This morning Showtime announced it will air a replay of last night’s Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul pay-per-view exhibition boxing match on June 12. Given some of the negative reactions from spectators at the fight and some PPV buyers after the eight-round event went the distance and produced no knockdowns, it’ll be interesting to see how many viewers actually tune in.
Neither Mayweather nor Paul were declared the victor of the much-hyped event because there were no judges to score the fight round-by-round other than Logan Paul’s brother Jake, who gave his very unofficial and biased scorecard halfway through the exhibition event. When the official PPV numbers roll in however, many observers believe that both fighters and event distributor Showtime will be the big financial winners.
Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza told Multichannel News prior to the event that Mayweather-Paul could top the 1 million PPV buy mark, a figure that Mayweather has surpassed several times during his undefeated boxing career. In fact, Mayweather fights account for the top two performing PPV events of all time -- his 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao drew 4.6 million PPV buys and his 2017 fight with UFC star Conor McGregor notched 4.3 million PPV buys.
Add to Mayweather’s PPV pedigree Paul’s millions of social media followers, and the event had all the ingredients to generate huge PPV business. Showtime even struggled early with demand for the PPV event, acknowledging on social media last night that its online services and apps had technical difficulties delivering the PPV event to purchasers. The network today instructed viewers who couldn’t stream the fight to request a refund.
If you purchased last night’s PPV event through https://t.co/1G8rnSSG74 or the SHOWTIME app, and could not stream the fight, please go to https://t.co/boVLlGSx9w for information on requesting a refund.June 7, 2021
Showtime went out of its way not to label Mayweather-Paul as a legitimate boxing match but as an exhibition and spectacle, both in promotion leading up to the event as well as during the telecast.
“I certainly think it's important for our credibility that we be honest about what this is -- it isn’t a championship level, elite boxing competition,” Espinoza told Multichannel News. “This is a spectacle and an event featuring a retired Floyd Mayweather coming out of retirement to do an exhibition.”
The PPV industry is closely watching the growing emergence of the exhibition boxing category. Last November an exhibition bout between former champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. -- which also featured musical performances -- drew more than 1.8 million PPV buys. Other retired champions such as Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya are planning exhibition ring returns later this year.
Meanwhile, fans of true pro boxing will also have the opportunity to watch several quality PPV boxing matches later this summer when such current boxing champions as Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence and Tyson Fury step into the ring.
Last night, boxing fans were able to see two official boxing matches on the PPV telecast. Beyond that, anyone looking for a competitive, action-packed fight between a 44-year old former champion and a YouTube star looking to further build his social media following were disappointed.
With Logan Paul’s brother Jake set to step into the ring this August in a Showtime-distributed PPV event against UFC fighter Tyron Woodley, the industry is still trying to see if the PPV boxing ring is big enough to support legitimate as well as "spectacle" exhibition events.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.