It's expected that UFC 202 will be a huge event in terms of pay-per-view buys, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's translated into selling out the T-Mobile Arena. ESPN's Darren Rovell has the facts and figures from Wednesday afternoon -- noting this was before the chaotic pre-fight press conference -- and it shows that plenty of seats are still available.
"More than 2,700 tickets still haven't been sold with three days to go before McGregor fights Nate Diaz in a rematch at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. That means roughly 14 percent of the arena hasn't been sold. The majority of those tickets are the premium, high-priced seats in the lower bowl, closest to the octagon."
Perhaps the prices have scared people off, as the low-end to high-end range is an astonishing $365-$9,995. Vegas Tickets' Roger Jones attributes the ticket struggles -- particularly the premium searing -- to the opening of the new T-Mobile Arena, which is not tied to a casino like the MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay.
Roger Jones of Vegas Tickets, among the biggest resellers of UFC tickets, says the main factor is the new T-Mobile Arena. Having a permanent venue that is not tied to a casino, Jones said, has allowed people who wanted premium tickets to reserve them ahead of time. That means there are fewer people and companies looking for the best seats on an event-by-event basis.
"It's affecting everything in this arena, including concerts," Jones said. "If you are Turner Construction, a big company here, you've already purchased your suite. Even a guy who has a business with decent presence in Las Vegas isn't looking around for seats at the last minute because he already got club-seat rights."
Even on a reduced price, Jones is reselling the $365 tickets at $250, and the $2,950 seats at $1,800.
This isn't exactly a reason to panic, as enough tickets have been sold to the point where you can expect another high gate number for a PPV headlined by Conor McGregor, who holds the three largest gates in Nevada MMA history.
There is a point to be made (as Rovell noted) about Conor's Irish fanbase. International travel is down (per his article), and a good chunk of McGregor's fans are coming in from Ireland. He fought in Las Vegas in July 2015, December 2015, March 2016, was scheduled for July 2016 before being yanked off UFC 200, and now is back in Vegas for UFC 202 in August 2016. That's a hell of a lot of money for McGregor's Irish supporters to spend just on the tickets, never mind the hotel and flight costs.
UFC 202 is the 6th PPV out of the last 9 to be hosted in Las Vegas. They'll be taking a break from Vegas for UFC 203-205, although presumably they'll close out 2016 with another Vegas PPV in December.