Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn, known as “The Battle Of Brisbane,” is the highest-rated fight for cable television since 2010 and breaks the old record for most watched fight on ESPN that was set in the 1990s. The average rating throughout the program was a 1.8 metered market rating. On ESPN streaming digital platforms the fight averaged 78,000 viewers with 392,000 unique viewers over the course of the program. ESPN Deportes attracted an average of 1,400 viewers with 7,800 unique viewers.
According to ESPN Media Zone the cities with the highest market ratings were Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham, New Orleans, and San Diego.
While Manny Pacquiao had some disappointing pay-per-view figures in his post-Mayweather fights he certainly has held his own as a popular fighter amongst casual sports fans. The discrepancy between the low PPV numbers and the high cable TV viewership really highlights how big the barrier to entry the PPV price tag is. It is apparent that there is a market for people who want to watch high quality fights but boxing doesn’t seem to be able to provide enough value for people to be willing to pay money to watch as well as overcome the opportunity cost of all the other forms of entertainment customers could have on a Saturday night.
Luckily for Top Rank and ESPN, the fight was entertaining but was unfortunately overshadowed by the very controversial decision victory for Jeff Horn. This is a big month of boxing leading up to Mayweather-McGregor