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The early numbers are in for the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Berto, and they very underwhelming.
As of Tuesday, just four days before the Saturday fight, there were still 2,100 seats available at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.
Mayweather’s last fight, against Manny Pacquiao, sold out in two hours. This lack of sales comes despite ticket prices for the Berto fight ($150-$1,500) being about one-tenth of those for the Pacquiao fight ($1,500-$10,000).
Only the $150 seats in the rafters are close to selling out, according to Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail.
More important than ticket sales, Pay-per-view (PPV) sales are way off for this fight, despite a cheaper price.
Powell reports that PPV sales are on pace to be “a third” of the sales for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The Berto fight will cost at-home viewers $74.95 ($64.95 for standard definition). Meanwhile, the fight against Pacquiao experienced record sales despite its $99.95 price ($89.95 for SD).
The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight had 4.4 million PPV buys, generating more than $400 million in revenue. If Mayweather-Berto PPV sales do indeed drop 65% to 70%, they will have less than 1.5 million PPV buys, generating approximately $100 million in revenue.
That’s a 75% drop in PPV revenue, and no shortage of people reaching into the pot for their share.
The numbers are still better than most fights and would still rank among the ten highest PPV buys for a boxing match, as boxing diehards still tune in. But the numbers also indicate that this fight is not resonating at all with the casual boxing fan and are on track to be a huge disappointment for a fighter with the popularity of Mayweather – and in what could be the last chance to see him fight.
The biggest problem is that the fight is viewed as a joke among many in the boxing world. Berto has lost three of his last six fights and is an enormous underdog. The prevailing theory is that Mayweather picked an easy opponent to make sure he keeps his perfect 48-0 record intact.
If there is an upside to this, it’s that the disappointing numbers could push Mayweather to seek a rematch with Pacquiao for his 50th fight, a bout that might not reach the popularity of the first, but would certainly do a lot better than this mess.