By Allan Fox, first uploaded on Boxing News 24.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor may break the all-time pay-per-view record, but the live gate for the fight fell miserably short of the expectations for the event fight on August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The live gate for the Mayweather-McGregor fight came in at $55,414,865.79, according to ESPN, which was well short of the record gate of $72,198,500 set by Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao in May 2015. The ticket price average was $4,232. That’s a lot of money to ask the fans to see a glorified exhibition level fight involving a retired fighter in 40-year-old Mayweather and an MMA guy that had never boxed a day in his life in McGregor. It’s a surprise that tickets sold at all, because the premise behind the fight was disturbing.
When you match a novice in boxing against a former world title champion, it had mismatch written all over it. Mayweather won the fight by a 10th round TKO over McGregor, but he appeared to carry the UFC fighter by not throwing punches until after round 3 and fighting at a slow pace.
One of the reasons why Mayweather vs. McGregor failed to break the gate record was the fact that it failed to sellout. The boxing and MMA fans, perhaps turned off by the high prices for the tickets for the event, chose to stay away and watch the circus fight on Showtime pay-per-view or not at all. Of the 20,500 tickets available to be purchased for the fight, only 13,094 tickets sold.
Obviously, when you have over 13K unsold tickets for a fight, you’re not going to be breaking any records. In hindsight, Mayweather Promotions and the event organizers should have sold the tickets at a more reasonable price so that they could sell out the T-Mobile Arena.
It wasn’t a good enough fight to hike the prices for the tickets to sky-high levels. It was more of a circus fight, and those kinds of fights, it’s not a good idea to be greedy. You can argue the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight should have been called an exhibition, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission chose to sanction it as a professional fight for boxing. 137 tickets were given away for the fight. They probably should have given away a lot more than that when it became clear that the fight wasn’t going to sellout.
Leading up to the event, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe had talked about how the Mayweather-McGregor fight would break records for the live gate. As it turns out, Ellerbe was dead wrong in his prediction. Ellerbe was saying 2 weeks before the fight that $60 million worth of tickets had already been purchased for the event. However, now that the numbers for the live gate has been released showing that it only sold $55,414,865.79, it makes you wonder where Ellerbe got the $60 million figure.
“I’m actually tired of hearing that question because right now we have over $60 million dollars in the box office, said Ellerbe as quoted by ESPN.com. ”You tell me what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow? This isn’t the damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds.”
Ellerbe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor and UFC president Dana White could get the last laugh if the August 26 fight winds up breaking the all-time PPV record of 4.6 million buys for the sales of the fight in the United States. White said that the Mayweather-McGregor fight could sell over 6 million buys worldwide. Those would be good numbers if it turns out to be true. The official PPV numbers haven’t been released yet by Showtime Boxing. Based on the numbers that are coming in right now, the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight will at the minimum come in at No.2 in all-time PPV buys for a fight. The fight sold for a whopping 89.95 and $99.95 on Showtime pay-per-view.
It would have been interesting to see how many buys the fight would have ultimately produced if the fight was sold at a more reasonable price of $65 per household. Again, the high price for the fight may have scared off a lot of boxing and MMA fans from purchasing it. The undercard was arguably a dreadful one with the best fight being Nathan Cleverly vs. Badou Jack; neither of which are household names with the casual boxing fans. The undercard looked like it was just thrown together without thinking of giving the boxing and MMA public some interesting fights to watch in case the main event turned out to be a bore like the Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight was in 2015. That fight also sold for $99 on pay-per-view, and it had an equally horrible undercard that lacked good compelling match-ups.
If Mayweather vs. McGregor comes in at No.2 in all-time PPV sales with over 4 million buys, I’m sure the fighters and their management will be more than pleased. For a circus event that had no meaning for boxing or MMA, it has to be viewed a huge success for both fighters and their teams. They’re saying this was just a one-off type event, and that nothing like this will happen again. Don’t bet on it. You can expect more fights involving boxers and MMA fighters in the future.
Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza believes it’s possible for the Mayweather-McGregor fight to break the PPV record with over 4 million buys. It would put a smile on Mayweather, McGregor and Espinoza’s face if the fight does break the PPV record. Mayweather still hasn’t said he’ll return for another fight against McGregor. He says he’s retiring from boxing, which could be true. That doesn’t mean though that Mayweather won’t return to fight McGregor in the octagon under some kind of hybrid rules shaped to give Mayweather a chance of winning.
A second fight between Mayweather and McGregor predictable, especially if their event fight on August 26 ends up breaking the PPV record.
The $55,414,865.79 live gate for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight is still WAY ahead of the No.3 highest live gate of just $20,003,150 for Mayweather’s fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2013. That fight sold 16,146 tickets at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. There was a lot of interest in the Mayweather-Canelo fight. Obviously, the only reason it didn’t bring in the huge live gate numbers as Mayweather-Pacquiao and Mayweather-McGregor is because the tickets weren’t priced as high.