Pay-Per-View (PPV) is a type of television service in which a subscriber can purchase programs, events, and shows to watch via a dedicated telecast. The telecast happens at a certain time and all viewers watch it then.
PPV television is different from watch-on-demand systems, also known as video-on-demand, in that video-on-demand viewers can watch broadcasts at any time they like and can do so independently from other watchers.
With PPV TV, it is possible to purchase access to events via a menu on the screen, an automated telephone system, or by talking to a customer service representative.
Today, PPV TV is available not just on television, but also the Internet, which means a much broader viewer base and accessibility of the events to the public. This is one of the reasons why modern PPV events and telecasts generate so much money compared to PPV events from the 1990s and early 2000s.
PPV TV is very common when it comes to main sporting events, including professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, and boxing.
The story of boxing from the beginning of the 19th century is about a sport becoming a major form of entertainment. Each new technology, including newspapers, radio, television, Internet, and PPV, brought a larger audience to individual fights and events.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The biggest hits in PPV all involve Floyd Mayweather Jr. The record in PPV television belongs to the fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao that occurred on May 2, 2015. The number of PPV buys for the fight exceeded 4.6 million. This was almost twice the amount of the PPV buys that sellers could get for the fight between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya that happened on May 5, 2007. The numbers for the Mayweather-Pacquiao event stunned even the foremost boxing experts.
The fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao cost viewers as much as $99.95 in high-definition. It brought the organizers more than $437 million in PPV revenue.
This record was almost twice as large at the revenue from two previous PPV fights, both of which involved Mayweather. The Mayweather-De La Hoya event generated around $140 million and Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez event generated about $150 million.
In 2017, Mayweather made a one-time comeback to fight Conor McGregor. The fight generated more than 4,400,000 PPVs and became the second-highest grossing PPV event in history.
The match between Mayweather and Conor took place in Paradise, Nevada. For the match, Mayweather was guaranteed a payment of $100 million, and McGregor was guaranteed $30 million. Because the fight had been so successful in terms of paid views, according to various reports, Mayweather made more than $300 million from it, and McGregor received more than $100 million. This means that total Mayweather’s earnings from his career are close to $1 billion.
Mayweather’s road to such earnings included leaving his promoter, Bob Arum. In the past, Arum worked with such greats as Muhammad Ali and Oscar De La Hoya. Mayweather and Arum worked together after the 1996 Summer Olympics and until 2006, when Mayweather chose to pay $750,000 to get out of his contract with Arum.
The second fighter to hold several big records in PPV TV is Mike Tyson. His 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield had close to 2 million PPVs. The fight against Lennox Lewis in 2002 was also very successful and generated close to 2 million PPVs.
In a way, these numbers are even more impressive than the Mayweather numbers because in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there were no smartphones that could show the fights in HD. The potential audience was smaller compared to 2017, yet the numbers were still huge.
Tyson had another fight against Holyfield in 1996, which was also extremely successful, generating more than 1.5 million views. In the first fight, Tyson tried to defend his WBA title. Holyfield came back to boxing after losing his title to Michael Moorer and retiring in 1994. In 1996, many experts saw Holyfield as an underdog and a washed-up fighter. However, in a surprising turnout of events, Holyfield won his first match against Tyson and became the second boxer in history to win the heavyweight title three times.
The second fight between Tyson and Holyfield occurred on June 28, 1997, at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, at the same location where the first fight happened. The match drew even more attention than the first match. Gross revenues were in excess of $100 million. Tyson received a $30 million paycheck. Holyfield’s paycheck was about $35 million.
These earnings were the highest in boxing history and stayed unmatched until 10 years later when Mayweather fought De La Hoya.
Have you ever subscribed to a PPV boxing event? If yes, which one and why?