WWE and StubHub announce partnership

March 28, 2017

The WWE and StubHub announced a multi-year agreement making the ticket company the WWE’s exclusive ticket resale marketplace for fans in the U.S. and Canada.  The agreement comes in time for the WWE’s biggest event of the year, WrestleMania.

In addition to the WWE, StubHub has deals with Major League Baseball, the San Francisco Giants, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s LA Kings and college football’s Alabama Crimson Tide.

Payout Perspective:

Although the arrangement was not spelled out in the news release, its likely StubHub buys a sponsorship with the WWE for brand placement at WWE’s events or on its web site.  If there is a sell-out at WWE events, it will direct its fans to the StubHub marketplace.  In all likelihood, StubHub will provide the WWE with consumer data from those that purchase on its site so that the WWE can use the information for marketing and promotion purchases.

Bellator: NYC to have suggested price tag of $49.99

March 28, 2017

Scott Coker revealed on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that Bellator:NYC, the company’s second PPV will be priced at $49.99 HD.

It is the company’s second stab at having its product on PPV and is headlined by a grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.  Also, Fedor Emelianenko will face Matt Mitrione in the co-main event of the show.  Bellator 120, the company’s first PPV, had a price point of $30-$45 depending on the satellite or cable company.

Similarly, despite the announcement of the suggested retail price of $49.99, a provider may raise the price.

For those wondering, the UFC will have a PPV on June 3rd, UFC 212 featuring Jose Aldo taking on Max Holloway.  The day after Bellator:NYC on June 24th, the UFC is having a Fight Night the day after on FS1.

Payout Perspective:

With the UFC PPV’s priced at $59.99 HD, having its PPV $10 less is advantageous for those that are not huge followers of the Bellator product.  While there are hardcore MMA fans that would purchase the event no matter what the cost, the $49.99 price point is something of a price break for those on the fence about spending more money on PPV.

GGG-Jacobs replay draws 709,000 viewers

March 28, 2017

The replay of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs fight on HBO Saturday night drew 709,000 viewers according to Sports TV Ratings. The rating encompasses the entire 2 hour block which also included the Roman Gonzalez upset by Srisaket Sor  Rungvisai.

The event drew 287,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The event aired from 10:00-12:00am on Saturday night.

In comparison, the PPV replay of GGG-David Lemiuex on HBO from October 2015 drew 1.07 million viewers.  This time around, GGG did more PPV buys (170K) than against Lemieux (153K).

The ratings are a shadow of GGG’s last time on HBO.  Of course, those were live events.

GGG Fights on HBO

May 2014 vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. 1.338M viewers (fight only)

November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)

July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)

October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)

February 2015 vs. Martin Murray 862,000 viewers (fight only)

April 2016 vs. Dominic Wade 1.325M (fight only)

Payout Perspective:

The replay may be down due to the NCAA Basketball tournament airing the same night. We note the Kansas Oregon game aired on TBS from 8:40-10:55pm and was the highest-rated sports program on Saturday drawing over 9.3 million viewers and 3.5 in the A18-49 demo.  Otherwise, the lower ratings are surprising for a GGG fight and an event that had two entertaining fights.

Quarry responds to Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment of his claims

March 27, 2017

Attorneys for Nate Quarry have filed its Opposition Brief to Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment to dismiss Quarry’s claims in the antitrust lawsuit filed in Nevada.  Quarry’s lawyers argue that while his last contract was in 2010, the harm to Quarry arose out of Zuffa’s scheme as a whole.

Quarry’s attorneys note that the former UFc fighter was “injured” during the limitations period – the four-year period between December 16, 2010 to December 16, 2014.  Among the claims is that he has not been paid from Zuffa during the period and continues to receive no payment from Zuffa’s “ongoing use of his image and likeness.”  Quarry notes that the use occurs through the use of his fights (including a bout while he was not with the UFC) on UFC Fight Pass and a highlight with Quarry’s likeness is in the video montage of the UFC PPVs.

While the UFC argues that the “express terms” of Quarry’s contract with the UFC show that his claims are time-barred by a statute of limitations.  However, Quarry argues that he can show evidence of affirmative “overt acts” taken by Zuffa with the use of his likeness/image still on Fight Pass.  Quarry’s attorneys state that fighters are not compensated for the use of their likeness/image on UFC Fight Pass and this is furtherance of the antitrust claims filed by Plaintiffs.

