Pay-per-view

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Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of pay television service by which a subscriber of a television service provider can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it (as opposed to video-on-demand systems, which allow viewers to see recorded broadcasts at any time). Events can be purchased using an on-screen guide, an automated telephone system, or through a live customer service representative. Events often include feature films, sporting events, and other entertainment programs. With the rise of the Internet, the term Internet pay-per-view (iPPV) has been used to describe pay-per-view services accessed online. PPV is most commonly used to distribute combat sports events, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, and sports entertainment such as professional wrestling.

History[edit]

The earliest form of pay-per-view was closed-circuit television, also known as theatre television, where professional boxing telecasts were broadcast live to a select number of venues, mostly theaters, where viewers paid for tickets to watch the fight live.[1][2] The first fight with a closed-circuit telecast was Joe Louis vs. Jersey Joe Walcott in 1948.[3] Closed-circuit telecasts peaked in popularity with Muhammad Ali in the 1960s and 1970s,[1][2] with "The Rumble in the Jungle" fight drawing 50 million buys worldwide in 1974,[4] and the "Thrilla in Manila" drawing 100 million buys worldwide in 1975.[5] Closed-circuit television was gradually replaced by pay-per-view home television in the 1980s and 1990s.[2]

United States[edit]

The Zenith Phonevision system became the first home pay-per-view system to be tested in the United States. Developed in 1951, it used telephone lines to take and receive orders, as well as to descramble a television broadcast signal. The field tests conducted for Phonevision lasted for 90 days and were tested in Chicago, Illinois. The system used IBM punch cards to descramble a signal broadcast during the broadcast station's "off-time". Both systems showed promise, but the Federal Communications Commission denied them the permits to operate.[6]

One of the earliest pay-per-view systems on cable television, the Optical Systems-developed Channel 100, first began service in 1972 in San Diego, California through Mission Cable[7] (which was later acquired by Cox Communications) and TheaterVisioN, which operated out of Sarasota, Florida. These early systems quickly went out of business, as the cable industry adopted satellite technology and as flat-rate pay television services such as Home Box Office (HBO) became popular.

While most pay-per-view services were delivered via cable, there were a few over-the-air pay TV stations that offered pay-per-view broadcasts in addition to regularly scheduled broadcasts of movies and other entertainment. These stations, which operated for a few years in Chicago, Los Angeles and some other cities, broadcast "scrambled" signals that required descrambler devices to convert the signal into standard broadcast format. These services were marketed as "ON-TV." [8]

Professional boxing during 1960s–1970s[edit]

The first home pay-per-view cable television broadcast was the Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson rematch in 1960, when 25,000 TelePrompTer subscribers mailed $2 to watch Patterson regain the heavyweight title.[9] The third Patterson–Johansson match in 1961 was later viewed by 100,000 paid cable subscribers.[10] Muhammad Ali had several fights on early pay-per-view home television, including Cassius Clay vs. Doug Jones in 1963,[11] and Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston[12] which drew 250,000 buys on cable television in 1964.[13]

Professional boxing was largely introduced to pay-per-view cable television with the "Thrilla in Manila" fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in September 1975. The fight sold 500,000 pay-per-view buys on HBO.[14] There was also another major title fight aired on pay-per-view in 1980, when Roberto Durán defeated Sugar Ray Leonard. Cable companies offered the match for $10, and about 155,000 customers paid to watch the fight.[15][16]

1980s–2000s[edit]

A major pay-per-view event[citation needed] occurred on September 16, 1981, when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas "Hitman" Hearns for the World Welterweight Championship. Viacom Cablevision in Nashville, Tennessee – the first system to offer the event – saw over 50 percent of its subscriber base purchase the fight.[citation needed] Leonard visited Nashville to promote the fight, and the event proved such a success that Viacom themed its annual report for that year around it.[citation needed] Viacom marketing director Pat Thompson put together the fight, and subsequently put together additional PPV fights, wrestling matches, and even a televised Broadway play.[citation needed]

After leaving Viacom, Thompson became head of Sports View and produced the first pay-per-view football game on October 16, 1983, a college football game between the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama from Birmingham, Alabama.[citation needed] Sports View played a role in building pay-per-view networks,[citation needed] and became the early pioneer in developing TigerVision for Louisiana State University, TideVision for Alabama and UT Vol Seat for Tennessee. Sports View also produced the Ohio State-Michigan football game for pay-per-view in November 1983.

In 1985, the first pay-per-view cable channels in the United States – Viewer's Choice (now In Demand), Cable Video Store, First Choice and Request TV – began operation within days of each other.[citation needed] Viewer's Choice serviced both home satellite dish and cable customers, while Request TV, though broadcasting to cable viewers, would not become available to satellite subscribers until the 1990s.[citation needed] First Choice PPV was available on Rogers Cablesystems in the United States and Canada. After Paragon Cable acquired the Rogers Cablesystems franchise in San Antonio, Texas, First Choice continued to be carried until Time Warner Cable bought Paragon in 1996. In the United States, pay-per-view broadcasters transmit without advertisements, similar to conventional flat-rate pay television services.

The term "pay-per-view" did not come into general use until the late 1980s[citation needed] when companies such as Viewer's Choice, HBO and Showtime started using the system to show movies and some of their productions. Viewer's Choice carried movies, concerts and other events, with live sporting events such as WrestleMania being the most predominant programming. Prices ranged from $3.99 to $49.99, while HBO and Showtime, with their event production legs TVKO and SET Pay Per View, would offer championship boxing matches ranging from $14.99 to $54.99.[citation needed]

ESPN later began to televise college football and basketball games on pay-per-view through its services ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court, which were eventually sold as full-time out-of-market sports packages.[citation needed] The boxing undercard Latin Fury, shown on June 28, 2003, became ESPN's first boxing card on pay-per-view and also the first pay-per-view boxing card held in Puerto Rico.[citation needed] Pay-per-view has provided a revenue stream for professional wrestling circuits such as WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (ROH) and Lucha Libre AAA World Wide (AAA).

