Ellerbe says Mayweather-McGregor set to break boxing gate-record
By Allan Fox: In reaction to the news about the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight STILL not being sold out for their August 26 fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe sounded off, saying that the fight is on pace to break the all-time boxing gate record, according to ESPN.
Ellerbe says he fight has already generated $60 million at the gate. With a little over 2 weeks to go before the mega-fight at the T-Mobile Arena, it’s expected to bring in a lot more. There are reportedly close to 3,000 tickets still available on Ticketmaster. Another 2,000 tickets are available on StubHub. This suggests that only 15,000 of the 20,000 tickets have been sold for the fight with just 2 weeks to go before Mayweather and McGregor step inside the ring. That doesn’t sound too good, does it?
The hype for the Conor-Mayweather fight isn’t what it should be. While the media are talking about it, many of the boxing and MMA fans are focusing on other fights. It could be that there is a lack of suspense for the Mayweather-McGregor fight. For fans to talk a lot about a fight, they need to have some suspense, a feeling that it’s going to be a competitive match-up with an ending that could go either way. Right now, McGregor is seen as a UFC fighter with no chance of beating Mayweather. The suspense is not there for this fight.
The gate record for a boxing match is $72.2 million set by the Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight in May 2015. Tickets were expensive for that fight, but they sold out due to the boxing fans believing that it would be a good fight. It wasn’t. The fight was terrible. Mayweather and Pacquiao did very little to make it an exciting match.
Ellberbe says the gate for the Mayweather-McGregor fight is “more than double” to the September 16 fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, the tickets for the Canelo-GGG fight sold out on July 7, a full 10 weeks ahead of their September 16 fight date. The Canelo vs. GGG fight is considered a FAR better bout than the Mayweather-McGregor event. The price difference in the tickets is why the Mayweather vs. McGregor gate is above the Canelo-Golovkin fight. The tickets are going for a lot more for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight than the Canelo vs. GGG fight. That doesn’t mean it’s a better fight. It just means that the casual boxing and MMA fans are willing to pay the asking price for the tickets to see the Mayweather and McGregor fight. With the tickets still not sold out, it would suggest that there are only a limited amount of people that are willing to pay the high prices to see Mayweather fight McGregor.
The venue holds 20,000, and it would be a big disappointment obviously if it fails to sellout by August 26. Who to blame it on? Do you blame it on the decision to sell the tickets at a high price or do you see it as a bad match-up that was always going to have problems selling out the T-Mobile without the ticket prices being sold at a more fan-friendly price.
What Ellerbe isn’t saying is the tickets for the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight are quite expensive, being sold for as high as $10,000. With tickets going for that much, it’s not altogether surprising that the Mayweather-McGregor fight still hasn’t sold out. When you’re talking about a fight that is slated to be a mismatch between boxing’s best fighter in the sport facing a guy that will be lacing up his gloves for the first time inside the ring, it’s no wonder the tickets haven’t sold out. It’s not exactly enticing to want to pay a ton of money to see Mayweather embarrass McGregor on August 26. The organizers of the fight should have changed the rules to allow McGregor to at least use kicks below the waist to make it a fair fight. Maybe the tickets would have sold out already under those kinds of rules.
“We have over $60 million in the box office,” Ellerbe said via espn.com. “And you tell me, what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds. When you are talking about tickets going from $500 to $10,000, that’s an expensive ticket. So you have every CEO from every major company. You know, guys, it takes time to plan and get it together.”
Mayweather and Ellerbe might want to think about dropping the price of the tickets for the McGregor fight at the last minute if the tickets still aren’t sold out by August 26. If they price them to sell, they might get a sellout. But this isn’t good news for the ‘event’ because it suggests that the interest from boxing and MMA fans in the spectacle isn’t as high as originally thought. The ambitious predictions of Mayweather-McGregor breaking the all-time pay-per-view record of 4.6 million might need to be readjusted to a much lower number. At this point, the fight might bring in around 2 million buys in this writer’s opinion. Those are very good numbers, to be sure. But they’re not the 4.6+ PPV buys that was originally dreamed up for the fight. The problem is when you have a mismatch that you’re selling to the public, you’re not going to be able to bring in a ton of fans to purchase it, especially when you make decision to price the fight at $89 to $99 on Showtime PPV.
Some say, ‘Greed is good,’ but in the case it’s bad of the Maywweather and McGregor fight, it’s very bad. The Mayweather-McGregor fight would do far better numbers if it were priced at $59 to $69 on PPV. The fight would sell quite a few more buys. I think they got ahead of themselves, thinking that the boxing and MMA fans would be willing to pay $100 to see this fight. Any way you want to look at the fight, it’s a mismatch. They’re not going to be able to lure fans in the same way that they did for the Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, because that was a real contest and not an ‘event’ like the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
“All this is because of Floyd Mayweather,” Ellerbe said. “A little guy who, soaking wet, is 147 pounds.”
This isn’t because of Mayweather that there is high interest in the fight. It’s because of Conor McGregor. He’s the relevant star in this attraction. McGregor’s last 4 fights have ALL brought in over 1 million PPV buys. I don’t think Mayweather has ever done that. No one in boxing is doing close to the PPV numbers that McGregor has been doing since 2015.
These are McGregor’s PPV numbers since 2015:
– 1,300,000 buys at UFC 205 in November 2016
– 1,650,000 buys at UFC 202 in August 2016
– 1,500,000 buys at UFC 196 in March 2016
– 1,200,000 buys at UFC 194 in December 2015
– 825,000 buys at UFC 189 in July 2015
It’s not Mayweather that has generated most of the interest in this fight, it’s McGregor in my opinion. Mayweather is yesterday’s news. He’s not a relevant fighter. He’s a guy that is hitching a ride on the coattails of a popular star of this era. Mayweather’s era has been over since 2015. You can argue that It was before that, as Mayweather stopped taking on dangerous opponents after his win over Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2013. Mayweather’s fights after 2013 were soft fights against over-matched guys like Robert Guerrero, Marcos Maidana [twice], Andre Berto and an injured Manny Pacquiao. None of those fights were dangerous for Mayweather. Pacquiao would have been dangerous if Mayweather fought him in his prime in 2008-2010 instead of waiting until he was injured with a shoulder problem and old before facing him. Mayweather chose not to fight the best welterweight in the division in Keith Thurman. That’s who the boxing fans wanted to see Mayweather fight in 2015. Instead, Mayweather fought Berto for his final fight of the year. It looked like Mayweather didn’t fancy taking on a tough opponent that might beat him.