Not to be confused with pay television.

Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of pay television service by which a subscriber of a television service provider can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it (as opposed to video-on-demand systems, which allow viewers to see recorded broadcasts at any time). Events can be purchased using an on-screen guide, an automated telephone system, or through a live customer service representative. Events often include feature films, sporting events, and other entertainment programs. With the rise of the Internet, the term Internet pay-per-view (iPPV) has been used to describe pay-per-view services accessed online. PPV is most commonly used to distribute combat sports events, such as boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling.

North America

United States

The Zenith Phonevision system became the first pay-per-view system to be tested in the United States. Developed in 1951, it used telephone lines to take and receive orders, as well as to descramble a television broadcast signal. The field tests conducted for Phonevision lasted for 90 days and were tested in Chicago, Illinois. The system used IBM punch cards to descramble a signal broadcast during the broadcast station's "off-time". Both systems showed promise, but the Federal Communications Commission denied them the permits to operate.[1]

One of the earliest pay-per-view systems on cable television, the Optical Systems-developed Channel 100, first began service in 1972 in San Diego, California through Mission Cable[2] (which was later acquired by Cox Communications) and TheaterVisioN, which operated out of Sarasota, Florida. These early systems quickly went out of business, as the cable industry adopted satellite technology and as flat-rate pay television services such as Home Box Office (HBO) became popular.

Boxing was first introduced to pay-per-view with the "Thrilla in Manila" fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in September 1975 (which was also transmitted through HBO); there was also another major title fight aired on pay-per-view in 1980, when Roberto Durán defeated Sugar Ray Leonard. Cable companies offered the match for $10, and about 155,000 customers paid to watch the fight.[3][4]

A major pay-per-view event occurred on September 16, 1981, when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas "Hitman" Hearns for the World Welterweight Championship. Viacom Cablevision in Nashville, Tennessee – the first system to offer the event – saw over 50 percent of its subscriber base purchase the fight. Leonard visited Nashville to promote the fight, and the event proved such a success that Viacom themed its annual report for that year around it. Viacom marketing director Pat Thompson put together the fight, and subsequently put together additional PPV fights, wrestling matches, and even a televised Broadway play.

After leaving Viacom, Thompson became head of Sports View and produced the first pay-per-view football game on October 16, 1983, a college football game between the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama from Birmingham, Alabama. Sports View played a role in building pay-per-view networks, and became the early pioneer in developing TigerVision for Louisiana State University, TideVision for Alabama and UT Vol Seat for Tennessee. Sports View also produced the Ohio State-Michigan football game for pay-per-view in November 1983.

In 1985, the first pay-per-view cable channels in the United States – Viewer's Choice (now In Demand), Cable Video Store, First Choice and Request TV – began operation within days of each other. Viewer's Choice serviced both home satellite dish and cable customers, while Request TV, though broadcasting to cable viewers, would not become available to satellite subscribers until the 1990s. First Choice PPV was available on Rogers Cablesystems in the United States and Canada. After Paragon Cable acquired the Rogers Cablesystems franchise in San Antonio, Texas, First Choice continued to be carried until Time Warner Cable bought Paragon in 1996. In the United States, pay-per-view broadcasters transmit without advertisements, similar to conventional flat-rate pay television services.

The term "pay-per-view" did not come into general use until the late 1980s when companies such as Viewer's Choice, HBO and Showtime started using the system to show movies and some of their productions. Viewer's Choice carried movies, concerts and other events, with live sporting events such as WrestleMania being the most predominant programming. Prices ranged from $3.99 to $49.99, while HBO and Showtime, with their event production legs TVKO and SET Pay Per View, would offer championship boxing matches ranging from $14.99 to $54.99.

ESPN later began to televise college football and basketball games on pay-per-view through its services ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court, which were eventually sold as full-time out-of-market sports packages. The boxing undercard Latin Fury, shown on June 28, 2003, became ESPN's first boxing card on pay-per-view and also the first pay-per-view boxing card held in Puerto Rico. Pay-per-view has provided a revenue stream for professional wrestling circuits such as WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (ROH) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA).

WWE chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon is considered by many as one of the icons of pay-per-view promotion. McMahon owns the domain name, which redirects to the WWE website.[5]


In 2006, HBO generated 3.7 million pay-per-view buys with $177 million in gross sales. The only year with more buys previously, 1999, had a total of 4 million. The former record fell in 2007 when HBO sold 4.8 million PPV buys with $255 million in sales.[6] In 2014, HBO generated 59.3 million buys and $3.1 billion in revenue since its 1991 debut with Evander Holyfield-George Foreman.[7]

1999 differed radically from 2006: 1999 saw four major fight cards: De La Hoya-Trinidad (1.4 million buys), Holyfield-Lewis I (1.2 million), Holyfield-Lewis II (850,000) and De La Hoya-Quartey (570,000). By contrast, only one pay-per-view mega-fight took place in 2006: De La Hoya-Mayorga (925,000 buys). Rahman-Maskaev bombed with under 50,000. The other eight PPV cards that year all fell in the 325,000–450,000 range. Pay-per-view fights in that range almost always generate more money for the promoter and fighters than HBO wants to pay for an HBO World Championship Boxing license-fee.

In May 2007, the super-welterweight boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. on HBO PPV became the biggest-selling non-heavyweight title fight, with a little more than 2.5 million buyers.[8] The fight itself generated roughly $134.4 million in domestic PPV revenue, making it the most lucrative prizefight of all time at that time. The record stood until 2015 before it was broken by Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao in a fight dubbed as the "Fight of the Century" on May 2, 2015 which generated 4.6 million ppv buys and a revenue of over $400 million.[9]

The leading PPV attraction, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has generated approximately 19.5 million buys and $1.3 billion in revenue. Manny Pacquiao, ranked second, has generated approximately 19.2 million buys and $1.2 billion in revenue.[10][11] Oscar De La Hoya, has "sold" approximately 14 million units in total, giving $700 million in domestic television receipts and stands third. In fourth place in buys, Evander Holyfield has achieved 12.6 million units ($550 million); and at fifth, Mike Tyson has reached 12.4 million units ($545 million).[12]

Ross Greenburg, then president of HBO Sports, called the expansion of pay-per-view "the biggest economic issue in boxing", stating "I can't tell you that pay-per-view helps the sport because it doesn't. It hurts the sport because it narrows our audience, but it's a fact of life. Every time we try to make an HBO World Championship Boxing fight, we're up against mythical pay-per-view numbers. HBO doesn't make a lot of money from pay-per-view. There's usually a cap on what we can make. But the promoters and fighters insist on pay-per-view because that's where their greatest profits lie."[13]

"It's a big problem," Greenburg continues. "It's getting harder and harder to put fighters like Manny Pacquiao on HBO World Championship Boxing. If Floyd Mayweather beats Oscar, he might never fight on HBO World Championship Boxing again. But if HBO stopped doing pay-per-view, the promoters would simply do it on their own [like Bob Arum did with Cotto-Malignaggi in June 2006] or find someone else who will do it for them."[13]

Former HBO Sports President Seth Abraham concurs, saying, "I think, if Lou (DiBella) and I were still at HBO, we'd be in the same pickle as far as the exodus of fights to pay-per-view is concerned."[14]


Select HBO, Showtime, and Top Rank PPV boxing buy-rates between 1988 and 2016:

Date Fight Result Carrier Buy rate
Jun 27, 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks Tyson wins by KO in round 1 HBO 700,000[15]
Oct 25, 1990 Buster Douglas vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by KO in round 3 HBO 1,000,000[15]
Apr 19, 1991 Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman Holyfield wins by UD (116–111, 117–110, 115–112) HBO 1,400,000[16]
Oct 18, 1991 Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison Mercer wins by KO in round 5 HBO 200,000[17]
Jun 19, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Larry Holmes Holyfield wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) HBO 730,000[18]
Nov 13, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Bowe wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 115–112) HBO 900,000[19]
Jun 7, 1993 George Foreman vs. Tommy Morrison Morrison wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 118–108) HBO 600,000[20]
Nov 6, 1993 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield II Holyfield wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) HBO 950,000[21]
Nov 18, 1994 James Toney vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by UD (119–108, 118–109, 117–110) HBO 300,000[22]
May 6, 1995 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Rafael Ruelas De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 2 HBO 330,000[23]
Aug 19, 1995 Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley Tyson wins by DQ in round 1 Showtime 1,550,000[16]
Nov 4, 1995 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III Bowe wins by TKO in round 8 HBO 650,000[24]
Mar 16, 1996 Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 Showtime 1,370,000[16]
Sep 7, 1996 Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson Tyson wins by TKO in round 1 Showtime 1,150,000[16]
Nov 9, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by TKO in round 11 Showtime 1,590,000[16]
Apr 12, 1997 Pernell Whitaker vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by UD (115–111, 116–110, 116–110) HBO 720,000[25]
Jun 28, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II Holyfield wins by DQ in round 3 Showtime 1,990,000[16]
Sep 13, 1997 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Héctor Camacho De La Hoya wins by UD (120–106, 120–105, 118–108) HBO 560,000[25]
Oct 4, 1997 Lennox Lewis vs. Andrew Golota Lewis wins by KO in round 1 HBO 300,000[26]
Nov 8, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Michael Moorer II Holyfield wins by RTD in round 8 Showtime 550,000[27]
Jan 16, 1999 Mike Tyson vs. Francois Botha Tyson wins by KO in round 5 Showtime 750,000[28]
Mar 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Draw (116–113, 113–115, 115–115) HBO 1,200,000[29]
Sep 18, 1999 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad Trinidad wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) HBO 1,400,000[16]
Nov 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis II Lewis wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 115–113) HBO 850,000[29]
Apr 29, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant Lewis wins by KO in round 2 HBO 340,000[29]
Jun 17, 2000 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley Mosley wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) HBO 590,000[25]
Sep 9, 2000 Roy Jones Jr. vs. Eric Harding Jones Jr. wins by RTD in round 10 HBO 125,000[30]
Oct 20, 2000 Mike Tyson vs. Andrew Golota Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 (later changed to an NC) Showtime 450,000[31]
Nov 11, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua Lewis wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 117–111) HBO 420,000[29]
Mar 3, 2001 Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz Ruiz wins by UD (116–110, 115–111, 114–111) Showtime 185,000[32]
Apr 7, 2001 Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Naseem Hamed Barrera wins by UD (116–111, 115–112, 115–112) HBO 310,000[33]
Nov 17, 2001 Hasim Rahman vs. Lennox Lewis II Lewis wins by KO in round 4 HBO 460,000[34]
Jun 8, 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson Lewis wins by KO in round 8 HBO/Showtime 1,970,000[16]
Sep 14, 2002 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 11 HBO 935,000[25]
Feb 22, 2003 Mike Tyson vs. Clifford Etienne Tyson wins by KO in round 1 Showtime 100,000[32]
Mar 1, 2003 John Ruiz vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by UD (118–110, 117–111, 116–112) HBO 525,000[32]
Sep 13, 2003 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley II Mosley wins by UD (113–115, 113–115, 113–115) HBO 950,000[25]
Oct 4, 2003 James Toney vs. Evander Holyfield Toney wins by TKO in round 9 Showtime 150,000[35]
Nov 8, 2003 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. Jones Jr. wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) HBO 302,000[36]
May 15, 2004 Roy Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver II Tarver wins by KO in round 2 HBO 360,000[37]
Sep 18, 2004 Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya Hopkins wins by KO in round 9 HBO 1,000,000[25]
Dec 11, 2004 Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams Klitschko wins by TKO in round 8 HBO 120,000[38]
Mar 19, 2005 Érik Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao Morales wins by UD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113) HBO 345,000[39]
Jun 11, 2005 Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride McBride wins by TKO in round 7 Showtime 250,000[40]
Jun 25, 2005 Arturo Gatti vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Jr. wins by RTD in round 6 HBO 340,000[39]
Oct 1, 2005 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr. III Tarver wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) HBO 405,000[41]
Jan 21, 2006 Manny Pacquiao vs Érik Morales II Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 10 HBO 360,000[42]
Apr 8, 2006 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Zab Judah Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 119–109) HBO 375,000[42]
May 6, 2006 Ricardo Mayorga vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 6 HBO 925,000[43]
Nov 4, 2006 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Carlos Baldomir Mayweather, Jr. wins by UD (120–108, 120–108, 118–110) HBO 325,000[42]
Nov 18, 2006 Manny Pacquiao vs Érik Morales III Pacquiao wins by KO in round 3 HBO 350,000[42]
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Jr. wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) HBO 2,400,000[16]
Oct 10, 2007 Manny Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera II Pacquiao wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 115–112) HBO 350,000[44]
Dec 8, 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Ricky Hatton Mayweather, Jr. wins by TKO in round 10 HBO 920,000[45]
Mar 15, 2008 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez II Pacquiao wins by SD (115–112, 114–113, 112–115) HBO 400,000[46]
Jun 28, 2008 David Díaz vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 9 HBO 206,000[47]
Nov 8, 2008 Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr. Calzaghe wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 118–109) HBO 225,000[48]
Dec 6, 2008 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by RTD in round 8 HBO 1,250,000[16]
May 2, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton Pacquiao wins by KO in round 2 HBO 850,000[49]
Sep 19, 2009 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (120–107, 119–108, 118–109) HBO 1,060,000[45]
Nov 14, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 12 HBO 1,250,000[50]
Mar 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 119–109, 120–108) HBO 700,000[51]
May 1, 2010 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 119–109) HBO 1,400,000[16]
Nov 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Pacquiao wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 119–109) HBO 1,150,000[52]
May 7, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley Pacquiao wins by UD (119–108, 120–108, 120–107) Showtime 1,340,000[53]
Sep 17, 2011 Victor Ortiz vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather Jr. wins by KO in round 4 HBO 1,250,000[54]
Nov 13, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez III Pacquiao wins by MD (115–113, 114–114, 116–112) HBO 1,400,000[55]
Dec 3, 2011 Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II Cotto wins by RTD in round 9 HBO 600,000[56]
May 5, 2012 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Miguel Cotto Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 118–110) HBO 1,500,000[57]
Jun 9, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113) HBO 890,000[58]
Sep 15, 2012 Sergio Martínez vs. Julio César Chávez Jr. Martínez wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 117–110) HBO 475,000[59]
Dec 8, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV Márquez wins by KO in round 6 HBO 1,150,000[60]
May 4, 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 117–111) Showtime 1,000,000[61]
Sep 14, 2013 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Álvarez Mayweather, Jr. wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) Showtime 2,200,000[62]
Oct 12, 2013 Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 116–112, 113–115) HBO 375,000[63]
Nov 24, 2013 Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Ríos Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 120–108, 118–110) HBO 475,000[64]
Mar 8, 2014 Canelo Álvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo Álvarez wins by TKO in Round 10 Showtime 350,000[65]
Apr 12, 2014 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II Pacquiao wins by UD (116–112, 116–112, 118–110) HBO 800,000[66]
May 3, 2014 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana Mayweather Jr. wins by MD (114–114, 117–111, 116–112) Showtime 900,000[67]
Jun 7, 2014 Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martínez Cotto wins by RTD in round 10 HBO 315,000[68]
Jul 12, 2014 Canelo Álvarez vs. Erislandy Lara Álvarez wins by SD (115–113, 117–111, 113–115) Showtime 300,000[69]
Sep 13, 2014 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Marcos Maidana II Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–111, 116–111, 115–112) Showtime 925,000[67]
Nov 23, 2014 Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri Pacquiao wins by UD (119–103, 119–103, 120–102) HBO 400,000[70]
May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (116–112, 116–112, 118–110) HBO/Showtime 4,600,000[71]
Sep 12, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Andre Berto Mayweather Jr. wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 117–111) Showtime 400,000[72]
Oct 17, 2015 Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux Golovkin wins via TKO in round 8 HBO 150,000[73]
Nov 21, 2015 Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Álvarez Álvarez wins by UD (117–111, 119–109, 118–110) HBO 900,000[74]
Apr 9, 2016 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley III Pacquiao wins by UD (116–110, 116–110, 116–110) HBO 400,000[75]
May 7, 2016 Canelo Álvarez vs. Amir Khan Álvarez wins by KO in round 6 HBO 600,000[76]
July 23, 2016 Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol Crawford wins by UD (118–107, 118–107, 117–108) HBO 55,000[77]
Sep 17, 2016 Canelo Álvarez vs. Liam Smith Álvarez wins by TKO in round 9 HBO 300,000[78]
Nov 5, 2016 Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas Pacquiao wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 114–113) Top Rank 300,000[79]
Nov 19, 2016 Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward Ward wins by UD (114–113, 114–113, 114–113) HBO 160,000[80]

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a relative newcomer on the pay-per-view scene, matched the once-dominant World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. in pay-per-view revenues during 2006 and surpassed boxing titan HBO. The three companies make up the bulk of the pay-per-view business. According to Deana Myers, a senior analyst at Kagan Research LLC (which tracks the PPV industry), "UFC has reinvigorated the pay-per-view category."[81]

The highest buy rates for the UFC as of August 2016 are as follows:


Note: The UFC does not release official PPV statistics, and the following PPV numbers are as reported by industry insiders.

No. Date Event Buy rate Revenue
1 Aug 20, 2016 UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 1,650,000[83][84]
2 Jul 11, 2009 UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir 2 1,600,000 $82million
3 Mar 5, 2016 UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz 1,600,000[85]
4 Dec 12, 2015 UFC 194: Aldo vs. McGregor 1,400,000 [86] $90million
5 Jul 9, 2016 UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes 1,200,000 [87]
6 Jul 3, 2010 UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin 1,160,000 $55million
7 Nov 15, 2015 UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm 1,100,000 $60million
8 Dec 30, 2006 UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 1,050,000 $53million
9 May 29, 2010 UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans 1,050,000
10 Oct 23, 2010 UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez 1,050,000 $45million
11 Dec 28, 2013 UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva II 1,025,000[88]
12 Nov 15, 2008 UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar 1,010,000 $47million
13 Dec 27, 2008 UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 1,000,000
14 Mar 16, 2013 UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz 950,000
15 Jul 7, 2012 UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II 925,000
16 Jan 31, 2009 UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 920,000
17 Aug 1, 2015 UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia 900,000
18 Aug 8, 2009 UFC 101: Declaration 850,000
19 Mar 27, 2010 UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy 850,000
20 Jul 11, 2015 UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor 825,000
21 Apr 30, 2011 UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields 800,000
22 Dec 11, 2010 UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2 800,000
23 Jan 3, 2015 UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier 800,000

Professional wrestling

Professional wrestling has a long history of running pay-per-view events. WWE (then WWF) launched its first pay-per-view event in 1985 with WrestleMania I and has run numerous others throughout the years. Other major organisations such as WCW, ECW and TNA have also run pay-per-view events.

The highest buy rates for professional wrestling events as of June 2015 are as follows:[89]

No. Date Event Buy rate
1 Apr 1, 2012 WrestleMania XXVIII 1,217,000
2 Apr 1, 2007 WrestleMania 23 1,200,000
3 Apr 3, 2005 WrestleMania 21 1,085,000
4 Apr 3, 2011 WrestleMania XXVII 1,059,000
5 Mar 30, 2008 WrestleMania XXIV 1,058,000
6 Apr 7, 2013 WrestleMania 29 1,048,000
7 Apr 1, 2001 WrestleMania X-Seven 1,040,000
8 Mar 14, 2004 WrestleMania XX 1,007,000
9 Apr 2, 2006 WrestleMania 22 975,000
10 Apr 5, 2009 WrestleMania XXV 960,000
11 Mar 28, 2010 WrestleMania XXVI 885,000
12 Mar 17, 2002 WrestleMania X8 880,000
13 Apr 2, 2000 WrestleMania 2000 824,000
14 Mar 28, 1999 WrestleMania XV 800,000
15 Jul 22, 2001 WWF/E Invasion 770,000


In Canada, most cable, satellite, and IPTV service providers provide pay-per-view programming through one or more services. Historically, PPV operations were required to be outsourced to a third-party operator, such as Viewers Choice, which had sole rights to offer PPV programming in a particular language and/or part of the country regardless of service provider. However, the PPV market was opened to competition in the late 1990s, and since then PPV service ownership has been consolidated under the large Canadian service providers, including Shaw PPV (Shaw Cable / Shaw Direct), Vu! (Bell TV), Sportsnet PPV (Rogers), Canal Indigo (Videotron), and SaskTel PPV, while Viewers Choice will be winding down operations in September 2014. In all cases, prices typically range from around C$4.99 (for movies) up to $50 or more for special events.

South America

Per nations with Pay-Per-View or PPV system in South América


Torneos y Competencias, is a producer and sports events organization that broadcasts live main matches of Argentine Soccer in four categories on TyC Sports and TyC Max


In the soccer main matches of Serie A (Six games per matchday) and Serie B (Four games per matchday) in two categories of Brazilian Soccer are broadcast live on Premiere FC and SporTV. The Serie C Championship are broadcast live on SporTV with two games per matchday in Pay TV. In other sports are broadcast live on NBB TV (Exclusive channel of Brazilian Basketball League in Premium system)


In Chile the exclusive rights of Chilean Soccer are owned by TV Fútbol and broadcast live on a channel called Canal Del Fútbol (The Soccer Channel), also known CDF. Sports Field S.A. has exclusive rights to games on the Chilean professional basketball league, which are broadcast live vía CDO (Premium Signal)


The Teledeportes business have exclusive rights to broadcast live main matches of Paraguayan Soccer in four categories vía Tigo Max and Tigo Sports. Teledeportes have live broadcast live of Paraguayan Basketball League is broadcast live Monday at 7:55 pm on Tigo Max (K.O 20:10) and Thursday at 8:00 pm on Tigo Sports (K.O 20:15).


The Tenfield producer business and sports events organization have television exclusive rights for the main matches of Uruguayan soccer and basketball, which are broadcast on VTV Max and VTV Sports.



Cable communications operator UPC Romania has notified the National Audiovisual Council (CNA) on the intention to introduce in January, February 2014 at the latest, an on-demand audiovisual media service called Agerpres. According to the manager of UPC Romania-owned Smaranda Radoi UPC, will allow customers to watch movies on demand or live events; as well as broadcasts of performances, concerts and sporting events.


In November 2008, pay-per-view made its debut in Albania through Digitalb on terrestrial and satellite television, with the channel DigiGold.[90]

United Kingdom

Viewers in the United Kingdom can access pay-per-view via satellite, cable and over-the-internet television services, mainly for films – with services such as Sky Box Office. Broadcasters (most notably PremPlus) have largely abandoned their aspirations to introduce PPV into the sports market due to poor take-up; as of 2009 it carries only occasional boxing matches and all of the WWE pay-per-view events. In February 2014, WWE launched their subscription-based video streaming service, the WWE Network, which was launched in the UK and Ireland on 13 January 2015; this would have a considerable impact on pay-per-view services in the UK.


Launched in the late 1990s, Canalsat (Ciné+) and TPS (Multivision) operate their own pay-per-view service. While CanalSat holds the rights to live soccer matches for France's Ligue 1, TPS had the rights for Boxe matches. In 2007, Multivision service ceased by the end of TPS service which merged with Canalsat. Nowadays, Ciné+ is the only existing pay-per-view service in France.


Fight Channel is broadcasting martial arts events organized by the world's most prominent fighting organizations, such as the UFC, K-1, HBO Boxing, Dream, Glory WS, World Series of Boxing etc. and its pay-per-view service covers the Balkans region.

Australia and the Pacific Islands

Foxtel and Optus Vision introduced pay-per-view direct to home television in Australia in the mid-to-late 1990s. Foxtel had Event TV (until it transformed into its current form; Main Event) while, Optus Vision had Main Attraction Pay-Per-View as its provider. As of 2005, Main Event is the current pay-per-view provider through Foxtel and Optus cable/satellite subscription.

Sky Pacific started a service in Fiji in 2005 and then expanded into American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati (East), Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, with one, out of their 25 channels, being Pay-Per-View.[91]



In Malaysia, Astro's Astro Box Office service launched in 2000 in the form of the free-to-air "Astro Showcase".


SkyPerfecTV subscribers can receive one-click pay-per-view access to hundreds of channels supplying domestic and international sporting events (including WWE events), movies, and specialty programming, either live or later on continuous repeat on its channel.


In India a pay-per-view service operates; however, pay-per-view sports broadcasts are not available.

See also


  1. FCC Squares Off to Face Subscription TV Dilemma", Broadcasting-Telecasting, November 15, 1954, p31-32
  2. Mullen, Megan Gwynne (2003). The Rise of Cable Programming in the United States: revolution or evolution?. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75273-3.
  3. Steve Seepersaud. "Money in Boxing: The Pay-Per-View Craze". Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  4. Steve Seepersaud. "Money in Boxing: The Pay-Per-View Craze". Retrieved 2011-11-03.
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