PBC on FS1 for Quillin-Truax drew 181,000 viewers

April 19, 2019

PBC on FS1 this past Saturday night drew 181,000 for the Peter Quillin Caleb Truax fight per Nielsen.  The event aired on a busy night for combat sports.

The event happened the same night as UFC 236 and the Shields-Hammer event on Showtime.  A portion of the PBC on FS1 event aired on FS2 due to an overrun with MLB Baseball on FS1.

The Quillin-Truax fight went to a no decision after an inadvertent head butt caused a bad cut on Truax in the second round.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are low due in part to the later start time and perhaps the confusion with the airing of the event.  The MLB overrun likely was a detriment to viewership.  Also, the event was likely overshadowed by the Shield-Hammer fight on Showtime.

LeBron James-led media company producing “24/7”-inspired docu-series starting this weekend for Canelo-Jacobs

April 17, 2019

The May 4th showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs will receive a “24/7” style docuseries from the digital media company of LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

“40 Days,” the entitled series which describes the eight weeks of training boxers use to prepare for a fight will give viewers the behind the scenes look at each training camp.

The series debuts this weekend on DAZN and Uninterrupted’s digital media platform and then will move to Univision, NBCSN and regional sports networks.

Payout Perspective:

I have not seen a series produced by Uninterrupted but they cater to athletes to tell their stories. As always, I find behind the scenes before a fight fascinating and with this series, it will not be any different.

Ratings for Top Rank, PBC and NCAA Wrestling this weekend

March 26, 2019

This weekend’s boxing event took a step back from the last couple of weeks as events for Top Rank on ESPN and PBC on FS1 were flat likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday night, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 469,000 viewers and 150,000 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen via ShowBuzz.  The event featured Kubrat Pulev as he defeated Bogdan Dinu via KO in the 7th round.  There were two fights on the telecast which aired Saturday night.

Sunday afternoon, PBC on FS1 took place with a fight between Lamont Petersen and Sergey Lipinets.  The Kazakhstani Russian stopped Petersen who then announced his retirement from boxing.  The event drew 374,000 viewers and only 74,000 in the A18-49 demo.

On another note, College Wrestling on ESPN drew 312,000/128,000 A18-49 Thursday (7:00pm), 407,000/147,000 A18-49 Friday night (8:00pm start), 625,000/245,000 A18-49 Saturday night (7:00pm EST start) for the NCAA Mat Madness showdown.

Payout Perspective:

This weekend sports programs were likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament which started for both the men’s and women’s brackets.  The opening rounds usually garner a lot of viewership which likely meant that most other sports took backseats to them.  The PBC on FS1 event is somewhat low for a name like Petersen, but with a late afternoon/early evening start it competed with NCAA games.

PBC viewership numbers over last two events

March 23, 2019

To clean up the past couple of weeks, MMA Payout has obtained the ratings from the past two weeks from PBC events.

This past weekend’s PBC Prelims on FS1 averaged a combined 479,579 from FS1, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports streaming services.  The FS1 telecast averaged 421,000.  According to Fox, it was FS1’s 2nd most-watched boxing telecast.  It was 66% better than the previous PBC Prelim card on the network on 3/9/19 (PBC on Fox) which drew 259,000.  The peak for the PBC Prelims on FS1 this past Saturday was 453,000 viewers during between 8:30-8:45pm.

The Fs1 Prefight Show which aired prior to the PPV drew 404,000 viewers.  PBC Fight Camp on Fox drew 402,000 viewers.

The PPV fight between Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia drew an estimated 360,000 buys according to Kevin Iole’s report on March 21st.

March 9th’s PBC on Fox drew 1.628 million viewers on Saturday night.  The event peaked with 2.197 million viewers.  The main event saw Shawn Porter retain his welterweight title via split decision over Yordenis Ugas.  The telecast bested last month’s event which drew 1.377 million viewers.

Per Fox, the average viewership for each fight is as follows:

  • Efe Ajagba vs Amir Mansour-               1.282 million viewers
  • Abel Ramos vs Francisco Santana-     1.415 million viewers
  • Shawn Porter vs Yordenis Ugas-         2.142 million viewers

The Prelims last week drew 252,000 viewers.

