Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Smart or terrible?

I'm kind of leaning towards both.

Some revenue, in what could amount to millions of dollars, is in jeopardy here. Bob Arum is even stating that he's now hearing stories of people canceling their reservations in Las Vegas, worried that they won't get their hands on a ticket. Some ticket vendors are also not even willing to sell speculative tickets (ones they don't actually have in hand) because of how up-in-the-air everything is, and aren't willing to carry that risk. Additionally, tickets haven't gone on sale for closed circuit either. Clearly this rollout of the fight hasn't gone off without a hitch.

Now, reporters at Bloomberg are speculating that the public sale of tickets may never actually take place, and that resale with a substantial markup may be the only market for tickets.

The terrible part is obvious.  Vegas holds fights like these to help the local economy; if the behavior of the two camps is costing the city substantial money so they can maximize profits, that's a shitty way to treat the Fight Capital of the World and an excellent way to make boxing appear as incapable as ever of looking at benefits to the sport and the fighters beyond the most immediate buck.

And it makes no sense at all.  Mayweather and Pacquiao will retire soon, but most of their income will be derived from the PPV figures, and the promoters will presumably be in business for a long time to come.  The only particularly old man involved in the proceedings is Bob Arum; even if he could not give less of a shit about what happens to Top Rank once he's gone, Al Haymon and Mayweather Promotions will benefit for years (or decades) to come from any positive boost to boxing's image- or be damaged by any hits to that image.

So how could this be smart?

It depends on how cynical you are about boxing's future, and its ability to quit stepping on the rakes it keeps throwing around its own yard.  By all accounts Haymon is working to secure boxing's future in the public's eyes, namely with the Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC.  If he sees more overall profit in rigging the ticket sales for this one fight than doing what's necessary to make sure the current Fight of the Century doesn't appear to be stepping all over its own feet, then he has to believe whatever negative press is drawn from this ticket fiasco will have a negligible effect on perceptions of boxing going forward.

Sadly, if that's his mindset, he's probably not far off the mark.  From this chair it seems that using such a megafight as a way to show what boxing promoters can positively accomplish could create at least the beginning of faith in fans that boxing might be able to pull itself together one day.  But fans have had so little reason to do anything but doubt the methods and intentions of boxing promoters for so long, it may well be the case that short of the fight not happening, public perception of the way boxing is handled as a business can literally not get any worse.  If Haymon feels like can make a cool half-million or so without negatively impacting the business... it might be a decision rooted in the most cynical kind of pragmatism, but it's also an extra briefcase full of cash getting thrown into his lap.  We might not like it as fans, but we'd probably feel a lot different if we were getting a piece of that bundle.

No comments:

Post a Comment