, and it would only cost me £20, I’d give him £30 and tell him to have a drink on me.