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The fight of the century this weekend between Floyd "Money" Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was also the payday of the century.
But did revenue from the boxing match at the MGM Grand Arena Saturday night surpass the Gross Domestic Products of nearly 30 countries? That was the claim made a couple of times during the HBO/Showtime pay-per-view broadcast.
Ticket sales topped $74 million (more than the Super Bowl), organizers said, and another 3 million people were expected to fork over $100 to watch the fight at home. Add in other sources of revenue and Saturday’s event was projected to generate an estimated $400 million.
That’s "larger than the annual GDP of 29 different countries," HBO boxing sportscaster Jim Lampley said during the live broadcast.
We’re not sure where Lampley and event organizers got their information from -- we weren’t able to get in touch with him or someone from HBO -- but that figure is way off, according to the World Bank, which tracks global financial data for about 200 countries and territories.
There are only six countries with an annual Gross Domestic Product of less than $400 million, according to the bank’s 2013 ranking. (GDP is the monetary value of all goods and services that an economy produces in a year and a standard measurement of an economy’s size).
All six are tiny island nations. Here are their 2013 GDPs:
Micronesia: $316 million
Sao Tome and Principe: $311 million
Palau: $247 million
Marshall Islands: $191 million
Kiribati: $169 million
Tuvalu: $38 million
The country with the seventh-lowest GDP is Tonga, with a GDP of $466 million, just surpassing the estimated revenue of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. For comparison, the United States had the world’s largest GDP in 2013 -- $16.8 trillion.
We think one explanation for the large discrepancy with Lampley’s claim is the fact that the World Bank doesn’t have GDP data for 22 economies.
But of the missing 22, most are territories of other nations -- for example the United States territory of Guam or the British territory of the Cayman Islands. Only six without a 2013 World Bank GDP are fully independent nations: Andorra, North Korea, Liechtenstein, Myanmar, Somalia and Syria.
We looked up the most recent GDP estimates we could find for each country to see if any were less than $400 million, but we found that all six exceeded that amount:
Andorra: $3.7 billion (2008 -- World Bank)
North Korea: $28 billion (2009 -- CIA World Factbook)
Liechtenstein: $4.8 billion (2009 -- World Bank)
Myanmar: $64.3 billion (2014 -- CIA World Factbook)
Somalia: $2.4 billion (2010 -- CIA World Factbook)
Syria: $40.4 billion (2007 -- World Bank)
So in total, only six countries have GDPs smaller than the revenue brought in by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
Lampley said the revenue brought in by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was "larger than the annual GDP of 29 different countries."
The match was estimated to generate about $400 million, which is a lot of money, to be sure. But only six out of the world’s nearly 200 countries have GDPs smaller than that, according to World Bank data.
We’re KO’ing this claim. Pants on Fire!
Correction: All 50 U.S. states have a gross state product in excess of $400 million. An earlier version of this fact-check was incorrect on this point.
World Bank, Databank, Gross Domestic Product 2013
World Bank, Databank, country information, accessed May 3, 2015
CIA World Factbook, country profiles, accessed May 3, 2015
ESPN, "Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao in unanimous decision," May 2, 2015
ESPN, "Mayweather-Pacquiao gate soaring," March 24, 2015
CNN, "Face-off: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao by the numbers," May 3, 2015
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