Showtime gets victory over HBO in Saturday boxing ratings

January 31, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s card on Saturday night did better than HBO’s Boxing After Dark.  The Showtime card featured Leo Santa Cruz taking on Carl Frampton in a rematch of their first encounter last July.

Santa Cruz-Frampton peaked with 643,000 Showtime subscribers and an overall viewership tally of 587,000 for the main event which lasted from 11:07pm-11:57pm ET according to Nielsen.

In comparison, per Sports TV Ratings HBO’s Boxing After Dark drew 497,000 viewers (234K in A18-49) for Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas.  Berchelt victory over Vargas aired approximately the same time as Santa Cruz-Frampton.  The other fight on HBO BAD featuring Takashi Miura knocking out Mickey Roman drew 491,000 viewers (209K in A18-49).

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that Santa Cruz-Frampton was the more notable fight to watch on Saturday night despite the fact that the BAD telecast had solid viewer numbers.  The fight was a rematch of their July 2016 fight which handed LSC his first loss. It’s a rare victory for Showtime Boxing which seems to lag in viewers in comparison to HBO.

UFC on Fox 23 peaks with over 3M viewers, Prelims draw 619,000

January 31, 2017

The UFC on Fox 23 card drew 2,189,000 viewers in adjusted DVR +3 ratings. The card peaked during the main event between Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena with 3,003,000 viewers.

The overnight ratings reflected 2,002,000 viewers.  UFC

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000

In addition, the UFC Prelims on FS1 drew 619,000 viewers.  The 3-hour show on FS1 preceded the 2-hour telecast on Fox.  The prelims are down from last month when it drew 679,000 viewers.

The UFC Post-Fight show drew 203,000 viewrs with 75,000 live on FS2 at 7pm PT and 128,000 viewers on FS1 when it reaired after 9pm.

UFC on Fox Prelims – 2016

UFC on Fox 21 Prelims rating: 1.122M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 20 Prelims rating: 1.261M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 19 Prelims rating: 1.4M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 18 Prelims rating: 702,000 (on FS1)

The prelims featured Raphael Assuncao-Aljamain Sterling and Nate Marquardt-Sam Alvey.

Payout Perspective:

The DVR numbers bring up the event slightly but the peak is down from last month’s UFC on Fox 22 which was 4.8 million viewers.  Notably, all 4 fights on the Fox broadcast ended early via TKO stoppage or submission.

Bellator 171 draws 720,000

January 30, 2017

Bellator 171 drew 720,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings.

The event also drew 310,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category.

In the main event, Chidi Njokuani defeated Melvin Guillard via unanimous decision.  Also of note, David Rickels did a pretty cool Mannequin Challenge in which the fans assisted for his walkout to his fight.

Bellator 171 comes one week after the big tentpole event of Bellator 170 which drew an average of 1.374M viewers.

Payout Perpsective:

It was a pretty good viewership rating for this event considering the level of interesting talent on the card.  Previously, Spike has ran events a week after tentpole events and received similar ratings (Bellator 150 drew 733K viewers and Bellator 139 drew 764K viewers).  The moral here may be to strike upon Bellator programming after a big event to keep the momentum going.

Aldo latest fighter to talk up boxing career

January 30, 2017

Jose Aldo became the latest UFC fighter to talk about boxing as an alternative to fighting in the UFC per MMA Fighting.

In an interview with Brazilian outlet TV Combate, Aldo talked about wanting to start “at the bottom” in boxing and work his way up.  Unlike Conor McGregor’s plan to fight Floyd Mayweather, Aldo set out a long-term vision in boxing.  Aldo stated that it’s not for the money as he wants to hold titles in both MMA and boxing some day.

Of course, one might see this as posturing as Aldo tries to get main event fights in the UFC.  He hopes to fight in late April, early May.

Payout Perspective:

With Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz obtaining boxing licenses, it seems that the default leverage maneuver for disgruntled UFC fighters. Similar with the obstacles that McGregor will face if he decides to promote a fight in boxing without the UFC approval, Aldo would face similar issues.  Essentially, the UFC would likely block (via lawsuit in the form of a court injunction) any potential sanctioned boxing match Aldo attempts to participate in if the company does not give it its blessing.  Likely, it’s another method of saber-rattling from Aldo to get the UFC to pay attention.

