Dana White says that last weekend’s super-fight has generated a record-breaking 6.5 million pay-per-view buys, a figure which would dwarf the previous record of 4.6 million, set by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, by almost 2 million. This is despite the three million people who illegally streamed the fight. The final figure could be higher, as it doesn’t include sales outside the United States. It will also mean that McGregor holds the pay-per-view record for both boxing and mixed martial arts. The 6.5 million figure also beats the cumulative total for the top five UFC pay-per-views in the company’s history, and is five times larger than any WWE PPV event ever. The fight will go down in history as one of the single most profitable sports events ever.
Almost 3 million people watched Saturday’s McGregor-Mayweather fight using illegal streams, according to web security company, Irdeto. Viewers used online links to get around paying the $99.95 charged in the US for the high-definition pay-per-view (£19.95 in the UK). 239 illegal streams of the fight were watched by 2,930,598 people. Had they all paid, even at a lower rate, the illegal audiences would have brought in at least $60 million more.
McGregor and Rousey drew the biggest pay-per-view buys in a record year for the UFC. Approximately 8,370,000 buys were sold on 13 shows in 2016, an all-time record average of 644,000 buys per show. This compares with 550,000 average per show in 2015 and 265,000 in 2014. Most shows were small but McGregor, Rousey, and UFC 200 did one million buys plus. With Rousey’s future undetermined, and McGregor taking a break, the outlook for 2017 is weak.
UFC 205 generated 14 Billion social media impressions, which consist of Facebook likes, Twitter interactions and Instagram shares. By comparison the most recent Superbowl achieved 4.3 billion impressions. While the Euro’s in France earlier this year earned 3 billion.
UFC 205 sets a gate record of over $17million (£13.5m). The previous record was set by Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis in 1999. White:
I wanted to make sure when we went to New York, we delivered. It’s the biggest, baddest card we’ve ever done in the history of the company.
McGregor will earn around $20 million from his fight with Alvarez. $5m comes from his fight fee plus sponsorship money, mainly from Reebok, then a share of the PPV revenue, which looks set to top the number of buys for his rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202
White says UFC 205 has already broken the all-time gate record at Madison Square Garden. The gate record was set in 1999 with a boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis which drew takings of $13.5 million at the door. The UFC’s own gate record of just over $12 million was set at UFC 129 when more than 55,000 people paid in to see Georges St-Pierre defeat Jake Shields in Canada.
We’ve been in all the biggest and best arenas all over the world – Madison Square Garden is a big deal. All the legendary fights that have been held there, all the legendary events and we actually broke the gate record for Madison Square Garden. So far, so good. I’m excited…Obviously it’s our first time getting into MSG and it’s been such a big deal getting there [that] I wanted to make sure when we went to New York.
UFC numbers confirm McGregor is the biggest draw in the sport. McGregor has headlined three of five pay-per-view events that gained more than a million buys in the past ten months. Including his strong performance as the headliner of UFC 189, McGregor has sold a total of 5,275,000 pay-per-views in four outings at the top of the card. For comparison, Georges St-Pierre’s last six efforts after UFC 100 sold 4,635,000. The four cards Brock Lesnar headlined between 2009 and 2011 had 4,095,000 total buys. Also, each of the four events McGregor has headlined in Las Vegas produced more gate revenue than any prior show held in the city.