Hublot sponsors Anderson Silva

November 29, 2013

Anderson Silva has a new blue chip sponsor in high end watch maker Hublot  The company has had sponsorships with NBA star Kobe Bryant, track star Usain Bolt and soccer star Pele.

Jay Z once purchased a Hublot with an estimated cost of $5 million.  Hublot will produce only 100 Anderson Silva watches with an estimated $30K price tag.  10 of the Spider’s watches will be gold which may run a little higher.

According to its web site, Hublot is the official timekeeper for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  This may be the in with the Brazilian-born Silva and the fact that he is represented by sports marketing agency 9ine which is partly owned by soccer star Ronaldo.

Anderson Silva Watch

H/t:  FighterxFashion

Payout Perspective:

This news was announced a week ago but still worth noting the marketability of Silva.  The sponsorship adds another blue chip sponsor to Silva’s portfolio which includes Nike, Burger King and Corinthians.  He’s positioning himself well for a life after fighting by associating himself with top tier brands.  Hublot is a luxury brand and with its association with Silva it hopes to tap into the young affluent demographic.  The watch sponsor is usually reserved for the tennis player or golfer.  Silva is stepping into mainstream of sports advertising as a watch advertising contract usually marks you as one of the elite in your sport.

The Wrestling Post – 11.28.13

November 28, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we talk Total Divas renewal and TNA’s new television deals.

Total Divas renewed for second season

With the ratings success of Total Divas, it was given an extended first season and now comes news that it will be given a second season.

Via Variety:

“Total Divas” has averaged 1.4 million total viewers since its summer debut, making it one of E!’s most promising new entries and a strong performer on Sunday nights in the 18-34 demo. From WWE and Bunim-Murray Prods., series centers on the lives of femme WWE stars both inside and outside of the ring.

Total Divas ratings took a step back this week with the first rating under 1 million viewers this past week but this may be due in part to the NFL (Broncos-Patriots) and the company’s own PPV, Survivor Series.

Payout Take:  The reality show was one of three new reality shows the network announced as returning for another season.  It received an optimum amount of push by the WWE (with promotion during its programming) and by E! as its primary lead-in was the network’s highest rated show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

TNA Wrestling forges TV agreement in Japan and Australia      

TNA Wrestling announced an agreement with the Nippon Television Network Corporation.  TNA Impact Wrestling will be seen every Saturday and PPVs will be shown monthly.  In addition, it has signed a two-year deal with Fuel TV Australia.  In addition to the weekly program in Australia, TNA will introduce shoulder programming to complement TNA in Australia.

Payout Take:  The agreements abroad appear to be ways to expand the TNA brand and maybe keep the company afloat amidst rumors of its financial trouble. On another note, Sports Illustrated featured TNA’s head Dixie Carter in an interesting read about how her family decided to purchase a majority interest in the company.

Pacquiao’s bank accounts frozen due to unpaid Filipino tax debt

November 27, 2013

The AP reports that the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the Philippines has frozen the bank accounts of Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino tax authorities claim the fighter owes 2.2 billion pesos ($50 million) in unpaid taxes.

The news of the frozen accounts comes just after Pacquiao’s return to the ring where he defeated Brandon Rios.  He is guaranteed $18 million from the fight and could make $30 million.

Pacquiao dedicated the fight to the typhoon victims of the Philippines and promised aid to the victims.  But, Pacquiao had to borrow 1 million pesos ($22,700) to purchase relief supplies and pledged to borrow more.

Payout Perspective:

Unfortunately, Pacquiao’s story is going down the road of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield; boxers who have made millions in the ring but face financial setbacks outside.  Hopefully for Pacquiao, who has reportedly made $300 million from his boxing earnings alone, his fate won’t end in bankruptcy.  The frozen bank accounts appear to be temporary but if he has not paid his taxes, most of his recent fight purse will go to those unpaid taxes.  How this will affect Pacquiao?  We may see him fight past his prime in order to get current with his debts and obligations. This may also see him fighting in Macau and other places outside of the U.S. where he’d have to pay almost 40% of his pay to the IRS.

Bellator 109: 691,000 viewer average

November 26, 2013

MMA Payout has learned through Nielsen sources that Bellator 109 scored an average viewership of 691,000 viewers. It peaked with over 1 million viewers during the Marshall-Schlemenko fight.

Season 9 (Fall 2013):

Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers

Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers, 704,000 DVR+3

Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers, 736,000 DVR+3

Bellator 101 – 649,000 viewers, 710,000 DVR +3

Bellator 102 – 675,000 viewers. 774,000 DVR +3

Bellator 103 – 539,000 viewers, 638,000 DVR +3

Bellator 104 – 615,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3

Bellator 105 – 520,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3

Bellator 106 – 1.1M viewers

Bellator 107 – 683,000 viewers, 782,000 DVR +3

Bellator 108 – 793,000 viewers

Bellator 109 – 691,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The live season average ended at 671,000 viewers with viewership for Bellator 109 down from last week.  Season 9 ratings were down from Season 8 despite Bellator 106’s big rating.  We will see how Bellator can build going into its 10th season in 2014.

