HBO seeks to use device to track boxing statistics

January 31, 2012

Bad Left Hook reports (via Boxing Scene) that HBO is seeking permission from the WBC at this Saturday’s event to use new technology that will enable the tracking of statistics of a boxer during a fight. The device is a 1 inch by 1 inch sensor which will be in the wrist of the boxing glove.

The proposed use of the technology would occur on the undercard of fights at the Top Rank event Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. HBO will show the main card which features Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. versus Marco Antonio Rubio.

Via Bad Left Hook:

The amount of data that would be available after this device becomes fully adopted will be staggering. We could figure out what a fighter’s average punch speed is for each type of punch that he throws. We would be able to tell if a fighter is slowing down by looking as his average punch speed over his past couple of fights. If a boxer got knocked out by a punch, we could figure out the amount of force necessary to knock that boxer out, and which fighters in the division are capable of producing that kind of power.

Payout Perspective:

This is the next step in not only boxing, but all of sports: detailed statistics. With emerging technology, there is the ability to become more accurate in tracking sports. A device like this would definitely refine boxing statistics. It could also be used by boxers to scout upcoming opponents as well as market boxers and fights. Hopefully, the WBC will allow the technology and we will se how accurate and useful it will be.

UFC on Fox 2 Averages 4.66 Million, Peaks at 6 Million

January 31, 2012

Saturday night’s UFC on FOX  2 event from the United Center in Chicago posted a 2.6/5 national rating/share, averaging 4.66M viewers and peaking at just over 6 million according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research today.

Fox Sports Media Group Ratings Press Release:

As expected, FOX dominated the night on the important younger demographics. FOX’s 2.4 among Adults 18-49 nearly beat the combined ratings of ABC, CBS, and NBC (2.5 combined) and FOX’s 2.5 among Adults 18-34 easily beat those three network competitors combined (1.4). The three-bout broadcast on FOX averaged 4.7 million viewers from 8:00 PM – 10:19 PM ET.

The two-hour event, the first official network broadcast of FOX’s partnership with UFC, is off slightly (-16%) from the UFC on FOX premiere in November (3.1/5), which was only one hour and featured a highly-anticipated heavyweight championship fight. When comparing similar time periods for the two events, FOX posted a 3.0/5 from 9:00 – 10:15 PM ET, off only a tenth from the November UFC fight.

In several meaningful demographics, the last hour of Saturday’s broadcast rated higher than November’s UFC premiere on FOX with Men 25-49 up +3%, Men 25-54 up +3%, Men 35-54 up +4%.

As anticipation to the night’s main event grew so did the ratings and viewership. The night’s first match between Demian Maia and Chris Weidman scored a 2.2/4 rating/share. The next fight between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping grew to a 2.7/5. Fans tuned in to see former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans take on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil Davis with that bout posting a 3.4/6. More than 6 million viewers watched the five-round bout where Evans defeated Davis by unanimous decision

The top five metered markets for Saturday’s UFC on FOX event are: Las Vegas – 4.1/8; Louisville – 4.1/7; Indianapolis – 3.9/7; Greenville – 3.9/6; Tulsa – 3.9/6; and Knoxville – 3.9/6.

***

Loretta Hunt of SI.com has more information on the ratings:

The 2-hour and 19-minute broadcast, which started at 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST), peaked with an average 6.080 million viewers (from 10 to 10:19 p.m.) during the five-round main event pitting former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans against Phil Davis.

Last November, the first one-hour UFC telecast on FOX garnered an average 5.675 million viewers for a 3.1 household rating. It peaked with 8.802 million viewers during the 64-second heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, making it the most watched fight ever (live or taped).

 

Ratings by Half-hour Blocks:

– UFC on FOX 2 (8:00 pm-8:30 pm): 3.43 million viewers

-UFC on FOX 2 (8:30 pm-9:00 pm): 3.98 million viewers

-UFC on FOX 2 (9:00 pm-9:30 pm): 4.67 million viewers

-UFC on FOX 2 (9:30 pm-10:00 pm): 5.66 million viewers

Overall: An average of 4.66M (peak of 6.08M) viewers watched the fight live or via DVR playback within the same day.

