mayweather vs. mcgregor - a once-in-a-lifetime event
For over a year, five-division world boxing champion and crossover star Floyd Mayweather and UFC® champion Conor McGregor traded verbal jabs on social media, challenging each other to an unprecedented, and unlikely, boxing match that many fans and media members found intriguing. As interest grew stronger and the press worked to quench fans’ insatiable thirst for “what if?” scenarios, the potential became reality. On June 14, 2017, Mayweather and McGregor announced on social media that they would meet in the ring on August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This was an event the likes of which the sports world has never seen.
Our firm was quickly tapped to spearhead public relations efforts for the fight and our work began the day of the announcement. We collaborated with Mayweather Promotions, UFC, SHOWTIME®, and MGM Grand to coordinate and manage a communications strategy for this one-of-a-kind, never-done-before event. ESPN ran an entire uninterrupted hour of coverage, foreshadowing just how meaningful this event would turn out to be.
Our strategy was to make sure the world knew that Mayweather vs. McGregor was a must-see event. Execution started immediately and included a four-city, three-country press tour staged in large arenas designed to invite fans and engage media attendance. With stops at Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and London’s SSE Wembley Arena, our agency was responsible for determining the overall look and feel of the events, managing logistics (as in no stone left unturned), fan participation and media outreach.
Our team drafted all press announcements and alerts throughout the entire tour and proactively reached out to top media in every market to ensure that pre-event coverage and press attendance was secured. With four massive arena events scheduled over just four days, we had to work quickly – making sure that media and their requirements were front and center.
Before or after each appearance in front of fans, we located media-friendly locations at each venue for press interviews with Mayweather and McGregor. We chose to create separate locations for print media interviews and another area to fulfill electronic and digital needs. In those areas, interviews were staged in front of step and repeat banners to create a red-carpet-like feel to this exciting opportunity. The print media was organized in a formal press conference set-up.
In total, over 40,000 fans and 800 media members came out over the course of the tour. Quotes and photos were serviced to media worldwide following events in each city.
The immense interest generated during the tour motivated our team to continue to build buzz in the weeks leading up to the fight. We reached out to top media outlets to discuss detailed coverage and fight week plans and assisted in securing access to fighters (including those on the undercard). Our agency recommended and coordinated back-to-back media days for Mayweather and McGregor in Las Vegas, where both fighters were training. The turnout was tremendous and was complemented by a live satellite feed made available to fans around the world. A number of late night appearances, including Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Late Show with James Corden, photo shoots and one-on-one interviews were also arranged in anticipation of a busy and well-attended fight week.
A fight week in Las Vegas is always filled with grandeur and excitement. Events include the fighters “Grand Arrivals,” two press conferences, media workouts, satellite media tours and the final fight week event—the official weigh-in. Our team was responsible for the set-up, creative direction and management of all the events throughout the week.
Mayweather vs McGregor fight week started out with a bang, as a record number of media members attended the Grand Arrivals at Toshiba Plaza, just outside of T-Mobile Arena, where the highly anticipated bout would take place days later. The footage and images that resulted from the event were extraordinary, setting the tone for wall-to-wall coverage for the remainder of the week.
The following day, we coordinated the final press conference for the main event fighters at the KA Theatre inside of MGM Grand, creating a “red carpet” area inside the theater to allow access for national and local television crews to capture fighter interviews. Working with limited space, we determined that all national and local crews would have access, but we restricted their crew to one camera plus talent to keep the space contained. The significant top-tier media outlets in attendance, such as NBC News, ABC News, CNN, ESPN, BBC, Univision and more, left the event as very satisfied customers.
Later the same afternoon, we oversaw an open workout for the public and media featuring fighters from the undercard. Hundreds of fans came out to the event and many received promotional giveaways and autographs. An undercard press conference was staged the next day. The back-to-back events were highly attended by national and international press outlets and complemented the main event activities successfully.
The day before fight night, more than 700 media members, along with 13,000 fans, packed into T-Mobile Arena to witness the official weigh-in for Mayweather vs. McGregor. Our team was tasked with managing the media, many of whom had special requests such as building desks on-site or going live. We oversaw the arena floor, ensuring photographers and TV cameras were able to get the all-important “face-off” shot. We also arranged live interviews with ESPN, Sky Sports, FS1, FOX Deportes, Univison, Telemundo and Yahoo! Sports immediately following the weigh-in.
On fight night, hundreds of media members relied on our support to manage press sections, help facilitate power and access needs, and service quotes, scorecards and stats from every bout. Deadline media were ensured they would be able to file their stories as quickly as possible and they were. Following the historic event, we arranged a post-fight press conference in a Q&A format inside the ring where the event had just taken place, a convenience appreciated by the press who never had to leave their seats.
Overall our agency embraced an opportunity to be a part of a sports and entertainment event that will be talked about for years to come. As the lead agency for this historic event, we were fortunate to work extremely hard, tackle the feats in front of us, manage our fears and walk away with a clearer understanding that we are capable of doing anything in our fields of expertise.