In addition, they cite posters autographed by Quarry from his title fight at UFC 56 on sale on the UFC web site store for $999.999 and $1,149.99.  He has not received compensation for these posters

Also of note, Quarry notes a document produced by Zuffa in discovery which allegedly accounts for uses of his image or likeness within the limitations period.

In opposing Zuffa’s argument that Quarry cannot show a continued violation of antitrust laws because of his own “receipt of benefits,” Quarry lawyers cite the Ed O’Bannon and Bill Russell cases brought against the NCAA for use of their images and likenesses.  Quarry’s lawyers note that the court rejected arguments that scholarship agreements by O’Bannon and Russell occurred much more than four years before their lawsuits were filed.  Quarry’s tie this ruling as similar to Quarry’s contract with the UFC and the continued use of his image and likeness on Fight Pass.  Notably, Boies Schiller, Zuffa’s attorneys here, was one of the firms representing the plaintiffs against the NCAA.

Quarry’s Opposition to Summary Judgment Motion by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The basic argument here is that Zuffa claims that Quarry’s lawsuit is barred by a 4 year statute of limitations since his contract with the UFC was in 2010.  However, Quarry argues that Zuffa is still using his likeness/image through UFC Fight Pass and selling his autograph on the UFC web site.  It is ironic that Zuffa’s attorneys have been on both side of this argument and will be interested to see how they respond.

Lesnar files own Motion to Dismiss Hunt lawsuit

March 27, 2017

A day after Brock Lesnar was officially served the lawsuit filed by Mark Hunt, his attorneys have filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit.  Howard Jacobs, the California attorney specializing in drug testing and represented Lesnar in his case against USADA, is also representing him in this lawsuit.

Lesnar has joined the UFC and Dana White’s Motion to Dismiss which was filed last month and provided its own briefing specific to Lesnar’s case.  The first matter Lesnar’s motion argued was that Hunt’s RICO violations were not sufficient to stand against Lesnar.

Specifically, it joins the UFC/White’s argument regarding the perceived missteps by Hunt in stating that he lacks “standing” – essentially the legal right, to pursue a Civil RICO Claim.  Here, Lesnar highlights that Hunt’s damages are speculative at best.  He also identifies that Hunt does not show the requisite steps needed to uphold a Civil RICO claim.  Essentially, there is no “pattern of racketeering activity” by an “enterprise.”

Lesnar’s attorneys state that Hunt’s claim is “so incredibly deficient” as to the WWE superstar that “it is difficult to know where to event begin.”

The motion argues that Hunt’s complaint as to the RICO violation does not show an existence of a RICO conspiracy.  Basically, Lesnar contends that you cannot simply allege a conspiracy violating the RICO statute just because there are multiple allegations.

Payout Perspective:

Lesnar’s Motion to Dismiss was obviously premeditated prior to service on the WWE sports entertainer.  The motion details the deficiencies that may likely halt the lawsuit before it begins with respect to the Civil RICO claims.  The motion identifies for the court the issues it has with claiming that there was a conspiracy set forth by the UFC, White and to his extent, Lesnar.  If nothing else, we might see the court dismissing the Civil RICO claim as to Lesnar.  MMA Payout will have more on this.  Stay tuned.

WWE and Foot Locker collaborate for limited edition sneakers

March 26, 2017

As we roll into Wrestlemania week, the biggest event of the year for the company, it announced a special collaboration with Puma for WWE-inspired footwear.

Announced last week, Foot Locker will release a collection of Puma products featuring six WWE legends including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin , Ric Flair and The Undertaker.

Via WWE:

For its first WWE product drop, Foot Locker will release a collection of Puma products designed by Alexander John, featuring exclusive art of six WWE legends: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Ultimate Warrior, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ric Flair, André the Giant and The Undertaker.

The collection will include 600 pairs of WWE-inspired white Puma Clydes – 100 pairs per legend – in custom boxes. Additionally, 23 pairs of black Puma Clydes will be sold, touting Undertaker imagery and packaged in a collectible casket. The WWE legends will also be featured on exclusive Puma T-shirts.

The new collection will be exclusively curated by renowned DJ, host and WWE enthusiast, Peter Rosenberg.

