Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pacquiao vs. Margarito tickets selling fast, will the pay per view do the same?


If early indications are anything to go by, the tickets for Manny Pacquiao's November clash with Antonio Margarito are going fast, and the live attendance for the bout will probably eclipse the crowd that gathered to watch Pacquiao's last outing, a 12 round decision over little known Joshua Clottey in March.

A recent Manilla Bulletin article by Nick Giongcoquoted Top Rank boss Bob arum as saying:

“Tickets just went on sale and the response is great and most of the high-priced seats have been sold. Soon, sales will hit the roof,”

That fight boasted a live attendance of 41,843, of which 36,371 were paid for, and for the most part the fans had turned out purely because of Pacquiao rather than his Ghanaian opponent.

In taking on Antonio Margarito this time out he faces an opponent who not only has a much higher profile in the sport generally, but also has a huge following in the area surrounding the record breaking Cowboys stadium.

Even more importantly than the live attendance though, which usually only tends to make up a small percentage of  the overall money generated from such an event, is how many pay per views Pacquiao and Margarito can sell.

Obviously the best indicator of how well the event will likely sell is through the previous appearances of the two pugilistic protagonists. But in this case there are a number of other potentially important factors that might affect the sales:

-Pacquiao can capture a title in an 8th weight class, breaking his own record of 7 titles in 7 which he achieved in beating Miguel Cotto last year. The question of whether he can climb up in weight once more, given the big size difference between him and his opponent, coupled with the added scheduling pressures of being a congressman, makes the fight compelling.

-Antonio Margarito has traditionally never been a huge pay per view draw by himself, but equally has never had the same kind of promotion or publicity given to his fights as he is getting against Pacquiao. Given his style, size advantage and the distinct lack of big Mexican stars in the sport right now, Margarito could well sell a lot more than he usually does. (Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are well on their way, but not as big as they will be in a couple of years)

-Although the year now seems to be ending with a bang, with both November and December featuring a number of pay per view worthy events and several long awaited matches being announced, the rest of this year has been fairly quiet. The number of big pay per view events up until now has been limited, meaning that the ones that are happening soon can expect higher numbers than they might have otherwise.

-The public opinion of Antonio Margarito as an opponent to Pacquiao has gradually been shifting since the announcement of the bout was made. At first many were quick to condemn the choice, given that Margarito's recent record isn't anything to brag about, and that he was suspended for being found with loaded hand wraps early last year. More recently though the public and media have started to accept the event, and the bout is quickly becoming as anticipated as many of Pacquiao's other recent fights.

But why is the amount of pay per views Pacquiao and Margarito sell even important?

The amount of viewers a big fight can attract, even one with fairly long odds such as this one, acts as an indicator of the health of the sport as a whole. The more pay per view events sell well, the more that the promoters will be inclined to put on. Not all of them necessarily fight of the year candidates (Mosley-Mora anyone?), but none the less, more fights will be on offer.

Anyone still hoping to see a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather sometime in the future is also no doubt hoping that the fight sells well. If the event tanks and negotiations with Floyd go ahead next year, he might well demand a bigger percentage of the purse split than Pacquiao, and the fight falls apart again. If the event sells well, then the two sides are kept on an even keel, and any eventual terms are then that much easier to work out.

Shaun Smith, Philly: "Margarito probably has a bigger following than Cotto, so I wouldn't be surprised if they could do the same or close to Floyd and Shane's fight did"

Liam Bower, Pittsburgh: "First people were saying they were going to boycott the fight and now everyone can't wait for it to happen. Floyd's attention grabbing and women beating probably helped as well"




watch pacquiao vs margarito fight

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