A reported 1.25 million viewers bought the show that turned into The Suckerpunch Heard 'Round the World. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Despite rumors that the show had grossly underperformed, RingTV.com reports that the September 17 pay-per-view event featuring the Mayweather vs Ortiz main event sold 1.25 million pay-per-views, and generated $78,440,000 in pay-per-view revenue, making it the second-biggest non-heavyweight event ever in terms of the revenue generated by the sales of the show.
The biggest, of course, is Mayweather's 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya, which came in at an enormous $136,853,700. Mayweather vs Ortiz bumps Mayweather vs Mosley ($78,330,000) down to third place. All fights are, indeed, higher than Pacquiao fights, but a couple of things do need to be noted here:
- The HD PPV price for this show was $69.95, or $10-15 higher than normal. The non-HD price was $59.95. They overcharged. In the end I doubt they're too upset about it, so expect that to be the new going rate for Mayweather shows. In the end, they may have lost a few viewers (and that's questionable), but they made more money.
- This is the number released by Golden Boy/Mayweather. If we're all going to take Bob Arum's claim of 1.3 million for Pacquiao vs Mosley with a grain of salt, we should do the same here. This isn't about me doubting that this show did 1.25, or Pacquiao-Mosley did 1.3, it's just that I can't say I'm 100% sure no one's inflating a little bit.
I do assume Golden Boy thought they would get more than this -- I'm guessing they were targeting 1.5 million, with Mayweather's comebacks always generating buzz (and this one had a lot), and Ortiz being a young, charismatic Mexican-American star. But I don't know that Ortiz really caught on with a lot of people who got further exposure to him on 24/7. And even with the big media push for this fight, it doesn't appear that any of that stuff did much to encourage non-fans to buy the show. Really, now that we've seen a larger-scale push in action a couple of times, I have to admit I don't think it makes much difference. It would be one thing if you were pushing, pushing, pushing for a show that anyone could just turn on the TV and watch, a network TV fight. But when you're pushing and then asking for $60-70, or the person has to be an HBO subscriber... well, I don't know how much you can do with that, or how much the bigger promotion is really worth in this scenario.