Wallfighters: Fun for Fans, Finances The Fighters

January 28, 2009

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As the popularity of MMA continues to show rapid growth, new and exciting opportunities are opening up for fighters all the time to expand their financial and business empires. One of the newest avenues for this is the wall decal company Wallfighters.

Wallfighters is launched as a division of Wowsportz, which specializes in personalized sports-related merchandise. The main focus up until now has been specialized items for teams on the club and local level but the company was looking to make a larger play. Enter Greg DeLong. Delong had prior experience in the MMA field, as host of his own MMA-related radio show Insidethecagetalk.com, and explained to the higher-ups at Wowsportz what a growth field MMA is the opportunities to be had. Delong did market research into the wall mounted vinyl decals, widely popularized by Fathead. DeLong saw an opportunity there for Wowsportz, as Fathead had expressed no interest in expanding beyond their core stick and ball sports. MMA was selected as Wowsportz’s first mass market play and the merchandise was dubbed Wallfighters, (http://www.wallfighters.com/).

Wallfighters has assembled a stable of fighters quickly with Urijah Faber, Scott Smith, Mark Munoz, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, James Irvin, Chael Sonnen, Brandon Vera, Diego Sanchez, and Tara LaRosa among those that have signed deals with the fledgling company. The main selling point of the company has been the ability “to make money while you are sitting at home”, which is enticing for those in such a grueling profession as MMA. Another reason fighters have been signing on has been the generous endorsement fee the fighter receives from the sale of each of his Wallfighter decals. DeLong stated, “We want to make money with the fighter, not off the fighter.” The Wallfighter deal along with similar deals like those of figurine maker Round 5 that provide an equitable sharing of profits is enticing to the fighter who is willing to take control of his own merchandising destiny.

Wallfighters has a good size stable of endorsers, but is still in the stage of bringing in athletes to endorse. The main strategy thus far has been to work with agents/managers to bring in the athletes. Clients of NCFC and MMA Fighter Management Inc (Urijah Faber’s Mgmt Team) have made up the bulk of the signees so far but talks with a wide range of camps are taking place as we speak and the roster of Wallfighters looks to be growing often.

Wallfighters will have two main vehicles of distribution initially. They will be sold through the company website, at Wallfighters.com, and also through the fighter’s and/or management company’s website store. Wallfighters’ branding efforts and the popularity of the fighter will both help to drive sales.

You can purchase your own Wallfighter by visiting their website

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If you are a fighter/manager and would like more information on Wallfighters, or a member of the media and would like to do a piece on Wallfighters, please contact:

Greg DeLong
Director Of Marketing
WOW Sportz Wall Fighters
www.wallfighters.com

greg@wowsportz.com
775-232-7731

1/25 WEC Rating

January 28, 2009

While the match-up lost a little of the original luster, the Faber vs Pulver match-up from the most recent WEC card looks to have anchored a solid performance in the ratings, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

The show did a 0.65 rating and 700,000 viewers, which, while only half of what their first match on 6/1 did, was still the second highest amount of viewers in the history of the promotion.

Varner vs Cerrone was the nominal headliner, but the real headliner would seem to be the Faber fight. The dip in ratings from the monster number for the first match-up is understandable. The first fight had the benefit of a large marketing blitz by Versus to help spike viewership, with magazine and billboard buys to increase visibility. No such buys this time, but card did seem to retain some of the residual buzz from that initial spending and good word of mouth on the fight of the year candidate they put on back in June.

Golden Boy CEO: Affliction DOR PPV Numbers Promising

January 28, 2009

Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com spoke with Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, and he was optimistic on the PPV sales based on the early numbers:

Schaefer also said preliminary pay-per-view buy numbers look promising.

“When I saw them, I was very, very positively surprised. And so that looks very good,” he said. “So, I think at the end of the day, Affliction is going to be able to recuperate most of their expenses.”

Schaefer said himself and Binkow met Tuesday to begin initial plans for another event. Affliction Vice-President Tom Atencio said Saturday that the next show could take place in May or June.

In our report on the gate last night, we indicated that the buzz on the day of the event was that there were strong pre-sale numbers for the PPV and that using those numbers to project final PPV sales indicated a stronger than expected performance, one that would put Affliction in the ballpark of their break even point. Schaefer’s comments add some credence to that notion, if the numbers come in like they expect. Such an increase would be unexpected.

