It has been hyped as "The Money Fight" for months, and now Ottawa bars and restaurants are hoping to cash in on the highly anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor.
The bout between world champion boxer Mayweather and UFC lightweight champion McGregor goes down Saturday night in Las Vegas, and bars here showing the fight on big screens want to pack their tables.
"We're expecting a huge crowd," said Mark Berry, bartender at the Berryman Pub on Bank Street. "Phone's been ringing off the hook for the last week and a half, really."
The Berryman Pub doesn't usually show big pay-per-view events like UFC fights, which can cost upwards of $1,200 for a bar of its size, but Berry believes ordering the Mayweather-McGregor fight will be worth it.
"It's just usually cost prohibitive for us. But the demand for this fight was exorbitant, so we decided to go for it," he said.
According to the UFC website — which is promoting the event — 39 bars in Ottawa will be showing the fight. Over on Elgin Street, the St. Louis Bar and Grill is also expecting a full house Saturday night.
'Once in a decade' event
"This is a once in a decade kind of event. It's a huge event. You don't get to see these all the time," said general manager Megan Punnett.
"So it'll be one of those nights to go down in the books. Everyone will remember where they were when they watched the Mayweather-McGregor fight."
The huge demand has been largely driven by an extensive marketing campaign that included an international press tour featuring the fighters themselves, according to Ryerson University sports media professor Laurel Walzak.
"What's unique about this one is that Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have skin in the game," said Walzak.
"So they have been a big part of promoting this, mainly because they get such a tremendous upside of the pay per view and all of the revenue that's generated from this fight."
People who want to watch at home can order the pay-per-view for $100. Walzak says fight fans are eager to see what happens when an iconic boxer and a hugely popular mixed martial arts fighter square off.
"Two completely different sports. Two different techniques. Two different types of athletes," she said. "It's a new format outside of a traditional regular format of MMA fighting and boxing. So this is definitely a mega event."