 

Payout Perspective:

Compared to the first UFC on FOX event (5.67M average viewers with a peak of 8.8M), this show (4.66M average viewers with a peak of 6.08M) fell short of those numbers despite having an extra hour of air time and three total fights, instead of just one with only seconds of actual fight time.  In fact, this event fell in line with previous MMA telecasts that have aired on CBS. The fact that there was over 2 hours of MMA action (11 rounds total) and no exciting back-and-forth’s or finishes to get the fans and crowd involved really hurt the energy of the event.  After casual fans complained that there was plenty of hype for only seconds of fighting, they now got the other extreme.

The top five metered markets for Saturday’s UFC on FOX event were Las Vegas (4.1/8), Louisville (4.1/7), Indianapolis (3.9/7), Greenville (3.9/6), Tulsa (3.9/6), and Knoxville (3.9/6). It’s interesting to point out that best markets in terms of national TV have not always been the best markets for PPV.  The only west coast market here is Las Vegas, but other markets such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Hawaii have historically been top PPV markets but did not make the list here on free national TV.

Notable to point out the counter-programming efforts here by Spike TV, who averaged 828K viewers for a “UFC Fight Night” replay and “UFC Unleashed” episodes that aired from 7-11 p.m. ET/PT. Those episodes featured fighters that were fighting on the UFC on FOX 2 event, which most likely created some fan confusion, but on the other hand, gave those FOX viewers an option to tune in to another channel to watch the same product and see some exciting finishes and fights.  By looking at the ratings Spike TV has achieved counter-programming UFC on FOX and UFC on FX specials, MMA fans who have become MMA fans by watching Spike TV are still in fact tuning in.

Tumultuous 2011 Impacts Yahoo! Sports, MMA Coverage

January 31, 2012

Earlier today, Yahoo producer Dave Doyle announced that this would be his last day as MMA/Boxing editor over at Yahoo! Sports, a fate others at Yahoo Sports would also share.

 

Doyle stated the following message via social media website Twitter:

Today is my last as MMA/boxing editor at Yahoo! Sports. It’s been an awesome ride working with great folks. Thanks for everything.

Sources tell MMAPayout.com that the cutting back on non-mainstream sports by Yahoo was due to their tumultuous 2011, which saw Yahoo’s stock dip under $17 and saw gross revenues decline by over 20%. Along with Doyle – who had been with Yahoo since 2007 – another key member of Yahoo’s MMA team is long-time MMA and Pro Wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer, who has been a part of Yahoo since it ramped up it’s MMA coverage back in 2007. His contract is also up this week.  At this time, it is unsure whether Meltzer will be able to continue his affiliation with Yahoo Sports, as the struggling company tries to workout it’s budget for the new fiscal year.  Longtime Boxing and MMA reporter Kevin Iole and Cagewrite Blog members Steve Cofield & Maggie Hendricks are reported to be staying with the team.

Yahoo will now shift their coverage to more mainstream sports ( NFL, NBA, and MLB) instead of those that are more niche such as combat sports (MMA/Boxing), Golf, and NASCAR.  Rumors of a possible shakeup within Yahoo! Sports first began around the Summer last year. The dismal fiscal results in 2011 made sure those early rumblings came to fruition.

As for Yahoo’s 2011 fiscal results, Forbes stated the following:

“Even with gross revenues declining by over 20% in 2011, Yahoo’s Q4 2011 results were hardly a surprise, as the company completed a tumultuous year filled with leadership and investor squabbles. For now, CEO Scott Thompson has acknowledged that the company has to deliver more monetization on digital content in 2012, which is a must for Yahoo to stop its shrinking presence in the online ad space.”

Yahoo will now try to focus on it’s core business, which will include selling off foreign assets and letting non-performing Yahoo! properties go, as Yahoo’s CEO Thompson has stressed “effective allocation of capital” is a priority moving forward.

This isn’t the only MMA related mainstream sports media shake-up recently.  In November of 2011, AOL’s MMAFigthing.com was sold to Vox Media – parent company to SB Nation- as AOL struggled to compete with media giants Google and Facebook these last few years, a problem Yahoo has continued to face.  A few days later, USA TODAY Sports Media Group (Gannett) made the announcement that they had acquired MMAJunkie.com, one of the biggest MMA news and media sites in the industry.