One possible theory for the bump may be increased efforts by Golden Boy to market Affliction towards a backlog of past Golden Boy PPV purchasers, but that is speculation. Such an effort would look to capitalize on the customer goodwill that Golden Boy has built to this point. Such a database would be in the 2 million range, and past purchasing information would be accessible through the cable and satellite companies. With HBO looking to cut back on their number of PPV’s in 2009, cable and satellite face an inventory problem and would have incentive to step up marketing efforts in the MMA/UFC genre that has been one of the few bright spots for the industry.

Rebuttal to Recession Piece

January 27, 2009

After reading our piece from yesterday on the recession’s effects on Gen Y, a prominent manager agent spoke with MMAPayout.com to give another viewpoint, with a boots on the ground perspective on how it is hurting fighters seeking sponsors. We have stripped out the names of those mentioned in the correspondence but the point holds, the downturn has affected fighters in a very real way:

While in a lot of ways I agree with the quote today on Gen Y. BUT, the affects are still hitting the athletes. A lot of clothing companies were started using home equity and 401K’s to get in on the phenomenon that is MMA only to find out it is a UFC world. This is where the effect is coming from the heloc (home equity lines of credit) lines are used up, 401Ks drawn down. (An MMA Apparel company owner) told me an event he is only sponsoring (Fighter X) because they gave him terms, another clothing company sent me an email about sponsoring one of my fighters and said “my tax refund will be back by that fight so I think I can swing it”. (Apparel owner) told us he hopes he can sell enough shirts from the exposure that night to pay the fighter. The fact is a lot of the money is drying up. Guys are finding less and less “non-fight gear” companies and more and more restrictions from fight gear companies. Most of the MMA apparel companies will tell you they have a hard tome measuring the ROI and the fact that fighters switch to one brand and then to another is desensitizing them to the branding anyways.

Affliction Day of Reckoning Gate

January 27, 2009

Kevin Iole over at Yahoo/MMAJunkie has the numbers on the gate for Affliction Day of Reckoning. The paid attendance was 8,946 for a gate of $1,512,750. Rear Naked News contrasts Banned with Day of Reckoning:

Of the 13,228 who attended “Day of Reckoning”, only 8,946 paid (4,282 free seats). This means 32% of the audience did not pay. While it is typical to give away tickets, 32% is a huge number. At Affliction “Banned” in July, they sold 11,242 tickets and only gave away 24%(3,590). Adding to their problems, the live gate made $1.5 million. “Banned” made $2.1 million.

Any chance that the card reaches solvency will be based on their PPV performance. MMAPayout.com has been made aware of rumors/reports from those within Affliction of strong pre-buy numbers that project a higher than generally expected final number, but all figures are way too preliminary at this point have any validity.

UFC 91 REPLAY ON SPIKE TV PEAKS AT 3.3 MILLION VIEWERS

January 27, 2009

UFC 91 REPLAY ON SPIKE TV PEAKS AT 3.3 MILLION VIEWERS FOR BROCK LESNAR vs. RANDY COUTURE

UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar can now add television ratings champion to his resume. Spike TV’s replay of UFC 91 (originally airing on Pay Per View on November 15) featuring UFC legend Randy Couture vs. Lesnar was the highest rated show among Men 18-34 in all of television (broadcast or cable) in its timeslot on Saturday, January 24 (9:00-11:30pm ET/PT). UFC 91 peaked at 3.3 million viewers at 11:15pm for the Lesnar victory ending in a second round TKO. The entire fight card, which included exciting victories for lightweight contender Kenny Florian and heavyweight hopeful Gabriel Gonzaga, averaged 2.3 million viewers for the 2.5 hour telecast, easily making UFC 91 the most-watched taped UFC event in network history.

Overall, UFC 91 on Spike TV drew a 1.7 household rating and a 1.8 among M18-49 (991,000), a 1.8 among M18-34 (508,000) and had an average audience of 2.3 million viewers.

UFC Gets Into The Gym Business

January 27, 2009

In what can be seen as extending out their brand (or going outside their core competence) the UFC announced today that they will be entering the health club business:

UFC Gym officials said they are close to breaking ground on the first of five health clubs planned in California, and plan to build more such gyms across the country and in Canada.

“We’re going to force all these other gyms to take it up to another level,” UFC President Dana White told The Associated Press on Monday. “Just like we have in the fight business, and everyone’s trying to compete with us now, same thing’s going to happen in the fitness industry.”

