By Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
The most-anticipated fight of all time. The best-known horse race. The premier baseball rivalry. The NFL draft.
And those are just the highlights.
Super Saturday â€” perhaps a day unlike any other in the history of sport â€” awaits.
Stock the refrigerator, replace the remote batteries, get the weekend errands done early, invite your friends, fire up that grill and if you’re very fortunate, confirm those flights. For the sports consumer, an amazing number of options will be available.
From the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight that could generate $400 million and topple every known record in boxing history, to the 141st edition of the Kentucky Derby, to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox colliding for the 2,142nd time to the NFL draft’s finishing rounds and so much more, it’s a sports enthusiast’s dream.
The fight in Las Vegas is overshadowing all, with good reason.
“I don’t plan on being there,” said Masters champion Jordan Spieth, “but I may be.”
Here’s the translation. Spieth is playing in the Match Play Championship at San Francisco â€” another really big event that won’t generate much of a blip this weekend because of everything else happening in the sports world. If he’s ousted before Saturday, his consolation prize is a trip to Vegas.
“There are tickets,” Spieth said.
Tickets, yes â€” ones he doesn’t want to use, but at least he has them. Most people didn’t have a chance at getting into the MGM Grand this weekend, and some deep-pocketed folks have spent more than $250,000 for a pair of prime seats.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.
He meant the spectacle surrounding the fight.
He could have just as easily been talking about the worldwide hubbub of what awaits on Super Saturday.
“It’s time to fight now … the biggest fight in boxing history,” Mayweather said.
The pay-per-view in the U.S. for Mayweather-Pacquiao will cost around $100 to watch in your home, although at least one company is offering to comp the purchase for new subscribers to their service.
There are plenty of other options.
Pacquiao fans will be paying $34 apiece for a seat at Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar in Manila â€” on Sunday morning there, remember.
Front-row seats to watch from a casino are online for about $200, though that casino is actually in Hammond, Indiana, and not Las Vegas.
And in New York, you and 10 of your friends can watch at a club for $3,000, a steep price but one that includes six bottles of champagne, three bottles of liquor and platters of nachos, sliders, chicken fingers and pizza.
A field of 20 will run for the roses at Churchill Downs, and while the Kentucky Derby might not be the best race of the year, it is certainly the most anticipated, unless a Triple Crown hopeful emerges.
About $125 million was bet on the Derby last year, more than 160,000 fans are expected at Churchill and it’s not implausible to think â€” based on recent years â€” that 15 million or so will watch on television in the U.S. alone.
“It has become such an event,” Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher said.
And to think, it’s just part of the show on Saturday.
NASCAR has qualifying at Talladega on Saturday, no small event on its schedule either. There’s an LPGA tournament, plus Detroit and Kansas City are squaring off in a matchup of two of baseball’s best teams early this season.
Yes, those will appeal to auto racing, golf and baseball fans.
But to those who love the magnitude of over-the-top events, they won’t compare to the big show in Vegas.
“They may not follow sports much but they like the big events,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice-president and general manager for Showtime Sports. “And this is a big event.”
AROUND THE WORLD
The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will be broadcast in at least 52 countries, and who knows how many will be able to access it online globally.
But there’s some other big events around the globe Saturday as well, although again, they’ll all likely pale in comparison.
The European Rugby Champions Cup Final between a pair of French clubs will be going on, Real Madrid will face Sevilla in a potentially very big Spanish soccer match, and the women’s singles and men’s doubles world champions in table tennis will be crowned in China.
LeBron James will have Saturday off â€” he and the Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be playing again until Monday, so you know he’ll likely be watching this fight someplace.
The NHL playoffs will be going on, with Washington and the New York Rangers playing Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Depending on what happens in other games, the NBA might have nothing scheduled that day, which would only give fans and players more time to enjoy everything else.
There’s also a chance the NBA could see one or two Game 7s to end the first round.
THE NFL DRAFT
Finally, there’s the big event of the NFL off-season â€” the draft, with the final four rounds coming on Saturday. It starts Thursday night, then resumes with rounds two and three on Friday.
This weekend the mighty NFL feels like an appetizer.
The last pick in the draft gets the title of “Mr. Irrelevant.”
Given all going on in the sports world on Saturday, that may never be more appropriate.