WWE chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon is considered by many as one of the icons of pay-per-view promotion. McMahon owns the domain name payperview.com, which redirects to the WWE Network website.[17]

HBO PPV (professional boxing)[edit]

In 2006, HBO generated 3.7 million pay-per-view buys with $177 million in gross sales. The only year with more buys previously, 1999, had a total of 4 million. The former record fell in 2007 when HBO sold 4.8 million PPV buys with $255 million in sales.[18] In 2014, HBO generated 59.3 million buys and $3.1 billion in revenue since its 1991 debut with Evander Holyfield-George Foreman.[19]

1999 differed radically from 2006: 1999 saw four major fight cards: De La Hoya-Trinidad (1.4 million buys), Holyfield-Lewis I (1.2 million), Holyfield-Lewis II (850,000) and De La Hoya-Quartey (570,000). By contrast, only one pay-per-view mega-fight took place in 2006: De La Hoya-Mayorga (925,000 buys). Rahman-Maskaev bombed with under 50,000. The other eight PPV cards that year all fell in the 325,000–450,000 range. Pay-per-view fights in that range almost always generate more money for the promoter and fighters than HBO wants to pay for an HBO World Championship Boxing license-fee.[citation needed]

In May 2007, the super-welterweight boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. on HBO PPV became the biggest-selling non-heavyweight title fight, with a little more than 2.5 million buyers.[20] The fight itself generated roughly $139 million in domestic PPV revenue, making it the most lucrative prizefight of that era. The record stood until 2015 before it was broken by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao in a fight dubbed as the "Fight of the Century" on May 2, 2015 which generated 4.6 million ppv buys and a revenue of over $400 million.[21]

The leading PPV attraction, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has generated approximately 24.8 million buys and $1.3 billion in revenue. Manny Pacquiao, ranked second, has generated approximately 19.2 million buys and $1.2 billion in revenue.[22][23] Oscar De La Hoya, has "sold" approximately 14 million units in total, giving $700 million in domestic television receipts and stands third. In fourth place in buys, Evander Holyfield has achieved 12.6 million units ($550 million); and at fifth, Mike Tyson has reached 12.4 million units ($545 million).[24]

Ross Greenburg, then president of HBO Sports, called the expansion of pay-per-view "the biggest economic issue in boxing", stating "I can't tell you that pay-per-view helps the sport because it doesn't. It hurts the sport because it narrows our audience, but it's a fact of life. Every time we try to make an HBO World Championship Boxing fight, we're up against mythical pay-per-view numbers. HBO doesn't make a lot of money from pay-per-view. There's usually a cap on what we can make. But the promoters and fighters insist on pay-per-view because that's where their greatest profits lie."[25]

"It's a big problem," Greenburg continues. "It's getting harder and harder to put fighters like Manny Pacquiao on HBO World Championship Boxing. If Floyd Mayweather beats Oscar, he might never fight on HBO World Championship Boxing again. But if HBO stopped doing pay-per-view, the promoters would simply do it on their own [like Bob Arum did with Cotto-Malignaggi in June 2006] or find someone else who will do it for them."[25]

Former HBO Sports President Seth Abraham concurs, saying, "I think, if Lou (DiBella) and I were still at HBO, we'd be in the same pickle as far as the exodus of fights to pay-per-view is concerned."[26]

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)[edit]

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a relative newcomer on the pay-per-view scene, matched the once-dominant World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. in pay-per-view revenues during 2006 and surpassed boxing titan HBO. The three companies make up the bulk of the pay-per-view business. According to Deana Myers, a senior analyst at Kagan Research LLC (which tracks the PPV industry), "UFC has reinvigorated the pay-per-view category."[27]

Professional wrestling[edit]

Professional wrestling has a long history of running pay-per-view events. WWE (then WWF) launched its first pay-per-view event in 1985 with The Wrestling Classic and has run numerous others throughout the years. Other major organisations such as WCW, ECW and TNA have also run pay-per-view events.

Although it still offers its events via traditional pay-per-view outlets, since 2014 WWE has offered all of its PPV events at no additional charge as part of a subscription-based streaming service known as WWE Network—which features on-demand access to library content and other exclusive programming. Following WrestleMania 34, the service had 2.12 million subscribers.[28][29]

Other events[edit]

In 2015, with the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead the pay-per-view set a new record for a music event with more than 400,000 subscriptions, surpassing a 1999 simulcast by the Backstreet Boys which drew 160,000 subscriptions.[30]

United Kingdom and Ireland[edit]

Viewers in the United Kingdom and Ireland can access pay-per-view via satellite, cable and over-the-internet television services, mainly for films, boxing and American professional wrestling via services such as Sky Box Office and more recently ITV Box Office and BT Sport Box Office. The last couple of years has seen the number of pay-per-view boxing events significantly increase and currently all of the UK's top fights are only available via pay-per-view. Broadcasters (most notably PremPlus) have abandoned their aspirations to introduce PPV into other sports market due to poor take-up.

Canada[edit]

In Canada, most specialty television providers provide pay-per-view programming through one or more services. In all cases, prices typically range from around C$4.99 (for movies) up to $50 or more for special events.

Initially, there were three major PPV providers in Canada; Viewers Choice Canada operated in Eastern Canada as a joint venture of Astral Media, Rogers Communications, and TSN, while Western International Communications operated a separate service also branded as Viewers Choice, which used the brand under licence after previously operating as Home Theatre.

Viewers Choice Canada was a partner in a French-language PPV service known as Canal Indigo, which is now entirely owned by Videotron. Bell Canada also launched a PPV service for its ExpressVu television provider known as Vu! in 1999.

Home Theatre was later acquired by Shaw Communications; after gaining permission to operate nationally, it re-branded as a white-label PPV known internally as Shaw PPV in December 2007. In 2014, due to Bell Media's majority ownership of Viewers Choice because of its acquisition of Astral, and because both Bell and Rogers now ran their own in-house PPV operations (Vu! and Sportsnet PPV), Viewers Choice was shut down.[31]

Mainland Europe[edit]

In Romania, cable communications operator UPC Romania has notified the National Audiovisual Council (CNA) on the intention to introduce in January, February 2014 at the latest, an on-demand audiovisual media service called Agerpres. According to the manager of UPC Romania-owned Smaranda Radoi UPC, will allow customers to watch movies on demand or live events; as well as broadcasts of performances, concerts and sporting events.

