If you plan on walking into any local bar or restaurant on Saturday night and expect to see the highly anticipated showdown between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, you might be disappointed.
Most of the more than 20 establishments contacted for this story said they will not be showing the fight because doing so is just too expensive. And here’s why.
In order for a business to show the fight, it would have to pay far more than the $89.95 pay-per-view fee than an individual must pay through Comcast. It would have to go through a third-party promoter, either G&G Sports Productions or Joe Hand Promotions — and the price would be considerable.
“License prices vary based on the fight and are calculated based on the location’s fire occupancy certificate,” Joe Hand Jr., president of Joe Hand Promotions, told the Charleston City Paper in Charleston, S.C.
“A bar and restaurant would call up and if their occupancy says it has 100 seats, it would be times 30 dollars,” he said. “So, it would be $3,000 to license it.”
And businesses that try to bypass the promotions companies and air the fight under pay-per-view face a steep penalty — over $100,000 — under the Interception of Radio Communications Act and the Unauthorized Reception of Cable Service Act.
As a result, showing the fight would “just cost way too much,” said Ken Koury, manager of Barrett’s Ale House in Attleboro, which will not be doing so. “By charging that much per capacity, I wonder if it’s worth it.”
Tom Canova, owner of Mac & Walt’s in Norton, agreed. Canova’s restaurant’s occupancy is only 50, but based of the license pricing of Joe Hand Promotions, showing the fight would cost $1,500.
Canova added that he reached out to the production company over a month ago and didn’t receive any additional information on the license, so he dropped it.
There are some places showing the fight in the area, though, and their representatives are expecting to do a brisk business.
Buffalo Wild Wings in Mansfield, Jake and Joe’s in Foxboro, and Dublin Rose in Seekonk are the only restaurants in The Sun Chronicle circulation that are listed on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC Bars website (bars.ufc.com) as showing the fight.
The Showcase Cinema De Lux at Gillette Stadium and Plainridge Park Casino also plan to do so.
Just outside The Sun Chronicle circulation area, bars such as the Arigna Irish Pub in Pawtucket and Snookers Cafe and Billiard Room in Providence are getting in on the action.
Admission prices range from $20 to $40 per person, depending on the venue.
A manager at Buffalo Wild Wings, who did not give his name, said tickets for Saturday’s fight are $20 and first come-first serve. He didn’t know the exact price of the license but said it was“extremely expensive” to get.
At Snookers, admission is $25. Although owner Steve Goulding wouldn’t disclose how much his establishment is paying to show the fight, he did say it was “somewhere in the thousands.”
Even so, Goulding said he is sure the restaurant will do well on Saturday night.
“This fight is going to be a part of our history,” Goulding said. “I’m hoping for a good match and an even better night at Snookers.”
Showcase Cinema De Lux in Foxboro is charging $40 to watch the fight. Beth Pridham, Assistant Director for Event Cinema Marketing at National Amusement, Inc., said via email that it is “not only a cheaper option than staying at home but can offer a fully-immersive viewing experience when seen on the big screen.”
“The atmosphere will be really fantastic and unlike anywhere else,” she added.
Zachary Souza, 18, of Attleboro counts himself among local residents who have decided to watch the fight in the comfort of their home or at a viewing party.
With a flat fee of $89.95 plus $10 for high definition, Souza said it’s worth it to buy through pay-per-view, especially if there’s friends and family willing to pitch in.
“Mayweather and McGregor are the two most well known fighters in their respective sports — boxing and mixed martial arts,” Souza said. “This fight is a must see.”