Friday, August 25, 2017

Mayweather-McGregor: hype gone crazy

I really couldn't be less exercised about the upcoming Fight of the Century (I'm talking about the Floyd Mayweather - Conor McGregor match-up in case you weren't sure which Fight of the Century I was referring to).
Now, full disclosure, I have always hated boxing. I watched it as a kid because my Dad watched it; I have never watched it as an adult. It is brutal, animalistic and has little in the way of "sports appeal" in my view. My feelings towards UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship, also known as mixed martial arts) are even less positive.
But this fight is even less about the sport than most boxing matches. Two brash, obnoxious, rich, loud-mouthed entertainers are coming together to squeeze every last dollar (or every last million dollars) out of gullible, blood-crazed, testosterone-driven fans. It is the equivalent of a gratuitous mash-up of two previously chart-busting pop songs, and has little or no intrinsic value.
There is no championship or belt on the line: this is just for bragging rights (and, man, are these guys good at bragging). It's not even guaranteed to be a good fight: Mayweather (40 years old, and coming out of retirement for this match-up) is unbeaten in a professional career of 49 bouts and McGregor (29, and a dominant figure in his own field) is competing in a sport, traditional boxing, that is not his own. If you understand American-style betting odds, the odds for Mayweather are around -400, (although they were as low as -2250 at one time), and apparently more than one 7-figure bet has been laid by confident punters.
But that hasn't stopped the hype machine from doing its job. Watching the fight on pay-per-view or any number of other streaming options (or even on PlayStation) will set you back around $100. Given that around 50 million people are expected to watch the bout, estimated total revenue is in the region of $700 million, of which around $300 million will be shared by the fighters (probably split about $225 million for the winner - Mayweather - and $75 million for the runner-up. Not bad for an evening's work. Live tickets have not been selling as well as expected but, at $1,000 a pop, that is perhaps understandable.
So, why am I even writing about it? Good question. Schadenfreude, perhaps, or just an admission that no-one is safe from hype at this level.
The fight went pretty much as expected, with Mayweather beating McGregor on points in the tenth round, although perhaps McGregor acquitted himself better, and lasted longer, than many had expected.

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