LAS VEGAS — The first ticket has yet to be sold, but the richest fight in boxing history is getting richer by the day.
New estimates say Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s payoff for fighting Manny Pacquiao could easily be $180 million, up substantially from earlier predictions of $120 million. Pacquiao’s purse is expected to be well over $100 million by the time everything is tallied up.
The money is staggering, though not exactly unexpected. Five years of waiting seem to have only piqued the public’s demand for the one fight even casual fans of the sport want to see.
‘‘For whatever it’s worth, the buildup over these years has certainly enhanced the fight,’’ said promoter Bob Arum. ‘‘Everybody knows about it now, even people who don’t follow boxing. Plus we have a good economy, unlike in 2009 when people were out of work and didn’t have the money to spend.’’
Fans will certainly have to pay a price to see the May 2 welterweight title bout, especially those lucky enough to score a ticket inside the MGM Grand arena. Ticket prices there range from $1,500 in the upper deck to $7,500 at ringside — and only a small percentage of the tickets will actually be put on public sale.
Arum said Tuesday the gate at the MGM alone will be more than $72 million, obliterating the previous live gate record of $20 million in Nevada set by Mayweather’s 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez. Though the MGM will provide some tickets for its biggest gamblers, Arum said even the celebrities who can normally get free tickets to sit ringside will have to pay full fare for the fight.
Promoters announced a deal with Sky Sports to televise the fight on pay-per-view in England and parts of Europe, part of another $35 million expected to come in from foreign rights. Add in another $10 million in sponsorships — Tecate beer will be the main sponsor — and the fight will gross more than $100 million before a single home in North America buys the pay-per-view.