Silva bristles at donning Reebok

January 30, 2015

In a recent interview, Anderson Silva stated he will not wear Reebok in the UFC despite the impending uniform deal.  More damaging, he is quoted as saying he doesn’t identify with Reebok at all.

The quotes came in a recent interview with Brazilian outlet Terra and were reported by MMA Junkie.

Until Nike decided to opt out of the MMA sponsor business, Silva was a swoosh mainstay.  Silva stated that he identifies with the Nike brand even though he no longer is sponsored by the Beaverton, Oregon company.

Silva stated that his whole family wears Nike and Adidas.  As an aside, Adidas owns Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

The words from SIlva are not encouraging for Reebok when one of the biggest stars in the UFC does not endorse the brand.  Furthermore, although he’s being frank, he is burying the brand and endorsing its competitor, Nike.  Obviously, Silva’s long-time ties with Nike may persuade his views but I’m sure his opinion on the Reebok brand might be shared by other fighters that will be required to don the Reebok gear this July.

Ticket demand for UFC 183 up from 182

January 29, 2015

According to SeatGeek.com, tickets on the secondary market for UFC 183 are up 9% from UFC 182 with an average price of $460 per ticket.  In addition, there are still tickets available according to Ticketmaster with the best “get in” price for a ticket going for $238.

As of Thursday afternoon, the cheapest ticket on Ticketmaster to get into UFC 183 featuring Anderson Silva versus nick Diaz is $238.02.  The best available tickets on Ticketmaster are seats on the floor which go for $1,042.35.  Also as of Thursday afternoon, SeatGeek has the current pricing in the secondary market for UFC 183.  The lowest tickets are going for $210.  Of course, these likely come with broker fees.

UFC 182 which featured Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier drew an average price of $420 on the secondary market.  Notably, the prices for UFC 183 are the least expensive for Anderson Silva in the U.S. since August 2010 when Silva took on Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in Oakland.  Silva-Sonnen I drew an average of just $198 on the resale market.

SeatGeek indicates that the decrease in Silva as a box office star may be due to his current losing streak.  In his first fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 162,, the average ticket on the secondary market was $519.  For the rematch at UFC 168, tickets averaged at $536.  Both of these fights were at the MGM Grand.  Saturday’s fight also takes place at the MGM Grand.

Via Seat Geek

Payout Perspective:

One might believe that the ticket prices are up from January’s event due to the influx of fans from Brazil and Super Bowl weekend. Although Anderson Silva fights have gone for over $500 per ticket in the last two events, those events occurred during key times during the UFC calendar (i.e., UFC 162 during International Fight Week and UFC 168 at “year-end show” which also included Rousey-Tate). UFC 183 comes on the heels of an event in the city 4 weeks ago so the increase in demand is a good sign.

UFC officially raises its PPV prices

January 29, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has permanently raised its pay-per-view prices $5 due to what the company calls “rising costs in producing live events.”  For most, the usual $54.99 HD PPV fans have been accustomed to pay will increase to $59.99.

For those that purchase their PPVs in SD, the price will increase from $44.99 to $49.99.

Prior to this official statement to Junkie, it was thought that the first three UFC PPVs of this year would be $59.99 due to the special nature of the events.  In December 2013, UFC 168 increased its PPV price point by $5 as well.

Payout Perspective:

As we discussed earlier in the year, White had previously stated that PPV prices would never go up.  The UFC then raised the price for UFC 168.  With the relative success of UFC 182, one had to know that the price increase was going to stay permanent.  While it may be true that rising production costs may have forced the company to pass along those costs to its fans, the way it has introduced the new prices seems a little disappointing.  It’s not that the prices were raised (at least in my opinion), but how it was done.  The issue of raising PPV prices had been thought to be happening and there had been no answer from the company, until now, that the UFC would raise prices.  Instead, it appeared that the prices would be raised for special events – a form of dynamic pricing.  It now will permanently keep the price adjustment and consumers are now upset.  While boxing has seen its PPV prices rise as well, there are fewer events to choose from.  Still, charging $65 and $75 for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather still has fight consumers upset.

From the UFC perspective, the slight increase in pricing helps its bottom line.  A part of the reason why Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit rating and financial outlook were due to 2014’s poor PPV numbers.  The additional revenue it may receive from the price increase should mitigate its increasing production costs and help with its overall financial outlook in 2015.

