Showtime said today that its much-hyped Floyd Mayweather Jr-Conor McGregor fight Saturday on pay-per-view is tracking near a record total, with preliminary numbers showing a number in the mid- to high-4 million range for buys. Final numbers are expected by the end of next week.
The current mark was set in May 2015 by the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, which saw 4.6 million buys of the event co-aired by HBO and Showtime. That totaled more than $410 million in domestic revenue. Either way, Showtime will be able to boast the two biggest PPV events ever.
“We’d love to break the record – if we don’t we’ll come really, really close,” Stephen Espinoza, EVP and General Manager of Showtime Sports, told Deadline today. He said the fight certainly will be the highest-grossing of all time with all revenue streams taken into account.
“In general with pay-per-view, there is a certain amount of growth between the initial report and when all the buys come in later,” Espinoza said. “It’s a little too soon to definitively say it will break record, but it’s definitely within reach.
“Overall, we are happy.”
As for those tech glitches that delayed the start of Mayweather-McGregor, “Media reports of technical issues were disproportionately high,” Espinosa said. “We did receive a very limited number of complaints, but it was a tiny fraction of our stream.” He added that the fight “generated four times the number of streaming buys than we projected” across gaming consoles, UFC and Showtime apps and such.
The fight marked the first time a boxing PPV had been distributed for streaming on a wide basis. “Overall, the streaming was a high point,” Espinoza said.
Viewers of last weekend’s fight, won by Mayweather in a 10th-round TKO, ponied up $99.99 for the matchup of the undefeated boxing legend and MMA champion McGregor, who was making his pro boxing debut. The win boosted Mayweather’s record to 50-0, breaking his tie with Rocky Marciano, who retired in 1956 with a 49-0 career mark.
The payout for both was also big: McGregor is expected to receive about $30 million while Mayweather — who moved to Showtime from HBO in 2013 — is guaranteed $100 million.
Showtime will re-air the fight Saturday at 6 PM PT.
Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.