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ECONOMIC IMPACT OF IRON ON VEGAS; ATTENDANCE, PPV BUYS LOW
Published January 19, 1999
Mike Tyson's fifth round KO of Francois Botha Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas "should generate at least" an $8M non-gaming economic impact for the city and "immeasurable exposure to a new audience," according to Richard Velotta of the LAS VEGAS SUN. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has "no primary research" on the spending habits of boxing fans, but "believes they are similar to most tourists" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/15). In Las Vegas, Kevin Iole wrote that the announced crowd was 12,519, 2,000 fewer than capacity. An MGM Grand spokesperson said "a very limited number of $200 tickets were offered to hotel employees" at prices ranging from $16 to $48, but wouldn't say how many were purchased (L.V. REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/17). In London, Srikumar Sen wrote that MGM Grand employees could buy $1,200 ringside seats for $50, and $200 seats for $14. Sen: "It was the only way to fill the arena" (LONDON TIMES, 1/18). In Philadelphia, Jay Searcy called the attendance "a disappointment to MGM Grand execs, who expect to bring Tyson back for an April bout" (INQUIRER, 1/17). USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno, on the low turnout for Tyson: "The public appears either suspicious, fed up or both" (USA TODAY, 1/18). ON PPV: ESPN's Al Bernstein: "There are some indications that maybe the pay-per-view didn't do that well. ... One Phoenix radio station reported to me ... that in the town of Phoenix, a place where Tyson trained and where he received a lot of media attention, only 600 homes bought the fight. If that is true, that doesn't bode well for the entire country. And I don't think you can blame the promoters, America Presents or Showtime, they did a very aggressive marketing campaign. It may just be that people are not sure they want the Tyson act anymore" (ESPN, 1/18). In Denver, Bob Diddlebock writes that CO-based MediaOne, which offers PPV service to 2.65 million of its 4.5 million U.S. customers, said "about" 53,000 bought the Tyson-Botha fight. TCI spokesperson Matt Fleury said that the company "significantly measured" expectations due to Tyson's "personal and professional issues" (DENVER POST, 1/19). THE "GET REAL" DEAL: Tyson wore his new black "Get Real" trunks, the brand designed by his wife, Monica. Tyson said he is "sure the public will snap up." Tyson: "My wife's the capitalist. I'm the socialist. I believe we should give it away" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/18).