by T.K. Stewart
With Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr's return to the ring only 17 days away, the true story of his success against Juan Manuel Marquez may well end up being measured in the ticket prices that his comeback bout are garnering.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, are both on record as calling Mayweather's return against Marquez “the biggest fight of this year.”
However, rumors abound that one of the reasons for the postponement of the original date of the fight, which was initially slated for July 18, was not necessarily due to a training injury suffered by Mayweather, but because of sluggish ticket sales.
Even Shane Mosley, a partner in Golden Boy Promotions, suggested that after several weeks of availability – less than 3,000 tickets had been sold for the original date of Mayweather vs. Marquez.
However, Schaefer, Ellerbe and even Oscar De La Hoya himself have made various statements to this writer and others over the past few weeks that nothing could be further from the truth.
De La Hoya and Schaefer have both said that “activations” of various sponsors are strong and that all signs point to robust tickets sales and a strong pay-per-view showing for Mayweather vs. Marquez. All associated with the promotion continue to state that ticket sales are not a concern and that there are no problems.
But there is some evidence that suggests otherwise.
Tickets for this fight, either the original July 18 or rescheduled Sept. 19 date - have been on sale since late May. Seats are still widely available at all price ranges in the MGM Grand Garden Arena which holds in the vicinity of 17,000 for boxing.
Hotel rooms at the MGM Grand are also plentiful on the weekend of the fight. The MGM is offering deeply discounted packages for hotel room and fight ticket combinations. The “VIP” packages include fight tickets, a complimentary limousine ride to and from McCarran International Airport, as well as credits that total $200 for food, beverage, and use of various extras the hotel offers.
Contrast that with ticket sales for the Nov. 14 mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, (which will take place in the same venue) and the picture of what match-up is the bigger draw for the fans becomes much more clear.
Tickets for the Pacquiao vs. Cotto fight became available to the public on Aug. 17. Within a matter of hours, Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank, Inc. announced that the arena was a virtual sell-out. Arum indicated that advance bulk orders of tickets had been placed by the Las Vegas casino operators and “only 2,100 would be sold to the public.”
Tickets had been on sale less than 24 hours when Top Rank announced that approximately 1,000 seats remained and those were in the highest price ranges - indicating that a sellout is a virtual certainty – nearly two months in advance of the fight.
A check of available accommodations at the MGM Grand on the weekend of Pacquiao vs. Cotto show some scarcity, with only the higher priced rooms and suites still remaining.
But the strongest evidence in comparing the drawing power of the Mayweather vs. Marquez and Pacquiao vs. Cotto fights would seem to be found in the ticket prices themselves. They are purely market driven and, as they say, the numbers don't lie.
A popular on-line ticketing service is currently selling a ringside seat to Mayweather vs. Marquez for $4,590 each. The exact same seat for Pacquiao vs. Cotto is currently priced at $10,943.
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