Bob Arum has outlined why May-Pac cannot happen. Do his excuses hold water? (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
From a report earlier in the week in the Manila Standard, Bob Arum outlined two main reasons as to why a potential fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could not happen. His first reason was that Floyd had never been interested in fighting Manny Pacquiao.
"Until we hear from Mayweather that he wants to fight Manny in May, you really can't pin Manny down."
With a little twitter outburst today, Mayweather firmly dimissed Bob's first excuse by calling out Manny Pacquiao by name for the May 5th date.
Bob's second excuse was a little more involved and took into account the potential economic implications of making the fight on "short notice."
"If we did it on May 5, we will be limited to the MGM Grand and we would probably do a record gate of $20 million. If we did it in this new temporary arena, we would do a gate of around $60 million so the difference even if you take off the cost of building the structure ($7 million), which would be amortized over two years, is a minimum of $40 million. It's an extra $20 million for each fighter which is a lot of money. But that's a choice the fighters have to make."
Alright, so there are several issues to tackle in this statement. First, is it feasible to construct a 50,000-seat temporary stadium in a three-month period? Second, it is reasonable that the structure would take only $7 million dollars to build? Third, it is reasonable that adding more seats to a stadium would not decrease the mean ticket price?
Addressing the first issue, it does seem feasible to build a decent facility within three months. Probably the best comparison will be to Empire field which is a temporary football/soccer stadium in Vancouver. This stadium took three months to build and has a capacity of about 27,000. However, the stadium is not just a bunch of bleacher seats. Empire Field has 20,000 seat shells, 12 VIP suites, and 7,000 bench seating.
The total cost for building this stadium with the three-month timeline was $15 million, but included in this price is the installation of field turf. If keeping the price down was an absolute priority, then they could install primarily bench seating and get the price to be around the $7 million that Bob Arum quoted. However, if there is going to be mostly bench seating, I cannot see that the mean ticket price being $1212 (the amount necessary to get to the quoted $60 million). For a simple comparison, the most expensive tickets for Ortiz-Berto are only $300. The amount of seats close to the ring would be roughly the same in both the MGM stadium and the temporary stadium, so no scalable income there. If VIP suites were introduced to the temporary stadium, then that could counteract some of the cheaper bench seats but they would need at least the same 12 VIP suites. So Bob's estimate of $60 million is a little high and the cost for the stadium is a little low.
Based on the cursory research I did on this topic, I believe that it is possible to make a big temporary stadium in a three-month timeline. Do I think that it would be worth $20 million extra to each fighter? No probably more like $15 million but still a significant chunk of change. However, amount doesn't matter because it is completely feasible. So now that we can see that both of Bob's excuses are not real what's the next obstacle for this fight?