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Canelo vs GGG 2 revenue: Why a very precarious situation was salvaged

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Congratulations to Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Golden Boy Promotions and K2 Promotions.

Canelo vs GGG 2 was a huge success given the circumstances. Not only was the fight an exciting and memorable battle that showcased boxing at its best, approximately 1.1 million pay-per-view buys were generated according to multiple industry sources via ESPN. The number is about 200,000 short of Canelo vs GGG 1 but this year's PPV cost $15 more.

In addition, sales were made via streaming services, closed-circuit television sales, tickets to see the fight in 450 plus movie theaters, international television network rights, sponsorships and merchandise.

Canelo vs GGG 2 was a success yet Golden Boy refuses to announce the total revenue.

"We will not be releasing overall figures for the fight, but between a terrific gate, a very successful linear (television) pay-per-view buy rate and an explosion in digital pay-per-view sales, Canelo-Golovkin II was a more successful event than its predecessor," Golden Boy said in a statement given to ESPN.

More successful overall than last year's bout, yes... More lucrative, probably not.

The rematch was a better, more competitive fight and generated more positive post-fight buzz than their first match so it was more successful in that regard — and overall. However, there's a reason Golden Boy Promotions would rather not discuss the figures.

The live gate for Canelo vs GGG 2 generated about $3.6 million less in revenue than the first fight. Per the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the rematch yielded $23,473,500 from the sale of 16,732 tickets while the first bout generated $27,059,850 in tickets sales.

It wouldn't be surprising if revenue across the board was down as well.

For all the post-fight attention and platitudes Canelo vs GGG 2 received, its revenue probably fell well short of the first fight. And if so, there are definitive reasons revenue for the rematch didn't quite live up to the spectacle.

Let's face it, pre-fight hype for the first bout far exceeded the second. Tickets sold out much faster for the first bout and there seemed to be more buzz and general excitement on the street for last year's event.

Finally, two middleweight Goliaths were meeting in the ring and hardcore and casual fans, alike, seemed giddy.

But the rematch, from a promotional standpoint, had obstacles.

1. Too much retreating
For starters, Canelo vs GGG I was a pretty good scrap but not a "great fight" like the rematch. Canelo showed fine skills and was impressive given the level of competition but his hit-and-run approach wasn't a good look considering fans were expecting a more Mexican-style, "Machismo" performance from him. That was the first disappointment.

2. Scoring
Although the bout was ruled a draw, most of us saw Gennady Golovkin outpoint a very game Canelo Alvarez. The verdict turned the post-fight cheers to jeers and diminished what was a pretty good fight. Instead of buzzing about the match, itself, people began trashing the judges and the sport. And Judge Adelaide Byrd's 110-118 score for Alvarez fueled the post-fight negativity. It's not always easy to rebound from such events.

3. Failed Drug Tests
Combine  the controversial decision with Canelo's failed drug tests, and it's easy to understand why fans weren't as excited heading into the rematch. In March, the Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended middleweight boxing star Canelo Alvarez due to his two positive tests for the banned substance Clenbuterol. Alvarez, of course, blamed contaminated meat, which he insists he consumed in Mexico, for the positive result. But, regardless of why Canelo tested positive, his suspension generated more negative sentiment and threatened to taint the rematch.

4. PPV Price Increase
A PPV price increase from $70 to $85 was a bold move considering the above factors. Promoters must have realized beforehand such a move would negatively impact PPV buys. However, maybe the low-cost theater option attracted more viewers and, in the long run, helped close the revenue gap from the first fight? Either way, a 18 percent PPV price increase certainly didn't woo fans who were 'on the fence' about purchasing the rematch.

The Good News
Given the fight card was full of knockouts and the main event was exciting and fans thoroughly enjoyed it, promoters probably feel the revenue didn't live up to the event. If so, it had nothing to do with the event, itself, and everything to do with what transpired prior to it.

Although there's some controversy over the decision, it's not nearly as bad as the first fight. Several days later, fans are still buzzing about Canelo vs GGG 2. The good news for the fighters and promoters is there should be a sweet uptick in interest for the third fight given the success of the rematch. 

In all, it was a great night for boxing. And while the promoters probably didn't make a killing off the card, it was a lucrative endeavor despite the obstacles, and has paved the way for Canelo vs GGG 3 which will likely out-earn its predecessors.


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