In celebration of WrestleMania 33, Foot Locker will sell the WWE-licensed product in 33 select Puma Lab Powered by Foot Locker locations around the country, slated to hit stores on Saturday, April 1, one day before the big event.

Payout Perspective:

These shoes are for the diehard WWE fans or sneakerheads looking for something original and unique.  The release is a reflection of the WWE’s ability to partner with brands that cater to demos it wants to attract.  The limited nature of these shoes will ensure a sellout and while they won’t be as coveted as a Jordan release, fans will clamor for them as this is one of the bigger weeks for pro wrestling.

Show Money Episode 15 talks Mayweather-McGregor, Bellator, WME-IMG, Hunt-UFC and more

March 26, 2017

We’re back: Gift and Nash of Bloody Elbow and yours truly discussing Mayweather-McGregor, Bellator, WME-IMG, Hunt-UFC and I get mad at a judge.

Updated GGG-Jacobs PPV buy rate now at 170K PPV buys

March 25, 2017

Yahoo! Sports reports the update PPV buys of Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs drew 170,000 PPV buys.  The buy rate was confirmed by Tom Loeffler.

The initial estimate of the PPV ranged from 130,00 to 150,000 PPV buys.  Loeffler indicated that GGG’s 2015 PPV against David Lemieux drew 153,000 buys.

Payout Perspective:

The additional buys are spun as an improvement and due to the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  The improvement shows that there is a fan base for GGG but not ones that are willing to pay $60-$70 for a PPV.  GGG’s PPV draw may be something that might hurt him going into contract negotiations for a fight with Canelo Alvarez.

Kickboxer’s estate sues Roufusport

March 25, 2017

The Estate of Dennis Munson, Jr. has filed a lawsuit against the Roufus Sport and other entities as a result of his death during an amateur kickboxing event in Milwaukee.  John Diedrich of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on the lawsuit and previously wrote about the errors that occurred on the night the amateur kickboxer died.

In addition to Roufus Sport, the estate sued the ring side doctors on hand among others that failed to stop the unregulated amateur fight.  At the time, amateur kickboxing was not covered by the state of Wisconsin – only boxing and MMA.  A law was passed after the unfortunate incident to include kickboxing as a regulated sport in the state.

Since kickboxing was unregulated at the time, the state did not investigate the event.  An investigation by the Milwaukee Police Department and the district attorney’s office did not bring criminal charges.

Payout Perspective:

The lawsuit, filed this past week, was likely to occur due to the safety failures surrounding the event.  It’s not clear that regulation would have saved Munson’s life, but there would be a greater likelihood that with safety rules in place, the fight would have been stopped earlier and/or the measures to ensure the medical attention needed might have prevented his death.

After UFC release, Michael McDonald signs with Bellator

March 24, 2017

ESPN reports that Michael McDonald has signed with Bellator.  The Bantamweight was granted his release from the UFC despite having fights left on his contract.  He stated that he felt like he could trust the UFC’s motives.

In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto earlier this week, he detailed the reasons why he turned down a fight with the UFC.  He has been outspoken about not going into debt to train for a fight.  He stated he needed $10,000 to put on a training camp.

In the interview with Okamoto, McDonald stated that he was making more money woodworking than fighting.  McDonald made approximately $53,000 from his last fight in July 2016.  McDonald stated that he talked to the UFC’s Sean Shelby as to why he could not take a fight.  The negotiations were prolonged and Sean Shelby offered McDonald $10,000 more for win and show (so $20,000 total assuming a win) than his current contract but he’d have to take a fight within two months.  If he could not do so, his salary remained the same.  McDonald, who had not been training, stated that he could not take the fight at that point so there was no real help being given to Mayday.  He eventually received his release.

McDonald now goes to Bellator where you’d think he’ll be a part of the June 2014 card in New York.

Payout Perspective:

The release and immediate signing shows that Bellator is taking advantage of the UFC letting fighters walk or not matching their contracts once they become free agents.  McDonald is only 26 and with a 17-4 pro record can still be heading into his prime as a fighter.  You have to think that McDonald is getting more money to head to Bellator which is good news for the fighter since it sounded like he was just getting by with work.  Certainly, for a fighter, maximizing his earning potential for the short time that you are in the business is important.

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