UPDATED: UFC heading to Philippines for UFC Fight Night 65 May 16th

January 28, 2015

UFC is finally heading to the Philippines per a report by Bloody Elbow.  MMA Junkie reports that the deal has been finalized to hold UFC Fight Night 65 in Manila at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Back in 2011, the Philippines was thought to be the country to have the first international TUF according to Dana White. Obviously, that was not the case.  The Philippines is a fight crazy country and have come out by the thousands to see the likes of Carlos Condit, Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera visit the country on behalf of the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly, an event in the Philippines could bring a large fan base to an event craving MMA.   Aside from basketball, the Philippines is big on combat sports.  The UFC has toiled with holding an event in the country and it looks like it could come to fruition.  Certainly, Filipino UFC fighters Mark Munoz, Mark Eddiva and Roldan Sangcha-an could be on tap for the event in Manila.

Silver steps down as NY State Assembly Speaker

January 28, 2015

NY Times reports that Sheldon Silver will be replaced as speaker of the NY State Assembly and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle will become the interim speaker starting next week.  Notably, Morelle sponsored a bill that would legalize professional mixed martial arts in the state.

Notably, in the first half of January 2013, records show that Zuffa contributed $2,500 to the re-election campaign of Assemblyman Joe Morelle.  Zuffa also contributed the same amount to Joe Griffo, another New York state senator that, along with Morelle, has sponsored a bill to legalize the sport in the state.

Morelle, who is the majority leader of the state Assembly, will be one of several lawmakers vying for the permanent role of speaker.  According to Jim Genia, Morelle, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Assemblyman Denny Farrell and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan are candidates for Silver’s former position.  Per Genia, Assemblywoman Nolan is the only one to come out against the sport.  The NY Times also names Assemblyman Carl Heastie as a possible contender for the speaker positions as well.  According to a report, Zuffa donated $500 to Heastie in 2013.

Payout Perspective:

The Assembly plans to elect its permanent speaker on February 10th.  The prospects look good that New York may get a speaker that has supported MMA in the past.  While this does not necessarily mean that the speaker will be able to get a law passed legalizing MMA, if a pro-MMA assembly person becomes speaker, there should not be an issue with getting a vote on a bill legalizing MMA in the state.

UFC on Fox 14 draws 3.049M, Prelims do 607K on FS1

January 27, 2015

Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 14 drew an average of 3.049 million viewers per Nielsen.  In addition, the Prelims on FS1 drew 607,000 viewers for the three hour show preceeding the two hour network card.

The two hour event on FOX won its time slot as well as coming in first in key adult and male demos.  It drew a 1.8 rating with a 3 share and its final peak rating drew 3.646 million viewers.  The event featured Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson.  “Rumble” scored an upset win over the hometown favorite.

The ratings are the best on FOX for the UFC since last year’s UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 which featured Benson Henderson and Josh Thompson.

The UFC on Fox 14 Prelims are down from December’s UFC on Fox Prelims which drew 654,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Despite this past Saturday’s event drawing less than previous network events in January, the ratings show that the promotion of the event from Fox during the NFL playoffs and other Fox sports have helped with awareness of the card.  The Prelims were slightly off of December’s ratings which may be due to the lack of name recognition from all of the non-US fighters.

Rios-Alvarado trilogy scores 1.252M viewers

January 27, 2015

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s HBO boxing card featuring the third fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvardo drew 1.252 million HBO viewers.  According to Nielsen the peak of the fight drew 1.315 million viewers.

Per Rafael, it was the most watch fight of the three between Rios and Alvardo.  Also on Saturday, the Gilberto Ramirez-Maxim Vlasov fight which preceded the main event drew 820,000 viewers with a peak at 946,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

HBO Boxing on Saturday featuring Rios-Alvarado (which occurred after UFC on Fox 14) outdid the big Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne fight on Showtime the week before.  The ratings for the fights on HBO and Showtime show that boxing is gaining some ratings momentum.  With the news that Al Haymon has secured spots on NBC, NBC Sports Network and SpikeTV, we can see more of good boxing events in 2015.

WWE Network posts 1 million subscribers

January 27, 2015

The WWE announced that its WWE Network has surpassed 1 million subscribers in just 11 months.  Despite early concerns about retaining subscribers, the company has hit a significant benchmark with its digital platform.

