HBO PPV's May 2 Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight generated north of 800,000 buys, according to several pay-per-view industry sources
HBO officials uncharacteristically did not release official PPV buy numbers for the event, in which Pacquiao knocked out Hatton in the second round. Typically, HBO releases PPV buys for its best performing events, most recently the 1.2 million buys it generated for the December 2008 Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya fight.
But sources within the PPV industry estimate buys for the fight at over the 800,000 mark, which would place the fight in the neighborhood of the 915,000 buys for the December 2007 Hatton-Floyd Mayweather fight.
HBO senior vice president of sports operations and pay-per-view Mark Taffet would not comment on the Hatton-Pacquaio buy figure, but said the Hatton-Pacquiao event was a "true PPV megafight" and added it sets the stage for other potentially strong performing PPV boxing events for 2009.
Up first is the July 18 Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez bout, marking the undefeated Mayweather's first fight since retiring from the sport last June. If Mayeweather wins, it could set up a highly anticipated Mayweather-Pacquiao fight later in the year.
"Manny Pacquiao established himself as a pay-per-view star, igniting a boxing resurgence that will continue with the Mayweather-Marquez fight and carry through the rest of the year."
Satellite provider DirecTV would not reveal specific numbers, but did say that the fight performed "above expectations." In Demand, which handles PPV event distribution for most of the cable industry, including its owners Time Warner, Comcast and Cox, said it was too early to determine exact fight PPV figures.
But In Demand president and CEO Robert Jacobson said that given the buzz surrounding the fight both among consumers and cable operators "we're confident that we'll be happy with its performance."
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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.