The July 14 fight at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas between Amir Khan and Danny Garcia provided an exciting bout and a potential star-making finish for upset winner Garcia, but didn't do big business at the gate.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission says that the fight sold 3,147 tickets, with 3,364 given away (comps), and 737 unsold. That amounts to a total gate of $426,152.
Khan, who was stopped in the fourth round, had a purse of $950,000 for the fight. Garcia had a purse of $520,000, so both fighters were paid more than the fight brought in at the gate.
Gate totals aren't the be-all, end-all, and honestly considering how typical this is, I've started to think we probably are living in the past focusing on the gate totals much at all. It's not like promoters are running less shows. It's just a different game than it used to be. It's a TV business now, more and more.
Is that unfortunate? Sure. Is it a good way to sustain business into the future? Perhaps not. But considering how few fights make major money via the paid live audience in the States, it might have to be chalked up to just the way things are at this point. I'm not saying promoters shouldn't try to change that, but as long as the casinos are offering money to host fights in Vegas, and as long as HBO and SHO are paying for the fights, they're probably not going to dramatically alter the way they're operating right now.
You do have to factor in a few things here, too:
- Khan is not a major ticket-mover in Vegas. He's just not that popular with paying customers here at all, and he doesn't have a legion of fans traveling over. Vegas fights with Zab Judah and Marcos Maidana didn't do big business, either.
- Garcia is still a rising star, and despite his status as a "world champion," remains more prospect than anything as a name fighter, or a draw.
- This fight was pretty short-term for its level, signed in early June. They didn't have a ton of time to promote this one properly. Add it all up, and it's a recipe for a bum gate, I think.