HBO's Mark Taffet Speaks with Doghouse on Mayweather, Jones Jr, Hopkins and Trinidad PPV Numbers
By Chee (April 16, 2006)
Mark Taffet, HBO's Sr. V.P. of Sports Operation and Pay-Per-View
Photo ©
Recently I wrote a small piece on Mayweather vs. Judah's PPV numbers in respect to other Big Players in the game that have been showcased on HBO-PPV. I compared recent PPV numbers involving fighters like Trinidad, Jones Jr and Hopkins with the numbers Floyd and Zab brought in. My feelings were that although the PPV numbers for Mayweather's latest outing are good, compared to other PPVs on HBO the numbers seemed to indicate not as good as they could have been. My feelings were that a good chunk of fans stayed away from the Mayweather-Judah PPV event. Since the time of airing that article on Doghouse, I've had the pleasant fortune of hooking up with Mark Taffet, HBO's 'Senior Vice President of Sports Operation and Pay-Per-View to discuss further the PPV numbers and hopefully to get his unique perspective on this matter. I feel it is always in the best interest to cover any story or debate from all angles, and Mark was kind enough to share his thoughts with our readers. If anyone should know more about the PPV numbers and be able to shed more light on the subject, than no one could be better to talk with than Mark.

Without pulling any teeth, here is what I got from Mark...

Mark Taffet writes:

Chee - I read your story about the Mayweather-Judah PPV performance as compared to Tarver-Jones III, Taylor-Hopkins II and Trinidad-Wright.

First of all, FYI, the April 8th Mayweather-Judah PPV event had a $44.95 suggested retail price. Prior to Zab’s loss to Baldomir, the Mayweather-Judah fight was going to have a suggested retail price of $49.95, but that was appropriately revised downward by $5 following the January loss by Judah. And please note that while HBOPPV provides a suggested retail price to cable and satellite systems, they are by law free to determine their own retail rates to consumers so it is possible that in a few isolated instances the price could have been different than $44.95.

Now to the main points.

Jones-Tarver I did 302,000 buys and Jones-Tarver II did 384,000 buys. Mayweather’s fights with Gatti (originally reported at 340,000 but now at 360,000 buys) and Judah (350,000 buys now, hopefully a bit higher when the dust settles in a few months) outperformed Jones-Tarver I and came within 8% of Jones-Tarver II --- an excellent relative performance by Mayweather’s first two PPV fights. While Tarver-Jones III was originally reported at 415,000 buys, the fight actually ended up generating around 440,000 buys, which was outstanding. And to expect Floyd’s first two PPV fights to outperform Tarver-Jones III --- the rubber match of a classic trilogy --- would be unfair. Also remember that Roy Jones generated 160,000-175,000 buys in his first few PPV bouts against Montell Griffin, Vinny Pazienza and Eric Harding, and didn’t really breakthrough on PPV until he fought John Ruiz for the heavyweight title (602,000) and then fought Tarver three times. So Mayweather’s first two PPV fights fare very well by these yardsticks.

Remember, Taylor-Hopkins II generated 410,000 buys after Hopkins-Taylor I generated 370,000 buys. At 370,000 buys, Hopkins-Taylor I compared very similarly to Mayweather’s first two PPV fights, and don’t forget that Hopkins had been in a 480,000-buy PPV fight with Trinidad in 2001 and a 1,000,000-buy event versus Oscar De La Hoya before the two fights with Jermain Taylor. With this as background, Mayweather’s first two PPV fights again stand up well in a relative comparison.

And Trinidad-Wright was a great success at 520,000 buys, but remember that 70,000 of those buys came from Tito’s homeland Puerto Rico where he is a “national” hero, so the 450,000 US buys are a better barometer when comparing to Mayweather’s bouts. Additionally, you must note that Trinidad had previously been in big PPV promotions against Hopkins (480,000 buys), Vargas (560,000 buys) and De La Hoya (1,400,000 buys) prior to the Winky Wright event. Again, when taking all this into account, Mayweather’s first two PPV events fare very well.

I hope this information provides some additional perspective. Mayweather-Gatti, Mayweather-Judah, Tarver-Jones I/II/III, Taylor-Hopkins I/II and Trinidad-Wright were all big events which were highly-anticipated by boxing fans. And we can all agree on this --- Floyd Mayweather’s first two PPV events were very successful, his performance in the ring in those bouts was scintillating, and the stage has been set for some big fights and successful events in the future --- all of which means boxing fans have a lot to look forward to.

Take care and always my pleasure--
Mark Taffet.
End of Mark Taffet's comments.

The point of my discussion with Mark was not to debate issues, but to get his perspective on what I wrote. So I will not debate anything Mark has written. Besides, It would be stupid of me to try and debate a guy who's job is to know the PPV numbers better than anyone... it would be like me picking a fist fight with Mayweather Jr. The results would be ugly. Instead I wanted a unique perspective and better understanding of the numbers and how they stack to past, present and future PPV events. There couldn't be a better person to speak with on this matter than Mark. And with that, I'd like to thank Mark Taffet for taking some time out to address my thoughts and give his in return. He certainly left myself and our readers with a lot of food for thought and a much better understanding of how HBO views these numbers and where Floyd Mayweather Jr., stands. After reading Mark's comments, I myself feel Mayweather's PPV numbers are leading in a good direction.... at least a much better direction than I felt earlier. Truly I can't say I would have ever felt this way until after getting Mark's comments and thoughts on the matter.

In retrospect, it's certainly easy from my side to read the numbers and come up with my own conclusions. Without speaking to Mark, all I have to go by and gauge are the numbers that are posted on the Net. Perhaps those numbers posted on numerous news-outlets are flat like the pixels on our screens that portray them, but those numbers do take on more of a three dimensional feel to them after someone close to the flames such as Mark can not only shed light on the numbers, but also offer up his unique perspective that he and only he can give.

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