Based on nearly every quantifiable measure known to man Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao is the biggest boxing event in history. Tickets are listing for an average of over $11,000 on the secondary market. The most expensive ticket is going for $70,000. That’s the most expensive average ticket listing price in history, according to TiqIQ’s five years of historical data, and three times more expensive than the next most highest boxing match.
It is surpassed in average secondary market price only by this year’s Super Bowl, which was a ticket market so unstable some who bought tickets likely didn’t even receive them.
In many ways, the two events look very similar: limited or no tickets on sale, exorbitant and speculative secondary ticket market prices, and all the hype that money can buy. Unlike the Super Bowl, though, this fight has a fly-by-night uncertainty to it.
That’s because, until yesterday, there was still a possibility there wouldn’t be a fight. There was no signed contract between the promoters and the fight’s host, the MGM Grand, until yesterday. With secondary market prices as high as they are, it’s not surprising that one of the issues preventing signatures was tickets.
According to an email from Swanson PR, tickets will be made available to the public at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, for $1,500, $2,500, $3,500, $5,000 and $7,500.
Currently, the cheapest ticket on the secondary market is $4,477 for a seat in row R of the upper level at MGM Grand Arena. Whoever gets access to that cheapest ticket at $1,500 will be pocketing a quick 200% return for the worst seat in the building. With the most expensive tickets on the secondary market being listed for over $70,000, the free money on decent seats will start to add up.
While the threat of cancellation was bandied about the media, Sam Kim from UNClive.com said that Bob Arum, Pacquio’s manager and CEO of TopRank, told him there was never any question as to whether there would be a fight—just whether or not anyone would actually be in the arena.
In hindsight, perhaps that would have been the most profitable path. Bars like Blondies, which is inside the MGM-Owned Planet Hollywood is one of just 13 bars in the Sin City that will be showing the fight. Tickets there are $300 for all-you-can-drink while sitting and $200 to stand. That’s double or triple what it will cost to watch it at home.
If the rumored number of 37,000 available seats across the thirteen venues is accurate, twice as many people in Vegas will be watching the fight outside MGM as inside. If Arum had gone to the proverbial mat on ticket allotment, the fight that is expected to break all-time Pay-Per-View record with over 4 million subscribers could have played to empty house.
If that had happened, prices to watch the fight at an MGM sanctioned viewing party could have ended up a lot more expensive than $300. Between those prices and the captive pre- and post-fight spending, it could have been a bonanza for MGM. After all, what’s $1,000 for the first-ever Pay Per View-only fight? It’s certainly a lot cheaper than the current get-in price of $4,400.
For those holding out hope that today’s on-sale will bring lower prices, it’s a faint one at best. For fans looking for a deal, though, all is not lost. For only $10, fans and gawkers alike can get a seat to see the two best boxers in a generation live and in person… for the weigh-in. In a city where nothing is free—even when it is—that may be the best deal of the weekend.