Glory 12 on SpikeTV: 476,000 viewers

November 26, 2013

MMA Payout has learned through Nielsen sources that Saturday night’s Glory 12 from New York on Spike TV scored an average viewership of 476,000 viewers which is up 25% from last month’s event.  The highest quarter hour received 665,000 viewers.

Glory 11 grabbed 381,000 viewers in October.  It showed double digit gains in its key demographics.  It was up 52% in males 18-49 and up 33% overall in the age demo.

Glory12

Payout Perspective:

The ratings were good considering it competed with College Football and Pacquiao-Rios on Saturday night.  The event received some indirect publicity from Ronda Rousey tweeting about the show and Floyd Mayweather in attendance.  This bodes well as Rousey and Mayweather could influence their fans to check out the kickboxing organization.  The promotion could do a little more promotion in the weeks before an event to garner some more interest.

Despite hiccups, UFC.tv receives thumbs up

November 25, 2013

The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reviewed the UFC.tv mobile application developed by NeuLion with UFC 167 as the test case.  It was an overall good review although the app had “some hiccups and feature oversights.”

UFC.tv is a free download with in-app purchasing capabilities with users having the option to purchase UFC PPV events from the app for $54.99 (HD), $44.99 (SD) which is comparable to most cable and satellite providers.  However, an upgrade is available on UFC.tv to receive a 6 month subscription to the UFC.tv fight library and a 50% discount for users purchasing a live event for $84.98 (HD), $74.98 (SD).

As you may already know, there are three camera angles (live, Red Corner and Blue Corner) on UFC.tv.  The corner cameras provide the raw sound without commentary according to the review.  Live scoring and pre-fight stats are available for matches and the app is interactive as users can submit their scores for all to see.  The reviewer was impressed with the vast content of UFC.tv

The review had issues with watching the live event from a mobile device.  Purchasing an event is not straightforward and may cause consumer hesitation.  There were also issues with the corner cameras.  Also, a twitter section dedicated for fan interaction where you can see other viewer’s tweets during the fight did not update.  Also, the fight library accompanying the app does not have recent fights although this may be on purpose.

Payout Perspective:

The rollout of the UFC.tv app offers fans an alternative to purchasing the event through their cable/satellite company.  I can see this being an alternative for the mobile viewing and for those cord cutters without cable or satellite television.  However, the one thing that I like about ordering the PPV is the chance to DVR the fights and rewatch them later.  Good example, many people rewatched the first round of GSP-Hendricks to see whether GSP really won round 1.  If NeuLion and the UFC can fix its tech issues, I can see this being a viable alternative.  It would also be good for the UFC business-wise as it would not have to share a PPV cut with cable/satellite providers.

Payout Perspective: Pacquiao-Rios

November 25, 2013

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective where we take a look at the return of Manny Pacquiao as he took on Brandon Rios at the Venetian Hotel on the island of Macau off the coast of China.

Pacquiao outclasses Rios

As many had expected, the speed of Manny Pacquiao was too much for Bam Bam. While the threat of the one punch KO was there, the movement and angles of Pacquiao muted any thought of a left hook from Rios.

Let’s pump the brakes on any talk of Floyd Mayweather. First, there’s the Top Rank/Golden Boy-HBO/Showtime schism which would prevent any such fight from happening  Pacquiao looked impressive and it appears that the 11 months away has helped.  Rios is a dangerous fighter but nowhere near the skill level of a Mayweather.  However, a Timothy Bradley fight seems the most logical and reasonable next fight for Pacquiao.

Bradley’s career has ascended since he won that controversial fight over Pacquiao in June 2012.  Most recently, he dispatched of Pacquiao’s arch-nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez.  Thus, promoting this fight should not be too hard considering this would be a rematch of a controversial decision.  With his post-Pacquiao fights, Bradley has proven that he belongs in the upper tier of boxing.  A return match against Pacquiao could serve as “passing the torch” to Top Rank’s next superstar or will serve as another reason for all parties to wait out Floyd’s Showtime contract.

10-the-clash-in-cotai

Zou Shiming Shines

In terms of importance of a boxer winning Saturday, Shiming was a close second behind Pacquiao.  The reason for this is the overarching theme of tapping the Chinese market.  Shiming has the amateur credentials but has not really showed whether he could be a star as a pro.  He dominated his 6 round fight over Juan Tozcana in which the announcing crew questioned whether the fight should have been stopped.

If Shiming could show continued improvement, he has a built in audience and could ascend quickly.  Of course, at 32 years of age, the plan is for him to ascend quickly.

