The money that will be generated by the welterweight title unification fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao -- already expected to be a slam dunk to break every revenue record in combat sports history -- is growing by the day and could easily surpass $400 million.
The live gate for the joint Showtime/HBO pay-per-view fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will generate a staggering $74 million from the sale of a little more than 15,000 tickets, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, told ESPN.com on Monday.
That is more than 3½ times the gate record of $20,003,150 generated by ticket sales for Mayweather's junior middleweight unification fight against Canelo Alvarez, also at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in September 2013.
When Mayweather-Pacquiao was signed in late February, Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions were looking to double the gate record to $40 million, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Due to enormous demand, they raised the prices to $1,500 to $7,500 to max out at more than $50 million. Now, after shuffling the number of tickets in each price category and increasing the face value of the top ticket to $10,000, they have scaled the arena for about $74 million, Arum said.
"It's crazy, but it is what it is," Arum said. "It's amazing."
The vast majority of tickets will not be for public sale. The fighter camps, promoters, Showtime, HBO and the MGM Grand each control a share of tickets, which they will sell to their people and customers.
"We'll probably have a handful of tickets that will go on sale to the public next week," Arum said. "It's mania."
Most believe the fight, almost six years in the making, is a lock to shatter the pay-per-view record of 2.4 million buys generated by Mayweather's 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya. Many involved in the bout believe it will surpass 3 million pay-per-view buys. With the pay-per-view price expected to be around $100, that is potentially $300 million in domestic pay-per-view buys; the domestic sales include the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
The foreign rights are expected to bring in another $35 million, another record, Arum said. He said the television rights in Pacquiao's home country of the Philippines have been sold to Solar for $10 million, by far the record for a Pacquiao fight.
In Mexico, major broadcast networks Azteca and Televisa are bitter rivals when it comes to boxing programming, but they made a deal to both buy the rights to Mayweather-Pacquiao for a total of $2.3 million and will televise the fight simultaneously, Arum said.
There was a fierce bidding battle between beer companies Tecate and Corona to be one of the title sponsors. Arum said Tecate, which has sponsored Pacquiao and Top Rank fights for years, won with a record bid of $5.6 million. Corona, which has sponsored Mayweather's fights for years, bid $5.2 million, Arum said.
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"Tecate's bid is by far the record," Arum said. "We've never see anything like that on a beer sponsor. Both companies were after it. It's a huge number."
Tecate's logo is displayed on the official fight artwork -- along with logos for Top Rank, Mayweather Promotions, HBO, Showtime and the MGM Grand -- that was unveiled Monday.
"Between the gate, the foreign television sales and the closed circuit, which we can't even calculate yet, you're looking at over $120 million. And that's before one pay-per-view has been sold in the U.S.," Arum said.
Mayweather's side gets 60 percent of the revenue, and Pacquiao's side gets 40 percent.
"We wouldn't have gotten a fraction of these numbers if we made the fight five years ago," Arum said, referring to the original negotiations in late 2009 and early 2010 that failed and led to years of on-and-off talks. "It turned out that we're doing the fight at the right time, I guess, not that we're geniuses for waiting this long."
One reason it took so long for the fight to be finalized this time around is because they negotiated every little thing, Arum said. They even negotiated who gets to pick the singers for the national anthems before the fight.
The result: Arum said Pacquiao has approval rights over the singer of the Filipino national anthem and Mayweather will have the final say on the singer of "The Star Spangled Banner."