The breathless days before an anticipated Mike Tyson fight are a distant memory for most boxing fans. Not for Mark Gore. He's a "whale" provider -- taking care of big wigs when they roll into town -- and the owner of Luxury Travel Host, a company that caters to VIPs, and Key2Travel, for those who want to live like one -- even if it's just for one night.
"Back in the days of Tyson-Holyfield or Bowe-Holyfield," Gore recalls, "ringside tickets were as much as $2,000 per ticket. The fights sold out very quickly, so the brokers were asking as much as $20,000 for a seat in the first five rows. For a high roller, there was nothing better than sitting in one of those front-row seats."
Gore's company provides limo rides to and from the fight, top tables at one of the packed afterparties, and a personal host or guide to keep the client happy at all times.
While whales still swallow the best seats to today's top fights, and seeing a boxing match live will always be pricey, it's easier for Joe Nobody to get a decent ticket these days, says Michael Jasilewicz, director of business development for VegasHotSpots.com.
He says you can usually scalp tickets anywhere from $400 (nose bleeders) to $1,000. As the main bout nears, prices naturally drop, getting closer to the original face value.
Says Jasilewicz, "The cheapest way to buy tickets is online, right when they go on sale. If they're sold out, we have access to multiple brokers and can find the best price, though most brokers just double the face value. It's wise to check a few places to compare, but don't keep looking and expect to save hundreds for the same tickets."
Jasilewicz says you and your buddies' money may be better spent elsewhere. "The best view for fights are at parties in bars and strip clubs, with big screen TVs. It costs you about $60 and you get snacks and a few drinks."
Holding your fantasy draft in Sin City, where shameful, season-crippling picks can always be blamed on the booze, becomes more popular every year. Mark Gore says for the wealthy it becomes all about the pour (of top-shelf liquor), as the draft transforms into a bacchanalia. "The high rollers usually hold their drafts in the best suites (or conference rooms), with girls hired as entertainment, a butler providing a great spread, and drinks to die for." Naturally, that's gonna cost ya, bubbas. How much? For a group of 10, figure $5,000-$10,000.
A more modest celebration, in either a small suite, conference room, or restaurant banquet room, will run you $500-$1,000, says Jasilewicz. That would include the use of the room for a few hours and basic food and beverages. That's not bad if you split the cost eight or 10 ways.
The best bet, because prices will vary depending on the day of your draft, where you're staying, how long you use the suite/conference room, etc., is to call your hotel at least a month or two before your draft and talk to someone in sales about all the options.
Another idea is to hold your draft at a sports bar and we'd be remiss, not to mention accidentally punched, if we failed to mention ESPN Zone (New York-New York). We've been; it kicks ass. Happy now? But it's considered (honestly) the best sports bar in Vegas and here's the official scoop on holding your draft there: "Prices vary, depending on the event, time of year, the day of the week, and the hours needed, but rooms start at $150 per hour (which pays for the room, food, and beverages) for a group of 10 to several thousand depending on the room selected. For smaller groups, seating is first come-first served. MVP Club members (see web site) can request priority seating up to 72 hours in advance." As always, call for the full details.
Other sports-themed bars worthy of your draft and draft beers are NASCAR Café (http://www.nascarcafe.com), inside the Sahara Hotel, and Blondies Sports Bar & Grill (http://www.desertpassage.com/restaurants.php)
For those on a budget? Simple. Do it in your room for free and spend your savings that night celebrating all of your draft-day steals and general managerial moxie.
"Bachelor party in Vegas." Those four words will make your mind salivate and your significant other break into a sweat. She's imagining the worst; you're imagining the best.
And the best bachelor parties are the ones that are organized. Or at least begin that way. There are a number of companies that can arrange the weekend for you and your pals.
Plenty of packages are available at sites like VIPVegas.com and BachelorVegas.com and the cost per person varies whether you want a party bus or limo, VIP seating and table service, or VIP entrance to a packed nightclub. Maybe all three, with a golf extravaganza and a big dinner/bar blowout to boot. Anything's possible.
The greatest benefit of using these services is they eliminate the hassle of waiting in line, trying to get your group of 10 into a hot club, and finding a table.
If you want to bring the party back to your room, Mark Wiley of VegasHotSpots.com suggests the Playpen Suite at the Palms. It has a king-size Murphy bed with a dancer pole and a small dance floor. The perfect place for a group of 8-10. Or there's always the Hugh Hefner Suite or Real World Suite (about 10 grand a night).
For something more affordable and for a larger group (10-20), Wiley says 1,500-square foot suites at the MGM, Mirage, Venetian and Luxor will run you about 600 bucks.
Ty Bronicel is a freelance writer and a former ESPN.com editor.