Attendance

Attendance at the Venetian Hotel in Macau where the event was held was a sellout of 13,200.  No gate figures yet although front row seats were selling for three times the amount that it usually would in Vegas.

In comparison, Pacquiao’s last fight in December 2012 against Marquez had an attendance of 15,430 for a gate of $10.8 million.  However, based on the front row seats going for three times what they do in Vegas, we can see a comparable gate here.

Paydays

Manny Pacquiao will receive a guaranteed $18 million with the potential for $30 million and does not have to pay the 39.6% U.S. tax since the fight did not happen in the states.  Rios, however, will receive $4 million but will need to pay Uncle Sam because he’s a U.S. citizen.

Pre-Fight Promotion

The incident in the gym between Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia and Alex Ariza provided some “propaganda” for the fight.  Was the dustup manufactured?  It received press and drew some emotions but looked bad for both camps. But, we all can assume the Roach-Ariza bad blood is genuine based on how Pacquiao’s team dispatched of Ariza and he was picked up by Rios.

The 24/7 series was well-done as always.  It seems hard to come up with angles to cover Pacquiao each series although the typhoon and the aforementioned ill-will between camps provided some topics.  We also learned that Rios curses a lot.

Sponsorships

The ring sponsors included Smart Communications, a Philippines mobile phone and internet carrier, the movie “Grudge Match” starring DeNiro and Stallone and Tecate. Tecate ran its usual promotion of offering rebates with a purchase of its product.  What was not present was the usual run up for a Pacquiao fight in the states which usual includes in-store promotions and sponsor activation.

Rios wore a Sigue Corporation shirt at weigh-ins. Sigue is a money transfer company specializing in US-Mexico transaction.

As always, Nike sponsored Pacquiao however this article by footwear blog Sole Collector details the little buzz from the swoosh over the Macau fight.  In fact, the online Nike store only has one shirt (from last year) from Pacquiao on sale.  This from a company that rolled out shirts, sweats and shoes for the boxer before past fights. This time, it seemed like the brand was in a “wait and see” mode.  Of course, it also could be due to Pacquiao’s newfound faith in which media outlets have interpreted (or misinterpreted dependent on how you view it) Pacquiao’s stance against gay marriage. Nike supports gay marriage. There were also the comments made by UFC president Dana White claiming the Beaverton, Oregon Company had dropped Pacquiao.

Odds and Ends

As predicted, the price point for Pacquiao in HD was $70.

Due to the time difference, the fight actually took place around lunchtime local time on Sunday which made fight day customs a little skewed.

NY Times writer Greg Bishop had a great piece preceding the fight correlating Pacquiao’s in-ring downturn with the rejuvenation of his religious faith and commitment to his wife.  There is something to be said for the lack of perceived hunger in Pacquiao if you were to compare him now as opposed to pre-Oscar de la Hoya.  Pacquiao was young and reckless socially which mirrored his fighting style.  The style in the ring amounted to interest and success, the style outside of the ring nearly cost him his marriage. After “returning to form” on Saturday, can we say that Pacquiao is born again boxing-wise?

Bishop also wrote an informative article on the logistical obstacles HBO and Top Rank faced in producing a PPV abroad.  This included bringing 300 cases of equipment by air and water to the location.

There were some that thought that the Carl Froch-George Graves fight should have been picked up by HBO to use as an appetizer for the fight later that night.  It would have been nice but would have run the risk of being “UFC”-like in having too much boxing on in one day.

Conclusion

Despite the lack of buzz and usual American “over the top” promotion, “The Clash in Cotai” had a purpose.  First, it was to reintroduce the world to Manny Pacquiao. The statement was that he was back to his “old” self.  More importantly, it was an opportunity to enter the fertile Macau market with its casinos bringing in $38 billion in 2012  and likely more this year.  Bob Arum would like to open up this region as a way to leverage it against Vegas as an option to hold a fight here.  Certainly, it would benefit Pacquiao as its closer to home and he saves on paying U.S. taxes if his fights are held outside of the U.S.  That being said, the costs for HBO/Top Rank to hold a show outside of the U.S. along with Pacquiao’s hefty payout may be something it needs to consider before committing time, money and resources to another fight in Macau.

For its first time holding a PPV overseas,  it’s likely that Pacquiao’s return will grab at least 850,000-950,000 buys.

Pacquiao could make $30M Saturday in HBO PPV first event overseas

November 23, 2013

The NY Times reports that Manny Pacquiao could earn close to $30 million on Saturday night when he fights Brandon Rios in his return to the ring.  The article also addresses the many obstacles on putting on a PPV abroad.

Pacquiao is guaranteed $18 million with “an upside closer to $30 million.”  More important is that unlike his U.S. fights, he will not have to pay U.S. taxes.  Pacquiao would have been taxed in the highest U.S. tax bracket (39.6 percent).

