DECEMBER 12, 2008
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson And Abac Cordero - The world’s undisputed King of the Ring has officially joined the ranks of the pay-per-view multimillionaire fighters.

Manny Pacquiao broke the one-million pay-per-view barrier for the first time in his Dream Match against Oscar de la Hoya in Las Vegas last Saturday as early indications pointed to at least 1.25 million buys translated into gross revenues of about $70 Million.

When the final figures are added up, the estimate is the hits will settle between 1.35 to 1.4 million subscriptions or a gross of close to $80 Million.

Pacquiao’s largest pay-per-view audience was previously 405,000 for his rematch against Juan Manuel Marquez last March. His trilogy with Erik Morales generated a total per-per-view audience of one million buys.

Last June, Pacquiao halted David Diaz for the WBC lightweight crown before a pay-per-view audience of 250,000.

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said financial terms in his pay-per-view contract are confidential but sources claimed the Filipino icon was guaranteed a 40 percent share of the upside, meaning net of operating expenses and cable carrying costs.

It was estimated that based on a pay-per-view gross of $80 Million, Pacquiao could take in at least $15 Million. With a purse of $10 Million, Pacquiao could earn up to a conservative $25 Million for his eighth round demolition of De la Hoya.

“It’s a given. He is both the pound-for-pound and pay-per-view king soon. He’s the biggest star in boxing today, and no one else,” said his adviser, Wakee Salud.

“He’s the most exciting fighter in the sport today. And when it comes to popularity, no one comes close to him. There’s just no comparison,” he added.

“You cannot compare him to any one – not even those in the heavier divisions, not with Antonio Margarito or Joe Calzaghe. And Dela Hoya is gone.”

“Everybody’s happy with 1.2, 1.3 or 1.4 million buys for the Dream Match. That’s already big considering the economic situation in the US. We’re happy,” said Salud.

From initial reports, the Dream Match brought in 680,000 buys from cable systems and 570,000 from satellite providers. It tied for ninth overall in the all-time list and is the third biggest selling non-heavyweight fight in pay-per-view history.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said after the final accounting, the figure will likely hit 1.4 million.

“I thought everybody did a very good job promoting it and we broke through the recession slump,” said Arum, quoted by ESPN. “It was an event that really brought boxing to the forefront of the sports pages. When that happens, boxing catches everybody’s attention and does well. It’s something to be proud of and it demonstrates that there is big life in boxing if we can break through to the general public.”

The Dream Match was only the fourth fight in boxing history that did not involve heavyweights to rake in more than one million hits.

De la Hoya has now figured in 19 HBO pay-per-view fights, cashing in on receipts of nearly $700 Million. Mike Tyson is second in the dollar ladder with $545 Million on 12.4 million buys in 12 events. Evander Holyfield is third with $543 Million on 12.6 million buys in 14 events.

De la Hoya holds the record for the highest gross in a single pay-per-view show at $120 Million for his fight against Floyd Mayweather last year. The same bout posted a record 2.15 million purchases. De la Hoya also drew at least one million hits in his fights against Felix Trinidad in 1999 and Bernard Hopkins in 2004.

Computing a fighter’s share in the pay-per-view stakes is based on a negotiated formula that varies from bout to bout. The traditional approach is fighters share only in the net revenues or “upside” after operating expenses and other costs are deducted.

Pay-per-view income is a large contributor to the total revenue pie for a fight. Other streams come from the site fee, ticket sales, merchandise sales, closed-circuit sales, domestic and foreign rights fees and corporate sponsorships.

The first major pay-per-view event was the Sugar Ray Leonard-Tommy Hearns fight for the world welterweight title in 1981. Boxing shows are usually priced in the range of $14.99 to $54.99.

Referring to the Dream Match, HBO pay-per-view chief Mark Taffet said, “In this economy, our expectations were approximately tempered. But 1.25 million buys show tremendous support from boxing fans all across the country and reinforces the importance of continuing to present the biggest and best fights the sport has to offer. This fight had strong performances across all markets covering all demographics.”

Notes: Manny Pacquiao had a very busy day yesterday, and will continue to have his hands full in the coming days. After a long day, he was at the Mall of Asia in the evening and was treated to a wonderful display of fireworks, and was scheduled to proceed to Sofitel Hotel for a meeting with Solar Sports executives. He flies home to Gen. Santos City today for another string of celebrations to be capped by his 30th birthday party on Dec. 17. Flying in for the big bash are President Arroyo, Top Rank big boss Bob Arum, his trainer Freddie Roach, and foe-turned-friend David Diaz. Marco Antonio Barrera has been invited, too, and said he will make his confirmation either today or tomorrow.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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