ITG, a leading independent execution broker and research provider, released an ITG Investment Research report analyzing the exceptionally strong game usage trends during the Mayweather vs Pacquiao boxing match weekend (May 1st- May 3rd). Based on proprietary data, the research finds that the overall effect of the fight was highly positive for the Las Vegas casino properties, but the host, MGM, was the main beneficiary of what was a stellar weekend for gaming demand.
The ITG report, which uses data from a number of ITG Investment Research’s proprietary sources, found that overall Strip game usage jumped 18% during the fight weekend versus the same weekend last year while MGM’s Strip properties increased 28%. Continuing this trend, overall Strip game occupancy (game usage as a percentage of total game capacity) jumped 365 bps Y/Y to 24% in comparison to MGM’s strip properties showing an increase of 668 bps to 42.2%
Gaming revenues were likely even stronger than the raw data suggests, according the Matthew Jacob, Senior Consumer Analyst at ITG Investment Research. Jacob believes that high-end play, which is not generally fully captured by a simple analysis of Y/Y game usage metrics, was substantial over the weekend, driven by a number of factors including MGM’s allocation of 40% of the tickets to the fight, which allowed the company to invite and host its most valuable gaming customers. In addition, the high prices for flight tickets, closed-circuit feeds and hotel rooms also led to a very high gaming visitor quality across the Strip. Notably, MGM management mentioned on its May 4th earnings call that more than 500 private planes were received at Las Vegas McCarran airport in comparison with the previous record (set during this year’s Super Bowl) of about 350.
Despite the significant boost provided by the fight, the Super Bowl remains the marquee event for driving game usage in Vegas. Overall Strip game usage during the fight weekend was about 14% below the Super Bowl weekend levels this year. It was also about 13% – 14% below the average Super Bowl game usage levels over the last 20 years.