Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mayweather, Boxing's Stimulus Plan

Clang. Clang. Clang.

That's the sound of the boxing industry's machinery gearing up after Tuesday's announcement that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will fight Victor Ortiz.  With just that one brief mention on Mayweather's Twitter account, the boxing economy accelerates to full throttle. 

Buzz.  Buzz.  Whirl.

On that Saturday night in September, 17,000 strong will fill the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  Among those 17,000 will be the whales, the high rollers that Vegas depends on during fight weekends.  In the coming days, hotel managers and marketing executives will put together their high-roller packages, including tickets to the fight, free suites, complimentary airfare and whatever else it takes to for their best customers to feel satiated during a balmy September weekend.  Casino hosts will be calling their high-profile clients with their casinos' best enticements.  

But the regulars in the crowd are going to need hotel rooms too.  Thousands of rooms will now be occupied, or will go for a much higher rate.  Fight fans will need plane tickets, cab rides, blackjack dealers, poker rooms, meals and late-night entertainment options.  There will be souvenirs to purchase for the kids or wife, items to be procured and disposable dollars to be spent. 

That 17,000 figure is just the tip of the iceberg.  Men will bring their wives, girlfriends, mistresses and kids to Vegas.  Many of them will not actually go to the fight.  They will visit the spas, go to the nice restaurants, see the shows.  There's nothing like a weekend in Vegas.

Ticket brokers will furiously amass inventory, knowing that each ticket provides significant dollars for their businesses.  Thousands of more fans will watch the fight in Vegas on close-circuit TV for $50 a pop.  They will need drinks, sports books, food and cocktail waitresses.   

hummm.  click.  hummmm. whirrrr.

Let's not forget about those who will not be paying for their tickets.  Writers from around the world will descend upon Vegas to cover Mayweather.  The Filipino press will be there to detail every move of Pacquiao's rival.  The U.K., Canadian and Mexican media will be there as well.  Newspapers in America that virtually abandoned the sport over the past decade will send a writer and a photographer to cover the festivities.  Well known and obscure media outlets throughout the U.S. and around the globe will come to Vegas for Mayweather.  

ESPN and other American sports networks will decamp upon Vegas during fight week, bringing their on-air talent, producers, camera operators, satellite trucks and engineers.  There will be massive coverage for the final press conference, the weigh-in and all of the other events leading up to the fight.  Generous amounts of air-time will be given to their house experts, reporting on the build-up to the fight and providing their predictions.

Boxers on the make will be there to promote their upcoming fights.  Former ring legends will be in Vegas for their photo-ops and media appearances.

Hucksters, tabloid journalists, and partiers will be in Vegas to hopefully gain access to the many celebrities that will be in town for fight weekend.  The clubs will be hopping.  Some of the biggest stars will host their own V.I.P. parties at swanky establishments.  Entourages will paint the town with pockets full of cash and copious amounts of credit. 

ching. click. vrooom.  buzzz.

Satellite boxing events will take place on the Friday night before the fight.  Promoters will put their young talent in these events to be seen by the boxing writers and network honchos. 

The Mayweather-Ortiz undercard will be filled up with almost a dozen fights.  Golden Boy will place their brightest prospects on the card, giving them the chance to fight under the bright lights in Vegas, dangling carrots, telling them "In a couple of years, this night could be for you."

The Nevada Boxing Commission will showcase its full capacity throughout the weekend, assigning judges, referees, doctors, timekeepers, drug testers and officials for the many fights on that one weekend. 

The WBC will send its cadre of representatives to Sin City to mingle with the boxing folk, spend lavishly on meals and entertainment and, hopefully, avoid any whiff of scandal. 

clang.  vroom.  click.

The Las Vegas Police and Fire Departments will assign thousands of overtime hours throughout the weekend.  Area hospitals will be fully staffed.  

Tattoo artists, airport merchants, clothiers, camera shops, rental car companies and limousine drivers will be making serious dollars.  The underground economy will hum along with all of the local (and many out-of-town) vice merchants ready for the festivities. 

huuummmm.  zzz.  crash. clank.

HBO (let's assume) will produce their four-part 24/7 coverage of the lead up to the fight.  They'll air a Face Off show bringing Ortiz and Mayweather together for some pre-fight fireworks.  These shows employ scores of cameraman, writers, lighting technicians, makeup artists, caterers, producers, grips and sound engineers.

More importantly, HBO will grant dozens of hours of air-time for these shows.  The telecast itself will involve HBO's fight crew, not just the on-air talent, but also the legion working behind the scenes. 

bang.  bang.  bang.

Photographers and writers will cover the press conference tour.  Old scribes who no longer have an outlet in their dailies for boxing will get back on the beat.  New writers will be assigned to report on the fight.  The major sports magazines will send their people to Vegas as well. 

Victor Ortiz's harrowing personal story will be exposed to a new segment of casual boxing fans.  The greater sporting public will discover a compelling figure, who survived abandonment, poverty, career disappointments and scorn from those within boxing to reach the sport's highest mountaintop.  Once you fight Mayweather, you become a star.  Those who root against Mayweather will easily gravitate to the young Mexican-American with the easy-going smile and warm demeanor. 

Dozens of conference calls and media availabilities will be set up to provide greater access to the two fighters, their trainers, conditioning coaches and even their nutritionists.   

Boxing experts will be in high demand, calling in to radio shows, appearing on Sportscenter and providing quotes for articles.  Internet boxing sites will be jumping, getting enormous amounts of page views whenever Floyd is mentioned. 

Lovers of the sport will take pride in knowing that their beloved boxing is back in the mainstream again.  Chat rooms will fill up, featuring invective, vitriol and occasionally a rational opinion.  Arguments will go back and forth on the radio, on barstools, in barbershops.   

clang.  clang.  click.

Sponsors will line up to have their signage on the ring's canvas and have their names mentioned throughout the fight's promotion.  The top spenders will negotiate with Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy for a Michael Buffer plug during the fight introductions.  Recording artists and music industry PR people will lobby for national anthem and music slots.  

Satellite and cable operators will start their promotions for the pay-per-view, printing thousands of posters and flyers and buying tons of ads in newspapers.  Tuesday's announcements will add millions to their third-quarter revenue streams.  Foreign broadcast rights to the fight will be sold to a variety of outlets around the globe.  Bars and gentlemen's clubs will roll out their own special promotions to entice patrons into their establishments.

On fight night, parties will be arranged, pay-per-views will be purchased, food spreads will be bought and spirits a-plenty will be secured. 

Whhhr.  Swooosh.  Bang.

From just one simple announcement, hundreds of millions of dollars will circulate in the economy. On Tuesday, Floyd Mayweather single-handedly raised boxing's GDP.    Not a bad day at the office for the fighter who they call Money.     

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