By Keith Idec
BoxingScene.com has learned that Mayweather-McGregor is expected to have generated approximately 4.4 million domestic pay-per-view buys and that an official announcement could be made as soon as this week.
That would mean that the highly publicized spectacle between boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC superstar Conor McGregor, while wildly successful financially, didn’t break the pay-per-view record for combat sports. Mayweather’s maligned win against Manny Pacquiao still owns that distinction.
Roughly 4.6 million consumers purchased Mayweather-Pacquiao in May 2015. Based on the mainstream traction Mayweather-McGregor gained during their infamous four-city, three-country promotional tour in July, some involved in the event, most notably UFC president Dana White, thought Mayweather-McGregor would surpass 5 million buys.
The buys aside, Mayweather-McGregor was mostly well-received once their fight ended, despite intense pre-fight criticism for being a complete mismatch. The outcome was predictable, but unlike his performance in the Pacquiao fight, the 40-year-old Mayweather was aggressive and made sure to stop the comparatively inexperienced MMA fighter in the 10th round of his boxing debut August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Piracy, particularly through the emergence of Facebook Live streams, impacted the Mayweather-McGregor buy rate, just as it affected Mayweather-Pacquiao. Both events cost just under $100 to watch in HD if purchased through traditional cable or satellite providers.
The announcement on Mayweather-McGregor pay-per-view buys has been delayed because organizers of the event have been waiting for the last few cable companies to provide buy rates.
Earlier this month, however, Showtime Sports’ Stephen Espinoza told the Los Angeles Times that Mayweather-McGregor was “a massive success” as a pay-per-view event. Espinoza also said Mayweather-McGregor would come “very, very close” to eclipsing the Mayweather-Pacquiao record.
Mayweather-Pacquiao generated more than $600 million in overall revenue, including a live gate of nearly $72.2 million at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, also a record for combat sports. Mayweather-McGregor, which produced a live gate of approximately $55.4 million, still could surpass the overall Mayweather-Pacquiao revenue figure because of international pay-per-view earnings and other profits.
Las Vegas’ Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) was guaranteed $100 million for coming out of retirement to fight McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs in MMA) in a 12-round, 154-pound boxing match. Ireland’s McGregor, 29, earned a $30 million guarantee.
Mayweather and McGregor are expected to make much more than their guarantees off of the event once they receive their undisclosed shares of the pay-per-view revenue.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.