By Keith Idec
Roughly 40 percent of the fans that attended the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev rematch June 17 didn’t pay for their tickets.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission revealed to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports on Wednesday that the paid attendance for the second bout between Ward and Kovalev was just 6,366. The announced attendance for their light heavyweight championship rematch at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas was 10,592, which means 4,226 tickets were comped to one of the most significant fights of the year.
Those gate receipts generated $2.187 million in revenue, far less than the ticket sales from their first fight produced. That bout, which Ward narrowly won by unanimous decision November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, produced $3.341 million in ticket revenue.
The announced attendance for that card was 13,310. The paid attendance was 10,066 at a building that can accommodate approximately 20,000 for boxing.
Mandalay Bay Events Center can hold around 12,000 fans for boxing.
Exorbitant ticket prices appeared to affect fan interest in attending the rematch. Tickets to Ward-Kovalev 2 were priced at $1,255, $755, $505, $355, $255 and $105.
Tickets prices for their first fight ranged from $55 to $1,055.
The Ward-Kovalev rematch, which Ward won by eighth-round technical knockout, also performed worse on pay-per-view than their first fight.
It reportedly drew approximately 130,000 buys, despite that their first fight was intriguing and resulted in controversy. Their first fight drew about 165,000 buys.
HBO Sports, the television distributor for both Ward-Kovalev contests, has not confirmed either pay-per-view figure.
Nevertheless, the poor performance of their rematch at the gate and on pay-per-view affected Russia’s Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) more than Ward (32-0, 16 KOs), a two-division champion from Hayward, California. The former champion was paid primarily from percentages of ticket and pay-per-view revenue, whereas Ward was guaranteed a $6.5 million purse.
Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports (Ward) and Main Events (Kovalev) co-promoted both bouts.at
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.