The announcement comes a week ahead of its 4th Quarter earnings for 2014.  The increase in its subscribers is a dramatic turn from its 3rd Quarter announcement of 731,000 viewers.  The WWE offered a free November for potential subscribers to have a chance to check it out.  It appears that this promotion, the appearance of “The Rock” and others at the Royal Rumble as well as launching the network in the U.K. and Ireland have helped boost the subscription number.

The results reflect a 37% increase globally and 24% domestically.  Despite the buzz that people were going to cancel the network en masse due to the Royal Rumble result, the show actually reflected positive gains.

WWE stock is up 20% on Tuesday at the time of this writing.

Payout Perspective:

Great news for the WWE Network as it is near the 1.4 million subscriber number which would put the WWE investment in the platform at break even.  It is behind its projected 1.25 million subscriber number per Dave Meltzer.  Yet, with the rumor that it will once again offer a free February and with “Wrestlemania Season” upon us, the subscription number should remain solid for now.  The 1 million subscribers could be attributed to the “Free November” which was interesting considering the content during that month was not astounding.  MMA Payout will keep you posted on the earnings report next week.

WSOF retains Hollywood marketing expert to grow sponsorship sales

January 26, 2015

The World Series of Fighting has announced that it has retained Rolfe Auerbach to assist with the growing organization’s sponsorship sales.  Auerbach is the President and CEO of Los Angeles-based Brand in Entertainment.  He will be in charge of all sponsorship sales and product integration strategies on behalf of World Series of Fighting.

WSOF

Via WSOF press release:

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with World Series of Fighting which, in its relatively short lifespan of just over 2 years, has grown exponentially into a powerful sports entertainment vehicle,” said Auerbach.

“With its presence on the NBCUniversal platform, its tremendous reach on television platforms throughout the planet and some of the best and most exciting athletes in the sport of MMA, the World Series of Fighting product presents an incredible opportunity for consumer brands to engage the 18-34 year old male demographic.

“We are excited to bring a marketing mastermind and innovator like Rolfe Auerbach on board to our incredible team,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.

“With Rolfe’s wealth of experience and blue-chip level relationships in the consumer products space,” continued Sefo, “he will no doubt be able to catapult our brand into the next stratosphere.”

Under Auerbach’s leadership, Brand in Entertainment, since its inception in 2000, has incorporated products and brands into a host of the world’s most popular studio films, television programs, music videos and video games.

In 2006, Auerbach’s company famously incorporated a key marketing initiative of upscale hotel chain Embassy Suites, into one of the most-watched episodes of Donald Trump’s smash-hit NBC-televised reality series The Apprentice.

Payout Perspective:

The hiring of Auerbach should help with obtaining sponsors for WSOF programming.  In the past, WSOF has sought outside help to grow its promotion.  Notably, it had retained IMG to facilitate selling its media rights.  There could be potential for the WSOF to pick up sponsors that may be shut out of the UFC due to the new UFC-Reebok relationship.  Of course, Auberbach may also help with retaining more mainstream, blue-chip brands.  We shall see.

De La Hoya announces the launch of network

January 26, 2015

Oscar De La Hoya announced last week that he is launching his own network.  De La Hoya TV will debut this spring as announced at the National Association of Television Program Executives annual conference in Miami.  The network will offer combat sports including boxing, MMA as well as features on sports and lifestyle that will cater to the burgeoning Hispanic population in the United States.

No word on where you may find De La Hoya TV as the head of Golden Boy Promotions and his partner in the venture, Jose Alberto “Pepe” Gomez are still talking to cable and satellite systems about carriage deals.  Per ESPN, there are no plans for the channel to include live sports programming.

The network will be based in Miami and will focus on Spanish-language content for the U.S. Hispanic market.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting business venture for De La Hoya and perhaps just an expansion of his personal brand.  The network states that it will offer boxing and MMA although there is no word on whether it has worked out any contracts with any existing organizations.  Certainly, De La Hoya’s network will join some competition for the Hispanic market as Nuvo TV and the El Rey Network are two of the newer networks looking for a Hispanic audience.  The big question will be whether it can be picked up by a cable and satellite system and how many households it can get into.

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