No one bought the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto fight. That information is not shocking. We knew that was a strong possibility the moment Mayweather announced Berto as his opponent. There was no draw there, no pizzazz, no hope that Mayweather would lose his 49th fight.
But the numbers (if correct) are truly awful, more so than anyone thought. ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that the pay-per-view numbers didn’t top *550,000 buys.
Compare that to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, which was around 4.4 million buys, generating more than $400 million in revenue. As Larry Brown Sports notes, Mayweather’s guaranteed contract with Showtime pays him $32 million regardless of pay-per-view numbers. Combine that with Berto’s $4 million purse and it’s possible, if not likely, that Showtime walked away from this debacle in the red.
(UPDATE: The $32 million referenced here is not a deal between Floyd Mayweather and Showtime but rather the result of multiple revenue streams paid to Floyd Mayweather promotions. The distinction is important here as it affects Showtime’s bottom line for the fight. As for the pay-per-view buys, the numbers are (obviously) not official but a mere projection. As we saw in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and per Showtime, it takes weeks for the final numbers to come in because of the number of distributors involved.)
To add insult to injury, there were hundreds of empty seats at the MGM arena. They tried to mask it in the broadcast, but the numbers don’t lie. Scores of tickets were available on the secondary market for less than $200.
Showtime will be fine in the end; one bad pay-per-view isn’t going to harm them financially. As for Floyd, who knows where he goes from here. His next fight (and yes, that’s going to happen) will need a much bigger attraction. Otherwise his dominance of the pay-per-view era appears to be over.