Chris Farina / Top Rank
Friday, April 17, 2015 | 2:51 p.m.
Don't expect to snag a $1,500 nosebleed ticket — or any other ticket — at the box office for the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Just two weeks before the bout, tickets for the most anticipated fight in recent times have yet to go on public sale, with the two camps and the MGM Grand locked in a standoff over allotments. When they are finally put on sale, only a few will be sold at the listed price.
The impasse has left fans in the dark, and ticket brokers perplexed.
"It's bizarre, normally there's a public sale 10 weeks before the fight," said Connor Gregoire, an analyst for Seatgeek.com. "To our knowledge no one has a printed ticket in their hands right now."
Mayweather's promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, said Tuesday that tickets would go on sale this week for the May 2 fight, but MGM officials have been tight-lipped about their availability. The hotel issued a statement Friday saying there would be a "limited number of tickets available for sale" and that it is working with promoters to finalize a date for their release.
The fight was always going to be a tough ticket, with announced prices of $1,500 to $7,500 in the 16,500-seat Grand Garden arena. But those prices have already tripled in the resale market even before tickets are available, and the two camps and the MGM have been dickering over how many seats — and at what price level — each party gets.
Pacquiao's manager, Michael Koncz, blamed the Mayweather camp for holding up the ticket sales, saying they have refused to sign a term sheet negotiated months earlier that specified the allotments.
"It's a real mess right now," Koncz said. "I can only surmise the motivation is greed and an attempt to manipulate the tickets, otherwise why the holdup? I'm more than a little upset they're not for sale to the public."
Millions of dollars are at stake in the dispute, because after the MGM takes its share each camp gets a certain percentage of tickets and is able to resell them with ticket brokers for higher prices. The estimated gate for the tickets if they are sold at retail prices is already a staggering $72 million, far surpassing the previous gate record of $20 million for Mayweather's 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez.
Promoter Bob Arum said he has heard of people cancelling their reservations to Las Vegas because they're afraid they can't get tickets.
"This is not acceptable," said Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. "This is a worldwide event that the city of Las Vegas is involved in. It's one of the craziest things I've ever seen."
Gregoire said the fight is one of Seatgeek's most searched events, but that only a few dozen tickets have been sold through the website. Those tickets are what the ticket industry calls "spec tickets" because the sellers don't actually have them in hand, but expect to get them before the fight.
The cheapest seat on the site on Friday was $4,800, and Gregoire said the average sale so far is in the $8,000 range.
"People are hesitant to buy in the secondary market before there's been an original sale," he said. "And you've also got the incredible prices being asked for tickets now. That means a lot of people are not buying tickets at this point."
At Stubhub there are no tickets for sale, spokeswoman Alison Salcedo said, because the ticket reseller is waiting for actual prices to be set and tickets to be printed.
"There's still so much up in the air for this fight that we're not allowing spec sales," Salcedo said. "We're not willing to take that risk now."
Tickets have also not gone on sale for the closed circuit telecast of the fight at the various MGM properties in Las Vegas. Thousands of those tickets are expected to be sold to fans that can't get into the arena itself, but no price has been set for them.
Koncz said he talked to Pacquiao on Thursday about making sure he had enough tickets to take care of people in his camp. He said there have been requests from around the world for fight tickets, but that they have been forced to put them off because of the uncertainty over how many tickets are available and their pricing.
One thing that is certain, he said, is no one — including the celebrities who generally populate the ringside seats — is getting in for free.
"Nobody's getting free tickets," Koncz said. "Even Bob (Arum) has to pay for his ticket in the first row."