Dan Rafael of ESPN.com mentioned on Twitter tonight that the MGM Grand is calling local VIPs and offering comp tickets to Saturday night's fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Victor Ortiz, and Rafael says that that's because the fight is far from sold out, with plenty of tickets available.
I can't say as though this is shocking. Though Mayweather does great gate figures, the fact is that ticket prices for major Vegas fights are terribly high, and most regular boxing fans really can't afford to pay the inflated numbers to attend a fight. There is literally zero reason that a fight like this one should not sell out, and the fact that it has not -- and will not -- is a problem with the way boxing is promoted. To hold a fight like this and not even be able to say that you sold out the 14,000-seat MGM Grand is absurd.
Yes, this fight will do well on pay-per-view. There's no doubt about that. And though I never give much weight to how fights are "tracking" according to a fight's promoters, they're expecting big things on PPV this Saturday.
But we're talking about boxing's PPV king returning to the ring to fight the No. 2 welterweight in the world, and they can't sell out the building. Instead, they'll give away tickets to people who could afford them but don't even really want them. And really, the promoters aren't even going to care very much. They're trying to milk a bad economy for exorbitant ticket prices -- and I really mean exorbitant there. The tickets aren't a little overpriced, they're ridiculously overpriced.
But oh well. Nobody will much care because the gate money will still be pretty good, the PPV money will roll in, and someone will go, "Yeah, and boxing is dead, right? Scoff!" while ignoring that this fight can't sell out, and that good fights on U.S. soil often struggle to even fill a ballroom.