In November 2008, pay-per-view made its debut in Albania through Digitalb on terrestrial and satellite television, with the channel DigiGold.[32]

In France, launched in the late 1990s, Canalsat (Ciné+) and TPS (Multivision) operate their own pay-per-view service. While CanalSat holds the rights to live soccer matches for France's Ligue 1, TPS had the rights for Boxe matches. In 2007, Multivision service ceased by the end of TPS service which merged with Canalsat. Nowadays, Ciné+ is the only existing pay-per-view service in France.

In Croatia, Fight Channel is broadcasting martial arts events organized by the world's most prominent fighting organizations, such as the UFC, K-1, HBO Boxing, Dream, Glory WS, World Series of Boxing etc. and its pay-per-view service covers the Balkans region.

South America[edit]

Per nations with Pay-Per-View or PPV system in South América:

In Argentina, Torneos y Competencias is a producer and sports events organization that broadcasts live main matches of Argentine Soccer in four categories on TyC Sports and TyC Max

In Brazil, in the soccer main matches of Serie A (Six games per matchday) and Serie B (Four games per matchday) in two categories of Brazilian Soccer are broadcast live on Premiere FC and SporTV. The Serie C Championship are broadcast live on SporTV with two games per matchday in Pay TV. In other sports are broadcast live on NBB TV (Exclusive channel of Brazilian Basketball League in Premium system)

In Chile, the exclusive rights of Chilean Soccer are owned by TV Fútbol and broadcast live on a channel called Canal Del Fútbol (The Soccer Channel), also known CDF. Sports Field S.A. has exclusive rights to games on the Chilean professional basketball league, which are broadcast live vía CDO (Premium Signal)

In Paraguay, the Teledeportes business have exclusive rights to broadcast live main matches of Paraguayan Soccer in four categories vía Tigo Max and Tigo Sports. Teledeportes have live broadcast live of Paraguayan Basketball League is broadcast live Monday at 7:55 pm on Tigo Max (K.O 20:10) and Thursday at 8:00 pm on Tigo Sports (K.O 20:15).

In Uruguay, the Tenfield producer business and sports events organization have television exclusive rights for the main matches of Uruguayan soccer and basketball, which are broadcast on VTV Max and VTV Sports.

Australia and the Pacific Islands[edit]

Foxtel and Optus Vision introduced pay-per-view direct to home television in Australia in the mid-to-late 1990s. Foxtel had Event TV (until it transformed into its current form; Main Event) while, Optus Vision had Main Attraction Pay-Per-View as its provider. As of 2005, Main Event is the current pay-per-view provider through Foxtel and Optus cable/satellite subscription.

Sky Pacific started a service in Fiji in 2005 and then expanded into American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati (East), Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, with one, out of their 25 channels, being Pay-Per-View.[33]

Netflix is available in Australia.

Asia[edit]

In Malaysia, Astro's Astro Box Office service launched in 2000 in the form of the free-to-air "Astro Showcase".

In Japan, SkyPerfecTV subscribers can receive one-click pay-per-view access to hundreds of channels supplying domestic and international sporting events (including WWE events), movies, and specialty programming, either live or later on continuous repeat on its channel.

In India a pay-per-view service operates; however, pay-per-view sports broadcasts are available.Now also live events like wwe.[citation needed]

List of pay-per-view bouts[edit]

Boxing[edit]

Worldwide[edit]

The following is a list of boxing fights that have generated over 1 million pay-per-view buys worldwide. These figures include closed-circuit theatre television (CCTV), pay-per-view home television (PPV), and pay-per-view online streaming (iPPV).

   — Fights which held the worldwide record in terms of sales and/or revenue
Date Fight Network(s) Sales Revenue Revenue (inflation)
March 8, 1971 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
2,590,000[34][35] $45,750,000[36][37] $300,000,000
October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
50,000,000[4] $100,000,000[38][39] $500,000,000
October 1, 1975 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
  • HBO
100,000,000[40] $100,000,000 $500,000,000
September 27, 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
1,500,000[41] $33,500,000[42][43] $144,000,000
June 20, 1980 Roberto Durán vs. Sugar Ray Leonard
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
  • HBO
1,655,000[44][15] $30,000,000[45] $90,000,000
June 11, 1982 Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
2,000,000[46] $20,000,000[2] $51,000,000
April 6, 1987 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
  • HBO
3,150,000[2] $60,000,000[47] $130,000,000
June 27, 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
  • HBO
1,500,000[48][49] $70,000,000[47] $150,000,000
April 19, 1991 Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman
  • HBO
1,400,000[50] $75,000,000[51] $135,000,000
June 28, 1991 Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock II 1,250,000[52] $49,142,000[53][54] $90,000,000
August 19, 1995 Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley
  • Showtime
1,600,000[55] $110,000,000[56][57] $173,000,000
March 16, 1996 Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II 2,060,000[55][58] $98,000,000[59] $153,000,000
September 7, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon
  • Showtime
1,150,000[50] $63,810,000[55] $100,000,000
November 9, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield
  • Showtime
1,600,000[55] $94,200,000[55] $150,000,000
June 28, 1997 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II
  • Showtime
  • Sky Box Office
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
2,670,000[2][60][61] $180,000,000[62] $275,000,000
September 18, 1999 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad
  • HBO
1,400,000[50] $74,100,000[63] $110,000,000
June 8, 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson
  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Sky Box Office
2,720,000[50][64] $112,000,000[65] $153,000,000
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • HBO
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
2,450,000[50][66] $165,000,000[67] $200,000,000
December 8, 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton
  • HBO
  • Sky Box Office
2,400,000[68] $134,000,000[68] $160,000,000
December 6, 2008 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao
  • HBO
1,250,000[50] $100,000,000[67] $114,000,000
May 2, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton
  • HBO
  • Sky Box Office
1,750,000[69][70] $80,200,000[a] $91,000,000
September 19, 2009 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Márquez
  • HBO
1,060,000[71] $58,810,000[72] $67,000,000
November 14, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto
  • HBO
1,250,000[73] $78,850,000[74] $90,000,000
May 1, 2010 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley
  • HBO
1,400,000[50] $89,330,000[75][57] $100,000,000
November 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito
  • HBO
1,150,000[76] $69,400,000[77] $80,000,000
May 7, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley
  • Showtime
1,340,000[78] $83,900,000[79] $91,000,000
September 17, 2011 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Victor Ortiz
  • HBO
1,250,000[80] $87,440,000[81][57] $95,000,000
November 13, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez III
  • HBO
1,400,000[82] $88,580,000[83][57] $100,000,000
May 5, 2012 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto
  • HBO
1,500,000[84] $94,000,000[56] $100,000,000
December 8, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV
  • HBO
1,150,000[85] $80,400,000[86] $90,000,000
September 14, 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Álvarez
  • Showtime
2,200,000[87] $150,000,000[21] $160,000,000
May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao
  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Sky Box Office
  • Closed-circuit theatre TV
5,773,000[88][89][90] $500,000,000[91] $500,000,000
April 29, 2017 Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
  • Sky Box Office
1,532,000[92] $64,000,000[93] $64,000,000
August 26, 2017 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor
  • Showtime
  • Sky Box Office
6,000,000[94] $500,000,000[95] $500,000,000
September 16, 2017 Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin
  • HBO
1,300,000[96] $100,000,000[96] $100,000,000
March 31, 2018 Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker
  • Sky Box Office
1,457,000[97] $50,000,000[98][99] $50,000,000
August 25, 2018 KSI vs. Logan Paul 1,050,000[100][101] $14,000,000[102][103] $14,000,000
Sep 15, 2018 Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin II
  • HBO
1,100,000[104] $117,000,000[104] $117,000,000
Sep 22, 2018 Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
  • Sky Box Office
1,113,000[105] $50,000,000[106][107][99] $50,000,000