HDNet to sponsor 4 live 3D UFC PPV events in 2012

January 30, 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ:CIDM) announced today that HDNet will be the official sponsor of four, live 3D theatrical broadcasts of UFC® Pay-Per-View events in 2012 at nearly 75 Cinedigm affiliated theatres.

Beginning with the live 3D broadcast of UFC® 143: DIAZ vs. CONDIT on Saturday, Feb. 4, HDNet will be the featured sponsor, giving the network increased exposure for its MMA programming including promotion of Inside MMA.

In addition, HDNet personalities Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will have a noticeable presence during 30-minute countdown shows that air in those theatres prior to the live broadcast of UFC Pay-Per-View events.

This news comes on the heels of UFC and Cinedigm announcing late last year the plan to bring the fastest-growing sport in the world to Cinedigm’s affiliated 3D theatres across the country, which include such circuits as Carmike Cinemas, Rave Motion Pictures, Kirkorian Theatres, UltraStar Cinemas and Galaxy Theatres.

“We’re giving fans the chance to watch UFC like never before – live and in 3D,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’re excited that HDNet will be the official sponsor of these 3D events with Cinedigm. It’s going to be a big year for the UFC and we can’t wait to give our fans the chance to see Pay-Per-View events live in theatres in 3D.”

“HDNet has always been the go to source for MMA fans – from fights to news – and partnering with UFC and Cinedigm on 3D is a natural fit to HDNet’s ongoing commitment to MMA,” HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon said. “This sponsorship is just one of many new, exciting, and cutting edge additions to HDNet and Inside MMA in 2012, from a brand new studio to more live events, exclusive highlights and on-site UFC coverage.”

The first 3D theatrical presentation, UFC® 143: DIAZ vs. CONDIT, airs live on Pay-Per-View from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. In the night’s main event, the fiery and unpredictable Nick Diaz battles knockout artist Carlos Condit for the interim UFC welterweight title. Plus, heavyweights Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Fabricio Werdum collide, while welterweight bad boy Josh Koscheck meets powerhouse wrestler Mike Pierce.

New York files Motion to Dismiss portions of Zuffa’s lawsuit

January 30, 2012

The New York District Attorney and Attorney General filed separate motions to dismiss two claims in Zuffa’s lawsuit in New York City. While the lawsuits seek to dismiss only a portion of the UFC complaint, it appears that the defendants are leaving open a motion to dismiss the entire complaint in total at a later date.

Courtesy of the Fight Lawyer, the two motions are below:

Attorney General’s Motion to Dismiss

District Attorney’s Motion to Dismiss

Payout Perspective:

The crux of both arguments appear to be that despite Zuffa’s claims, the fact remains that New York had a rational basis for enacting the ban at the time it was drafted. And based on this, the statute was not vague and overbroad as it relates to the due process and equal protection claims. They cite to case law which supports the theory that despite changes over the years that may, arguably, antiquate a statute’s purpose, under a rational basis review of a law, so long as there was a rational purpose for it at the time of its introduction it is valid.

Both motions argue that the proper forum for Zuffa’s claims is with the legislature and that if Zuffa wanted to enact change, it should direct its efforts to the legislature.

Via the District Attorney’s motion to dismiss:

…as a proper exercise of judicial restraint, federal courts must uphold a statute that was rational when enacted, even when post-enactment developments cast doubt on the wisdom, logic, or providence of prior legislative decisions

It also argues that legislatures are given “substantial latitude” when it comes to enacting laws under a rational basis review of the law as “imperfections and even inequality must be tolerated.”

The defendants’ motions are persuasive and could set the dominoes in line if the court grants the motion to dismiss Zuffa’s claims. As indicated in its motions, both parties contemplate a further motion to dismiss the rest of Zuffa’s claims if it is successful with this motion.

UFC on Fox 2 overnight ratings 2: 4.3 million viewers (UPDATED)

January 29, 2012

TV By the Numbers reports the overnight ratings for UFC on Fox 2 as it clearly won its timeslot among the networks with a 2.2 rating and a 7 share with an estimated 4.373 million viewer average. The numbers may be adjusted (and likely upward) due to the nature of live programming according to TV By the Numbers.

