Mayweather-McGregor Fight Poised To Break Pay-Per-View, Ticket Sales Records
UFC President Dana White said that the over/under on total PPV buys for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor fight is 4.9 million, which would be 300,000 buys "more than the record" for the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in '15, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. WME-IMG co-President Mark Shapiro said that ticket sales, which last week were reported to be greater than $60M, are "imminently trending to a record-setting level for combat sports," and prefight hype will "only stir the drink further." Shapiro said of the $72.2M gate from the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, "It's impossible for us to not break the record" (ESPN.com, 8/21). Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza said that Twitter "estimated that the level of social media interaction and engagement for the upcoming fight was 'about five times bigger' than the level of the conversation around Mayweather vs. Pacquiao at a comparable point." Espinoza: "Just because the conversation is five times bigger doesn’t mean the buys will be. But it’s certainly a good indicator at this point that people are interested enough to be discussing it on Twitter, which is the first step in intent to buy" (WSJ.com, 8/21). The AP's Regina Garcia Cano wrote unlike the "bullish market created by Mayweather's fight" with Pacquiao in May '15 in Las Vegas, hotel rooms are "still available." The MGM Grand has "cut its prices for the weekend three times, with a two-night stay now at $329 a night." Rooms at several other hotels on the Strip "can still be found for $200 or less a night." There are "plenty of tickets still available in the T-Mobile Arena, which seats 18,000 for boxing, and prices on the secondary market are starting to come down" (AP, 8/22).
VIEW FINDER: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead notes the fight will be "offered for the first time on the ShowtimePPV.com website and the Showtime PPV app for Apple devices, and on the UFC.tv website." Sling TV also is "offering the fight to new and existing customers in both English and Spanish." But Espinoza said that he "doesn't believe the digital offerings for the fight will hurt linear PPV buys." Espinoza: "From all the research that we've seen the digital PPV is additive and not a cannibalizing factor" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 8/21 issue).
BAD BLOOD? THE RINGER's Bryan Curtis wrote this is the "feel-bad fight of the century." Since the fight agreement was signed in June, just about "every step toward the fight has felt terrible." When the prefight hype "wasn’t offensive, it felt like a work." Mayweather-McGregor is "often compared to Muhammad Ali’s bout with Japanese pro wrestler Antonio Inoki." In terms of "horrible watchability, a better analogue" is the '82 title bout between Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney, which was "peddled in the crudest racial terms imaginable." Mayweather-McGregor "hasn’t yet scraped bottom in quite the same way." But the "months of hype have felt equally dismal" (THERINGER.com, 8/21).