United States (closed-circuit theatre TV)[edit]

Select boxing buy rates at American closed-circuit theatre television venues between 1951 and 2015:

   — Fights which held the US closed-circuit sales record in terms of buys and/or revenue
Date Fight Buys Revenue Revenue (inflation)
June 15, 1951 Joe Louis vs. Lee Savold 81,022[108] $100,000[109] $940,000
September 12, 1951 Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Randolph Turpin II 100,000[110] $200,000[110] $1,890,000
September 23, 1952 Rocky Marciano vs. Joe Walcott 40,000[111] $192,000[112] $1,770,000
September 21, 1955 Rocky Marciano vs. Archie Moore 300,000[113] $1,125,000[114] $10,290,000
September 23, 1957 Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carmen Basilio 500,000[115] $1,750,000[116] $13,090,000
March 25, 1958 Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carmen Basilio II 400,000[117] $2,000,000[118] $16,990,000
August 18, 1958 Floyd Patterson vs. Roy Harris 192,762[119] $763,437[119] $6,420,000
June 26, 1959 Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson 244,000[120] $1,032,000[120] $8,680,000
June 20, 1960 Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson II 500,000[121] $3,000,000[122] $24,860,000
March 13, 1961 Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson III 500,000[123] $2,500,000[123] $20,510,000
September 25, 1962 Floyd Patterson vs. Sonny Liston 600,000[124] $3,200,000[34] $25,930,000
March 13, 1963 Cassius Clay vs. Doug Jones 150,000[125] $500,000[11] $4,000,000
July 22, 1963 Floyd Patterson vs. Sonny Liston II 563,000[34] $4,747,690[126] $38,470,000
February 25, 1964 Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston 700,000[127] $5,000,000[127] $39,500,000
January 2, 1965 Floyd Patterson vs. George Chuvalo 300,000[128] $800,000[129] $6,220,000
May 25, 1965 Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston II 630,000[130] $4,300,000[1] $33,450,000
November 22, 1965 Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Patterson 500,000[131] $4,000,000[1] $31,100,000
November 14, 1966 Muhammad Ali vs. Cleveland Williams 500,000[132] $3,750,000[132] $29,170,000
February 6, 1967 Muhammad Ali vs. Ernie Terrell 800,000[133] $4,000,000[133] $30,220,000
October 26, 1970 Muhammad Ali vs. Jerry Quarry 630,000[134][135] $3,500,000[136] $22,090,000
March 8, 1971 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 2,500,000[34] $45,000,000[36] $272,000,000
October 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman 3,000,000[2] $60,000,000[2] $300,000,000
October 1, 1975 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III 3,000,000[2] $60,000,000[2] $300,000,000
September 27, 1976 Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III 1,500,000[41] $30,000,000[42] $130,000,000
Jun 20, 1980 Roberto Durán vs. Sugar Ray Leonard 1,500,000[44] $22,000,000[137] $65,450,000
June 11, 1982 Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney 2,000,000[46] $20,000,000[2] $50,800,000
April 15, 1985 Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns 700,000[138] $10,500,000[139] $23,930,000
April 6, 1987 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler 3,000,000[2] $40,000,000[140] $86,300,000
June 27, 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks 800,000[48] $32,000,000[48] $66,320,000
June 28, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II 120,000[61] $9,000,000[2] $13,740,000
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. 50,000[66] $2,750,000[141] $3,250,000
May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao 173,000[90] $25,900,000[90] $26,780,000

United States (PPV home television)[edit]

Select PPV boxing buy-rates (mainly from HBO, Showtime and Top Rank) between 1960 and 2018:

