Floyd Mayweather wasn’t the only winner in this weekend’s underwhelming “Fight of the Century” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Yes, Mayweather continued his unbeaten streak, strengthening his position in boxing lore, while taking home a whopping $180 million for a night’s work. However, his opponent, Manny Pacquiao, received a $120 million consolation prize for losing. I’m sure that Pacquiao’s disappointment eventually diminished when he remembered how much will be deposited into his bank account in the next several days. HBO and Showtime partnered to broadcast the fight and they generated about $400 million in revenue from 3 million PPV buys, making it the highest grossing PPV event of all time. Overall, it just seemed like everyone who was involved in the fight came away richer at the end.
If there winners, there has to be losers. Pacquiao technically lost the fight: he added a defeat to his illustrious resume, received a stinging dent to his pride, and felt the woes from this fans in the Philippines and all over. But the guy did pocket $120 million. For that, I don’t think it was a total loss and don’t feel sorry for him. The real “losers” in this situation would have to be the fans and consumers. The PPV was $100 and tickets to the actual event at the MGM Gran were ridiculously unreasonable to the average person, and based on all the post-fight reactions, the costs outweighed the returns. Everyone seemed really disappointed, as the fight didn’t live up to the gargantuan hype surrounding it. Even if you’re a fan of the The Money Team and cheered for Mayweather, I’m sure that you would’ve wanted to see a much more entertaining bout. Like Mike Tyson said on Twitter, we waited five years for this? I, myself, am part of this losing group, paying $25 to watch it live and after every round, I was hoping for something exciting to happen, but it just stayed tame.
To me the real winners were the marketers and promoters (which include Mayweather and Pacquiao) behind the fight because they were able to create so much hype, that it led to egregious paydays for the fighters and TV networks. Marketing is all about satisfying needs and wants, and boxing fans wanted to see this fight happen for over five years. The marketers and promoters capitalized off this looming desire and were able to create an almost mythical storyline for this boxing match even if Mayweather and Pacquiao were both exiting their primes. By creating intense demand, they were able to charge expensive prices for the PPV and tickets because they were certain that people would pay for them. The press conferences, the celebrity endorsements, the HBO and Showtime specials all fed the fire and made consumers believe that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was going to be the greatest sports event they’ll ever witness. People bought the PPV, the MGM sold out its arena, and the money is in the bank. At that point, they could care less if was really the “Fight of the Century”. I sure the marketers and promoters got their fair share after a job well done.
I’m not a boxing fan, but I am a marketer by professional and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao was genius from a promotional standpoint. You create significant demand for a limited supplied product, and you can charge whatever the hell you want and people will throw money at you. It would’ve been cool if Mayweather and Pacquiao competed in a winner-takes-all prizefight, with the winner taking $300 million. We would’ve seen some intense action, as both fighters would be fighting for their payday. Ultimately, I think this is the last time we’ll see a PPV of this magnitude because nobody is every going to buy into hype like this again.