No longer "Money?"
When Floyd Mayweather Jr. inked a "record-breaking deal" earlier this year with Showtime cable network, which secured the rights to promote his high-profile boxing matches on pay-per-view (PPV) and charge nearly $60 a pop, it appeared that both parties would be laughing all the way to the bank.
Mayweather returned to the squared circle this past weekend (Sat., May 4, 2013) after a year-long absence, defeating Robert Guerrero via unanimous decision (watch highlights here) to retain his WBC Welterweight title and win the vacant "The Ring" Welterweight belt. "Ghost" wasn't the big "name" opponent who most fight fans would pay to see, but rather a tough -- but overmatched -- adversary who would get "Money" back into the mix.
Besides, Mayweather is supposedly boxing's biggest box office draw regardless of the opponent, but if the early PPV estimates are any indication, that may no longer be the case.
Indeed, ESPN's Dan Rafael shared some early PPV speculation this afternoon via Twitter.com, revealing that there could be a little trouble in combat sports money-making paradise.
His ominous forecast:
No official PPV #'s yet for Floyd but 2 industry sources tell me they look bad (under 1M). We'll see. If true, heavy $$ losses for Showtime.— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) May 7, 2013
Of course, early PPV numbers can always be off, but this really doesn't look promising for Showtime. Rafael later added that the "break even" number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.1 and 1.2 million PPV buys, which would cover the incredible marketing costs, fighter purses and other outrageous fees.
Media hype behind this event wasn't as omnipresent as usual, which may be the cause for this potentially underwhelming PPV performance. The "All Access" series (watch them here) was fantastic; however, it's unclear how many fight fans have Showtime and were able to watch them when compared to the similar -- and very popular -- HBO-produced "24/7" boxing series.
And that's just touching the tip of a very large, and expensive, marketing and promotional iceberg.
It's not a stretch to think that Manny Pacquiao's recent fall from grace may also have also contributed to the lack of interest in Mayweather because the potential of a "super" fight evaporated (for now) courtesy of a crushing Juan Manuel Marquez right hand.
Time will ultimately determine the real PPV figure, but if the early estimates are even remotely accurate, something will have to change if Showtime is going to have a fruitful deal with Mayweather going forward.