For Hotels and Casinos, Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight Packs a Punch

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Floyd MayweatherThe clash Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is pushing ticket and hotel prices in Las Vegas to record heights.

Rooms for fight weekend have jumped as much as $750 over their average daily rates, according to data compiled by Vegas.com. The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the fight site, has been selling standard rooms at $1,600, compared with the typical $270 a night.

That’s a pittance compared with the cost of fight tickets — more than $100,000 for a ringside seat, or a mere $4,600 for seats in the nosebleed section.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Vanessa Doleshal, business development manager for the Nevada travel site Vegas.com, which offers booking at 113 of Las Vegas’ largest hotels.

The cost of premium live sports and entertainment events has risen sharply even in an era of Internet streaming.

For instance, the face value of tickets to the Super Bowl has jumped about 1,000 percent in the last 10 years, said Tony Knopp, chief executive of Ticket Manager Inc., a Calabasas, Calif., firm that manages and tracks ticket sales.

But the frenzy surrounding the Mayweather-Pacquiao match is extreme.

Anticipation has built for several years for a fight between Mayweather — an undefeated champion of five weight categories — and Pacquiao, a popular champion of eight weight classes. Several previous attempts to schedule the fight have fallen through.

Among the primarily reasons for the higher prices for tickets to major sporting events are the involvement of deep-pocketed corporations booking seats for their executives, the growth of secondary ticket sellers such as Stubhub.com, and the shrinking size of venues for many sporting events, said David Carter, a USC professor of sports business.

“Three words are at play here: supply and demand,” he said.

Tickets to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight are particularly costly because the bout falls under the heading of a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“For many people this a bucket list kind of thing,” Carter said. “People are willing to dip into their savings on something like that.”

Fight promoters and sports franchises have caught on that wealthy fans are willing to pay exorbitant prices for marquee events, said George Hatcher Sr., who worked as an advisor for several years to Joel De La Hoya, father of boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya.

A decade ago, tickets to Oscar De La Hoya’s bouts sold for about a fifth of the price of this weekend’s showdown, Hatcher said.

“Somebody is paying for those tickets, so how can you be critical?” he asked, referring to the sky-high prices for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

Less wealthy fans seem willing to pay a good bit just to watch the fight on TV. Pay-per-view carriers are charging about $90, or about $100 for the HD version.

The match is expected to bring record pay-per-view sales at more than 3 million households. That will help boost the overall purse to well above $300 million, which Mayweather and Pacquiao will split 60 percent-40 percent.

The previous record was 2.48 million households when Mayweather defeated De La Hoya in 2007.

(Source: TNS)