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Floyd Mayweather’s Rumored PPV Dud Gives Showtime Some Thinking To Do

Posted on 05/08/2013

by Boxing Insider News

An article on the Forbes magazine website last week was illustrative of the high hopes for the intake for last Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero bout:

Showtime appears headed for a massive PPV audience on par with some of Mayweather’s biggest fights based on early purchase data. “It is truly a last minute or last hour type purchase, but we are very pleased with the early indications we have,” says Stephen Espinoza, who runs Showtime Sports.


If some of the rumors are true, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Bringing Floyd Mayweather aboard was thought to be a big coup by Showtime , and his been referenced in the past, the record-breaking deal they made with him may be a money loser, but would be worth it in terms of prestige and the opportunity to work with the man who is considered by many to be the world’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

But do you think they were ready to take an eight-figure loss?

As far as his aesthetic performance, Mayweather was almost flawless, winning a 12-round unanimous decision in which it was an upset that Guerrero even got three rounds from each of the three ringside judges. But as a financial venture for the network, it may have been the equivalent of getting staggered with a roundhouse right hand. The preliminary reports for last Saturday’s pay per view, which leaked out over the last 24 hours, indicate that the tally could be a little less than 900,000 buys.

Reportedly Showtime was hoping to generate at least one million paying subscribers for the fight, but this number could be well short, and the true gate numbers are also in question. A source who has some familiarity with the situation told Boxing Insider, “The live gate is said to be about 9.9 million, but it’s really about 6.9 million, which is still respectable, but doesn’t help them on the bottom line with the disappointing pay per view figures.”

At this point, every little bit would seem to help.

Mayweather’s fight with Cotto drew 1.5 million buys, and no one really expected that this fight would exceed or even approach that total. But the intention was to have a coordinated network effort on this promotion, with the likes of the CBS broadcast network and Showtime chiming in. A documentary entitled “Mayweather,” which aired on CBS as a part of the promotional apparatus, drew 1.7 million as its primetime audience, making it the lowest-rated program the network had during April.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be a huge shocker either, although drawing a “crossover” audience is critical for big-time success in pay per view. There was a lot of money committed to the initial collaboration between Mayweather (the promoter in name) and Showtime (the “de facto” promoter), which made it very important to come out of the starting gate strong.

The guarantees for this fight totaled $35 million. Mayweather was getting $32 million and Guerrero is said to have been guaranteed $3 million. Golden Boy, which can best be described as the “ground” promoter, as well as the entity that had the promotional rights to Guerrero, gets about $2 million for promoting the show. All told, it was a venture that incurred costs of well over $40 million.

If the pay per view results that have been making their way through the rumor mill are accurate, it may serve as evidence that the low-risk approach that Mayweather has taken is choosing opponents, which Showtime has apparently acquiesced to, had a certain amount of influence.

But the question now is whether there will be a strong residual effect on the next Showtime-Mayweather production. If his injured hand can be ready to go, he would like to fight again in September, and his best bet, from his own perspective, might be to commit as soon as possible so as to not allow Showtime to get too reflective over what is a potential failure.

The arrangement between the two parties, if it is consistent with most that are made between a fighter and a “promoter,” doesn’t necessarily call for specific standards when it comes to an opponent, but rather, would work on the basis of what is “mutually agreed upon.” It is said that Mayweather would like to fight Devon Alexander, who in all likelihood will be still wearing the IBF welterweight title belt after a May 18 defense against Lee Purdy in Atlantic City, and there would not appear to be a plausible reason to refuse Alexander as an opponent. But Mayweather has handpicked him, which probably means he is expecting the same level of challenge as he encountered against Guerrero.

As the entity that must sell it to the public, that leaves Showtime with a much greater challenge than “Money” seems prepared to undertake.

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