Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 1.487M viewers Saturday night

November 14, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 1.487 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The main event saw Jose Ramirez defeat Mike Reed in a junior welterweight matchup.  The victory keeps Ramirez in line for a shot at the title vacated by Terrence Crawford.  In addition, Artur Beterbiev beat down Enrico Koelling to win the vacant IBF World Light Heavyweight title and remains undefeated.

Surprisingly, the ratings rank 2nd behind the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.  The event’s lead-in was the Alabama-Mississippi State game which drew over 7 million viewers.

Headliners for Top Rank on ESPN since July 2016 and the telecast overall rating:

7/1/17:  Pacquiao-Horn – 2.812 million

8/19/17:  Crawford-Indongo – 965,000

8/05/17:  Lomachenko-Marriaga – 728,000

9/23/17:  Valdez-Servania – 706,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are a success for Top Rank as the fighters on the card are not really known to the casual boxing fan.  Still, the placement on ESPN after a big college football game likely aided the ratings in this case.  It is hard to think that this telecast did far much better than one with Terrence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko on it.

White states he’s getting into boxing business

November 8, 2017

Dana White revealed that he aims to enter the boxing business.  White revealed this during Peter Berg’s Wild Card West speaker series in which he said he’s “getting into boxing, 100 percent.”  White also claimed that he was in the process of attaining his promoter’s license per the LA Times.

As many who followed this rumor recall, White wore a “UFC Boxing” shirt during the promotion of McGregor-Mayweather this past summer.  With McGregor helping produce a PPV event White boasts did 6.7M PPV buys, it would make sense that the company may start to break into the boxing business.

He stated that the boxing venture will be connected to the UFC, but did not identify any specifics.  UFC fighters have flirted with the idea of crossing over into boxing as a way to supplement their income in between MMA bouts.

With a foray into boxing, White would subject the company to the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act which provides safeguards for boxers against managers and promoters.  It also prevents a manager from acting as promoter, vice versa as well as other protections.

Payout Perspective:

This will be an interesting development to look at going into 2018.  With the overwhelming success of Mayweather-McGregor, White hopes to emulate the big fights in boxing.  The venture seemingly would expand the UFC promotion and allow for MMA fighters currently on the roster to do both boxing and MMA.  But, with the business, how will it deal with the Ali Act.  I would think that if the UFC were to develop a boxing promotion, it would be separate from that of the UFC so as not to impact issues related to the expansion of the Ali Act to combat sports.

Wilder-Stiverne II draws 824,000 viewers on Showtime

November 7, 2017

The Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne rematch on Showtime Saturday night drew 824,000 viewers and peaked at 887,000 according to Nielsen Media research.  The fight lasted just 2 minutes and 59 seconds as Wilder destroyed Stiverne sending him to the canvas 3 times.

According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, it was the second-most watched Showtime fight of 2017.  The Mikey Garcia-Adrian Broner fight averaged 881,000 viewers and peaked at 937,000 in July 2017.  Garcia won that matchup.

In the co-main event fight of the telecast on Saturday, Shawn Porter defeated Adrian Granados.  The event averaged 646,000 viewers and peaked with 696,000 viewers.  Also, Sergey Lipinets win over Akihiro Kondo drew 427,000 viewers peaking at 530,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Strong ratings for the rematch although their first fight in January 2015 drew 1.24 million viewers.  But, it was just a fight that lasted less than 3 minutes so if you tuned in late, you missed it.  The viewership is great considering it went up against UFC 217 which received a lot of buzz and viewership in its own right.  The ratings show Wilder’s star is gaining traction with casual boxing fans which is great for Showtime.

Anthony Joshua’s fight draws 334,000 viewers on Showtime Saturday afternoon

November 1, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s live event featuring Anthony Joshua in Wales drew 334,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  Joshua easily defeated Carlos Takam after the challenger filled in for injured Kubrat Pulev.

Joshua, the main draw for the show sold out Principality Stadium in the UK.  According to reports, there were close to 80,000 people at the event.  The event was shown live Saturday afternoon in the U.S. and replayed later that night.

According to Nielsen, the event drew 0.10 in the A18-49 demo.  The tape delayed replay of the fight later that night drew 260,000 viewers and 0.09 in the A18-49 demo.

Notably, this spring, the afternoon fight between Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko drew 659,000 subscribers and 0.24 in the A18-49 demo.  The event on HBO drew 738,000 subscribers later that night.

Payout Perspective:

Saturday afternoon’s event probably suffered due to the time.  It probably was not good timing for Showtime as Joshua is showing that he is a big draw in the U.K. and his popularity could possibly transfer to the U.S.  It’s possible that Joshua could build into a boxing PPV star at some point.  Coming off of the big Klitschko fight, the ratings seems like a disappointment.

Wilder-World of Boxing case continues with Motion to Compel documents re Meldonium

October 26, 2017

The Deontay Wilder versus World of Boxing/Alexander Povetkin case has not ended.  Despite a Court ruling which denied World of Boxing and Povetkin’s (collectively WOB”) motions for new trial and/or motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the parties continue with the other elements of the causes of action.