   — Fights which held the US sales record on PPV home television
Date Fight Result Carrier Buy rate
June 20, 1960 Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson II Patterson wins by KO in round 5 TelePrompTer 25,000[9]
March 13, 1961 Floyd Patterson vs. Ingemar Johansson III Patterson wins by KO in round 6 TelePrompTer 100,000[10]
September 25, 1962 Floyd Patterson vs. Sonny Liston Liston wins by KO in round 1 TelePrompTer 100,000[142]
February 25, 1964 Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston Ali wins by RTD in round 6 WHCT[12] 250,000[13]
Oct 1, 1975 Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III Ali wins by TKO in round 14 HBO 500,000[14]
Jun 20, 1980 Roberto Durán vs. Sugar Ray Leonard Durán wins by UD (145-144, 148-147, 146-144) HBO 155,000[15]
Sep 16, 1981 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns Leonard wins by TKO in round 14 HBO 583,200[143]
Apr 15, 1985 Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns Hagler wins by TKO in round 3 HBO 100,000[138]
Apr 6, 1987 Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler Leonard wins by SD (118-110, 113-115, 115-113) HBO 150,000[2]
Jun 27, 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks Tyson wins by KO in round 1 HBO 700,000[49]
Oct 25, 1990 Buster Douglas vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by KO in round 3 Showtime 1,000,000[49]
March 18, 1991 Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock Tyson wins by TKO in round 7 Showtime 960,000[144]
Apr 19, 1991 Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman Holyfield wins by UD (116–111, 117–110, 115–112) HBO 1,400,000[50]
Jun 28, 1991 Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock II Tyson wins by UD (113–109, 114–108, 114–108) Showtime 1,250,000[52]
Oct 18, 1991 Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison Mercer wins by KO in round 5 HBO 200,000[145]
Jun 19, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Larry Holmes Holyfield wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) HBO 730,000[146]
Nov 13, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Bowe wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 115–112) HBO 900,000[147]
Jun 7, 1993 George Foreman vs. Tommy Morrison Morrison wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 118–108) HBO 600,000[148]
Nov 6, 1993 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield II Holyfield wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) HBO 950,000[149]
Nov 18, 1994 James Toney vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by UD (119–108, 118–109, 117–110) HBO 300,000[150]
May 6, 1995 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Rafael Ruelas De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 2 HBO 330,000[151]
Aug 19, 1995 Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley Tyson wins by DQ in round 1 Showtime 1,600,000[55]
Nov 4, 1995 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III Bowe wins by TKO in round 8 HBO 650,000[152]
Mar 16, 1996 Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 Showtime 1,400,000[55]
Sep 7, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon Tyson wins by TKO in round 1 Showtime 1,150,000[50]
Nov 9, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by TKO in round 11 Showtime 1,600,000[55]
Apr 12, 1997 Pernell Whitaker vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by UD (115–111, 116–110, 116–110) HBO 720,000[153]
Jun 28, 1997 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II Holyfield wins by DQ in round 3 Showtime 1,990,000[50]
Sep 13, 1997 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Héctor Camacho De La Hoya wins by UD (120–106, 120–105, 118–108) HBO 560,000[153]
Oct 4, 1997 Lennox Lewis vs. Andrew Golota Lewis wins by KO in round 1 HBO 300,000[154]
Nov 8, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Michael Moorer II Holyfield wins by RTD in round 8 Showtime 550,000[155]
Jan 16, 1999 Mike Tyson vs. Francois Botha Tyson wins by KO in round 5 Showtime 750,000[156]
Mar 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Split draw (116–113, 113–115, 115–115) HBO 1,200,000[157]
Sep 18, 1999 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad Trinidad wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) HBO 1,400,000[50]
Nov 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis II Lewis wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 115–113) HBO 850,000[157]
Apr 29, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant Lewis wins by KO in round 2 HBO 340,000[157]
Jun 17, 2000 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley Mosley wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) HBO 590,000[153]
Sep 9, 2000 Roy Jones Jr. vs. Eric Harding Jones Jr. wins by RTD in round 10 HBO 125,000[158]
Oct 20, 2000 Mike Tyson vs. Andrew Golota Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 (later changed to an NC) Showtime 450,000[159]
Nov 11, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua Lewis wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 117–111) HBO 420,000[157]
Mar 3, 2001 Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz II Ruiz wins by UD (116–110, 115–111, 114–111) Showtime 185,000[160]
Apr 7, 2001 Naseem Hamed vs. Marco Antonio Barrera Barrera wins by UD (116–111, 115–112, 115–112) HBO 310,000[161]
Nov 17, 2001 Hasim Rahman vs. Lennox Lewis II Lewis wins by KO in round 4 HBO 460,000[162]
Jun 8, 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson Lewis wins by KO in round 8 HBO/Showtime 1,970,000[50]
Sep 14, 2002 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 11 HBO 935,000[153]
Feb 22, 2003 Mike Tyson vs. Clifford Etienne Tyson wins by KO in round 1 Showtime 100,000[160]
Mar 1, 2003 John Ruiz vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by UD (118–110, 117–111, 116–112) HBO 525,000[160]
Sep 13, 2003 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley II Mosley wins by UD (113–115, 113–115, 113–115) HBO 950,000[153]
Oct 4, 2003 James Toney vs. Evander Holyfield Toney wins by TKO in round 9 Showtime 150,000[163]
Nov 8, 2003 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) HBO 302,000[164]
May 15, 2004 Roy Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver II Tarver wins by KO in round 2 HBO 360,000[165]
Sep 18, 2004 Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya Hopkins wins by KO in round 9 HBO 1,000,000[153]
Dec 11, 2004 Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams Klitschko wins by TKO in round 8 HBO 120,000[166]
Mar 19, 2005 Érik Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao Morales wins by UD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113) HBO 345,000[167]
Jun 11, 2005 Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride McBride wins by TKO in round 7 Showtime 250,000[168]
Jun 25, 2005 Arturo Gatti vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Jr. wins by RTD in round 6 HBO 340,000[167]
Oct 1, 2005 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. III Tarver wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) HBO 405,000[169]