White said most gyms and health clubs haven’t changed in years, giving the mixed martial arts league an opportunity to attract new fitness customers or others wanting to get different kinds of workouts under the same roof. The gyms aren’t intended for professional or amateur fighters.

The move shouldn’t be a big surprise. The UFC have felt that various parts of the gym/training business have been reaping the benefits of the mixed martial arts explosion that the UFC claims credit for. Joe Silva spoke with Florida Todayand commented on the Zuffa mindset of others capitalizing off Zuffa’s rise to prominence:

“What’s the new hook that we can get people into the dojos with?” Silva said of an attitude that has disgusted him in the past. “Now you have Tae Kwon Do schools and they (say), ‘Yeah, we have grappling.’ ” They’re looking to appeal to the consumer, and the consumer is watching UFC on TV, on Spike TV and on pay-per-view.”

XFC Announces Multiyear Television Deal with HDNet

January 26, 2009

Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) Announces Multiyear Television Deal with HDNet

Four Live XFC Fight Cards Will Air on the Network in 2009; Four Live XFC Fight Cards in 2010; Options for 2011 and Beyond

Tampa, FL: Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC), the Southeast’s largest independent Mixed Martial Arts promotion and the company dedicated to launching the careers of the champions of tomorrow, is pleased to announce the signing of a multiyear national television contract with HDNet. Pursuant to the agreement, HDNet will air four live XFC fight cards in 2009; four live XFC fight cards in 2010; and options for 2011 and beyond.

“There’s a finite number of MMA promotions airing live coast-to-coast on national television right now,” said XFC president John Prisco. “We’re delighted to join this exclusive club. I can’t wait to introduce MMA fans nationwide to the next generation of superstars as they battle toe-to-toe in the XFC cage! I also want to thank Adam Swift, the manager of marketing alliances for HDNet Fights, for his support and partnership. HDNet is renowned amongst MMA fans for airing spectacular fights and star-studded match-ups that they cannot see anywhere else, and XFC looks forward to providing HDNet’s audience with scintillating battles between the top emerging talent in this sport for years to come.”

The first XFC fight card to air live on HDNet is expected to be XFC 8, taking place on Saturday, April 18 at the 21 thousand-capacity Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.

XFC’s next promotion, XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox,” takes place at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena on February 20. XFC 7 will be the first-ever pro MMA fight card in Tennessee state history, featuring a main event showdown between undefeated heavyweights Chad Corvin and Scott “The Bear” Barrett. Tickets are now available at the Thompson-Boling Arena box office and Tickets Unlimited outlets, including Cat’s Music, Disc Exchange, and Fye Music.

HDNet Fights Partners With Ring Of Honor

January 26, 2009

HDNET FIGHTS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH RING OF HONOR
Monday, January 26, 2009

HDNET FIGHTS ANNOUNCES LONG TERM PARTNERSHIP WITH “RING OF HONOR” WRESTLING

New partnership brings unique brand of professional wrestling to HDNet.

DALLAS (January 26, 2009) HDNet Fights today announced a long term partnership with “Ring of Honor Wrestling.”

Coming soon, HDNet will debut a new weekly television series, which will bring “Ring of Honor Wrestling” to a national television audience for the very first time. “Ring of Honor Wrestling” and its stars are prominently featured in the recent, critically acclaimed movie “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke.

“’Ring of Honor’ is an exciting addition to our programming lineup at HDNet,” said Mark Cuban, chairman and co-founder of HDNet. “ROH has developed a cult following thanks to its special brand of professional wrestling and we are pleased to present it for the first time to a mass television audience.”

“’Ring of Honor’ is proud and excited to enter a partnership with HDNet,” said Cary Silkin, president of Ring of Honor. “Our in-ring action is the perfect compliment to HDNet’s respected programming and growing stature in the broadcast industry. It’s a match most definitely made for a Main Event.”

Founded in 2002, “Ring of Honor” has become one of the most successful and recognized promotions in the world thanks to its focus on authentic professional wrestling. Over the last seven years it has produced some of the biggest stars in the industry, including Samoa Joe and CM Punk, while featuring the best in-ring competition in the world.

The stars of “Ring of Honor” include ROH World Champion Nigel McGuiness, the 3-time reigning Wrestling Observer Newsletter Most Outstanding Wrestler Bryan Danielson, Necro Butcher, Austin Aries, Tyler Black, Jerry Lynn, and Mark and Jay Briscoe.

