The May Pac Ticket Fiasco, Hotels and Las Vegas’ Wanton Love-Hate Relationship With “Money”

Since the fight of the century was announced on Friday, February 20th, its been on a collision course with un-announcement as much as it has with finally being executed on May 2nd.

At the end of the day the true winner was supposed to be fans. The consumer. The relatively penniless masses, in comparison to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Everyday people.

You and I.

Instead, it is these same people who will be bearing the burden of skyrocketed ticket prices, severely limited ticket availability, inflated PPV costs and hotel rooms so pricey that only the elite will be able to have proper accommodations in close proximity to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. In other words, unless you know someone who knows someone who really knows someone, your best bet is to watch it at a friend’s house, hit a bar or suck it up and order it on pay-per-view. 

Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday that the tickets for the Mayweather vs. Pacquaio bout had finally gone on sale after an emergency conference call was initiated by CBS Corporation President and CEO Les Moonves between himself, Mayweather Promotions, Top Rank and the MGM.

According to Yahoo Sports Kevin Iole, Todd DuBoef and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon met with Moonves and finalized any outstanding issues that would have prevented the fight from occurring on May 2nd. There was a series of back and forth that left the tickets for the biggest fight in boxing this century not available to the public until literally the week before the event.

Top Rank pointed the finger at Mayweather Promotions, the latter then pointing their own finger pointed back at them. These two have a long history together, from Arum once being the promoter of Mayweather to Arum becoming infuriated back in April 2014 when promoting the Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley bout because the MGM had banners throughout the casino and on the face of the building promoting the May 3rd, 2014 fight between Mayweather and Marcos Maidana.

These issues, along with comp rooms and other accommodation issues, were dragging and stalling this epic event. But Moonves stepped into the booth, donned his cape and saved the day yet again. Yet some are wondering if the save is really a save or an opportune chance to price gouge based upon the extraordinary public interest and sheer revenue implications and projections.

ESPN reported back in February of this year that the prices for the hotel rooms at the MGM Grand and the surrounding casino properties had skyrocketed by 200%-400%. Reports are circulating that the Las Vegas Metro Police will substantially bolster its forces to handle the crowds, traffic and other issues that might occur due to the fight.

Jay Kornegay of Westgate Sports Book recently dished that a good boxing fight averages 20-30 million dollars in betting. This event is expected to bring in 80-100 million in betting, which would make this the biggest boxing event in Las Vegas history.

However we, as the consumers of such fanfare, must pay careful attention because the opportunity is ripe to both price gauge and price out the real fans that have elevated both Mr. Mayweather and Congressman Pacquaio to such great heights in pop culture. Most die hard fans that have watched their careers from day one, supported them by attending their fights over the years even when there was no extreme global scrutiny on those fights, will probably not even be in attendance.

Reportedly only 500 tickets went on sale for the public and the prices began at $1,500 for nosebleed seats and soared to $10,000; however, none of the $10,000 seats were made available for public purchase. The fight will reportedly generate $400 million with Mayweathers purse potentially being $200 million.

Due to Mayweather Promotions savvy usage of the hip hop lifestyle to market himself, a bevy of people who are the Las Vegas minority, persons of color, will descend upon the desert. Popular opinion harkens back to NBA All Star weekend, which saw the Adam Pacman Jones strip club shooting place a black eye on the crowd. More recently, memories are invoked of the “Black Tax” imposed on those visiting Charlotte during the CIAA Tournament this past February.

So does the color of the crowd dictate that everyone should have to pay more to enjoy the weekend?

Las Vegas loves money and it has elected the worlds preeminent boxer of the same moniker as its earnings king. However, the question must be asked- if Las Vegas loves money and Money loves his fans then when will the two show some reciprocity to its constituents?

As we’ve all come to recognize, green is really the only color that matters when it comes to the business side of sports. So on May 2nd, enjoy the fight on TV.

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