ESPN and DAZN neck and neck in top-grossing sports apps

August 22, 2019

According to John Ourand’s eblast newsletter on Wednesday, ESPN and DAZN remain the top-grossing sports apps worldwide.  The key difference between the two apps is that 99% of ESPN’s revenue is from the U.S. while DAZN’s only receives 27% from the U.S.

Ourand cites data from Sensor Tower which notes that ESPN has around $9.4 million in user spending which is 7x growth from last July.  DAZN nearly had $8.8 million representing 7.5x growth.

DAZN came onto the market in the U.S. this past September while ESPN+ emerged in the spring of 2018.  DAZN’s growth centers around its boxing offerings in addition to some Bellator-exclusive coverage as well as Combates Americas.  ESPN’s digital platform includes a vast amount of content including Top Rank, UFC and PFL.

Payout Perspective:

The obvious takeaway here is that DAZN is still establishing itself in the U.S. market.  One might deduce that its key signings of Canelo Alvarez, GGG and Anthony Joshua will help its subscription base.  Alternatively, it signed a deal with MLB with moderate success. One might expect DAZN catching up with ESPN in user spending if it is able to lockdown key fights for the platform.  Notably, it fared well when Canelo Alarez faced Daniel Jacobs this past spring with so many new subscriptions and viewers.  Alternatively, ESPN may be looking into international expansion.  With most of its revenue generated from the U.S. market, it might be a time to look into expansion.

UFC 241 PPV Prelims draw 817,000 viewers

August 21, 2019

The UFC 241 PPV Prelims drew 817,000 viewers on Saturday night on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was the 5th most-watched telecast on cable and did better than two NFL Preseason game in the A18-49 demo.

The UFC PPV Prelims drew a 0.33 share in the A18-49 demo which ranked better than two NFL Preseason games on the NFL Network Saturday.

The Prelims featured Khama Worthy as he defeated Devonte Smith in the first round.  The event peaked at 949,000 viewers during the fight.

Payout Perspective:

While the event did better than the NFL Preseason in the A18-49 demo, it also ranked sixth among the 8 PPV Prelims that have aired on ESPN this year.  This is disappointing considering that UFC 241 looked to be the biggest event thus far this year.  Yet, despite the big feel of the main card, the prelims were an afterthought this time around.  The low ratings seem to break away from the normal belief that a high PPV Prelim rating means a good PPV buy rate.

Top Rank Boxing draws 471,000 on Saturday night

August 21, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 471,000 viewers Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Emmanuel Navarette as he defeated Francisco De Vaca via TKO in the feature bout of the telecast.

The event drew 162,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.32 share overall.

The UFC Prelims was the de facto lead-in once again for the event prior to the UFC 241 PPV.  The prelims drew 817,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

There was a substantial drop off in viewers from the UFC viewership to the Top Rank telecast.  This may be attributed to viewers tuning into the PPV instead of the telecast.  Its notable that this past weekend in 2018, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 686,000 viewers for a heavyweight fight between Bryant Jennings and Alexander Dimitrenko.

Dan Hardy getting ready for a comeback?

August 21, 2019

A lot has happened in the sport of MMA since 2012.  It was Dan Hardy’s last time in the Octagon.  Now, the current UFC commentator says he’s getting ready for a return to the Octagon.

Hardy announced on the Joe Rogan Podcast (via MMA Junkie) that he is entering the USADA testing protocol.  According to the rules, once he’s been in the random-testing pool for four months he’ll be able to fight in the UFC once again.

You may recall that Hardy was sidelined due to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.  The past several years Hardy has served as a commentator for the promotion mainly doing European events.

At 37, one has to conclude that Hardy misses the competition of MMA and believes that his health will not be a factor upon return.

Payout Perspective:

Hardy does a great job as a commentator but you have to believe that he thinks it was a ‘now or never’ situation on a return to the Octagon.  Nate Diaz’s return from a three-year hiatus may have motivated Hardy but his health situation is something to give pause upon return. With the UFC putting on weekly events all over the world, Hardy may be a name that might see a rebirth of a career if physicians allow it to happen.

UFC 241: Payout Perspective

August 19, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at a very successful UFC 241 from The Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Stipe KOs Cormier to regain Heavyweight title

Stipe Miocic regained the UFC Heavyweight title with a KO of Daniel Cormier late in the 4th round.  DC had looked like the better fighter through most of the 4 rounds but Miocic’s strategy of body shots took its toll on Cormier leading to the KO.  Cormier had been leading on all cards at the time of the stoppage.

Despite the loss, Cormier has had a tremendous career and showed all class in what could be his last fight in the Octagon.  Personally, I think he still has a couple more fights in him before he retires.  It would seem as though a rematch would be the most logical thing to do although Miocic could wait to see the winner of the Walt Harris-Alistair Overeem fight or another fight with Francis Ngannou.

