(Alessio finishes Spratt with a broken arm. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)
Giving tickets away for free might not be the best long-term business strategy, but it had the desired effect for Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center on Friday night. “A Night of Combat” drew almost nine thousand spectators with its promise of free tickets and a fight card divided between boxing and MMA.
To hear the Las Vegas Sun tell it, the show accomplished its modest goals through partnerships and an “outside the box” approach to fight promoting:
In this case, by giving tickets away, Libonati created a nice crowd, which met the needs of promoter Artie Pelullo, ESPN, Channel 13 News, Lotus Broadcasting and his other partners. Each received 1,000 free tickets of their own, to be distributed among the people with whom they do business. In return, Libonati got some free publicity.
To help underwrite the show, Libonati brought on a fledgling company called MLSE — Major League Sports Entertainment — which wants to introduce its brand to Las Vegas. On Friday night, MLSE shook hands with about 9,000 spectators, so it can be assumed its needs were met.
In the end, Libonati said the T&M will break even on the boxing-MMA card, probably even make a little money. He’ll make a lot more in the long run through business relationships that were made or maintained.
“Our model is you’ve got to create more than a receipt,” he said. “This type of special event thinking is what has made us unique in our industry. By creating special events, we are able to generate revenues that are shared by the entire campus.”
This, of course, was the same event that saw Kim Couture enter with high hopes and leave with some facial reconstruction. Also that night, John Alessio won by choking out Pete Spratt with a broken arm. He broke his forearm blocking a kick earlier in the fight, then grimly soldiered on toward the victory. You hear that, Kalib Starnes?