Generally for a major pay-per-vew fight, sales on cable systems throughout the country account for 55 to 65 percent of the total. It's more often in the 60 percent range, with satellite systems usually accounting for 35 percent of the sales and telephone companies making up the rest.
Yahoo Sports on Thursday learned sales figures for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight on DirecTV and Dish Network, as well as AT&T's uVerse and Verizon's FIOS services. Those add up to 2.25 million sales, which even without one sale from a cable company customer would make it tied for the second-highest-selling pay-per-view of all time.
DirecTV sold 1.15 million pay-per-views, while Dish's number was 500,000. The telephone companies combined for 600,000. Combined, that is 2.25 million already. If cable systems wound up being 60 percent of the total, that would mean the final figure is a mind-boggling 5.625 million.
Mayweather has already participated in the top two best-selling pay-per-view fights of all time, but their totals have combined for 4.73 million. The 2007 match with Oscar De La Hoya stands No. 1, with 2.48 million sales. The 2013 Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez bout sold 2.25 million.
If cable hits 60 percent of total sales and Mayweather-Pacquiao winds up doing 5.625 million, it would exceed Nos. 1 and 2 on the list by 895,000 sales.
Any promoter would be thrilled with sales of 895,000, given that would mean it's one of the top 40 pay-per-views ever. According to Yahoo Sports research, the top 10 boxing PPVs of all time, excluding Mayweather-Pacquiao, are:
Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather, 2007, HBO, 2.48 million
Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez, 2013, Showtime, 2.25 million
Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson, 2002, HBO & Showtime, 1.98 million
Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson II, 1997, Showtime, 1.98 million
Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield I, 1996, Showtime, 1.59 million
Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto, 2012, HBO, 1.5 million
George Foreman-Evander Holyfield, 1991, 1.45 million
Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad, 1999, HBO, 1.4 million
Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley, 2010, HBO, 1.38 million
Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley, 1995, Showtime, 1.35 million
It's hard to understand exactly how this fight took off the way it did. Yes, it was hyped for five-plus years and, yes, the fighters were still regarded as the two best in the world at the time they met. But the numbers coming in are so out of whack that it's almost impossible to explain.
All it means, at the end of the day, is that the fighters are going to wind up splitting up even more money than originally believed.