In September, the Court denied motion to overturn the February jury verdict which determined that Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  Meldonium was a banned substance post-January 1, 2016.  He claimed that the detection of the Meldonium stemmed from taking it sometime in 2015.

A Joint Status Report filed with the Court mapped out further happenings in this lawsuit.  There is scheduling for the potential of a Motion for Summary Judgment and WOB has filed a Motion to Compel documents.

At this point, the attorneys for WOB filed a motion to compel certain documents from a string of emails from May 25, 2016.  This came to light during a deposition in which a WOB lawyer attempted to question a witness about the email string.  The lawyers for Wilder requested to “clawback” the document.  A “clawback” is a provision which allows the return of documents that were erroneously provided to the other side.  The reason for the “clawback” is that they are protected by a certain privilege or confidentiality.  This occurs in high-volume electronic discovery cases.

Wilder asserts that the emails were confidential communications protected by attorney-client privilege.  The Wilder privilege log which lists the documents that have not been produced to the other side states that they are protected by the Attorney-Client Privilege.  WOB claims that these exceptions do not apply.  The gist here is that the documents that are being withheld are said to be confidential because they include attorneys in the string of emails.  However, WOB claims that these emails are not protected because they were provided to third parties.

Payout Perspective:

Just when you thought that this case might be over, it continues. It appears that the parties are moving forward with the Breach of Contract cause of action.  This motion to compel was held until the finish of the post-trial briefing per Court order.  At this point, we don’t know the substance of the emails that are being withheld, only that they relate to Meldonium.  Wilder’s attorneys will likely argue that the substance of the emails is protected by attorney-client privilege or were provided to others maintaining privilege.  WOB argues that the substance of the emails is not legal in nature and do not uphold the privilege.  Even if the emails are proven not to be attorney-client privilege and handed over to WOB, the question is whether the substance of those emails will have any impact on the case.  A jury did find that Povetkin took Meldonium post-January 1, 2016.  Any information from the Wilder emails must provide something more to prove elements of WOB’s theory of the case.

MMA Payout will keep you posted.

HBO Boxing telecast tops out at 613,000 viewer average for undercard

October 25, 2017

HBO’s Boxing telecast on Saturday night drew an average of 613,000 viewers for Demetrius Andrade and Alantez Fox per Nielsen according to ShowBuzz Daily. The main event between Albert Machado and Jezreel Corrales drew 545,000 viewers.

The 47 minute Andrade-Fox fight, which Andrade won, peaked at 685,000 viewers per Nielsen.  It drew 0.22 in the A18-49.  The Machado-Corrales fight peaked at 595,000 viewers and drew 0.20 in the A18—49 demo.  Machado defeated Corrales in the main event.

The first fight of the night was a taped bout from Ireland featuring Ryan Burnett defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov averaged 576,000 viewers and peaked at 618,000.  The fight drew 0.17 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not too often that the undercard outdraws the main event, but it happened this past Saturday.  This likely means that the casual viewers tuned in to watch boxing and did not know the fighters in the main event which is too bad.

Showtime Boxing event Saturday peaks with first two fights

October 17, 2017

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s Showtime card had its best viewership prior to the main event.

Erislandy Lara’s win over Terrell Gausha drew 399,000 viewers and peaked at 476,000 Showtime subscribers according to Nielsen. But the Jermell Charlo Erickson Lubin fight averaged 495,000 viewers and peaked with 537,000.  The first fight between Jarrett Hurd and Austin Trout averaged 430,000 and peaked at 555,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The Showtime event aired after PBC on Fox.  The ratings are unusual as one would expect that viewership would increase as the telecast goes on but in t his case, the viewership peaked during the first two fights.

PBC on Fox draws 1.3 million viewers

October 15, 2017

PBC on Fox Saturday night drew 1.3 million viewers on Saturday night per Television By Numbers.

The event went up against stiff competition with the MLB Playoffs featuring the Cubs and Dodgers on cable TV.  Also, USC played Utah on ABC opposite the Fox broadcast.

The event featured Abner Mares as he defeated Andres Gutierrez to retain his WBA featherweight title.  The telecast drew 0.3 in the A18-49 demo and a 1 share.

In July, PBC on Fox drew just 866,000.  In February of this year it drew 1.76 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The PBC telecasts on Fox have waned in popularity and although Saturday’s event drew better than this past summer, it’s not nearly as popular as the UFC when it does its quarterly events on Fox.

Showtime requests class actions suits over Mayweather-McGregor move to New York

October 4, 2017

Law360 reports that Showtime Networks is asking that lawsuits stemming from poor streaming feeds for the Mayweather-McGregor fight be heard in New York.

Currently, there are 8 lawsuits across the nation in which plaintiffs claim that they paid to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight but could not or received poor video streams.  The first was filed in federal court in Oregon.  Since then, there have been lawsuits in California and New York.

Showtime claimed that the venue for the lawsuits should be in federal court in New York despite the fact that the UFC, a Nevada company, is named in the lawsuits.  The network notes that one of the defendants, the UFC’s digital partner NeuLion, is based out of Long Island, New York.  Also, Showtime and co-defendant Showtime Digital, Inc. are based out of New York.

