TUESDAY UPDATE: TSS has been told that the Canelo Alvarez-Miguel Cotto event did over one million buys on pay-per-view.
Good number, I asked one of the two people who said that the PPV hit over a million with a dog in the hunt?
“Very good,” I was told.
Now, this is not an exact science. Different folks will give you different numbers. The numbers sometimes get spun, but of course.
Projections and guesses, from ultra-insiders to “in the know” media, were all over the map, from 1.5 million, down to 500,000.
Being that the last Floyd Mayweather PPV, against Andre Berto, did 400,000 plus buys, well, I do think this fan reaction, if indeed projections play out to over 1 million buys, serves as good news to the crews involved, Golden Boy and Canelo.
Less certain is the reaction to that number from Roc Nation, Cotto’s promotional outfit. If they guaranteed Cotto $16 million, we’d have to hear from them on how they perceive this news…
Strange time in boxing, as the exit, sorta exit, because his presence hangs over the sport, of Floyd Mayweather has left a vacuum. It needs to be filled…but Mayweather is a singular sort, a product of this age, where narcissism is now more so than ever revered, and obscene revenue collection is the same.
This weird aura is the context for tonight’s Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez clash. On surface, it would be something to get excited about. And more so than I might have thought, there are mixed feelings, among media, among fans, for #CaneloCotto.
We’ve gone over some reasons for that, and can add that MMA grabbed buzz–and I think proved there’s more of an overlap in fanbase between the two sports–in the last two weeks which probably usurped some from this super fight.
In my bubble, I see and hear almost more interest on how this fight is going to do, business-wise, than in how it will play out in the ring.
I chatted with some of my in-the-business buddies, to get a sense of that, because, well, you all seem quite curious about this facet of the event.
“I think this fight will do just under one million buys,” one industry big, with many decades under his belt, told me. I reminded him that the Mayweather-Berto thing did between 400-500,000 buys…
“I believe it does 650,000 but would not be shocked if it did 750-800,000…not would I be shocked if it only did 500,000.”
“Mr. X” said that there are seats to be bought at every price level, and “normally the gate reflects what the PPV will do.”
I reached out to Mr. Y, an expert on the PPV sphere. “I think it does about 750,000 buys,” our man said. He is usually right in the proverbial ballpark with his guesstimates…
Mr. X said competition is fierce for eyeballs, with NBA, NHL, college football and the holidays taking away from boxing buzz. It got me thinking…Is this PPV model dying? Would its death be bad for boxing? “No, it would be great for boxing fans,” X said. He noted that fans of all the “big” sports don’t ask the rooters to pony up extra to watch the good stuff. “All those sports have millions more fans than boxing does,” he said. “Boxing fans are getting tired of paying for pay-per-view. They say eff it, I will watch it for free next week.”
I don’t disagree; too often, we’re seeing fights being made as infomercials, as buildups to the grand finale, the PPV. The informercial fights aren’t pick ’ems, and fans want and deserve pick ems…
“I believe this model is dying,” X reiterated. He said as far as he knows, Cotto gets to keep the take from buys in Puerto Rico, so the event has to get like 1.2 million buys, or his promoter, Roc Nation, will be in dismal spirits. Cotto, he thinks, is guaranteed about $16 million for this fight, so lots of people have to buy this tangle for Roc to recoup. Maybe a better guarantee for Cotto would be between $6-8 million, X says. “Maybe it will be fight of the year and they get massive buys and I will be wrong…time will tell us within the next four days.”
And if you think a barn-burner and then a rematch would guarantee financial success, X pointed out that again, Cotto’s guarantee makes it hard for Roc to recoup. (Then again, we don’t know if they NEED to recoup. Maybe Jay Z is willing to be in the red for two, three, or more years, while he’s building towards an elevated place in the promotional sphere. And by the way, there is no shortage of chatter being directed at Jay for his lack of promoting. I asked someone at Roc about that. They think that chatter is hoo-hah, and the guy called the anti-Jay barbs “bush league.”)
“Oh, and Roc Nation has Rigo and Ward…neither is a big ticket seller, both are not PPV fighters…”
Bottom line, he sees high hurdles for Roc Nation, whose three big guns are charisma-challenged, not an easily forgivable sin in the social media age, where you have to rise above to cut through the chatter cluster.
I spoke to Mr. Z, a top tier dealmaker with no dog in the hunt. “I think this PPV does way less than expected,” Z said. “PPV is dead. Do you feel any heat on the East Coast? On social media?”
Hmm…point taken…but I have to assume there is much more in Latino pockets, yes?” True,” he conceded. We both agree that there is a real continuing blowback from #MayPac, as casuals felt burned by the overhype/under-deliver. Floyd’s next PPV tanked and then bigwigs expected Golovkin-Lemieux to do much better. Shall we blame Floyd? Well, when I do informal polling, talk to cabbies, and delivery guys and waiters, many of them told me they felt burned by #MayPac, and “never again!”
A West Coast deal-maker weighed in with a guess; Mr. WC said he thinks #CottoCanelo does between 450-500,000 buys, nothing close to the 1.5 million Canelo promoter Oscar De La Hoya talked about getting a week ago. Yesterday, Oscar told Andreas Hale that if #CottoCanelo ran before #MayPac, “This fight probably would have done the same as my fight with Mayweather with around 2.5 million buys.”
“750,000 would be a home run,” said WC, again with many decades in the biz under his belt. “I believe it’s going to be down for awhile,” WC said. “The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight really put a dent in it!”
We talked about if Al Haymon will steer away from the PPV model, or stick to it. “I think his hands are full with free TV,” WC stated. But I do think Haymon realizes that the PPV focus hampers long term growth, as it speaks to the rabid but small fan base. If he can be instrumental in making boxing less of an outlaw sport, so it enjoys the same revenue streams the “Big 4” sports enjoy, then there would be no need to stay glued to the structure which asks fans to pony up an extra $70 any time they want to watch the “best” matches.
Fans, drop your prediction about buy numbers in our Forum..and talk about reasons why this fight does better, or worse, than opiners are saying.