Megafight numbers add up to new sporting landscape

Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:02pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - Even in Las Vegas where fortunes are won and lost on the roll of the dice, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have Sin City abuzz over a megafight that will generate millions and reshape the sport business landscape.

From $100,000 ringside seats to $150 million paydays, Saturday's long-awaited showdown between the greatest fighters of a generation is expected to be the richest fight of all-time and smash records in knockout fashion.

"It is precedent setting and it breaks every financial model known to man," Rick Horrow, sports lecturer at Harvard Law School, told Reuters. "The pay-per-view is $100, the tickets are almost unaffordable for even the millionaire fight fan.

"The numbers are almost unrealistic yet we have said that about a lot of things in global sports: television rights, $2 billion franchises, billion dollar stadiums.

"So nothing surprises me anymore but this in many ways is a watershed event for boxing and maybe the business of sport."

Even by Las Vegas standards, a desert city built on excess, Mayweather and Pacquiao will bank a king's ransom, their night's work likely to land both men at the top of Forbes' 2015 highest-paid athletes list.

The undefeated Mayweather (47-0) is guaranteed $120 million and Filipino Pacquiao (57-5-2) is assured $80 million but could top those figures depending on pay-per-view (PPV) sales.

Showtime and HBO will jointly broadcast the bout, which is one of the most eagerly anticipated in boxing since the 1975 'Thrilla in Manila' between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.   Continued...

A store employee holds up a stand with miniature figurines of boxers Manny Pacquiao (R) of the Philippines and Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S., at a mall in Manila April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco