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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

To Solar Sports, Pacquiao means ‘gold’

There is little doubt that Manny Pacquiao is one of the country’s most popular and richest product endorsers in the country today. While official figures on how much Pacquiao earns from product endorsements are hard to come by, the amount of ad money his fight telecasts attracts is almost mind-boggling.

In an interview with The Manila Times, the Solar Sports vice president for sales and marketing, Jude Turcuato, said Pacquiao’s five matches that were aired by the outfit since 2007 turned out to be “blockbusters.”

“Manny Pacquiao has transcended sports into the general consciousness of all Filipinos,” Turcuato added. “He is at the right place at the right time with the right talent. He is ready when the opportunity game is there because he delivers.”

The televised fights of Pacquiao, Turcuato claimed, are the highest-rated television programs in the history of Philippine broadcasting, and attracts from 40 to 50 advertisers per fight.

“He is definitely an ads-magnet,” said Turcuato, who noted that the last bout of Pacquiao against Oscar ‘the Golden Boy’ De La Hoya grossed the highest in terms of ad placements.

Another high-ranking Solar official said Pacquiao’s last five fights under Solar grossed from P90 to P120 million per fight from ad placements, with the De La Hoya fight grossing over P120 million.

“We definitely sell more [in terms of ad placements] than the P60 million we give Manny Pacquiao every fight,” the official said.

History with ‘PacMan’

Pacquiao’s first fight under Solar’s contract was on April 14, 2007, when the Filipino knocked out Jorge Solis in the eighth round. This was followed by Pacquiao’s second fight against Marco Antonio Barrera on October 6, 2007, when the Filipino won by unanimous decision; against Juan Manuel Marquez on March 15, 2008, when Pacquiao won by a split decision; against David Diaz on June 28, 2008, when the Filipino won via ninth-round technical knockout; and Pacquiao’s sterling performance against de la Hoya who refused to answer the bell for the ninth round.

Turcuato said Solar is expecting the May 2 bout between Manny Pacquiao and British boxing star Ricky “the Hitman” Hatton to attract the same level of advertising revenues like the Filipino’s fight with De La Hoya. “We are expecting the Hatton fight to generate about the same amount as the De La Hoya fight.”

Turcuato said big advertisers led by Smart Telecommunication, San Miguel Corp., United Laboratories and LBC, started to renew their contract with Solar Sports even before the fight Sunday (Saturday in Las Vegas).

“This is what we were caring about when Manny was misled regarding his signed contract under Solar,” Turcuato said. “We are just protecting the rights of our advertisers and others.”

Contract with Solar

Weeks before Pacquiao started the heavy phase of his training for the Hatton fight, the whole country became witness to PacMan’s jumping to ABS-CBN when he still had a live contract with Solar Sports.

But Solar Sports’ President Wilson Tieng and Chief Executive Officer Peter Chan Liong flew to US to negotiate with Pacquiao and successfully convinced him to stay and honor the remaining two years on his contract.

Pacquiao’s contract with the Solar Sports started on May 7, 2007 and runs until May 6, 2011.

Pacquiao eventually opted to stay with Solar Sports, and even as a word war between his camp and ABS-CBN ensued, the issue eventually died down.

Solar Sports has a block time agreement with ABS CBN’s rival network GMA 7, where Pacquiao has two programs—Totoy Bato and Pinoy Records.

Pacquiao’s commercial value is no doubt one of the highest among celebrities in the Philippines today, and his rags to riches story, plus his current status as pound-for-pound king makes him easy to sell to advertisers. Just ask Solar Sports.


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