The timeslot victory may be tempered considering it was the only live original network programming during the timeslot and US Figure Skating Championships – a sport with more of a niche audience (outside of the Olympics) than MMA – was the only other live programming on any of the networks.

UPDATE: FOX releases Ratings

Saturday night’s UFC ON FOX event from the United Center in Chicago, posted a 2.7/5 household overnight rating/share, +42% better than FOX’s Saturday primetime average for the previous four weeks (1.9/4), according to Nielsen Media Research.

FOX Sports Research projects that the network is expected to win the night among Adults 18-49 by a wide margin, and may beat ABC, CBS and NBC combined in the Adults 18-34 demographic when national figures are issued tomorrow.

The three-bout, two-hour event, the first official network broadcast of FOX’s partnership with UFC, is off from the UFC on FOX premiere in November (3.5/6), which was only one hour and featured a highly anticipated heavyweight championship fight. When comparing similar time periods for the two events, FOX posted a 3.1/5 from 9:00-10:15 PM ET, compared to the 3.5/6 that the premiere event recorded from 9:00-10:00 PM.

As anticipation to the night’s main event grew so did the ratings. The night’s first match, Jitsu master Demian Maia taking on unbeaten Chris Weidman did a 2.3/4. The next fight between middleweight contender Chael Sonnen battling British star Michael Bisping grew to a 2.9/5. Fans tuned in to see former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans take on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil Davis with that bout posting a 3.4/6. The fight went all five rounds and Evans defeated Davis by unanimous decision.

The top five metered markets for Saturday’s UFC on FOX event are: Las Vegas – 4.1/8; Louisville – 4.1/7; Indianapolis – 3.9/7; Greenville – 3.9/6; Tulsa – 3.9/6; and Knoxville – 3.9/6.  Other markets of interest: New York – 2.2/4; Los Angeles – 2.3/5; and host city Chicago – 2.8/5.

 

Payout Perspective:

The numbers are off from the first Fox event in November when those numbers totaled a 3.1 rating with 5.7 million viewers with a peak of 8.8 million viewers. Its unlikely that we’ll see that high of a peak here. The West Coast tape delay and overrun may help with the final tally for the ratings. UFC on Fox 1 was only 1 hour and was more of a novelty for the casual viewer. We shall see what the final results are for the UFC’s second time on the network. Unfortunately, not a lot of action to cheer for on the network show as the three fights wouldn’t appeal to someone watching MMA for the first time. It will be interesting how the UFC will work to ensure exciting fights next time out.

UFC on Fox 2 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 28, 2012

MMA Weekly reports that tonight’s UFC on Fox 2 drew 17,245 for a gate of $1.2 million. It was the UFC’s first appearance at Chicago’s United Center since UFC 90.

Although the attendance figures were solid, the gate figure pales in comparison to UFC 90 when the gate exceeded $2.8 million. On that night, Anderson Silva defended his title against Patrick Cote.

Via MMA Weekly:

The promotion’s last trip to the Chicago area was the Allstate Arena in the suburb of Rosemont for UFC 90. That event drew a slightly lesser attendance of 15,359, but drew more than double the live gate, totaling $2.85 million.

The gate did beat the first event televised on Fox at the Honda Center in Anaheim. That event drew 11,600 for a gate of slightly over $1 million.

In addition, MMA Junkie reports the bonuses were announced and each received $65,000. All of the prelim fights received the night’s bonuses.

Lavar Johnson: KO of the Night
Charles Oliveira – Sub of the Night
Evan Dunham and Nik Lentz – Fight of the NIght

Mayweather offers Pacquiao $40 million to fight

January 27, 2012

BoxingScene.com reports that Floyd Mayweather offered Manny Pacquiao a $40 million flat fee to fight on May 5th. The offer would mean that Mayweather would keep any PPV, gate and any other fight revenue from the long-awaited matchup.

The proposal was offered in a phone call Mayweather made to Pacquiao last week. Its unlikely that Pacquiao would take this offer although the $40 million would be the most he would make for one fight in his career.