McGregor-Mayweather talk up fight, White warns Conor

January 29, 2017

Conor McGregor’s pay-per-view interview took place on Saturday.  While I did not view the interview, he had a lot to say including keeping alive the dream of a Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. As if coordinated by the two, Floyd Mayweather her with talk about the fight.

Of course, the two sides are just talking up a fight that may never happen.

Yet, Mayweather made it sound it could happen with the subtle proviso that it must be a Showtime PPV.  Mayweather was being interviewed on the network during Showtime’s boxing event Saturday.

On his end, McGregor is attempting to burn his bridge with the UFC by coordinating this fight with Mayweather on his own.  An Instagram post on Saturday included a rant in which he wrote “F*** the UFC.”  Dana White responded that if he attempted to go without the UFC it would be an “epic fall” for McGregor.

I’m so made! Heading to do a Q and A in front of 5000 fans! You read that right. That’s more than UFC attendance tonight. And it’s on PPV at http://www.notoriouslive.co Fuck the UFC. Fuck Floyd. Fuck boxing. Fuck the WWE. Fuck Hollywood. And fuck you too pay me.

A photo posted by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

Payout Perspective:

If you read between the lines, if you are hoping for a McGregor-Mayweather fight, expect a Zuffa lawsuit prior to that happening.  In the alternative, you might expect the UFC to be a co-promoter for a hefty sum.  Bottom line is that McGregor is under contract and he would be in breach of contract if he were to fight without the UFC’s permission.  A potential lawsuit would come in the form of an injunction to prevent the fight from happening.  Still, McGregor’s comments gives us something to talk about while he’s out on leave.

UFC on Fox 23 draws 2.02M viewers

January 29, 2017

UFC on Fox 23 drew 2.02 million viewers Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  The event drew a 0.7 rating in the adult 18-49 category and a 3 share.

The event featured women bantamweights Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena in the main event.

According to Nielsen ratings, the UFC on Fox lost out to the NBA Countdown show in the first half hour of the event and then was overshadowed by the NBA game on ABC featuring the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000

This time last year, UFC on Fox 18 drew 2.43 million viewers for a Ryan Bader-Anthony Johnson main event.

Its unlikely the ratings will rise much more in DVR+3 ratings as Shevchenko’s arm bar sub of Pena came at about the top of the hour so no overrun.

Payout Perspective:

Low ratings compared to last January’s UFC on Fox network broadcast.  Also, it was lower than Shevchenko’s defeat of Holly Holm at UFC on Fox 20.  The lack of a tie-in with the NFL may have hurt the viewership. Of course, the NBA evening games running opposite the UFC probably had a lot to do with the lower rating as well.

UFC on Fox 23 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 28, 2017

UFC on Fox 23 drew 13,233 for a gate of $1,020,434 as announced by UFC officials post-event.  In addition, the company announced bonuses for the event which took place at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

UFC 135 which featured Rampage Jackson versus Jon Jones did better in Denver.  Saturday night’s event featured Valentina Shevchenko versus Juliana Pena.

Bonuses for UFC on Fox 23 included Shevchenko, Jorge Masvidal,  Francis Ngannou and Jason Knight.  All received $50,000 bonuses.  There were no Fight of the Night Bonuses.

Payout Perspective:

All bonus winners appeared on the main card on Fox so that helps with the product. It was a very good turnout for fans in Denver as over 13,000 came out to watch the UFC despite no title matches.  Cerrone was a major draw for the crowd although he was upset by Masvidal.

Prior to his return from ban, Sullivan flagged for potential USADA violation

January 27, 2017

UFC lightweight George Sullivan became the first fighter to potentially become a two-time offender of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  He was flagged for a potential banned substance from an out-of-competition test on January 14, 2017.

At the time, Sullivan was serving a one-year ban due to declaring he took a prohibited substance prior to his fight at UFC on Fox 20 in July, 2016.  He was given a provisional suspension. He professed his innocence in a Facebook post.  Prior to his test of January 14th, he had never tested positive for a banned substance.

In another Facebook post, he stated that he was taking a male fertility drug and that was the reason for the flagged test.  Sullivan claims that he is having his doctor provide the necessary information to USADA.

