Live boxing on free television has been resurrected this year. Premier Boxing Champions suddenly has a rights deal with pretty much every major network currently in existence as the sport is returning to broadcast airwaves in a big way. We’ll be seeing a lot more boxing on cable as well. ESPN is making a significant reinvestment in the sport with the PBC replacing their Friday Night Fights series. And boxing is even coming to truTV so sports fans might watch the network outside three weeks in March.
But there’s an inherent tug of war with boxing. Although the sport should be thrilled to get so many opportunities on television, the biggest events will still be on pay-per-view. That obviously includes the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2nd, which you aren’t getting for free.
In fact, according to Joe Flint at the Wall Street Journal it will be the most expensive fight in history. It’ll cost you a cool $99 for an HD airing of the fight:
A month before boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao even enter the ring, their May 2 title fight is already breaking records, with the pay-per-view bout set to cost fans $99 according to people close to the negotiations between the networks and TV distributors.
HBO and Showtime, which are handling negotiations for the camps of Mr. Pacquiao and Mr. Mayweather respectively, are expected to wrap up deals with major pay-TV distributors in the next few days for the highly anticipated welterweight title fight. The negotiations stalled last week as distributors and HBO and Showtime sparred over the split of what is expected to be record-setting pay-per-view revenue.
Under the terms being discussed, the fight will be sold for $99 for a high-definition feed and $89 for standard definition, both of which are record prices. The previous high was $74.95 for high-definition and $64.95 for standard.
Yes, that’s an insane amount of money to pay for just one sporting event. But did you expect anything different? This is an actual, legitimate candidate for fight of the century and the parties involved are going to get every dollar possible from a public who has been waiting for Mayweather-Pacquiao for years. And you can guarantee that there will be scores of people who will pay for it.
One has to wonder though how this huge PPV price fits in with the grander scheme of things and boxing’s comeback on the national scene. Will sports fans flock to the PBC on free TV if they know the best of the best is going to cost them a Ben Franklin? The buyrates and revenue for Mayweather-Pacquiao will be extraordinary, but time will tell if it helps spur the larger renaissance for the sport.