Buffalo Wild Wings won’t be stepping into the ring with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
As sports fans gear up for Saturday’s much-hyped championship bout in Las Vegas, Buffalo Wild Wings has decided not to show the fight at the vast majority of its U.S. locations because of the price, which is about $5,100 per restaurant.
“It was enormously expensive,” Chief Executive Officer Sally Smith said in an interview.
A handful of company-owned restaurants are showing the fight and will charge a $20 cover, the first time the chain has taken that step, Chief Operating Officer James Schmidt said on an earnings conference call Tuesday. About 70 franchises plan to air the bout and charge admission, he said. In January, a Buffalo Wild Wings opened in the Philippines, Pacquiao’s home country. That restaurant will show the fight.
The chain has about 1,080 restaurants, almost entirely in the U.S. It would have cost as much as $6 million to air the fight at every Buffalo Wild Wings location, Smith said.
Live sporting events are pivotal for Buffalo Wild Wings. The company’s restaurants are blanketed in high-definition televisions, drawing sports fans who’ll drink beer and munch on chicken wings for hours as they watch their teams compete.
The fight will generate at least $300 million from ticket sales and Pay-Per-View purchases, a record for boxing, according to the event’s organizers. HBO and Showtime, which are teaming up to produce the fight on television, filed a lawsuit Tuesday to stop two websites from streaming the event without authorization.
The fight costs almost $100 to watch at home on Pay-Per-View, which will prompt many fans to seek out bars as a place to view it. Missing out on Saturday’s fight could hurt Buffalo Wild Wings’ sales, according to Michael Halen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
The restaurant chain could use the boost. The company’s shares fell 13 percent Wednesday in New York after reporting first-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates because of higher wing costs.
While Buffalo Wild Wings has succeeded in the past few years by taking market share from local sports bars, it will lose out on business Saturday, Halen said.
“They’re sending customers into the arms of their competitors,” Halen said. “It’s the biggest event probably besides the Super Bowl, and they’re not going to have it.”