It’s no surprise that Manny Pacquiao’s retirement fight vs. Timothy Bradley did not do well at the box office. There was little interest in this trilogy matchup, and while Pacquiao’s fans cheered him throughout his eventual unanimous decision win on April 9th, Top Rank’s Bob Arum admitted shortly thereafter that the PPV buys were “not good.”
As of yesterday, Arum downgraded “not good” to “terrible.” (via ESPN.com)
“It will be somewhere between those numbers, 400,000 and 500,000. It’s all being added up, but it will be closer to 400,000 than 500,000. Terrible,” Arum said.
According to the ESPN article, some industry insiders believe that “the fight might not even reach 400,000.”
Of course, considering that the fight purses alone cost $24 million, this was a financial bust.
“Yes, it loses money,” Arum said. “It was not one of our big successes. It happens. We’re big boys. Do I feel good about it? No.”
The paid attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was 13,046, with a total attendance of 14,665, making for a live gate of just $6,411,584. It’s the worst live gate for a Pacquiao fight since he stopped David Diaz back in June 2008, back when he was not the mega-star that he would go on to become after beating Oscar De La Hoya. Pacquiao-Bradley I did just short of a $9 million gate, while the rematch did over $7.8 million.
This fight follows Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto from last September, which reportedly also did around 400,000 buys, although it still generated a $10+ million gate. Pacquiao also failed to clear 500,000 buys for fights vs. Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri, with both fights taking place in Macau and after his 2012 KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Arum pins this particular PPV failure on a combination of the Mayweather-Pacquiao backlash, as well as the negative reaction to Pacquiao’s anti-gay remarks, which also cost him his sponsorship with Nike.
“Certainly the pushback from Manny’s gay remarks killed us,” Arum said. “It hurt us a lot. But I think it was also less a reaction to the match than a reaction to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It was a reaction like Mayweather got. Mayweather also got punished [by consumers].”
With Pacquiao and Mayweather essentially a thing of the past, boxing’s US PPV torch is essentially carried exclusively by Canelo Alvarez, who fights Amir Khan in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the T-Mobile Arena, on May 7th. From there? IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua may be raking in big numbers for UK PPVs, but the US PPV market is likely in for a rough ride.
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