August 12, 2017 / 11:58 AM / 8 days ago

Fans pay big money for Mayweather-McGregor tickets

Conor McGregor of Ireland warms up in a boxing ring during a workout at the UFC Performance Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., August 11, 2017.Steve Marcus

(Reuters) - Fight fans attending the much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor will have a chance to rub shoulders with the stars in Las Vegas -- but it won't come cheap.

The least expensive ticket listed on reseller StubHub is going for an eye-watering $1675 with two weeks to go until the Aug. 26 fight which pits undefeated boxer Mayweather against the UFC's lightweight champion in a 12-round super welterweight matchup.

"Usually for these large events it's comparable to a Super Bowl. There's going to be a lot of stars at these events, especially in the high-priced ticket range, the ringside seats," StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp said.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list event, so the die-hard Mayweather and McGregor fans are usually going to find their way to the event."

The fight has not yet sold out, with high face values and a lack of access seeming to have slowed down demand.

Yet Leonard Ellebre, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, dismissed concerns about the fight's popularity earlier in the week.

"This isn't a damn Rolling Stones concert. They're the only thing that sells out in seconds, he told reporters at Mayweather's media workout in Las Vegas on Thursday.

"Right now we have over $60 million in ticket sales - what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow?

Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

"We're talking about tickets that go form $500 to $10,000. That's an expensive ticket."

The $60 million figure revealed by Ellebre dwarfs the UFC box office record of $17 million set at Madison Square Garden in November 2016 when McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title.

That, however, is still a long way short of Mayweather's previous record of $72 million in ticket sales, a figure achieved when he met Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas in 2015.

"Boxing is still number one, but we've seen more growth in MMA over the last two years, they've really built up their brand and we're seeing the demand for it," Papp said.

One reason for this growth is the enormous popularity of McGregor, and it was fan interest in the fight between the brash 29-year-old and the unbeaten Mayweather that led to it being arranged.

One seller on the Vivid Seats website has listed a pair of ringside seats for the contest at a staggering $164,043 each, but Papp says that prices in secondary markets are likely to come down closer to the event.

"You're going to set your price pretty high early as a seller to see what you can get, but once you get closer to the event, sellers are looking to unload those tickets," Papp explained.

With fans hard-pressed to afford tickets, other venues in Las Vegas are jumping on the bandwagon, with the RiRa Irish pub, a popular bar among McGregor supporters, selling tickets for $150 just to watch the pay-per-view broadcast on TV.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor in Stockholm; Editing by Toby Davis

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