Jan 21, 2006 Manny Pacquiao vs Érik Morales II Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 10 HBO 360,000[170]
Apr 8, 2006 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Zab Judah Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 119–109) HBO 375,000[170]
May 6, 2006 Ricardo Mayorga vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 6 HBO 925,000[171]
May 6, 2006 Manny Pacquiao vs. Óscar Larios Pacquiao wins by UD (117–110, 118–108, 120–106) Top Rank 120,000[172]
Aug 12, 2006 Hasim Rahman vs. Oleg Maskaev II Maskaev wins by TKO in round 12 HBO 60,000[173]
Nov 4, 2006 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Carlos Baldomir Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (120–108, 120–108, 118–110) HBO 325,000[170]
Nov 18, 2006 Manny Pacquiao vs Érik Morales III Pacquiao wins by KO in round 3 HBO 350,000[170]
Apr 14, 2007 Manny Pacquiao vs Jorge Solís Pacquiao wins by KO in round 8 Top Rank 150,000[174]
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Jr. wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) HBO 2,400,000[50]
Oct 10, 2007 Manny Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera II Pacquiao wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 115–112) HBO 350,000[175]
Dec 8, 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Mayweather Jr. wins by TKO in round 10 HBO 920,000[71]
Mar 15, 2008 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez II Pacquiao wins by SD (115–112, 114–113, 112–115) HBO 400,000[176]
Jun 28, 2008 David Díaz vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 9 HBO 206,000[177]
Nov 8, 2008 Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr. Calzaghe wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 118–109) HBO 225,000[178]
Dec 6, 2008 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by RTD in round 8 HBO 1,250,000[50]
May 2, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton Pacquiao wins by KO in round 2 HBO 850,000[69]
Sep 19, 2009 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (120–107, 119–108, 118–109) HBO 1,060,000[71]
Nov 14, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 12 HBO 1,250,000[73]
Mar 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 119–109, 120–108) HBO 700,000[179]
Apr 3, 2010 Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones Jr. II Hopkins win by UD (118–109, 117–110, 117–110) HBO 150,000[180]
May 1, 2010 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 119–109) HBO 1,400,000[50]
Nov 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Pacquiao wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 119–109) HBO 1,150,000[76]
May 7, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley Pacquiao wins by UD (119–108, 120–108, 120–107) Showtime 1,340,000[78]
Sep 17, 2011 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Victor Ortiz Mayweather Jr. wins by KO in round 4 HBO 1,250,000[80]
Nov 13, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez III Pacquiao wins by MD (115–113, 114–114, 116–112) HBO 1,400,000[82]
Dec 3, 2011 Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II Cotto wins by RTD in round 9 HBO 600,000[181]
May 5, 2012 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 118–110) HBO 1,500,000[84]
Jun 9, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113) HBO 890,000[182]
Sep 15, 2012 Sergio Martínez vs. Julio César Chávez Jr. Martínez wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 117–110) HBO 475,000[183]
Dec 8, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV Márquez wins by KO in round 6 HBO 1,150,000[85]
May 4, 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 117–111) Showtime 1,000,000[184]
Sep 14, 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Álvarez Mayweather Jr. wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) Showtime 2,200,000[87]
Oct 12, 2013 Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 116–112, 113–115) HBO 375,000[185]
Nov 24, 2013 Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Ríos Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 120–108, 118–110) HBO 475,000[186]
Mar 8, 2014 Canelo Álvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo Álvarez wins by TKO in Round 10 Showtime 350,000[187]
Apr 12, 2014 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II Pacquiao wins by UD (116–112, 116–112, 118–110) HBO 800,000[188]
May 3, 2014 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana Mayweather Jr. wins by MD (114–114, 117–111, 116–112) Showtime 900,000[189]
Jun 7, 2014 Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martínez Cotto wins by RTD in round 10 HBO 315,000[190]
Jul 12, 2014 Canelo Álvarez vs. Erislandy Lara Álvarez wins by SD (115–113, 117–111, 113–115) Showtime 300,000[191]
Sep 13, 2014 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana II Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–111, 116–111, 115–112) Showtime 925,000[189]
Nov 23, 2014 Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri Pacquiao wins by UD (119–103, 119–103, 120–102) HBO 400,000[192]
May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–112, 116–112, 118–110) HBO/Showtime 4,600,000[88]
Sep 12, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 117–111) Showtime 400,000[193]
Oct 17, 2015 Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux Golovkin wins via TKO in round 8 HBO 150,000[194]
Nov 21, 2015 Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Álvarez Álvarez wins by UD (117–111, 119–109, 118–110) HBO 900,000[195]
Apr 9, 2016 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley III Pacquiao wins by UD (116–110, 116–110, 116–110) HBO 400,000[196]
May 7, 2016 Canelo Álvarez vs. Amir Khan Álvarez wins by KO in round 6 HBO 600,000[197]
July 23, 2016 Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol Crawford wins by UD (118–107, 118–107, 117–108) HBO 55,000[198]
Sep 17, 2016 Canelo Álvarez vs. Liam Smith Álvarez wins by TKO in round 9 HBO 300,000[199]
Nov 5, 2016 Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas Pacquiao wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 114–113) Top Rank 300,000[200]
Nov 19, 2016 Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward Ward wins by UD (114–113, 114–113, 114–113) HBO 165,000[201]
Mar 18, 2017 Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs Golovkin wins by UD (115–112, 115–112, 114–113) HBO 170,000[202]
May 6, 2017 Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez Jr. Álvarez wins by UD (120–108, 120–108, 120–108) HBO 1,000,000[203]
Jun 17, 2017 Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II Ward wins by TKO in round 8 HBO 130,000[204]
Aug 26, 2017 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor Mayweather Jr. wins by TKO in round 10 Showtime 4,300,000[205]
Sep 16, 2017 Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Split draw (118–110, 115–113, 114–114) HBO 1,300,000[96]
Sep 15, 2018 Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin II Álvarez wins by MD (115–113, 114–114, 115–113) HBO 1,100,000[104]
Dec 1, 2018 Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury Split draw (115–111, 113–113, 114–112) Showtime 400,000[206]