The argument to consolidate in New York is that it would prevent inconsistent rulings and cut down on the number of plaintiffs’ counsel taking part.  In the alternative, the case should be transferred to Nevada where the fight took place, where the UFC is based and where the fight took place.

Payout Perspective:

The request by Showtime is normal in multidistrict litigation as the parties are trying to consolidate on costs and prevent inconsistent rulings.  It also helps plan litigation strategy and determine which cases have merit and which do not.  Without knowing the merits of each of the cases, it would be surprising if Showtime, the UFC and the other defendants do not file a motion to dismiss based on prior rulings which include the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao lawsuits which were dismissed by a court in August.

Top Rank and Plaintiffs in Antitrust Lawsuit Resolve Discovery Dispute

October 2, 2017

Top Rank and the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit have resolved their discovery dispute regarding a motion to compel production of documents and for the attendance of the deposition of Bob Arum.

A notice of resolution was filed late last week.  The agreement between the parties avoids a motion to compel brought by Plaintiffs in the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit seeking financial information and the deposition of company head Bob Arum.

Resolution Re Top Rank Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Originally, the motion was to be heard in early September but was continued until later in the month, but the parties came to an agreement.

Top Rank argued that a subpoena for the production of documents from the company was not relevant to the Zuffa lawsuit.  It also argued that the Plaintiffs failed to show a “substantial need” for Top Rank’s information. It also stated that the Plaintiffs’ document request were overly burdensome.

Top Rank Oppo to Motion to Compel by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to the discovery as it is relevant to their lawsuit against Zuffa, there is a substantial need for the documents and believe the discovery is not overly burdensome.

Reply to Opposition to Top Rank MTC by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Top Rank noted in its opposition that it “cannot have it both ways.”  It argued that in its lawsuit it claimed that the “relevant market” was limited to the sport of MMA and noted that it was different from boxing.  Yet, it was requesting “ten years’ worth of revenue, profit, loss and payment information.”  Yet, Top Rank claimed that However the Plaintiffs lawsuit against them, claimed that it had differentiated itself from pro boxing and thus its financial information was not relevant to the instant lawsuit.

Top Rank argues that the document requests are intrusive and it is a way for Plaintiffs’ experts to “compare financial data from Top Rank’s promotion of boxing events to Zuffa’s promotion of MMA events and create “benchmark percentages of revenues.”  Moreover, it claims that Plaintiffs do not explain why they are unable to obtain this information from other sources.  Top Rank’s opposition brief claims it has told Plaintiffs where it might obtain public data about the company.

Top Rank lists some of the requests in its brief:

REQUEST NO. 1: Your Company’s Income Statements, including event-level profit and loss statements for the Relevant Time Period [defined to be from January 1, 2005 to present], including without limitation All Documents, including depositions, declarations, affidavits, or other statements under oath, You produced in any lawsuits or arbitrations, or to any governing athletic commission or sanctioning body, relating to TOP RANK’s accounting of its revenues, expenses, and profits.

• REQUEST NO. 2: Data in as granular form as it is maintained (itemized ledger entries, if they exist) sufficient to show all bout-related revenues and expenses (including for championship bouts, bouts where victory leads to championship, and all other Professional Boxing Events), payments made to individual Professional Boxers (including purses, bonuses, pay-per view, and any other event and non-event related payments), and non-bout related revenues and expenses.

• REQUEST NO. 3: To the extent not included in Your response to Request Nos. 1 and 2 above, documents sufficient to substantiate Bob Arum’s statement that TOP RANK pays 80% of event revenue to the Professional Boxers who participate in bouts promoted by TOP RANK….

• REQUEST NO. 4: A Representative Sample of All Agreements between TOP RANK and any Boxers, relating to participation in a Professional Boxing Fight or Professional Boxing Event, and any Documents and Communications relating to the negotiation, termination, cancellation or transfer thereof. Responsive Documents include, without limitation, executed Agreements, draft Agreements, side letters, all negotiations between TOP RANK and any Boxer, including any Professional Boxer,
or their agents, managers, promoters, or other representatives (regardless of whether such negotiations resulted in an executed Agreement), copies of any form agreements; and all Documents relating to the effects any such actual or potential Agreements between TOP RANK and any Athlete, including any professional Boxer, had on TOP RANK’s revenues, valuation, or ability to operate profitably as a Boxing Promoter.

Zuffa Plaintiffs claim that the information is vital for their case and that the UFC denied the differences between boxing and MMA in its answer to the lawsuit with the inference that they were interchangeable.  Notably, in its Reply brief it claimed that the business of promoting fights is the same for all combat sports.

Payout Perspective:

Plaintiffs Reply Brief includes quotes from Lou DiBella and Dana White’s deposition but most of the citations are redacted.  The order which spells out what Top Rank and the Plaintiffs had agreed upon is heavily redacted so we specifically do not know what the parties agreed to provide and whether or if the deposition of Bob Arum will take place.  It could be that Top Rank agreed to provide a portion of documents so long as Arum is not deposed and/or someone else within the company is deposed.

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