GETTING the broadcast rights to the super fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. certainly didn’t come cheap for the country's three giant networks and a return of investment isn’t 100 percent guaranteed at all.
Executives of the GMA 7, ABS-CBN, and TV5 refused to divulge the exact amount they had to shell out to be able to air the so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ simultaneously on May 3 (Manila time) in a landmark event never before seen in the history of Philippine sports.
The three networks bought the airing rights from Solar Entertainment Corp., which owns the rights of the feed for the Pacquiao-Mayweather welterweight title unification match straight from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Solar Sports, which has aired Pacquiao’s last 23 fights over a span of 12 years, again secured the media broadcast rights here of the richest fight in boxing history for an eye-popping US$10 million (P440 million).
SPORTS 5 head Chot Reyes could only smile when asked how much it cost the ‘Kapatid’ network to have the fight shown on the free-television channel owned by businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan.
But asked by Spin.ph to give at least a ballpark estimate of the money involved, the former champion coach turned television executive also had a meaningful reply.
“It’s a big ballpark,” he said before bursting into laughter.
Although he remained tight-lipped on the exact figure, Reyes said the amount shelled out by each network varied according to the deal it struck with Solar Sports.
“Iba-iba, eh. Kasi hindi lang nman free-to-air ang kinuha namin,” said Reyes. “Like for us, we also have to get the digital and mobile services. Sa mobile, exclusive sa Smart `yun.
“That’s why it’s different. Sa pay-per-view, you have Cignal and Skycable. So may kanya-kanyang exclusive. Sa radio, exclusive yun sa GMA (DZBB), while kami naman exclusive sa mobile.”
And contrary to the belief of many that airing the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will mean fast cash for all three networks, Reyes stressed it’s not necessarily true.
“To be honest, it can turn out to be a losing proposition,” the former varsity star from Ateneo said, pointing to the unique broadcast set-up the networks reached with Solar.
According to Reyes, ABS-CBN, GMA, and SPORTS 5 cannot sell commercial spots during the fight since the marketing and selling aspect are all controlled by Solar Sports.
All three networks also don't stand to get a share from all commercial revenues earned by Solar.
“Sila (Solar) lang ang puwedeng magbenta. We pay to actually get the rights without the opportunity to sell,“ disclosed the Sports5 head. “Grabe rin ang ginawang sakripisyo ng mga networks, but it’s all because we want this to make it happen.”
"Sila (Solar) bawi nila. Kami hindi."
On the part of the ‘Kapatid’ network, Reyes said it will try to make up a little of its expected losses through marketing and selling of subscriptions through mobile and pay-per-view, of which Cignal is reportedly charging P2,000.
“But we’re going to exert all our effort to market and sell the subscriptions and anything else that we can do given the restrictions," he said.
For the MVP-owned station, what is more important is to be part of the historic event, Reyes said.
“We were willing, maski malugi it didn’t matter to us. Basta gusto namin makasama,” said Reyes. “More than the business side, for us it was really the ability to be part of the 'Fight of the Century' so hindi na namanin iniisip masyado yun.
“Sabi ko nga, pag ganito walang ‘Kapamilya’, ‘Kapuso,’ at ‘Kapatid.’ Lahat Ka-Pacquiao.’”