Diaz returns to defeat Pettis

The biggest question going into UFC 241 was determining how Nate Diaz would look like with 3 years off.  The answer was sensational.  Diaz looked fresh and used his dirty boxing tactics to stifle Anthony Pettis.  Showtime did break his foot during the fight but Diaz was clearly the dominant fighter tonight.

Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal for his next fight in what many believe would be a great fight to see.

Attendance and gate

For the first time, an MMA event in California drew over $3 million as UFC 241 drew $3,237,032 with 17,304 in attendance according to the UFC post-event.  It bested the previous record, UFC 214 by nearly $1 million.  Earlier in the week, SeatGeek noted the secondary market was up for this event.


The $50,000 bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Khama Worthy, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.  Miocic and Worthy earned Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages and Costa-Romero was a sight to behold with both fighters unloading big shots. Costa won by decision in the end.


The California State Athletic Commission disclosed the payouts from the event.  Stipe Miocic topped the payouts with $750,000

Stipe Miocic: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Daniel Cormier: $500,000

Nate Diaz $250,000 (no win bonus)
def. Anthony Pettis: $155,000

Paulo Costa $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
def. Yoel Romero: $150,000

Sodiq Yusuff $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Gabriel Benitez: $40,000

Derek Brunson $190,000 (includes $95,000 win bonus)
def. Ian Heinisch: $25,000

Khama Worthy $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devonte Smith: $23,000

Cory Sandhagen $154,000 (includes $77,000 win bonus)
def. Raphael Assuncao: $79,000

Drakkar Klose $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Christos Giagos: $28,000

Casey Kenney $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Manny Bermudez: $20,000

Hannah Cifers $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Jodie Esquibel: $10,000

Kyung Ho Kang $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Brandon Davis: $21,000

Sabina Mazo $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Shana Dobson: $12,000


UFC sponsors in the Octagon included Toyo Tires, Roar Sports (“Aurora Canabis”), Motel 6, Devour, PariMatch, PokerStars, The Rock’s latest movie, “Hobbs and Shaw,” Nemiroff, Modelo, P3, Devour, Monster and Circle K shared an Octagon post and Monster Energy had the center.

Poker Stars also had the outside the Octagon standing area for the coaches.  Body Armor was all over the place last night including the drinks and stools for the event.

Devour had the fighter prep point.  It was also on most of the Reebok fighter kits including shorts and walkout shirt. Notably, it was not on Cormier’s fight kit as he had the Monster, “M” on his gear.

Trifecta Nutrition presented the 7 Embedded Episodes.

Daniel Cormier signed a deal with cbdMD as it was announced during fight week.

Odds and Ends

Nate Diaz ascended to superstar status at UFC 241.  If he was not already a star after defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 196, he reminded people after a 3-year absence why he believes he’s the best in the fight game.  Notwithstanding, you can argue that the UFC made some concessions due to Diaz’s new leverage.  As Embedded showed, he didn’t have to wait around at weigh-ins, he stayed in Corona del Mar near the Wedge (pretty posh neighborhood near Newport Beach) and he lit up a blunt (later clarified as a CBD cigarette from his business) at open workouts.  Yet, the UFC and ESPN went along with it.

The UFC is better with Nate Diaz than it is without him and Dana White admitted that he is a “needle mover.”

As part of the media strategy to reintroduce Diaz to the masses, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning writer, John Branch, wrote a piece about him which highlighted the fighter’s anti-hero attributes.

During UFC 241, there was a lot of hype for next month’s UFC 242 taking place in Abu Dhabi. As a part, it relived the Conor-Khabib matchup from last October.

Nate Diaz had a bunch of unintentional funny comments during his post-fight presser.  Including this one:

There were many notable fighters in the crowd including boxer Terrence Crawford and various UFC fighters but no one drew the most heat than Colby Covington and his MAGA gimmick.

The best part of the Embedded was the “push-up pump” Romero did before getting his photos taken.

The Costa-Romero fight earned Fight of the Night.  During the first round, Romero used the “hey look over there” gimmick to buy time and nail Costa with a punch.  The winner talked about it after.

In spite of his loss, Daniel Cormier showed class in the face of adversity.  Embedded showed his busy schedule in promoting the fight which included throwing out the first pitch at the Angels game, a spot on Access Hollywood and other media.  It also showed the various businesses that he has which will take care of him after his fight career.


UFC 241 drew over 2 million google searches on Saturday which likely equates to a very good buy rate.  The return of Nate Diaz likely spurred the influx of interest coupled with the Heavyweight fight between Cormier and Miocic.  Something in the range of 400-450K PPV buys from ESPN+ would be a good estimate.

UFC 241 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 17, 2019

UFC 241 took place on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.  The event drew the largest MMA gate in the state of California.

It was announced that UFC 241 drew 17,304 for a gate of $3,237.032 at the Honda Center.  It was the first time that an MMA event drew over $3 million in the state.  The previous high was Cormier-Jones 2 at UFC 214 at the Honda Center.  There were 16,610 in attendance for a gate of $2.4 million.

The bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Khama Worthy, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.  Miocic and Worthy drew the Performance Bonuses and Costa and Romero earned Fight of the Night for their wild battle. All earned $50,000 each.

Payout Perspective:

A good night for the UFC highlighted by a title change at Heavyweight and Nate Diaz returning to the Octagon.  SoCal is a hotbed for MMA so its not surprising that it was a sellout but the gate had to have exceeded expectations.  Moreover, according to SeatGeek, the ticket demand on the secondary market was strong.

Pro boxer wins fight, earns nothing per commission records

August 16, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the payouts from Showtime Boxing’s Next Generation event held July 12th.  The payout sheets were released by the Washington State Department of Licensing.

The event aired on Showtime with the main event being Jermaine Franklin and Jerry Forrest in a battle of heavyweights.

Franklin made $25,000 to show and another $25,000 for his victory over Forrest.  Despite his losing effort, Forrest earned $50,000 for the matchup.

The rest of the payouts for the card are as follows:

Constantine Bejenaru  $6,000 defeated

Jose Corral  $3,600


Giovanni Cabrera-Mioletti  $7,975 (originally payout was deducted $25 for license) defeated

Luis Porozo $6,947.50  (30% deduction from $10K payout for taxes)


Eric Hunter  $0 (Original payout of $100 deducted for missing weight)

German Meraz  $5,518 (Original $5,300 payout was deducted for medicals)

Payout Perspective:

The most notably lack of a payout goes to Eric Hunter.  He won his fight against German Meraz but was penalized for not making weight.  Hunter, a boxer with a 22-4 professional record, was only scheduled to make $100 for this fight.  This is brutal for the Philly-based fighter who flew all the way tot he west coast for a $100 purse.  One has to assume that he is being compensated elsewhere although the department of license does not have the payout reported.

Ticket demand high as UFC reports $3M gate ahead of UFC 241

August 16, 2019

UFC 241 this Saturday in Anaheim looks to be a big one as ticket demand for the event is on the rise.  ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto reported that this event will be the first to surpass a $3M gate in the state of California.

The secondary market is hot as well.  According to SeatGeek, as of Wednesday the get-in price for the event is $181 with the average price per ticket on the secondary market at $300.  And don’t look for the ticket prices falling that far either.

Payout Perspective:

This is not surprising for the SoCal market as it’s a very popular place for MMA.  The card is very good considering you get a heavyweight title fight featuring Cormier-Miocic, the return of Nate Diaz to fight Anthony Pettis and then Yoel Romero and undefeated Paulo Costa.  The ticket demand is high compared to last month’s Edmonton event.

Daniel Cormier signs deal with cbdMD

August 16, 2019

The Charlotte, North Carolina based-CBD company, cbdMD, Inc. has signed UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier to a sponsorship deal.  The deal comes the same week as he prepares to defend his title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.

No terms of the deal were released.  cbdMD is a consumer cannabidiol brand whose products include a vast array of products from the newest fad in sports sponsorship.

cbdMD is making a push into sports sponsorship and Cormier is the latest added to the roster which includes golfer Bubba Watson, America Rallycross driver Steve Arpin and the BIG3 Basketball League led by rapper Ice Cube.  It also included Chael Sonnen until his recent retirement in June.

The UFC has its own cannabis-based sponsor, Aurora Cannabis.  So, this deal with DC means that he’d be doing promotion outside of UFC Fight Week.

Payout Perspective:

The deal shows the aggressive nature of the CBD industry at this point.  While most athletes will not go as far as Nate Diaz, who smoked a joint during open workouts, CBD is becoming more accepted by more athletes as a way to recover from physical stress.  Cormier’s sponsor deal reflects his notoriety and ability to help the brand even if he cannot directly promote it during UFC events.

Cat Zingano let go by the UFC

August 14, 2019

Cat Zingano has been let go by the UFC according to a report from MMA Junkie.  The popular bantamweight had a tough-luck stint with the promotion as she never really found success that was projected for the 37-year old.

Her time in the UFC saw highs and lows.  Zingano defeated Miesha Tate in February 2013 to become a coach for TUF 18 against Ronda Rousey.  However, Zingano suffered a knee injury which meant she was out and replaced by Tate.  This also put on hold a shot at Rousey’s title.

After a year and a half away from fighting, she returned to defeated Amanda Nunes in September 2014.

Zingano’s biggest fight in the promotion was a bantamweight showdown against Ronda Rousey.  However, that fight ended in just 14 seconds with Rousey submitting Zingano.

Zingano then dropped two fights and in her last fight with the UFC, she lost to Megan Anderson via TKO due to an eye injury. She attempted to appeal the TKO, but the appeal was denied.

Payout Perspective:

Zingano looks destined to head to Bellator or ONE Championship.  Either organization can promote her as a top bantamweight that defeated the now consensus best woman fighter in the world.  Maybe a change of scenery will be good for Zingano reset and restart her career if she so wishes.

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