Jim Boone knows…
For the past few years, Jim Boone, of KO Tickets, has been a frequent and favorite guest of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and me. Boone is an invaluable source of information for hardcore boxing fans, who are looking to purchase tickets to upcoming events or make an more educated decision on what to buy for a particular fight.
He came on this past Monday and dispensed his usual wisdom.
Regarding this weekend’s junior welterweight contest between Mikey Garcia and Adrien Broner, from the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, New York, well, it’s a buyers market, for sure.
“It’s a pretty normal show there. It seems like they’re going to have a decent crowd in there, in which they’re used to putting 7, 8,000 people, and then they comp out a thousand tickets or so. They seem to be happy with those results,” Boone told the “TNR” audience. From the very beginning, Boone was highly skeptical of the steep pricing for this show, which featured $900 ringside seats.
“I didn’t quite understand the pricing and I didn’t understand (promoter Lou) DiBella’s call last week, when he said that he’s going to drop the lower levels to a hundred (dollars). I don’t think that was the issue. I think the $750 and the $350 tickets are really what’s holding them back,” opined Boone.
Last week, during a conference call with reporters for this event, DiBella announced that prices had been “adjusted.” Since opening nearly five years ago, the Barclays Center has been a regular home for boxing and has become the hub of major Premier Boxing Champions events. They like to tout themselves as the new Mecca of boxing in “The Big Apple” but the reality is Madison Square Garden regularly does larger gates and doesn’t have to resort to papering.
“So it’ll be interesting. I think they’ll get a pretty good walk (up) this weekend and hopefully (Jarrell) Miller – he’s from the area, hopefully – he bring some fans out. But it’s once again kind of a halfass effort on their part promoting what is, I think, a really, really good fight,” said Boone, who advises those who are contemplating attending this event to hold off on buying tickets, for the time being. “At this point, I would certainly keep waiting. There’s no reason not to. I mean, every time I look at Ticketmaster – and once again, for the fans, you don’t have to buy it from a secondary site. You can buy it direct – it’s far from sold-out.
“But I keep looking and I’m waiting for some real price rollbacks. They’ve done it a little bit but not the big monster drops we’re accustomed to at Barclays Center. So, if I’m a fan, listen: It’s a piece of cake – you’re going to get a great seat. Just hold and hold and hold because this thing’s certainly not going in the other direction. It gets easier by the day.”
The choice of the Barclays Center was a curious one for this match-up, given that Broner hails from Ohio and Garcia from Southern California. There was some talk of this bout taking place in Las Vegas. Would it have sold better in “Sin City”? In Boone’s opinion, “I think so. For obvious reasons, you’re going to say because of Mikey Garcia but listen: Cincinnati is a great fight city. They’ve had a lot of great fighters out there. People from Ohio love to travel and there’s a lot of money there. It’s a big population state. People from Ohio like to travel and go do things for athletic events an Las Vegas. In my opinion, despite being farther, miles away from Cincinnati, it’s just an easier trip. Brooklyn is a little bit complicated, as far as hotels, getting to Barclays Center and everything else. Las Vegas, you fly into Vegas, you take a cab and it’s a piece of cake.
“I think it would’ve done better, yeah, especially at this time of year where room rates out here – because it’s 120-degrees – are relatively inexpensive. Flights are cheap. It would’ve done better, yes.”
But off the bat, pricing tickets at $900 in a non-casino venue (and, therefore, no casino buy) was a recipe for disaster. “If you look at it there, it’s the same people sitting in those seats and a lot of that is the PBC upper brass and they bring the fighters in and that certainly works out really well for them, as far as the advertising, when you see the camera shots and you see all the guys, the different fighters and everything but it doesn’t result in revenue,” explained Boone.
(In other words, those seats are given out for…FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)
As for some of the other events on the boxing calendar, Boone is absolutely bullish on the August 19 junior welterweight unification bout between WBC/WBO champion Terence Crawford and IBF/WBA titlist Julius Indongo from the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told various outlets last week that 80 percent of the tickets for this event have already been purchased.
