The massive Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing spectacle undoubtedly made a ton of money for everyone involved, but did it break the numbers posted by Mayweather vs. Pacquiao? That fight from 2015 broke a number of records, from biggest PPV event of all time (4.3 million buys) to biggest gate ($72 million). And while it’s looking like Mayweather vs. McGregor has biggest PPV in the bag with 6.5 million buys internationally, their gate only hit $55 million off 13,094 tickets bought, coming up $17 million short of the record.
It’s hard to say ‘only’ when talking about a $55 million gate, but the general consensus leading up to the fight was that MayMac would blow past MayPac. That confidence may have led to two decisions that ended up killing the fight’s opportunity to break MayPac’s record. First, ridiculous ticket prices starting at $3000 for nosebleeds. And second, the Ticketmaster Verified Fans system, which put people into a lottery and then allowed them a max of 3 tickets per person.
The cost and difficulty in getting seats resulted in 7000 empty seats in an arena that holds 20,000. On fight night, large swaths of upper deck seating remained empty and holes in the first bowl and floor were visible through the main event fight. One fan even managed to sneak into an empty chair three rows back from the ring. Hopefully this will be a valuable lesson to promoters moving forward: don’t try to gouge fans just for the ego boost of breaking a record (especially considering it was Mayweather’s own record to begin with).