United Kingdom[edit]

Select boxing pay-per-view figures (mainly from Sky Box Office) between 1966 and 2018:

   — Fights which held the UK PPV sales record
Date Fight Network Buys Source(s)
21 May 1966 Muhammad Ali vs. Henry Cooper II Pay TV 40,000 [207]
16 March 1996 Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II Sky Box Office 660,000 [58]
9 November 1996 Naseem Hamed vs. Remigio Molina Sky Box Office 420,000 [58][208]
8 February 1997 Naseem Hamed vs. Tom Johnson Sky Box Office 720,000 [58][209]
3 May 1997 Naseem Hamed vs. Billy Hardy Sky Box Office 348,000 [58][210]
28 June 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II Sky Box Office 550,000 [60]
13 March 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Sky Box Office 400,000 [211]
29 January 2000 Mike Tyson vs. Julius Francis Sky Box Office 500,000 [60]
19 August 2000 Naseem Hamed vs. Augie Sanchez Sky Box Office 300,000 [212]
8 June 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson Sky Box Office 750,000 [64]
8 December 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Sky Box Office 1,150,000 [213]
2 May 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton Sky Box Office 900,000 [70]
18 July 2009 Amir Khan vs. Andreas Kotelnik Sky Box Office 100,000 [214]
7 November 2009 Nikolai Valuev vs. David Haye Sky Box Office 469,000 [215]
3 April 2010 David Haye vs. John Ruiz Sky Box Office 177,000 [216]
24 April 2010 Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler Primetime 50,000 [217]
18 September 2010 Kell Brook vs. Michael Jennings Sky Box Office 15,000 [218]
13 November 2010 David Haye vs. Audley Harrison Sky Box Office 223,000 [215]
11 December 2010 Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana Sky Box Office 164,000 [219]
16 April 2011 Amir Khan vs. Paul McCloskey Primetime 200,000 [220][217]
21 May 2011 George Groves vs. James DeGale Sky Box Office 43,000 [221]
2 July 2011 Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye Sky Box Office 1,143,000 [222]
25 May 2013 Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler II Sky Box Office 32,000 [223]
23 November 2013 Carl Froch vs. George Groves Sky Box Office 47,000 [224]
31 May 2014 Carl Froch vs. George Groves II Sky Box Office 355,000 [225]
30 May 2015 Kell Brook vs. Frankie Gavin Sky Box Office 139,000 [226]
2 May 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao Sky Box Office 1,000,000 [89]
28 November 2015 Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury Sky Box Office 545,000 [227]
12 December 2015 Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte Sky Box Office 420,000 [228]
27 February 2016 Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg Sky Box Office 220,000 [229][230]
9 April 2016 Anthony Joshua vs. Charles Martin Sky Box Office 500,000 [228]
25 June 2016 Anthony Joshua vs. Dominic Breazeale Sky Box Office 512,000 [231]
10 September 2016 Gennady Golovkin vs. Kell Brook Sky Box Office 500,000 [232]
10 December 2016 Anthony Joshua vs. Éric Molina Sky Box Office 450,000 [228]
4 February 2017 Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Renold Quinlan ITV Box Office 86,000 [233]
4 March 2017 David Haye vs. Tony Bellew Sky Box Office 890,000 [234]
29 April 2017 Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko Sky Box Office 1,532,000 [92]
27 May 2017 Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr. Sky Box Office 275,000 [235]
26 August 2017 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor Sky Box Office 874,000 [236]
28 October 2017 Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam Sky Box Office 887,000 [237]
31 March 2018 Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker Sky Box Office 1,457,000 [97]
5 May 2018 David Haye vs. Tony Bellew II Sky Box Office 775,000 [238]
28 July 2018 Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker Sky Box Office 474,000 [239][240]
22 September 2018 Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin Sky Box Office 1,113,000 [105]
10 November 2018 Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tony Bellew Sky Box Office 603,000 [241]

Mixed martial arts (United States)[edit]

The first pay-per-view mixed martial arts bout was Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki, which took place in Japan on June 26, 1976. It sold at least 2 million or more buys on closed-circuit theatre TV in the United States.[242] At a ticket price of $10,[243] the fight grossed at least $20 million (inflation-adjusted $90 million) or more from closed-circuit theatre TV revenue in the United States.

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)[edit]

The highest buy rates for the UFC as of October 2018 are as follows:[244]

Note: The UFC does not release official PPV statistics, and the following PPV numbers are as reported by industry insiders.

   — Fights which held the UFC PPV sales record in terms of buys and/or revenue
No. Date Event Buy rate Revenue
1 Oct 6, 2018 UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor 2,400,000[245] $180 million[246][247]
2 Aug 20, 2016 UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 1,650,000[248] $90 million[249][250]
3 Jul 11, 2009 UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir 1,600,000[251] $82 million
4 Mar 5, 2016 UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz 1,500,000[251] $80 million[252][250]
5 Dec 12, 2015 UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor 1,400,000[251] $80 million[253][250]
6 Nov 12, 2016 UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor 1,300,000[254] $83 million[255][247]
7 Jul 9, 2016 UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes 1,200,000[256] $71 million[257][258]
8 Jul 3, 2010 UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin 1,160,000 $55 million
9 Nov 15, 2015 UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm 1,100,000 $60 million
10 Dec 30, 2016 UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey 1,100,000[259] $60 million[260][261]
11 Dec 30, 2006 UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 1,050,000 $53 million
12 May 29, 2010 UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans 1,050,000 $51 million[262][263]
13 Oct 23, 2010 UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez 1,050,000 $45 million
14 Dec 28, 2013 UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva II 1,025,000[264] $57 million[265][266]
15 Nov 15, 2008 UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar 1,010,000 $47 million
16 Dec 27, 2008 UFC 92: Evans vs. Griffins 1,000,000 $48 million[267][250]
17 Mar 16, 2013 UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz 950,000
18 Jul 7, 2012 UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II 925,000
19 Jan 31, 2009 UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 920,000
20 Aug 1, 2015 UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia 900,000
21 Nov 4, 2017 UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre 875,000
22 Jul 29, 2017 UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 860,000
23 Aug 8, 2009 UFC 101: Declaration 850,000
24 Jul 11, 2015 UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor 825,000
25 Apr 30, 2011 UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields 800,000
26 Jan 3, 2015 UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier 800,000
27 Dec 11, 2010 UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 785,000
28 Dec 30, 2011 UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem 780,000
29 Mar 27, 2010 UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy 770,000

Professional wrestling (United States)[edit]

WrestleMania I in March 1985 sold over 1 million buys on closed-circuit theatre TV in the United States, making it the largest pay-per-view showing of a wrestling event in the US at the time.[268]

PPV home television[edit]

The highest buy rates for professional wrestling events on pay-per-view home television as of June  2015 are as follows:[269][270]

