Local officials urged: Show Pacquiao-Mayweather fight for free
With the cost of watching the fight of the century between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. live or in real-time going through the roof, lawmakers are asking local officials to make sure that the Filipino masses get the chance to see the bout as it unfolds for free.
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said local governments should take the lead in arranging the showing of the fight to allow the most number of their constituents to watch it for free on May 3.
“This is a small price to pay for the (local governments) but a big thing for those who cannot afford it,” Sotto said in a text message Sunday.
Parañaque Representative Gustavo Tambunting said the pay-per-view (PPV) cost should not be an issue considering that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event that has long been anticipated by the Filipinos, both boxing and nonboxing enthusiasts.
“(Local governments) should show it for free in all public plazas because Pacquiao fights give Filipinos inspiration. Even the crime rate is at its lowest during a Pacquiao fight. This is even bigger than the Ali-Frazier Thrilla in Manila (in 1975),” Tambunting said.
Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo proposed that the government regulate the prices charged by cable providers, theater operators and sports bar owners to ensure that they will not charge unreasonable rates for the fight.
“[The cost should be regulated] so as not to [make it] exorbitant and discriminatory and [make sure the poor are not denied the chance to see] this bout that would break all boxing records,” Castelo said.
Deal with Solar
Buhay Representative Lito Atienza said local governments should start assessing how many sports and civic centers they could use for the event and haggle for special discounts with Solar Entertainment Corp., which holds the exclusive rights to air Pacuiao’s fights in the Philippines.
“That’s how we did it before and I am sure it can be worked out,” said Atienza, a former Manila mayor.
The lawmaker’s party-list group counts the Tieng family, who controls Solar, as one of its backers.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez said a regular public gymnasium could accommodate 2,000 to 3,000 people and a surge of Pacquiao fans would create a nightmare scenario.
“I think governors and mayors should start preparing for tighter security and extra crowd control measures,” said Benitez, who does not agree with proposals for local governments to shoulder the cost of the public viewing of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Theater ticket prices
The country’s biggest theater chain operator, SM, is charging between P800 (regular cinemas) and P1,200 (IMAX) per ticket for the fight in its Metro Manila branches. Its ticket costs P600 in theaters outside Metro Manila. In Pacquiao’s most recent fight, the Macau bout with Chris Algieri in November last year, theater tickets were sold for as low as P400.
Skycable is charging its PPV subscribers P2,500, while Cignal is offering a discounted price of P2,000 for a limited period.