Payout Perspective: The Money Fight

September 4, 2017

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  Almost a week later, but we are still talking about The Money Fight that took place August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena.

Mayweather stops McGregor in 10

Floyd Mayweather waited it out.  As most believed, he tested out Conor McGregor for the first couple around before going on the offensive.  Out of the ordinary for the counterpuncher, but Mayweather pressed McGregor and it was clear that the UFC champ was tiring.  Despite not being brought to the canvas, the fight was stopped.  A good call despite McGregor’s post-interview protesting.

Mayweather gets his 50th win against McGregor who takes his first loss of his career.  Of course, it was just McGregor’s first fight.

We should see McGregor back in the Octagon but it’s clear that Mayweather may want to dabble in boxing again.  He wasn’t the worst in there but boxing in MMA is different than boxing.

Attendance and Gate

The fight was not a sellout which was not a surprise leading into the fight.  The astronomical price to see the event without much of an undercard likely was the primary reason for a non-sell out.  Due to the prior disappointment of Mayweather-Pacquiao, the event likely scared the big spenders away.

Payouts

The official payouts from the event had Mayweather earning $100 million not including PPV upside and McGregor getting $30 million.

Attendance and gate

The only thing that may have been a disappointment was the attendance for the event at the T-Mobile Arena. The event drew 14,623 although the gate was yet to be officially announced.  It was thought that due to the high prices the event would have drawn over the $72 million record for May-Pac.  With capacity at 20,000, the event fell way short of capacity but the big financial boon was the $99.95 price tag for the PPVs.

Promotion of the Fight

The 4-city world tour this past July introduced us to The Money Fight.  Maybe the Toronto tour stop was the best and the New York/Brooklyn stop was the worst.  Whatever you thought of it, it was the beginning of a monthlong run-up to the fight.

There were tons of promotion around the event including Showtime All Access and UFC’s Embedded Episodes.  At times, it appeared that each show favored its own boxer.  As always, this shoulder programming always interests me.

Saturday Night Live did a skit during its prime time Weekend Update the week before the fight.  The skit featured someone pretending to be Conor McGregor.  It was a bad impression.

Television Ratings

The Prelims to Mayweather-McGregor on Fox peaked at 3.1 million viewers and averaged 2,568,000 viewers.   It drew an outstanding 1,156,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Other associated ratings:

  • Mayweather-McGregor Prefight Show 1,463,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Postfight Show 368,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Weigh-In 287,000
  • PBC on FS1 drew 269,000 viewers on Friday night.

PPV estimates

Dana White proclaimed that the event drew 6.5 million buys.  Showtime stated that the fight sold between 4 and 5 million buys.  Other reports stated that the initial estimates did not break the 4.6 million record of Mayweather-Pacquiao.  ESPN noted that an estimated 50 million people saw the event.

The PPV estimates will not come in until this week but Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza claims it was a “massive financial success.”  This seems like an understatement based on the numbers.

Espinoza noted in a New York Times article that 10 to 12 percent of the total buys were through a digital service.  We note the tech difficulties those users had below.

Technical Difficulties

Due to the high demand, people reported issues with their streaming of the event.  The Showtime App, UFC.tv and Fight Pass were the main culprits with issues although other ways to purchase the PPV had problems.

Showtime issued a “limited number” of refunds.  Espinoza seemed to minimize the affect the technical difficulties had claiming that they were “definitely exaggerated.”  However, the first lawsuit filed over not being able to watch the event was filed in Oregon over futile attempts to watch the vent on the Showtime App.

The fight was delayed 20 minutes to accommodate for the technical difficulties but those paying $99.95 shut out of the telecast.

The UFC did not immediately state they would issue refunds, but upon meeting with its vendor, noted that it would issue refunds for those that had issues on the UFC.tv/Fight Pass app.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that the PPV issues “appeared to come from a surge of late purchase and connectivity issues.”

Related?  The UFC announced less than a week later that FITE.TV would become the UFC’s new online streaming partner.  No official word, if NeuLion is out altogether with the UFC.

Sponsors

Corona was the main sponsor for The Money Fight.  Notably, this was not rolled out until a week or so prior to the fight.  One would have thought that the sponsorship for the event would have been announced much sooner.  In addition, Body Armor was very visible during the event as “towels and stools in the fighters’ corners had the Body Armor logo on it.  Also, fighters took their hydration from Body Armor bottles.  Also, Wish Shopping made a big splash with signage on the mats and on the weigh-in scale.

McGregor wore irish flag-inspired Beats By Dre headphones for the weigh-ins.  The company also released an ad starring McGregor on August 23rd.  McGregor signed a sponsor deal with Online betting site, Betsafe.

Odds and Ends

There were tons of newsy items coming out of this event and we couldn’t get them all in.  I wrote a preview on many of the issues including the commission agreeing to the glove change and Zuffa signing on as a co-promoter here.

While the PPV estimates may break records, Showtime had to deal with pirates using Periscope.  While Showtime obtained an injunction to stop some sites, it could not stop private users.  A tech security company claimed that almost 3 million viewers watched pirated streams.

Conor McGregor’s flip up sunglasses during the promotion of this fight were reminiscent of Dwayne Wayne’s.

Conor McGregor announced the roll-out of his first foray into the whisky business:

Floyd Mayweather introduced TMT-themed apparel for this event including one with the Irish Flag colors on a TMT shirt. He also had an assortment of mouthguards.  Iceberg Guards is selling a replica guard of the one he wore during The Money Fight for $295.00.

