Zuffa supporting Florida bill regarding promoter disclosure

April 30, 2014

The MMA Report reports on a proposed bill that would amend boxing and MMA regulations in the state of Florida so that promoters would not need to disclose the number of tickets sold for an event, the gross receipts among other things. Zuffa has contributed $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in support of lobbying efforts to pass this measure.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Zuffa’s contribution to the RGA.

The proposed measure would exempt the disclosure of “proprietary confidential business information” in a public records request.  This would include information on the number of tickets sold, gross receipts of an event, trade secrets and “business plans.”

The proposed text of the bill which rationalizes the reason for the nondisclosure of the information is interesting:

Section 2.  The Legislature finds that it is a public necessity that proprietary confidential business information be protected from disclosure.  The disclosure of proprietary confidential business information could injure a promoter in the marketplace by giving the promoter’s competitors insights into the promoter’s financial status and business plan, thereby putting the promoter at a competitive disadvantage.  The Legislature also finds that the harm to a promoter in disclosing proprietary confidential business information significantly outweighs any public benefit derived from the disclosure of such information….

A notable change of the proposed amendment to the current rules would allow the promoter to apply to the Commission for authorization to issue more than five percent of seats in the house as complimentary tickets and not be included in gross receipts for post-event taxation purposes.

Thus, the promoter could comp more than five percent of the seats in a venue and would not have to disclose the amount of comps it issued per the proposed amended law.

An analysis of the bill cites that certain terms are not defined and are overly broad (or will be interpreted as such).  Unless the bill is amended to define certain terms, the effect of the proposed law could mean that the promoter could exclude a broad amount of information from public records.

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see if this law is eventually passed.  It appears that it the Florida House agrees with the bill voting in its favor.  Coming off of a successful event in Orlando, the UFC intimated that it would be back soon.  Based on the public records and proposed legislation, one may assume that the UFC is willing to come back to Florida and would not mind that this particular law is in place.  The broad scope of this law as it presently is written could mean that the UFC would not have to disclose attendance, gate and/or salaries to the public.  Other commissions do not officially release this information but this is a unique amendment to Florida’s existing law.

The proposed legislation may run contrary to the requirements of the Muhammad Ali Act which require the promoter to disclose certain expenditures to a boxer.  However, the proposed law has language that would seem to allow such disclosure.  Also, the promoter could disclose such required information without it being a public record.

The key issue is that the public would not be able to see information such as tickets sold and gross receipts.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Senate Bill 0808 (2014) by JASONCRUZ206

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