While pay-per-view talk has been very optimistic, Floyd Mayweather Jr. cannot claim to put butts in seats, because the live gate results from Las Vegas were not good.
J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today reports that the total gate for the event was $6.81 million, and ticket sales were a problem. The announced attendance was just 13,116. Of those, 12,009 tickets went for their original price, with 895 in attendance comped by the casino or promoters. 2,645 tickets in total went unsold.
Comparatively, the May bout between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao at the same venue sold 15,368 tickets and had a gate of $8,832,950.
Does this mean the PPV sales were bad? No, it doesn't. Richard Schaefer is quote in the article with the following line:
"This fight might put his average pay-per-view performance to over a million per fight. Who has done that? Nobody? When you are the pay-per-view king you can pick the dates."
I assume Richard is cherrypicking just this fight, Mayweather-Hatton and Floyd's fight with Oscar, because if you take into account prior pay-per-views like Baldomir-Mayweather and Mayweather-Judah, the average is nowhere near a million, even if this show topped out at the 1.6 million buys rumor.
There is no doubt this live gate is a disappointment for everyone involved, but it also isn't totally unexpected. When Mayweather pulled out of the first date in July with a rib injury, Shane Mosley said (let it slip?) that only around 3,000 tickets had been sold for the fight. Mayweather, while a star, is more a TV personality than he is a fighter people want to go see live, and I think we might be learning that for sure now. As well as he's done, he's still never been much of a live draw.