Gervonta Davis drew 100,000 google searches on Fight Night mainly due to his headgear coming out during the walkout.  Davis won, but drew the ire of some fans since he didn’t make weight.

While the Mayweather/McGregor announcement overshadowed the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev this past June, Top Rank attempted to take advantage of the assembled media in Vegas by announcing a deal with ESPN that would include providing the company with the Top Rank fight library for an upcoming Disney-OTT platform.

ESPN showed old Mayweather fights where analysts talked about how he was such a pro and a likeable guy.  How times have changed.  The UFC also aired his fight with Maidana on UFC online to help promote the fight.

Although there was much publicity for this fight, the Miguel Cotto fight in Carson, California on the same night drew 730,000 viewers on HBO which is very good considering it was overshadowed by The Money Fight.

Mayweather and McGregor did the standard media appearances including on Jimmy Kimmel.

There were over 10 million google searches for the “Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight,” and 10 million google searches for “Mayweather.”

Conclusion

Usually we predict a buy rate, but with the news that it’s likely between 4 and 5 million PPV buys, we don’t have to conclude that this fight was a success.  The only question will be whether the buys passed the 4.6 million PPV record.  Whether or not it did, this fight was impressive in how it was marketed and promoted.  The UFC helped its brand with its involvement in the event and Mayweather made money as he always seems to do.  Will we see more crossover fights in the future?  Only if it is big names and promises to bring in big numbers.

14 Responses to “Payout Perspective: The Money Fight”

  1. Fight Fan on September 4th, 2017 7:58 PM

    Floyd definitely was the a side on this one. Got the most money, most promotion and most importantly an easy win. Basically a sparring session.

  2. Jess on September 4th, 2017 9:16 PM

    I have to admit I was surprised Floyd just walked Conor down like that. I’ve never seen him have such disrespect for another fighters power before. It did remind me of how he fought in some old sparring footage. It made for a better fight.

  3. d on September 4th, 2017 10:22 PM

    Jess, nice revisionist history. Of course Mayweather was the better boxer, but to imply that Mayweather toyed with him or was expecting to get hit as frequently or cleanly as he did is not reflective in the film of the fight. Go read what the boxing community was saying before the fight. Guys like Kellerman said he wouldn’t land a punch. He landed about 20 clean punches throughout the fight and 111 total. McGregor also won roughly 4 rds, one of which, the 8th rd he probably won when Mayweather was “fighting”. If McGregor’s power was that pitiful, Mayweather would have attempted to put him away much sooner. He couldn’t, because he’d risk getting ko’d himself.

  4. d on September 4th, 2017 10:29 PM

    FF’s comment immediately after the fight:

    “Wow let’s put all differences aside for one day and appreciate a good fight. I give Connor credit the guy came to fight and put on a show for the fans. Many others would have just rolled over knowing the cash they would be getting. Floyd definitely felt him out a few rounds, as he always does, then took over. Wouldn’t mind seeing Connor come back and I’m sure with the money he made in boxing it will be a no brainier if he gets the chance.”

    Now after the boxing community does everything they can to spin what actually happened, he revises to:

    “and most importantly an easy win. Basically a sparring session.”

  5. Fight Fan on September 5th, 2017 9:23 AM

    McTapper got hustled inside the ring and outside.

  6. Wil on September 5th, 2017 3:37 PM

    McGregor didn’t do too badly, he has the tools to be a decent contender it he would get a real boxing training who can teach him to feint, move his head after he punches, keep his guard up, teach him to bob and weave, and also how to punch with power….he threw arm punches and didn’t turn his shots over. And he needs about 5-6 fights at 6-10 round level before getting back in with a contender or a champion. If he had been in with even contender level at welterweight or jrmiddleweight he really would have been seriously hurt

  7. d on September 5th, 2017 7:26 PM

    FF, you seem to disagree with your original thoughts.

  8. Fight Fan on September 5th, 2017 8:01 PM

    D aren’t you banned??

  9. d on September 5th, 2017 11:50 PM

    FF doesn’t like it when people expose him for the fraud that he is.

  10. Fight Fan on September 6th, 2017 7:38 AM

    No fraud here, simple facts, Floyd was the a side in all aspects.

  11. d on September 7th, 2017 8:14 AM

    Yup, fraud you are.

    FYI, the UFC gets a percentage of this fight without putting a penny into it. That’s part of McGregor’s side. They combined are always the A. Haha.

  12. Fight Fan on September 7th, 2017 12:40 PM

    The a side that can’t even sell a million ppvs anymore. Yeah right lol. Floyd won in the ring and at the bank. Ufc sold out for a cheap buck.

  13. inyamoufburgerscuztheyrinyamouf on September 7th, 2017 8:31 PM

    Being the “A” side is a simply a business term and so in the context of a fight, represents the side that has more drawing power and in some cases, the side that represents the future of that sport. With Floyd coming out of retirement to fight then retire immediately afterwards – he does not represent the future of boxing. And say what you want about mcgregor’s skill, but in terms of his drawing power, floyd’s got none compared to conor. let’s not get it twisted people 80%+ of the ppvs and 60%+ of the gate purchases were for or because of mcgregor. floyd was able to make his $300K ONLY because of conor, and he knows that. so the facts show: mcgregor was the a-side, it’s a shame he didn’t get the a-side pay.

  14. d on September 8th, 2017 8:22 AM

    Hahaha. You are brain dead.

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