Anticipation for Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s title defense against fellow unbeaten rival Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has been building for months.
Tickets for Saturday's fight, priced between $300 and $1,500, sold out in hours, raking in almost $20 million. Hotel rooms booked up weeks in advance. Companies and workers drafted plans to keep up with the crowds.
“This is a citywide event,” MGM spokesman Gordon Absher said of the long-awaited bout, dubbed "The One."
Hosting the match is a boon for the city. It is expected to bring thousands of people to town and pump millions into the local economy.
The price of Las Vegas hotel rooms will spike as fight night approaches. The closer the main event gets, the more you’ll have to pay.
A room at the MGM Grand on a typical Saturday costs about $80. This Saturday, the cheapest room will go for $630, and the hotel is booked to capacity.
At Caesars Palace, rooms cost $529. At the Wynn, $499.
At Circus Circus, where rooms often book for just $24 a night, lodging Saturday costs $233.
The Cosmopolitan is sold out.
Retail, entertainment and dining spending
Mega-fights are huge economic drivers for Las Vegas. When a fight comes to town, people follow — and spend heavily.
When Mayweather fought Robert Guerrero in May, 15,880 people walked through the gates of MGM Grand Garden Arena. They also pumped almost $11 million in nongaming revenue into the local economy, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Last year, Las Vegas welcomed two mega-fights: Sergio Martinez vs. Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Thomas & Mack Center and Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez at MGM Grand. The combined 34,000 people in attendance spent $22.5 million in nongaming revenue while in the city.
Coupled with Mexican Independence Day, which is Monday, analysts expect this weekend's fight to break records.
You don’t have to be at the MGM Grand to feel like you’re at the fight.
All MGM Resorts properties, including the Aria, Monte Carlo, New York-New York and Mirage, will show the fight on closed-circuit television. MGM officials also are hosting a viewing parting in Mandalay Bay’s 12,000-seat arena.
With passionate fans cheering on their fighters, viewing parties are the next best thing to seeing the action in person.
Tickets to most cost about $100.
Parties and entertainment
Pick a Strip resort or club and you’ll find a place to party before or after the fight. Many local hotspots have big headliners planned for the busy weekend.
DJ Tiesto will spin at Wet Republic. Ludacris will appear at Haze Nightclub. And Sean “Diddy” Combs plans to host a post-fight party at Rain in the Palms.
Several Hispanic artists also are coming to town to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
Marc Anthony will take the stage at the Palms; Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez, who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, will hit the MGM Grand; and Arturo Sandoval will play three shows at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
“Generally speaking, big fights do draw a lot of people,” said Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars Entertainment Corp. “That coupled with Mexican independence should make for a pretty good weekend for the town.”
Limos and cabs
Good luck hitching a ride this weekend.
Even though taxi and limousine companies will be working at full capacity, scoring a driver will be a tall order.
“It’ll be a sweep,” said Scott Sibella, president of the MGM Grand. “Everyone is struggling to find anything and everything to transport people around town.”
The city's biggest limo companies have partnered with the major hotels to make sure vehicles are available for celebrities and high rollers when they’re ready for a ride.