Mayweather vs McGregor PPV buyrate expectations: Numbers woefully exaggerated?Written by Lee Cleveland
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, which will take place Saturday, is projected by many to be the highest grossing fight ever.
In fact, earlier this week, Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), predicted that Mayweather vs McGregor would generate upwards of $700 Million worldwide.
“This is the biggest event ever in combat sports history,” White said on a conference call, on Wednesday evening. “This is the most distributed event in pay-per-view history.
“This thing is in like 200 countries on pay-per-view. Boxing doesn't usually do a lot of digital. If you're in Manhattan or on a desert island somewhere, if you have Wifi you can buy this fight.”
Of course, that PPV revenue projection is highly dependent on the number of $99.95 PPV purchases in the U.S.
Many surmise it will eclipse the 4.4M buyrate generated from the 2015 Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao bout which is the highest revenue-generating fight to date.
Mayweather vs McGregor will do well at the box office, but how well?
Are media and promoters overestimating Mayweather vs McGregor PPV buys?
A strong indicator of PPV buyrate are 1) pre PPV buys and 2) live gate numbers. And White insists that the pre-buys in the UK have already surpassed the PPV record set by Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko in April.
“We’re tracking ahead of Mayweather and Pacquiao,” White said via Independent UK.
“This thing is tracking. They’re feeling like that with the pre-buys right now, we’re going to break the record in England, in the UK, just on the pre-buys alone—1.1 million.”
But what's the pre-buy rate in the U.S. and is the fight sold out?
It's rumored that as of last week 7,000 seats at the 20,000-capacity arena remain unsold. Keep in mind, September's superfight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, which will take place three weeks after Mayweather vs McGregor, reportedly sold out a while ago.
Mayweather spokesman Leonard Ellerbe told BoxingScene.com earlier this week: "Internationally we've already surpassed where we were with 'MayPac'. So we've got something very special.
"We're going to break all the records, in all the Pay-per-View markets, internationally.
"Actually (Mayweather-Pacquiao) didn't sell out in seconds. What you've got to understand is that I don't see what people are making a deal about. I haven't checked in the past day; I'm sure we're probably close."
The keyword is: Internationally
Mayweather vs McGregor will likely break a few revenue records off the strength of foreign money, especially the UK. However, the $700 Million number that is being tossed around might be in jeopardy if PPV sales in the U.S. don't meet expectations.
Mayweather vs McGregor PPV buyrate prediction
Look for it to eclipse Mayweather vs Pacquiao in revenue but fall short of reaching the 4.4 million buys that fight garnered in the U.S.
Mayweather vs McGregor
Date: Saturday, August 26
Venue: T-Mobile Arena
Location: Las Vegas
Division: Jr Middleweight (154 lb limit)
1. A lot of hardcore boxing fans won't be purchasing this fight because they consider it a mismatch due to McGregor's lack of ring experience. Manny Pacquiao is a boxing legend while Conor McGregor has never boxed. Hardcore boxing fans in the know believe this fight will be more spectacle than substance.
2. The public, in general, was disappointed with Mayweather vs Pacquiao and a lot of people are reluctant to shell out $100 for this fight, especially due to mismatch concerns. These folks will look to pay a $10-$20 cover to watch it at a local bar instead.
3. And lastly, there was a six-year buzz for Mayweather vs Pacquiao. However, no one seriously started talking about Mayweather vs McGregor until a year ago. It’s possible Saturday’s fight, among Americans, simply won’t replicate the level of interest generated by Mayweather vs Pacquiao.
Continue to watch ticket sales as they are usually a good indicator of whether a fight will meet U.S. PPV buyrate expectations.