Professional sports is a huge business, and pay-per-view (PPV) events are drawing record number of viewers, with the recent Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight shattering PPV records. The UFC, professional wrestling and professional boxing have all experienced pay-per-view-success.
In recent years, there has been numerous PPV events that sold millions of buys and generated millions of dollars in revenue. The infographic below highlights the top 14 biggest pay-per-view sporting events in history, ranked based on the number of PPV buys they sold, with the revenue generated from each event included as well.
Here is some additional information about each event that made the list:
14. WrestleMania X-Seven: The seventeenth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), took place on April 1, 2001 at the Reliant Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The attendance at the Reliant Astrodome was 67,925 and the main event was a match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock for the WWF Championship.
13. WrestleMania XXVIII: The twenty-eighth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by WWE took place on April 1, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. The main event was a match between The Rock and John Cena.
12. Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya: Billed as “The Fight of the Millennium,” it was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 18, 1999 to unify the WBC and IBF's world Welterweight championships.
11. UFC 194: McGregor vs Aldo: The bout lasted only 13 seconds and the knockout was the fastest finish in UFC title fight history.
10. Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley: Billed as "He's Back,” this boxing match took place on August 19, 1995. It marked the return of Mike Tyson to professional boxing after more than four years away due to his 1991 arrest and subsequent conviction for rape in 1992.
9. Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson I: Billed as "Finally,” this professional boxing match was fought between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson for the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship on November 9, 1996 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada. It was Tyson's first defense of the WBA title that he had won from Bruce Seldon on September 7 earlier that year.
8. UFC 100: Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II: Held on July 11, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the main event was a rematch between UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.
7. UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2: Held on August 20, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, the welterweight rematch between The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner and former lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz and UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor was the headliner.
6. UFC 205: Alvarez vs McGregor: Held on November 12, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, which was the first UFC event hosted in NYC. It was described by UFC president Dana White as the "biggest fight card" in the company's history.
5. Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II: The fight was billed as "The Sound and the Fury" and took place on June 28, 1997, and afterwards infamously referred to as "The Bite Fight,” after Tyson bit off part of Holyfield's ear.
4. Mike Tyson vs. Lennox Lewis: This match took place on June 8, 2002 at the Pyramid Arena in Memphis, Tennessee. The fight was for Lewis' heavyweight championship titles. Lewis defeated Tyson by knockout in the eighth round.
3. Floyd Mayweather vs. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez: This bout was held on September 14, 2013, in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather received $41.5 million for this fight before taking into account pay-per-view sales, which he won in a 12-round majority decision.
2. Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr: Taking place on May 5, 2007, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, this was a match between six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya (38-4, 30 KO) and undefeated four-division champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (37-0, 24 KO). Mayweather Jr. won by split decision over De La Hoya in 12 rounds, winning the World Boxing Council (WBC) light middleweight title.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao: Billed as “The Fight of the Century,” or the “Battle for Greatness,” this match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao took place on May 2, 2015, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. won the contest by a unanimous decision.