55,000 fans will jam Rogers Centre in Toronto this weekend to watch 3-time Canadian athlete of the year and UFC Welterweight Champion George St Pierre defend his title against Jake Shields. Think about 55,000 fans in one place to watch a fight. It’s incredible, and a tribute to the popularity of the UFC. It got me thinking though, I love a good fight as much as the next guy, but how many good seats can there really be in a stadium that sits 55,000? I went on Stub Hub this morning to get an idea of how much it would cost me to get in the door. If I was working on a budget and decided to sit in the upper deck, it will set me back $260.00. $260.00 to sit in the UPPER DECK? I’m sorry, I understand there’s something special about “being there” but if Tiger Woods needs his driver AND his five wood to reach your seat, there is something wrong with that picture. Maybe we decide to jump down to the loge level. These are much better seats than the upper, but you will still have to rely on the large monitors to follow the action. $415.00. Plaza? $646. Field?? $2000.00. What about the best seats in the house, dead center at ringside with an unblocked view? $5,000. I don’t know about you, but $5,000 to me is 3 mortgage and 2 car payments. I’m guessing my wife would prefer the money spent in that fashion as opposed to me making a side trip to Toronto.
One of the great perks of working in sports is the chance to see great events live. I’ve been lucky enough to have covered 4 Super Bowls, The World Series, NBA games, The Stanley Cup finals and too many fights to remember. There are certain things that cannot be truly enjoyed at home, even with a huge TV. Covering the Anaheim Ducks during their run to the 2007 Stanley Cup was one of my favorite assignments. In the opening round I was one of just a handful of reporters who was there for every game. It gave me the chance to talk to players nightly, making it much easier for me to do my job during the finals, since the players felt like they knew me. Being in the Honda Center the night the Ducks became Stanley Cup Champs was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. I was able to get in for free with a media credential, but I wonder what would I have been willing to pay? I don’t know… I know I couldn’t pay $5,000 for it, but I sure as hell would have paid $500.00. It’s easy to say now because I know the end result, plus at that time I was single with no kids. We gives a s**t about planning for the future, this is the Stanley Cup!
Checking out the UFC website I see official programs will be on sale for $20.00. The official George St Pierre walk out shirt will only set you back $60.00. Add in hot dogs, beers, etc and the cash just keeps flying out of your wallet. Is it really worth it? Maybe Shields and St Pierre have a fight for the ages. A fight so great we will still be talking about it 5 years from now. If that happens then that ticket stub you had laminated to prove you were there will make it all worthwhile. Or, maybe like me in 2007, you are not married with kids, and you have a little extra income that’s been set aside to watch the great GSP dispose of the over-rated Shields. In that case, more power to you. I can’t imagine what the noise level will be when St Pierre makes his way to the cage, and even with great speakers cranked up loud at the local pub it will not compare to being there live. I have to admit, sitting here at my desk in San Diego, I am jealous of the ones who will be there when that music starts signaling the champ’s walk to the cage has begun. I will be more pissed when Bruce Buffer starts his introductions and gets the crowd into even a bigger frenzy. But then they will ring the bell and you and I will do the same thing…..we will watch the fight on TV. Yes you have the slight edge being there, but I’ll be at the Clinch Gear viewing party taking place at the Tilted Kilt in downtown San Diego. If you don’t know what the Tilted Kilt is famous for, check out their website at www.tiltedkilt.com. Did I mention #1 UFC Lightweight Contender Gray Maynard will be at our table? Hmmm, kinda seems like the advantage has swung in favor of the good guys! If you have tickets for Saturday night, do what you want, but Air Canada has seats to San Diego for $319.00..that leaves a lot of cash for you to buy us a round.