By Ivan G. Goldman
Selling tickets to the May 2 super-fight at the official price was like throwing currency out the window of a moving vehicle. They were worth at least five times their stated value a split second after changing hands.
But in what amounted to a public relations gimmick, the Las Vegas MGM Grand offered up about 500 of them today, according to the Associated Press count, and they were gobbled up, by some accounts, in less than 20 seconds at prices ranging from $1,500 to $7,500.
As it turned out, the toughest negotiations between the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather camps centered on the distribution of those tickets. Not only are seats worth several fortunes, but there’s a magic to them that transcends their monetary value. Everyone wants to be seen with the celebrities who will be sprinkled around the arena, including their fellow-celebrities.
The ticket quarrel was finally settled by intermediary Les Moonves, the CBS chairman, whose intercession was also necessary to make the fight happen. With both sides finally satisfied Wednesday night, the casino was free to release some tickets.
Those trusting souls who thought they could get lucky and jump into the right place in the cyberspace line were almost certainly bidding against users of a mysterious computer science involving mathematical algorithms, whatever they are.
It’s related to the same techno-process now employed by options traders who spend millions and millions of dollars putting together programs that can purchase or sell financial derivatives in tiny slivers of milliseconds so they can take advantage of new data long before puny human brains can act.
According to Slate, these automated actions exercised by bots can even be triggered by tweets. In the case of Mayweather-Pacquiao, bots could be trained like cyberspace spaniels to watch the MGM Grand Internet site for any twitches of movement.
Apparently most of the 16,800 seats in the arena were allocated to the two camps, and you can bet most of those are already or soon will be on the secondary market. Because after all, you can’t expect the two fight teams to be satisfied with the miserable hundreds of millions of dollars in purse totals (weighted 60-40 in Mayweather’s favor).
Just about everything you read about this ticket flap is no more than a rumor because no one on the inside talks about it on the record, and when they do they talk around it in a kind of code. It may be easier to get top secret information on the placement of nuclear missiles.
The fighters’ camps apparently suspect they might be accused of greed so they figure the less we know about details the better.
Anyway, I’ve actually inspected the worst seats in the MGM Grand Arena and whatever you do, don’t waste your money. The fighters look like mice from up there and many of the seats have no line of sight to the giant monitors. If you actually care about the fight itself, and not just the spectacle surrounding it, you’re much better off curling up with a brew and watching on a nice high-def screen for a miserable $100.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.