“It’s off-the-charts; it’s a monster,” confirmed Boone, who has gone in heavy on this promotion. “Listen, people in Nebraska love sporting events and Crawford’s their guy and the opportunity to see, truly, as far as the modern era of four belts being unified, to people in Nebraska, it’s a big deal and they’re coming out in droves and that will be a monster sell-out. It is not sold-out yet but, unlike, for example, this weekend at Barclays, Top Rank just lets it rip.
“They put all their seats available: ‘Here ya go. We’re not holding stuff back. Let’s see what it does.’ I’ve watched it. There’s these little blue dots (on Ticketmaster) and they’ve just gotten picked apart. That shows me that there’s real buyers and – I’m telling you – this thing is absolutely a monster. This is a very, very strong ticket.”
The lesson here is to price it reasonably and they will come. Yeah, it matters.
“Let’s put it this way: We know Crawford’s going to out-sell this fight (Broner-Garcia) – possibly double – what do you think the top face-value was for the Crawford fight? $128. So there you go. Wonder why one sells and the other one is doing price reductions?” asked Boone.
As for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Boone says, “It’s the worst pricing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Prices range from $500 (of which very few were made available to the public, according to Boone) all the way up to a tidy $10,000. Boone advises anyone interested to not buy anything till very close to August 26. (And yes, he says he’ll have deals.)
On September 9, the “SuperFly” card – featuring a trio of 115-pound bouts – from the StubHub Center takes place and early box-office returns are very promising, according to Boone.
“‘Super,’ it’s really big,” he stated. “It’s another one of those cards (in which) you have a promoter that likes to sell tickets and promote and this one has really caught the eye of people. I’ve had a lot of calls and sold a lot of tickets. I know over at StubHub Center, it is performing very well. I heard from a guy I know at the box-office there, every time you go there, there’s cars there, people walking out of the car buying seats – and it’s not brokers: It’s fans buying it up.”
About half the venue was priced at $60 and less and ringside seats can be had for $250 for this event, which will be televised by HBO and takes place a week before the big Saul Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin pay-per-view event in Las Vegas. “Once again, you price it right, it’s a perfect weekend, I know that (K2 Promotions Managing Director Tom) Loeffler said, ‘Triple G’ is going to be there. They’re going to make it a party atmosphere. It’s really going to kick off the fight week and, by that time, I promise you one thing – the memory of Mayweather-McGregor is going to be so far in the rearview mirror. You have three weeks from that Saturday to start rocking-and-rolling on the big one,” said Boone.
So it’s not just enough to have a quality pairing inside the ring; you also have to provide value.
“If you want to build a fighter, you have to actually have people go see him. If you’ve never been to a fight before and you say, ‘Hey, lets go down there; we’ll get a decent seat for 50 bucks,’ that’s fun. People go out and spend that much on dinner and everything else. Go with somebody; make it fun,” said Boone, who resides in Las Vegas and is an avid boxing fan, who regularly goes to club shows in his spare time. “When you start telling people, ‘Well, it’s 150 bucks, $750 or $7,500, no one’s going.
“It’s just ridiculous. Price them cheap.”
For the rest of Boone’s interview (in which he talks about the Vasyl Lomachenko-Miguel Marriaga event, Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamegai promotion and more on the May-Mac money grab), you can tune into the latest installment of “The Next Round.”
If you need to contact Mr Boone, he can be reached on Twitter (@kotickets) or at 800-283-8699.
Showtime Sports announced that, starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, on Saturday, they will stream Carl Frampton’s bout against Andres Gutierrez from Ireland on their YouTube channel and Facebook Live. Then the heavyweight battle between Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Gerald Washington and Katie Taylor’s bout will also be streamed on those platforms from the Barclays Center…Again, Showtime is a network that’s acting like it’s 2017 and not 2007…RingTV.com has announced that, with Flipps Media, it will stream the Alvarez-Golovkin pay-per-view card on September 16…Nonito Donaire has inked a deal with Ringstar Sports…So is heavyweight king Anthony Joshua coming to Las Vegas on November 11?…So Broner does yoga?
Well, Namaste…NFL training camps have started. This is nirvana…Sushi Moora in Montebello is quickly earning a slot on my pound-for-pound list. A great combination of quality and value…The SNAC stack of Expedite and Aerobitine is incredible before workouts. Been doing it for a couple of weeks and the energy level is off-the-charts…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.