Record-shattering revenue totals for Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming boxing showdown with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather could surpass $400 million, promoter Bob Arum claims.
The welterweight title unification fight on May 2 in Las Vegas will generate $74m from just over 15,000 tickets at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Pacquiao’s promoter Arum told ESPN, flattening the old mark of $20m for Mayweather’s 2013 fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the same venue.
The original ticketing forecast was for $40m, but the prices were put up from $1,000 to $1,500 at the low end and $5,000 to $7,500 for the best seats due to huge demand, Arum said.
And organisers have now shuffled the number of seats in various price ranges and boosted top seats to $10,000 to raise the live gate total from $50m to $74m.
Tecate is the official beer of Mayweather-Pacquiao. Bob Arum said brand paid $5.6M for that right (H/T @danrafaelespn)
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 24, 2015
Few seats are expected to be available for public sale, with promoters, telecasters HBO and Showtime, the fighters and the host venue each taking a share of the tickets.
“It’s crazy, but it is what it is,” Arum said. “It’s amazing. We’ll probably have a handful of tickets that will go on sale to the public next week. It’s mania.”
That means a lot of people watching at home. Boxing’s record for pay-perview purchases is the 2.4 million buys from Mayweather’s 2007 split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya, but over 3 million buys at $100 each are expected for this and could bring $300m in sales for US, Puerto Rican and Canadian markets alone.
Global rights are expected to ring up another $35m, with a record $10m already spent for rights in Pacquiao’s native Philippines.
“Between the gate, the foreign television sales and the closed circuit, which we can’t even calculate yet, you’re looking at over $120 million. And that’s before one pay-per-view has been sold in the US,” Arum added.
Title sponsorship rights have also been bought for a record $5.6 million.
“We wouldn’t have gotten a fraction of these numbers if we made the fight five years ago,” Arum said, referring to the original negotiations in late 2009 and early 2010 that failed and led to years of on-and-off talks.
Mayweather’s camp receives 60 per cent of the revenue with Pacquiao’s side taking home 40 per cent.
The organisers behind this week’s Abu Dhabi Warriors MMA event insist that having cageless rings will not detract from the excitement of their bouts and that big crowds can be attracted in the UAE.
The second edition of Abu Dhabi Warriors takes place on Thursday at the IPIC Arena after a three-year hiatus, with 20 fighters from around the world facing off in 10 fights.
Backed by UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the fights will be set in rings without cages and Lubomir Guedjev, the managing director the event, believes that not having the metal barriers will still present the MMA in an entertaining way in the Emirates.
“From our perspective, martial arts started way back, in the 1950s to be more specific. So the cage changes the face of the game completely,” said Guedjev.
“Not having a cage allows fighters to the freedom to run around the ring and chase each other. It has also a little bit of an aggressive approach. This means MMA is displayed in an original way.”
Grant Waterman, head referee in the UFC, touched on the rules and regulations of the fights, stressing that although they are similar to those in global MMA, a couple of major differences exist.
“There are no head shots allowed on the ring, unless the fighter who received the hit moved his head on the way of the punch or kick, while points will also be deducted if a fighter stomps his opponent with his feet,” said Waterman.
“We have a rule set here that is designed to maximise safety for the fighters, and yet we still have the highest levels of entertainment, so we have got the ideal balance between the fighter’s safety and spectator’s experience.”
Brett Rogers faces Derrick Mehmen in the main event of Abu Dhabi Warriors, with the latter fighter drafted in after an injury to Alexei Kudin.
The fighters are ready for some intense showdowns in Abu Dhabi Warriors on Thursday night! https://t.co/NaGmmrCKbP
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“He (Mehmen) has taken Alexei’s place and that tells me that he is a good fighter,” said Rogers. “I guess his fighting style is so similar to mine so I can’t wait to pick him apart and to see how his fighting style really is.
“I am 34 years old, and the way I see it I have been getting better by the game, so knocking him out will be special to me, and especially for the fans watching.”
Mehmen, meanwhile, is was unconcerned with being a late addition to the roster, saying: “I bring the fight every time. If you watch my last seven fights it is do-or-die and I consider myself to be an exciting fighter.”
Brett Rogers faces Derrick Mehmen in the main event of the Abu Dhabi Warriors 2015. Mehmen has been drafted in after an injury to Alexei Kudin.