Dissecting the Floyd Mayweather / Connor McGregor Ticket Sales Disaster

Mike Giuffre breaks down the Floyd Mayweather / Connor McGregor ticket sales nightmare.
Last Monday, the highly anticipated boxing match between unbeaten Floyd Mayweather and MMA star Connor McGregor went on sale. It did so with a steep pricing philosophy built on no data, and tight restrictions. What occurred was a shocking lack of sales, leading to back end panic.

Casual users may not have noticed, but hiding the interactive map showing available seats and listing primary tickets as secondary at a lower cost were giant red flags for those who are regulars on events of this magnitude.


I have spent time researching and following the sales for this event online. Despite this footprint and because the restrictions-limited distribution, I have seen zero retargeted ads to me. Not on Facebook, any ad hosting websites, or on any google-supported platforms. The reason is that venues alone cannot afford this outlet – but secondary sites can. Team and venue sites are not responsive nor designed to work within search optimization features such as indexed pages or affiliate links back. With no inventory being distributed and pricing not based on demand, there is limited investment from these channels. The pricing and inventory management is costing the event millions of dollars in free online advertising.

Finally, secondary market sites carry the data and historical analytics to maximize sales based on high volume periods. Prices peak during the initial on sale, once an event is announced as a sellout or even when news breaks. The mismanagement of these tickets caused a lack of overall sales and more missed revenue by not maximizing on what hundreds of thousands of past events show as possible.

While the core reasoning for lack of sales correlates with poorly designed pricing and restrictions, the lack of any support from digital or email marketing based on online consumer profiling has not added any additional sales or revenue.

One of the more curious sides in the ongoing battle of distribution is the human element of sticker shock. Seeing inflated prices creates a feeling of the before mentioned FOMO (I wrote here why pricing based off of secondary is a losing proposition).

Analytically this makes little sense because not all tickets will sell for the listed price (although the media promotes unrealistic scenarios in listed prices), some tickets will sell for less than gate price, and inflated prices are only on a smaller percentage of the seats.

This event is a perfect of example of the failure. If you priced and marketed better, you would have sold out and some would have sold for a profit on the secondary. However, I fail to see how that is a worse solution than limitedsales leading to spending time and money on poorly hidden solutions to move inventory without admitting your mistake.

The secondary data from Mayweather’s past fight vs. Manny Pacquiao shows an average price of just under $4,000 per ticket. His past fights dating back to 2013 all averaged well less than $1,000. The sticker shock of the Pacquiao Fight caused the decision makers to forget that these prices were based off a limited number of seats sold and it already being sold out. They also did not analytically decide that a Mayweather vs. McGregor ticket would be more in demand than when he fought Pacquiao.

This fight has garnered attention as it has become more of a circus than reality. There was nothing in TicketCity data and marketing research that showed pricing should be as high as it is. So, the median price on the secondary is technically higher for the McGregor fight as of today; it is for a lot fewer tickets sold. And will drop as there continues to be primary inventory masked as secondary with a decreased price.

By putting restrictions on ticket buying and charging inflated pricing, the promoters took all the financial risk. The two tradeoffs of retail infrastructure are upfront cash and all that comes with distribution. The season ticket model works in a similar fashion. Team performance, injuries, weather and other circumstances can raise or lower the price through these channels. Because the risk is spread out to multiple accounts, the model never fails as no one person or entity will take too big of a loss in a downturn.

The common myth is that all seats on the secondary sell for a hefty profit. With thousands of events and games each day, there are plenty of tickets that sell below face value. Hence, the risk management for rights holders and the reason the model works for the consumers in the first place.

By creating too many restrictions to ensure they collected the FOMO based 15% in additional revenue, the promoters have cost themselves millions. Was it worth the risk? No.

Even with the moronic loop ad of Dana White proclaiming McGregor is huge and hits hard couldn't sell this pig of a fight that should (HAD TO) be in MMA not boxing format? Go figure.

Mike Guiffre is the Vice president of Sales for TicketCity. Here is the full version of the above synopsis.

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