The MovieTickets Blog
I Watched Mayweather vs. McGregor Live in a Movie Theater: My Experience
Billed as the most anticipated sporting event of the year, the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor had been the talk of the sporting world for months--and not necessarily in a good way. Many sports fans viewed the fight as a circus, nothing more than a blatant money grab.
The spectacle started on July 11 with a four-day tour that included stops in Los Angeles, Toronto, Brooklyn and London. There was trash talking by both fighters and accusations from everyone else that it was all a ploy to sell a fight many were predicting to be a dud.
But for those of us with serious FOMO, the Money Fight was going to be a spectacle worth watching. Pre-fight projections anticipated about 50 million people would be watching in the U.S. alone. Sure, the odds were all in Mayweather’s favor, but how was it all going to go down?
The only remaining question was how to watch it.
Besides being there in person, there aren’t many options to
legally view live sporting events of this magnitude. You can either pony up for the pay-per-view or hit up a bar and spend equal amounts of money on a bar tab. But since 08.26.17 Mayweather vs. McGregor was showing in nearly 500 movie theaters nationwide (and I work at MovieTickets.com) I did the sensical thing and booked tickets to see it at my local theater.
Although I had never attended a live sporting event in a theater, I knew of them. Fathom Events started distributing boxing events in theaters in 2009 and has since worked with Team Mayweather on nine fights. Mayweather vs. McGregor marked their 10th--and I was sold.
My mobile ticket had a 9PM ET start time and I arrived at the theater about 15 minutes early. That gave me plenty of time to stop for concessions before settling into my reserved recliner.
The pay-per-view main card started right on time, and as the lights dimmed, I noticed the auditorium looked about half-empty. I’d peeked at the seat map the day before and noted that, except for the very front row, every seat was sold. I assumed more people would stroll in closer to the big bout.
There were three exciting boxing matches leading up to Mayweather vs. McGregor that this audience didn’t seem particularly interested in. That’s not surprising; most of the people I’d talked to were MMA fans there to support McGregor.
But by the time the bell rang at the stroke of midnight, the auditorium had transformed into a raucous room. There were teens and seniors and everything in-between.
A verbal spat broke out when someone booed Demi Lovato as she sang the national anthem (I have no idea if they were objecting to the singer’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner or if it was the Colin Kaepernick effect.) “Have some respect!” someone shouted back.
Luckily, tempers died down as soon as Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced it was time for the main event. Fans cheered at the sight of McGregor, draped in an Irish flag, and jeered when Mayweather, wearing a black ski mask, made his way to the ring.
That sentiment remained from the time Mayweather and McGregor touched gloves and referee Robert Byrd declared, “Let’s do this!” to his decision to end the bout in the 10th round. The audience reacted boisterously to every punch McGregor landed and every jab Mayweather ducked.
It was definitely weird to be in a movie theater where rowdiness and phone use was acceptable behavior. People talked (but not so loud that you couldn’t hear the play-by-play) and got up for breaks between fights. And none of it was annoying.
But the most impressive part was taking in the fight on a screen of that magnitude, which made the $42 price tag worth it. If you haven’t experienced a sporting event in theaters, surrounded by fellow fans, you should. Most sporting events will run you around $25.
Combined, Fathom Events’ boxing matches have drawn over 400K total attendees since they started showing them in 2009.
Coming up next for Fathom Events is Canelo vs. GGG Supremacy on Sept. 16, live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas--the same building that housed Mayweather vs. McGregor.
Me? As a newfound fan of live sporting events in theaters, I plan on watching Georges St-Pierre’s comeback fight against Michael Bisping in UFC 217 live from Madison Square Garden in New York on Nov. 4 at my local theater. Tickets aren't on sale yet, but you'll be able to book them here when they are.