A portion of the UFC’s statement regarding Sullivan reads:

Sullivan is currently serving a one year suspension under the UFC Anti-Doping Program, for his use of a product containing the prohibited substance Insulin Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1).  Sullivan was due to end his current suspension on January 31, 2017, and compete on the UFC 208 card in Brooklyn, New York, against Randy Brown.  However, USADA has provisionally suspended Sullivan based on the new potential anti-doping violation, and the UFC has removed Sullivan from the UFC 208 card.  The UFC is currently seeking a replacement to face Randy Brown.

Payout Perspective:

Bad timing for Sullivan since he was due to get off of his one year ban and was scheduled to fight.  This would be the second time that he’s prepared for a fight and then been pulled.  Dependent on the prohibited substance, Sullivan’s transparency could mitigate some time from any suspension he may serve from this new finding.  Regardless of what substance it may be, I don’t foresee USADA allowing this test to pass without another suspension.  The question is whether this second suspension would carry a longer time away from the octagon.

Court grants Haymon’s dismissal of Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit

January 26, 2017

Judge John Walter issued an order granting Al Haymon’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on May 5, 2015.  The case was set to go to trial in March.

In his 25-page opinion filed on Thursday, Judge Walter determined that Golden Boy did not come forth with genuine issues of fact to support its claims that Haymon’s promotion, Premier Boxing Champions, foreclosed the market on boxers and other promotions among other antitrust violations.  Moreover, it determined that Golden Boy’s injury “was caused by conduct that was beneficial to competition in the promotion market.”

The judge noted that Haymon’s business strategy actually helped boxing with more televised matches and better pay for fighters.

The opinion noted that the tv strategy of securing deals with multiple networks implemented by PBC did not foreclose all networks.  It also pointed to the fact that Golden Boy expert’s did not provide an examination of recoupment of money of PBC’s purported strategy of “flipping” its business model from tv buys to securing license fees.

It also was not persuaded by Golden Boy’s claims of “sham” promoters that aided PBC nor the alleged “firewall” between promoters and managers. The court found no evidence that boxers were coerced into working with promoters. Moreover, the judge noted that PBC worked with other promoters.  In the latter claim, the Judge wrote that there was no antitrust injury because there was no standing.  Only boxers and governmental agencies may make the claim per the Ali Act.

In its conclusion, it noted that antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.

Payout Perspective:

In reading the opinion, one might be concerned with the UFC antitrust lawsuit.  The court stressed the issue that antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.  Despite the speculation that Haymon’s PBC attempted to foreclose the market on competitors, there was no evidence found by the court which conflicted with antitrust laws. The court determined that Golden Boy did not define the relevant markets and did not establish a “tie in” or “tie out” which may have been a violation of antitrust laws. Based on the opinion, it is unlikely that Golden Boy appeals this decision.

Golden Boy, et al. v. Haymon, et al. by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

UFC fighter waiting to save for camp

January 26, 2017

UFC bantamweight Michael McDonald is holding off on his next fight until he can pay for it.

An ESPN article recently noted that he is saving up his money for a training camp.

The reason being is that he does not want to get in debt or take loans for a quality camp.

McDonald indicated that he made approximately $53,000 from his last fight in July, a loss to John Lineker.  He notes he made $23,000 plus a $25,000 bonus to headline plus another $5,000 from Reebok.

Prior to that, he made $20K/$20K plus another $5K from Reebok ($45K total reported) at UFC 195 in January 2016.

McDonald also pays a tithe to his church (approximately 10% although this might vary) plus some money for a retirement account.

Payout Perspective:

A couple of interesting tidbits from the story.  First, I wonder whether his agent/manager would front money for him.  I realize he does not want to get into debt but frankly if this is something he wants to pursue as a professional it must be done.  This happens in the NFL when college players train prior to the NFL draft.  Obviously, loaning money is a business decision but if he there is a possibility for a big payday, it would be reasonable to do this to finance the training camp rather than wait.  Secondly, McDonald was paid a previously undisclosed $25,000 bonus for headlining the South Dakota UFC Fight Night card.  This is a fairly lucrative sum that he made when he was scheduled to make just $23,000 to show (which reflects a $3,000 step up in pay).

In the end, the story underscores the issue with fighters and pay.  But, one also has to question the commitment McDonald has to fighting.  While I understand the need to be fiscally responsible, the window for an MMA fighter is so small, one has to think that you have to take advantage of it while your prime years are open and waiting to save for a training camp may forego opportunities you might not be able to recapture.

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