Tuesday 12 December 2017

5,000 Irish set to travel to Vegas for Conor McGregor's title showdown

Plus, best prices revealed

Conor McGregor fights Jose Aldo in Vegas on December 12.
Conor McGregor fights Jose Aldo in Vegas on December 12.
The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With over 5,000 rooms, it is the largest hotel in the US. Photo: Deposit Photos
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Travel agents say up to 5,000 Irish fans could travel to Las Vegas for Conor McGregor's UFC showdown.

McGregor, the UFC Interim Featherweight Champion, is set to fight Jose Aldo in a pre-Christmas cracker at the MGM Grand on December 12.

Over 2,400 fans travelled to see McGregor's beat Chad Mendes this July, but Irish travel agents believe that figure could more than double in December.

"A lot will be travelling from North America, but we would expect at least 5,000 Irish fans to travel from Ireland and Europe," said Paul Dawson of Dawson Travel in Cork.

"Packages are selling fast," added John Spollen of Cassidy Travel, who said he thought "at least 5,000 Irish" would travel directly from Ireland.

"Many of our branches had enquiries straight after the announcement of the fight."

There is likely to be "huge interest" from female customers viewing the December date as a pre-Christmas shopping holiday with a difference, he added.

Representatives of Tour America, Sunway, Independent Travel and several other agents also reported brisk package sales and lively interest.

Here are the top packages (excluding fight tickets):

Short packages

Three-night packages are available, though make sure to check whether your flight involves one or two stops (there are no direct flights from Ireland to Las Vegas).

€612pp: GoHop.ie (01 241-2389; gohop.ie) has the cheapest package we've seen, bundling return two-stop flights and five nights in a 3-star hotel from €612pp. The trip is based on two people sharing a December 10 departure.

€645pp: Independent Travel (01 539-7700; travel.independent.ie) has two-stop flights plus four nights at the 3-star Stratosphere Hotel & Casino from €645pp. You can upgrade to a one-stop flight for an extra €250pp. Book here.

€699pp: Cassidy Travel (0818 332500; cassidytravel.ie) has 3-night packages including two-stop flights and accommodation at the 4-star Luxor Hotel & Casino from €699pp, based on a December 10 departure from Dublin.

MGM Grand Packages

The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. With over 5,000 rooms, it is the largest hotel in the US. Photo: Deposit Photos

The MGM Grand (above) "moved heaven and earth" to secure McGregor's December bout, according to UFC boss, Dana White. The hotel is the biggest in the US with over 5,000 rooms, but expect prices to rise as the fight closes in.

$213/€191: The MGM Grand (mgmgrand.com) has West Wing King rooms from $213 per night on December 12, as we publish. Flights extra, of course.

€695pp: Lowcostholidays.ie (01 485-3835) has four-night packages from €695pp based on a December 10 departure (one-stop flights, via new York).

€719pp: Tour America's (01 817-3500; touramerica.ie) most popular package bundles one-stop flights and five nights at the 4-star LINQ Hotel, with a December 9 departure. You can upgrade to the MGM Grand, however, from €25pp per night.

Splash out

If you want to do Sin City in style (and party like The Notorious afterwards), here are some options for an early Christmas pressie to yourself.

€869pp: Sunway (01 213-1800; sunway.ie) has flights plus three nights at the 5-star Bellagio Hotel from €869pp, based on two sharing a December 11 departure. The price is based on a two-stop flight (one-stop connections available at a supplement).

€2,484pp: e-Travel (01 408-1999; e-travel.ie) has one-stop return business class flights departing December 11 from €2,584pp, with accommodation at the 5-star Trump International from €153pps for three nights.

Read more: Top 10: Things to do in Las Vegas

Over 16,000 fans attended McGregor V. Mendes at the MGM Grand this July, according to UFC.com - a fight that drew $7.2 million in live gate receipts.

Tickets for the December bout are expected to be made available via TicketMaster and the UFC website as early as next month.

It has been reported that Irish travel agents could earn as much as €2 million on the biggest fight of McGregor's career.

One agent, Aíne O'Donoghue of Torc Travel in Killarney, described the packages as "the perfect gift for he who has everything".

NB: All prices subject to availability/change. Fight tickets extra.

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