Saturday May 2nd will mark a historical event in the world of sports. The much anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao has been in the works since negotiations began in March of 2010. When the final bell rings, the fight is expected to bring in over $400 million dollars.
How does that compare to other major sporting events?
The match, which will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is not simply being referred to as the “Fight of the Century”, but more like the single richest occasion in the history of the sport because of the money it is expected to generate.
When all is said and done, this 36 minute event will bring in more revenue than the annual GDP of more than a dozen nations world-wide.
How much for a ticket?
A total of 16,800 seats are available for viewing the fight live at MGM’s Grand Garden Arena, but tickets to the event are not easy to come by and will certainly cost you.
Only 500 tickets were made available for sale to the public, with the rest being sold to co-promotion companies Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions, as well as host MGM Resorts International. These organizations can then turn around and sell the tickets to whomever they want including many celebrities, TV networks, high-rollers and other VIPs, as well as eager fans waiting for some of the seats to be posted for sale. Pacquiao reportedly bought himself 800 tickets so that his friends and family can be present during the match.
Of the 500 tickets available to the public, there were 100 available in each of five price tiers ($7,500, $5,000, $3,500, $2,500 and $1,500). They were gone in the blink of an eye – literally sold out in less than one minute. Now it is all about the resale game with prices expected to range from $1500-$10,000 each, but a single ticket sold on StubHub the other day for $40,955.25.
While the best seats are expected to fetch $100,000 or more each, CBS news reports the most expensive ticket sold yet was $351,005, and the current ‘least expensive’ ringside seat available now is priced at $336,266.
How much do the boxers earn?
The fighters are expected to earn between $200-$300 million for this fight alone. The purse, whatever that ends up being, will be split 60-40, with Mayweather getting the larger portion regardless of the fights outcome.
Assuming that the fight goes the full 12 rounds, Mayweather will be earning nearly $5 million per minute of the bout, with Pacquiao earning just over $3.3 million per minute.
Even those not fighting will be earning quite the hefty paycheck during the event. There will be three judges paid to decide the fight, with each of them making $20,000. The referee who will be in the ring with the two boxers keeping things fair will add an extra $25,000 to his bank account.
Even the fights announcer, famed Michael Buffer who trademarked his famous “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” catch phrase, stands to earn a hefty paycheck, simply by announcing the fight.
Where does all that money come from?
Revenues expected just from ticket sales alone are expected to reach close to $75 million. This is an astronomical figure considering that the 2015 Superbowl only brought in $60 million in ticket sales despite the fact that the football venue held four times as many seats.
Pay-per-view is expected to break its prior record of having 2.48 million viewers for a single event, and is expecting this match to bring in $270 million. They will be charging customers $90-100 per person to watch the event, making this the most expensive sporting event ever featured on PPV. Previously the most expensive was Mayweather’s 2013 fight vs Canelo Alvarez which cost $65 per viewer. (Interesting to note: that same $100 can be spent on Pay-Per-View watching 2268 baseball games.)
Bar and restaurant owners that want to order the fight for their customers? You can expect to pay that same $100 for every person your establishment can hold. Yep, that’s $100 times your maximum occupancy, regardless of how many people actually show up to watch. This is prompting many businesses to decline showing the event, and others to charge a cover-charge just to get in for the evening.
Aside from these sources of revenue, another $65 million is expected from sponsorships, merchandise and other sources.
The total amount that gamblers are expected to bet on the match up is between $80-$100 million.
Friday’s weigh-in, the final event of all the pre-fight hype, was held in a full-size sports area, allowing many more fans to be present. Even that cost money though, with fans paying $10 per ticket to watch the two boxing legends step on the scale. It is being reported that the money brought in from this event will be donated to charity.
A Win-Win-Win Situation
Regardless of the outcome of the fight, each boxer is guaranteed a minimum amount of earnings for their efforts. For Mayweather that figure is $180 million, for Pacquiao it will be $120 million. Of course, the subsequent endorsements and sponsor deals that will no doubt follow for each boxer will drive their total earnings for this year even higher.
Each will make more in a single night than the next highest-paid professional athlete, baseball’s Miguel Cabrera, will make in a year. He will earn an average of $31 million a season, according to his 8-year contract with the Detroit Tigers.
Another interesting prize being offered to the winner of the match comes from a Las Vegas strip club. The venue has promised the winner “Free Couch Dances for Life,” plus a $500,000 Dom Perignon package and a topless “foxy boxing” match to be held in his honor. There are reportedly four strippers who are ready to get the winner’s name tattooed on their bodies as well.
The price of a hotel room in Vegas for this weekend has sky-rocketed, with some hotels quadrupling their normal price. The minimum room rate at the MGM Grand is $1600/night and the vast majority of hotels in the area are requiring a two-night minimum stay as well.
The MGM expects it’s casinos to be benefiting greatly from the fight as well, with any person allowed to purchase ringside tickets required to also have a minimum $250,000 credit line with the casino.
The boxers’ earnings are subject to 39.6% federal income tax rate, making Uncle Sam’s cut somewhere around $120 million.
Where does all that money go?
Over the years, Mayweather has reportedly purchased more than 100 cars from a single dealership in Las Vegas, often paying with cash that is literally carted into the office. He has bought 16 Rolls-Royces, including one for his 14 year old daughter who can’t even drive it yet, and three Bugattis, which carry a price tag of $2-$3 million each.
Mayweather also showed off a gold-embedded mouth guard adorned with diamonds and $100 bills that he plans on wearing during the fight which set him back $25,000.
Image credits: Forbes, Getty Special Editorial Contributions: Sarah Bowman