You’ll need more than luck if you want to get a ticket to the already historic Mayweather–Pacquiao fight on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. A very limited number of tickets will be offered to the general public — only 600 or 700 out of a 20,000-seat arena — with the rest going to celebrities, high rollers, and other VIP sports fans. Those limited tickets aren’t even on sale yet, and already they’re expected to fetch more than 10 times their face value of $1,500 to $7,500 each.
But forget getting into the actual fight. Finding a hotel room on the Strip that night may be just as difficult, with the town that is legendary for its flood of hotel rooms looking close to fully booked.
A search of online travel agencies and the websites of the major hospitality companies that control most of the properties on the Strip shows only a handful of rooms available the night of May 2 at the Venetian, Aria, and Caesar’s Palace. The cheapest among them start at $999, $1,199, and $1299, depending on the hotel.
The 7,000-room MGM Grand is completely sold out, as is the Bellagio, both of the Wynn properties, and nearly every other hotel on the Strip that helps comprise the 150,000 rooms Las Vegas has to offer. Moreover, the rate of around $1,000 for a standard room is nearly 10 times the $137 average daily rate for a room on the Strip last May. Prices averaged $127 and $109 per night in 2013 and 2012, respectively, according to data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).
“The Mayweather–Pacquiao fight is drawing a big crowd and living up to the hype as the fight of the century,” Dan Connolly, senior associate dean at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, specializing in hospitality trends, told BuzzFeed News. “But there are likely other demand generators — for example, the Kentucky Derby betting crowd — happening around the same time that are filling up all of Vegas’ rooms, not just the MGM where the fight will take place. Certainly, the marketing machines are heavily promoting this to generate demand. It will be something to watch for more reasons than one.”
Bracketing the weekend of the fight are a number of big conferences, including the National Hardware Show, which is expecting about 30,000 visitors, and Collision, a tech-focused sister event of the Web Summit, a big European tech conference that expects 7,000 to 10,000 visitors. The SALT conference, an annual gathering for the hedge fund industry, kicks off on the Tuesday after the fight and expects about 2,000 attendees, and it’s safe to assume many of its high-roller finance guests will show up a few days early for the most expensive fight in boxing history.