Tickets for bout are not flying out door
Less than three weeks before Mayweather meets McGregor, fight is not sold out.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor are both apt to flaunt their wealth outside the boxing ring and UFC octagon.
And with ticket prices set for their Aug. 26 fight among the highest in sports history, both fighters are counting on those attending to do the same.
Ringside seats cost $10,000 apiece at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the same price for a ticket to Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. A mid-level ticket in the 20,000-plus-seat arena’s upper bowl will cost $3,500, while the cheapest ticket offered fetched $500, with those selling out quickly.
Mayweather had a prominent voice in setting the prices — despite objections by those more astute in the ticket-selling business.
Mayweather, his fight manager Al Haymon and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe had reason to aim high in what’s expected to be the 40-yearold fighter’s farewell from the ring against the charismatic McGregor, a 6-1 underdog making his pro boxing debut.
Their four-city international press tour to Los Angeles, Toronto, New York and London last month proved they’d captured the world’s attention as more than 10,000 fans appeared at each stop to hail and jeer the five-division champion Mayweather and recent two-belt UFC champion McGregor.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said AEG President Dan Beckerman, whose company staged three of the tour stops and counts TMobile Arena among its sports empire. “I was blown away by the response for the press conferences. It was clear that the demand for this fight was going to be incredible.”
The question now is, will that enthusiasm fill the arena?
Officials connected to the public sale of tickets said that, as of late last week, 3,000 seats remained, with brokers and ticketing agents estimating that 4,000 more are still available on the secondary market.
That’s potentially as many as 7,000 tickets to be sold less than three weeks before fight night.
“This money-grab fight is a promotion to see how much can be made off one night,” said Oscar De La Hoya, a fight promoter and former six-division world champion who is staging a competing Southland fight card that same night and the Sept. 16 middleweight title match between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. “When you see their commercial, hear [the participants] talk about the gate … it’s all about money. Yes, this is a business, but everyone’s forgetting about the fight, which Mayweather-McGregor is not.”
Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions said De La Hoya has little room to talk after staging a dud of a Cinco de Mayo fight. Ellerbe said De La Hoya “flat out lied” in calling next month’s Alvarez-Golovkin fight a true sellout, with Solky predicting “more than 5,000” tickets to that bout will emerge on the secondary market after Aug. 26.
Those involved in Mayweather-McGregor ticket sales don’t express deep concerns.
“It’s getting unjustly beaten up in the press, but I’m seeing people buying tickets every day,” said Ken Solky, former president of the National Assn. of Ticket Brokers and head of a powerful ticket brokerage agency, lasvegastickets.com and 1-800-LAS-VEGAS. “Let’s be honest: The place is going to be packed.”
Solky has a long relationship with Mayweather Promotions and said he received 600 tickets from the company to sell, with possibly more to come, while accumulating a total of “10% of the house,” about 2,000 tickets, to sell on the secondary market.
On Friday, Solky reported, “I just sold a package of seats for $496,000 an hour ago.”
He said the 48 tickets sold for an average of $10,333 apiece, with 28 ringside for $19,000 apiece and 20 upperlevel seats at $2,000, for a “corporate order on behalf of international clients.I made a handsome, tidy profit between my cost and sales price that falls nicely between my normal average of 20 to 30%.”
He declined to say how much profit he shares with Mayweather Promotions.
Solky said the fighters, their camps and event host MGM Resorts, which sets aside a number of tickets for its invited guests/gamblers who travel to Las Vegas and stay and bet at MGM properties, “take up to 70%” of the tickets.
The ticket price has already fueled high live-gate sales receipts that are expected to surpass the fightrecord $72 million that Mayweather drew for his win over Pacquiao.
That is despite a steep face-value price upgrade for UFC fans used to spending $500 for a good seat. It’ll cost quite a bit more for people looking to get a ticket this close to fight night. As of Monday, the cheapest ticket available on StubHub was $1,800 for the upper level.
“Dude, we’re over $60 million in ticket sales,” UFC President Dana White told The Times in a Thursday telephone interview. “Do you know the best year ever for the UFC — for 44 events — was $80 million?
“The biggest Super Bowl in history was $103 million. We’re going to be pretty close to the biggest one-day record. And if you think about the NFL … it’s 32 teams selling tickets to their season-ticket holders, and the Super Bowl’s in a … stadium and we’re in a … arena. How the … can you be disappointed in that? That’s insane. Amazing. And people are going to start coming into town and buying the rest of the tickets soon.”
White admits there has been far more discussion about the personalities of Mayweather and McGregor and the things they’re saying versus the typical dissection of how each man can win.
Like many boxing purists scoffing at the matchup, De La Hoya takes satisfaction in the number of unsold Mayweather-McGregor tickets as his Golden Boy Promotions stages an Aug. 26 boxing match at StubHub Center headlined by former four-division world champion Miguel Cotto versus Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai.
“The fact that the boxing fan is behind our promotion and that we’re going to do close to a million homes on HBO is proof boxing people still want to watch a pure, competitive fight,” De La Hoya said.
“McGregor is stepping inside a ring he’s never stepped into in his life against the best boxer of our generation.
“What makes me think he has a chance? Because he knocks out, taps out, chokes out or kicks MMA fighters? He’s not going to be able to do that against Mayweather. Because he hits hard? [In losses to Mayweather], Miguel Cotto hit hard. I hit hard. Manny Pacquiao and [Marcos] Maidana hit hard. It’s not about that. It’s about having experience in the ring and McGregor has none. He has no chance whatsoever.
“There’s no question this is a spectacle, a once-in-alifetime matchup between crossover stars that runs a lot of lines from USA versus Ireland, African American and Caucasian, MMA fan versus boxing purists.”
Asked if Mayweather and Haymon have unfairly gouged the public with high ticket prices, Solky said it was a gamble worth taking considering that $600 million in total revenue is expected to be produced when pay-per-view buys, sponsorship, international television rights, closed-circuit theater showings and food, beverage and merchandise sales are tallied. And that’s before casino business is added.
“If the gate is short and there’s still $600 million in the pot, that’s only 5% of the money coming in,” Solky said. “Yes, the prices are high. But this gate will be record selling.”
RINGSIDE SEATS to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr., holding microphone, fight Conor McGregor on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas will cost boxing fans $10,000 apiece.