Sky Sports has taken the British and Irish rights to the long-awaited world welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The 2nd May bout, which is set to be the richest in boxing history, will air exclusively live in the UK and Ireland on the pay-per-view Sky Sports Box Office platform. Financial terms were not released but The Telegraph suggests Sky has paid between UK£10 million and UK£12 million to see off the challenge of pay-TV rival BT Sport and Frank Warren's BoxNation subscription service.
Viewers will be expected to pay UK£19.95 or €24.95 to watch the contest - some way short of the US$99.95 being charged for HD broadcast in the US - if they book coverage before 1st May. Earlier reports had indicated that the fight could be expected to generate more than UK£30 million in revenue for its UK broadcaster.
"This fight has everything and is set to be one of the biggest sports events of the year," said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis. "As the home of boxing in the UK and Republic of Ireland, we’re thrilled to be awarded the rights.
"We’ll provide Sky Sports viewers with the best possible build-up across our channels and outlets and the best coverage of the fight itself from our team in Las Vegas."
In the US, the fight will be showcased in a joint pay-per-view broadcast between competing premium networks HBO, to which Pacquiao is tied, and Showtime, with which Mayweather signed a six-fight deal in 2013. It is only the second time the two channels have worked together, the first being Lennox Lewis' world heavyweight title defence against Mike Tyson in June 2002.
The undefeated American Mayweather will be the slight favourite against Pacquiao, an eight-weight world titlist and Filipino congressman, when the two meet at the MGM Grand. The bout has been several years in the making, with Mayweather Promotions finally confirming a deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank Boxing, Pacquiao's promoter, late last month.