The scheduling is the biggest change from American events as the fight will take place Sunday around noon.  Thus, the fighters will have to change their usual customs on fight day.

HBO “shipped in 300 cases of equipment.”  This included even makeup for on-air talent in the event they could not get it locally.  Instead of the regular 100 employees used for fight night, 40 employees were flown in to deal with logistics of engineering and production.

Payout Perspective:

Pacquiao’s salary pales in comparison to Floyd Mayweather’s payout of over $40 million in his last fight with Canelo Alvarez.  Still, Pacquiao will not have to pay taxes on almost 40 percent of his earnings.  With all of the investment HBO is doing for this PPV the payoff is the potential future it may have in China.  Chinese boxer Zou Shiming who main evented Top Rank’s rehearsal in the area with two fights this year will be on the undercard and will likely grab almost as much fanfare as Pacquiao.  If the card does well, it will provide an alternative that Bob Arum can use as leverage in the future.  Certainly if Pacquiao wins, his next fight may be closer to home.

TUF 18 Ep. 12: 510,000 viewer average

November 22, 2013

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Wednesday’s TUF episode 12 received an average viewership of 510,000.  The viewership was down from last week’s episode.

TUF 18 Episodes

Episode 1: 762,000 viewers

Episode 2: 870,000 viewers

Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

Episode 4: 778,000 viewers

Episode 5:  640,000 viewers

Episode 6:  725,000 viewers

Episode 7:  672,000 viewers

Episode 8:  476,000 viewers

Episode 9:  452,000 viewers

Episode 10: 583,000 viewers

Episode 11 561,000 viewers

Episode 12:  510,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

As the season ends next week, the viewership has decreased the past three weeks.  Perhaps the last women’s fight on the show will help spur some interest.  There was no fight this week due to Anthony Gutierrez missing weight although the show featured the customary coaches’ challenge which Ronda Rousey won.  Topping the night on cable was American Horror Story on FX with close to 4 million viewers according to TV By Numbers.

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (11/11 – 11/17)

November 22, 2013

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC  TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal.  In this week’s edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 11/11 – 11/17.

FOX-Sports-Logo

 

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (11/13):
– The Ultimate Fighter (repeat): 130,000 viewers
– The Ultimate Fighter (new episode): 561,000 viewers

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Saturday (11/16):
– UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Prelims: 998,000 viewers (prelim record).
– UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Post Fight Coverage: 249,000 viewers.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Live Weigh-ins (11/15) on FS2 drew 21,000 viewers.
– UFC Presents Mark Hunt (11/17) on FS1 drew 27,000 viewers and 51,000 on FS2 for the replay.
– UFC Tonight (11/13) on FS2 drew 29,000 viewers (aired on FS2 due to CBB game on FS1).
– Ultimate Insider (11/17) on FS1 drew 48,000 viewers (usually airs on Wednesday block).
– UFC 167 Primetime Ep. 3 (11/11) on FS1 drew 95,000 viewers.

Note: UFC’s regular Wednesday night block programming did not air on FS1 due to the Big East college basketball game, which drew 67,000 viewers. The college basketball game was the lead in to the shortened UFC programming block this week.

***

 Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals:
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 289,000 (last week: 630,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 9,000 (last week: 16,000)

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.

 

Payout Perspective:

Two weeks ago, Fox Sports 1’s achieved its most successful week in terms of viewership. This week, without having two UFC events and a blockbuster college football game all on the same week, differed greatly.  The primetime viewership for FS1 fell from 630,000 to 289,000 viewers, or 54%.  FS2 also had a dramatic decline from 16,000 to 9,00, or 43%. Of course, this is not unusual for a sports network, where it is not enough to have the license to a certain sport or league, but also airing the games/fights that people want to watch.

Other key notes from last week was the UFC 167 Primetime special, which wrapped up the three part series by drawing 95K viewers.  That puts the average viewership for the series at 97,000 viewers.  With costs estimated between $1-2M per primetime special, you have to wonder whether drawing an average of 100,000 viewers is enough.  The purpose of  the Primetime special, back when it was on Spike TV anyways, was to convert viewers into PPV buyers.  Spike TV’s Primetime’s would typically be in the 500K-1M range. With a mere 100,000 viewers on average, and a big portion being hard-core fans who are already ordering the event, the ROI (return on investment) should be carefully analyzed going forward.  UFC 168 next month is also set to have a three-part primetime special.

In more positive news, the UFC 167 prelims viewership of 998,000 was huge success for the UFC on FS1, considering the networks limitations.  It now stands as the second most watched UFC program on FS1 since the August 17th debut on the network.  This was a good sign for the event as a whole, and could shine some light on the PPV buy projections, though the two have shown in the past not to have a direct correlation.

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