With this proposal, its assumed that Mayweather’s take from this proposed fight would greatly exceed $40 million. For example, Mayweather’s business model from his last fight includes multiple revenue streams including foreign sales for the fight broadcast, closed-circuit revenues, site revenue and sponsorships. It was estimated that Mayweather made $40 million from the Ortiz fight. Mayweather did front $10 million in marketing costs to promote the Ortiz fight under the Mayweather Promotions banner. Its not clear, but unlikely, that Mayweather asked Pacquiao to put up money for promotional costs.

Payout Perspective:

And the saga continues in the struggle to make this fight. While the $40 million is the most Pacquiao will ever make in one fight, not receiving a portion of the PPV revenue, or any other streams of revenue, would greatly reduce, and shortchange Pacquiao’s earning potential. Its likely that the revenue for the PPV alone would be astounding considering the long wait for this fight. While Mayweather may carry the promotion of this fight domestically, its Pacquiao that would help international sales. This would include the many Filipino fight fans that would come to Vegas (the likely spot) for the fight.

Its hard to imagine Pacquiao fighting under a Mayweather Promotions only  banner. Mayweather has said that he will not take a 50-50 split so we will have to wait and see if this fight will ever happen.

UFC left off of Businessweek’s Top 100 in Sports

January 27, 2012

The UFC was shutout for the 2nd straight year in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Top Power 100 Sports Ranking. Notably, boxers Manny Pacquiao (28) and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (49) were on the list.

Drew Brees edged out Aaron Rodgers for the top spot this year. Brock Lesnar and Fedor made it on the list in 2010. The list is based on an athlete’s performance, popularity and marketability.

Last year’s top spot, Peyton Manning, fell to 51st on the list. Lance Armstrong, No. 8 on the list last year, fell off the list completely as he announced his retirement last February. Despite retiring, Shaquille O’Neal remained No. 7 on the list.

Payout Perspective:

Will there be a UFC fighter on this list next year? Certainly, Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre would be the two names that would come to mind when it comes to the criteria. Jones would be more likely to make the mainstream jump this year consdering GSP’s injury. A combination of Jones’ personality, his athletic ability and the UFC’s visibility through the Fox deal should help land Jones on this list.

Hackers allegedly post Dana White’s personal info online

January 26, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that Dana White’s personal information was revealed online after White challenged hackers that may have hacked UFC.com. The challenge came after the UFC head engaged in a heated twitter exchange with the alleged hackers.

Via MMA Junkie:

A Twitter user claiming to be a member of the same Internet group that over the weekend attacked UFC.com, UGNazi.com, posted a link to a file listing the apparent phone number, social security number and current and past addresses of the UFC boss.

In addition to addressing the issue of the UFC hackers at today’s UFC on Fox 2 press conference, White also addressed the controversial SOPA bill which the UFC supported:

“Is SOPA the perfect bill? No, it’s not,” he said. “The only thing that we’re focused on is piracy. Piracy is stealing. If you walk into a store and you steal a gold watch, it’s the same as stealing a pay-per-view. I don’t care what your twisted, demented idea of stealing is. This kids who grew up on the Internet never had to pay for anything, so they don’t think that you should have to.”

Payout Perspective:

Most would agree that the unauthorized posting of personal information, including White’s alleged social security number, is not acceptable. It has now drawn the attention of White and the UFC. If White had made the statement about SOPA on the day of the SOPA blackout, or if this was communicated in Sunday’s Las Vegas Journal editorial, we may not have seen such a militant response from the hackers. Certainly, most people would understand the UFC’s stance if it was communicated in a timely manner.

There’s no guarantee that hackers would have stayed away from the UFC.com web site even if White and the UFC came out with its statement. But, at least stating its position, instead of pretending not to care about it, would have satisfied most.

 

[UPDATE]: Las Vegas FOX affiliate says hackers’ attack on White sees innocent woman harassed [MMAJunkie]

“Breeler claims to have received more than 500 phone calls since her information was released in place of White’s actual data.

In the report, FOX 5 reporter Matt Delucia suggests the UFC boss’ name became associated with Breeler’s address thanks to a past resident of the house who owned a white cat named “Dana,” and used the pseudonym as a way to detect junk mail.”

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