   — Fights which held the professional wrestling PPV sales record
No. Date Event Buy rate
1 Apr 1, 2012 WrestleMania XXVIII 1,300,000[271]
2 Apr 1, 2007 WrestleMania 23 1,200,000
3 Apr 3, 2005 WrestleMania 21 1,085,000
4 Apr 3, 2011 WrestleMania XXVII 1,059,000
5 Mar 30, 2008 WrestleMania XXIV 1,058,000
6 Apr 7, 2013 WrestleMania 29 1,048,000
7 Apr 1, 2001 WrestleMania X-Seven 1,040,000
8 Mar 14, 2004 WrestleMania XX 1,007,000
9 Apr 2, 2006 WrestleMania 22 975,000
10 Apr 5, 2009 WrestleMania XXV 960,000
11 Mar 28, 2010 WrestleMania XXVI 885,000
12 Mar 17, 2002 WrestleMania X8 880,000
13 Apr 2, 2000 WrestleMania 2000 824,000
14 Mar 28, 1999 WrestleMania XV 800,000
15 Jul 22, 2001 WWF Invasion 770,000
16 Apr 2, 1989 WrestleMania V 767,000[270]
17 Mar 24, 1991 WrestleMania VII 764,000[272][273]

List of sportsmen with highest pay-per-view sales[edit]

This tables lists the sportsmen who have had the highest pay-per-view sales. It includes sportsmen who have participated in combat sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts as well as sports entertainment such as professional wrestling.

Sportsman Total sales Closed-circuit theatre TV PPV home television Years Sport(s)
United States Muhammad Ali 162,944,000 162,154,000[b] 790,000[b] 1963–1985 Professional boxing
Mixed martial arts
Professional wrestling
United States Joe Frazier 100,500,000 100,000,000[40] 500,000[14] 1965–1981 Professional boxing
United States George Foreman 52,000,000 50,000,000[4] 2,000,000[50][148] 1974–1993
United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. 29,090,000 223,000[66][90] 28,867,000[94][c] 2005–2017 Professional boxing
Professional wrestling
United States Triple H 20,329,000 N/A 20,329,000[d] 1995–2018 Professional wrestling
Philippines Manny Pacquiao 19,414,000 173,000[90] 19,241,000[e] 2005–2016 Professional boxing
United States Mike Tyson 17,640,000 920,000[f] 16,720,000[f] 1988–2005 Professional boxing
United States John Cena 15,389,000 N/A 15,389,000[d] 2002–2018 Professional wrestling
Republic of Ireland Conor McGregor 15,175,000 N/A 15,175,000[g][94] 2008–2018 Mixed martial arts
Professional boxing
United States The Rock 14,859,000 N/A 14,859,000[h] 1998–2013 Professional wrestling
United States The Undertaker 14,451,000 N/A 14,451,000[d] 1990–2018
United States Oscar De La Hoya 14,140,000 50,000[66] 14,090,000[i] 1995–2008 Professional boxing
United States Evander Holyfield 12,720,000 120,000[61] 12,600,000[274] 1984–2003
United States Shawn Michaels 10,160,000 N/A 10,160,000[d] 1988–2010 Professional wrestling

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ezra, Michael (2013). The Economic Civil Rights Movement: African Americans and the Struggle for Economic Power. Routledge. p. 105. ISBN 9781136274756.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "History of Prizefighting's Biggest Money Fights". Bloody Elbow. SB Nation. August 24, 2017.
  3. ^ Television. Frederick A. Kugel Company. 1965. p. 78. Teleprompter's main-spring, Irving B. Kahn (he's chairman of the board and president), had a taste of closed circuit operations as early as 1948. That summer, Kahn, then a vice president of 20th Century-Fox, negotiated what was probably the first inter-city closed circuit telecast in history, a pickup of the Joe Louis-Joe Walcott fight.
  4. ^ a b c "Zaire's fight promotion opens new gold mines". The Morning Herald. November 18, 1974.
  5. ^ "Karriem Allah". Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc.: 35 1976.
  6. ^ FCC Squares Off to Face Subscription TV Dilemma", Broadcasting-Telecasting, November 15, 1954, p31-32
  7. ^ Mullen, Megan Gwynne (2003). The Rise of Cable Programming in the United States: revolution or evolution?. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75273-3.
  8. ^ "ON-TV".
  9. ^ a b Brooks, Ken (2016). Ingemar Johansson: Swedish Heavyweight Boxing Champion. McFarland. p. 150. ISBN 9781476620237.
  10. ^ a b "Floyd Favored 18-5 to Send Swede Home with Lumpy Head". Daily Inter Lake. March 13, 1961. p. 5.
  11. ^ a b "Clay-Jones Fight First Garden Sellout in 13 Yrs". Traverse City Record-Eagle. March 13, 1963.
  12. ^ a b "Can the fine arts find a home on television?" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications Incorporated. 83: 38. 1972. Noting that many in the arts community have rested their hopes on pay cable, Mr. Jencks recalled that during a pay-TV experiment over WHCT(TV) Hartford, Conn., 96% of all viewing time was devoted to motion pictures and sports events. A single boxing match between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali, Mr. Jencks said, attracted nearly four times as many subscribers as the cumulative total of all 50 "educational features" offered by WHCT over a two-year period.
  13. ^ a b Ezra, Michael (2009). Muhammad Ali: The Making of an Icon. Temple University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9781592136612.
  14. ^ a b c Smith, Ronald A. (2003). Play-by-Play: Radio, Television, and Big-Time College Sport. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 101. ISBN 9780801876929.
  15. ^ a b c Steve Seepersaud. "Money in Boxing: The Pay-Per-View Craze". Ca.askmen.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  16. ^ Steve Seepersaud. "Money in Boxing: The Pay-Per-View Craze". Ca.askmen.com. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  17. ^ "PayPerView.com – WWE Online Pay-Per-View". Whois.domaintools.com. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  18. ^ "Mayweather-Hatton pay-per-view a smashing success". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  19. ^ Dan Rafael (April 29, 2015). "Mayweather-Pacquiao on PPV 'a perfect storm'". ESPN.
  20. ^ "Sports TV Ratings: How Many People Watched Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, The Kentucky Derby And NFL Draft?". 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  21. ^ a b "HBO's Taffet Still Stunned By 4.6M Buys For May-Pac". BoxingScene. November 10, 2015. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
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