Air dates and times will be announced at a later date.

About HDNet
HDNet (www.hd.net) provides viewers with the best in original comedy, drama, news, sports and music programming.

HDNet is your exclusive, high definition home for popular, critically acclaimed original programming, including television’s only HD news feature programs “HDNet World Report,” the Emmy Award winning “Dan Rather Reports,” featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather and “NASA on HDNet” (presenting live shuttle launches through 2010). HDNet presents championship sports coverage featuring Major League Soccer, the NASCAR Camping World Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup re-broadcasts, and premiere Mixed Martial Arts from “HDNet Fights;” behind-the-scenes sports news with “Inside MMA;” groundbreaking music programming with the HDNet Concert Series featuring leading artists and bands including Coldplay, Gwen Stefani, John Mayer and more; and entertaining and irreverent lifestyle programming including “Deadline!,” “Art Mann Presents,” and “Get Out!” HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning programs such as the Emmy Award winning “Arrested Development,” “The Black Donnellys,” “Dead Like Me,” “Smallville” and the hit series “Torchwood.”

HDNet Movies features a wide selection of major studio theatrical releases – all uncut, unedited, and appearing in their original aspect ratio so that HDNet Movies viewers get the best possible home theater experience.

Only HDNet Movies’ exclusive Sneak Previews bring feature films to viewers before they premiere in theaters! Some of the HDNet Movies Sneak Previews have included the Academy Award nominated “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” Toronto Film Festival nominee “The War Within,” and “Bubble,” the first of six movies by acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh and produced exclusively for HDNet Films. Other featured films include “Cashback,” written and produced by Sean Ellis, “Broken English,” from Zoe Cassavetes, starring Gena Rowlands, Parker Posey, Drea de Matteo and Griffin Dunne, the critically acclaimed “Redacted” directed by Brian De Palma, “Flawless,” starring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, “Quid Pro Quo,” starring Nick Stahl and Vera Farmiga, “Finding Amanda,” starring Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow, “Red,” starring Brian Cox and most recently “Humboldt County,” starring Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich and Frances Conroy and “Special,” starring Michael Rapaport. Upcoming Sneak Previews include “Great Buck Howard,” starring Colin Hanks, John Malkovich and Tom Hanks, and “Harlem Aria,” starring Damon Wayans.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies. For more information visit www.hd.net.

About Ring of Honor

Ring of Honor Wrestling (www.rohwrestling.com) was created as a response to wrestling fans that appreciated the athleticism and entertainment that the sport can bring. Founded in 2002, Ring of Honor’s hard hitting, action packed style has been its hallmark with wrestling fans throughout the world. In its 7 year history, ROH has promoted over 200 live events between 15 states in addition to international events held in Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. Since 2007, Ring of Honor Wrestling has been available on PPV though Direct TV, iN DEMAND, DISH Network and TVN cable systems in the U.S. as well as Viewer’s Choice and Bell ExpressVu in Canada.

Affliction Day of Reckoning Payouts and Numbers

January 25, 2009

Fedor Emelianenko $300,000
•Andre Arlovski $1,500,000

•Josh Barnett $500,000
•Gilbert Yvel $30,000

• Vitor Belfort $200,000 ($80,000 to shown, $120,000 to win)
• Matt Lindland $225,000

• Renato “Babalu” Sobral $90,000 ($60,000 to show, $30,000 to win)
• Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou $50,000

• Paul Buentello $90,000 ($70,000 to show, $20,000 to win)
• Kiril Sidelnikov $10,000

• Dan Lauzon $12,000
• Bobby Green $4,000

• Jay Hieron $45,000 ($20,000 to show, $25,000 to win)
• Jason High $10,000

• Antonio Rogerio Nogueira $150,000 ($120,000 to show, $30,000 to win)
• Vladimir Matyushenko $50,000

• L.C. Davis $14,000 ($7,000 to show, $7,000 to win)
• Bao Quach $7,000

• Albert Rios $6,000 ($3,000 to show, $3,000 to win)
• Antonio Duarte $3,000

• Brett Cooper $10,000 ($5,000 to show, $5,000 to win)
• Patrick Speight $2,000

Total attendance for the event was 13,228.

Courtesy MMAWeekly.com

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