DAZN institutes new pay structure including annual fee

March 21, 2019

DAZN announced that starting next week it will debut a new annual pass option of $99.99 per year.  In the alternative, it will allow new subscribers to pay $19.99 per month.

DAZN is granting those that began with the $9.99 per month option to pay over the next year.  The new $19.99 per month option allows for a subscriber to cancel at any time.

The digital platform began this past September in the United States.  Since then it has featured Bellator events as well as boxing events.  The big news came when Canelo Alvarez signed on with the streaming site for a then-record 5-year, 11 fight deal worth $365 million.  It then signed GGG earlier this month to a three-year, six-fight deal which was reported in the nine-figure range although not disclosed.

It also made a run at heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder who had a $100 million offer on the table but the Alabama native turned it down to sign a pact with Showtime Boxing for his next fight.

Payout Perspective:

The new payment structure is good and bad.  The overarching reason for the change is to grow the subscriber base.  If you take advantage of the annual fee, you realize a 20% decrease over the year.  For boxing fans this is a good deal to pay $100 per year for good cards each month.  For MMA fans, the new pay structure will make you consider the need for the digital platform as Bellator has just a handful of exclusive cards on DAZN.  But, the $19.99 per month essentially accounts for combat sports fans that want to see a specific event but does not want to pay for the year.  With the GGG and Canelo fighting in the next couple months, the raise in subscription price ensures that the company maintains revenue without losing too much without charging a PPV.

Spence-Garcia draws a reported 300,000 buys

March 20, 2019

The Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia PPV drew a reported 300,000 PPV buys in initial reports and could rise to as much as 400,000 buys per Mike Coppinger.

The PPV event was the first Fox boxing PPV which took place at Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium.  The PBC event was heavily promoted throughout Fox’s various platforms.

Spence defeated Garcia in a yawner of a main event.  After the fight, Spence challenged Manny Pacquiao to a fight.  Pacquiao, who was in attendance, seemed nonplussed by the challenge.

Payout Perspective:

The reported buy rate goes to the power of the marketing behind this event.  The card was stacked with mismatches including the main event.  Yet, the buy rate exceeded the amount of the hardcore boxing fan.  This would infer, in my opinion, that the promotion on Fox helped facilitate the amount of casual boxing fans to purchase the PPV.  The fact that the prelims only scored slightly over 400K PPV buys tells one that many had already decided on buying the fight.  For the PPV debuts of Spence and Garcia, this has to be a pleasing result.

PBC on FS1 Prelims score 421,000 viewers

March 19, 2019

The PBC on FS1 Prelims this past Saturday drew 421,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The PBC Prefight show which supported the Spence-Garcia PPV drew 404,000 on FS1.

The prelims on FS1 aired just one fight with heavyweight champion Charles Martin taking on Gregory Corbin.  Martin won via DQ over Corbin.

The prefight show which aired after the prelims previewed the main PPV card including the Spence-Garcia matchup.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership was fair considering just one fight on the aired prelims on FS1.  Did it do enough to sell the casual boxer on purchasing the PPV?  Hard to say considering that the fight ended in a DQ due to punches to the groin.  With the build for this PPV card, PBC did a good job in building excitement despite a poor PPV.

1 million buys for Spence-Garcia? Not out of question according to Schaefer

March 15, 2019

1 million PPV buys?

Richard Schaefer claims that it’s possible for this Saturday’s Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia fight at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.  In a piece by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, he indicated that the fight has sold over 35,000 tickets as of Thursday.

Spence-Garcia will be the first PPV for both fighters.  It has received the promotional push on all of Fox Sports’ platforms on behalf of PBC.  The estimated buy rate for the event is 300,000 but Schaefer seemed to think that the number was out of line with his belief of how the fight was trending.

FS1 has given the PPV event this Saturday a push with PBC shoulder programming.  Last week’s PBC on Fox gave casual fans another reminder.

But 1 million PPV buys is a lofty goal. The GGG-Canelo Alvarez fights were the last two boxing events to draw over 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

Schaefer stressed the fans that are coming to event to back Garcia.  This would account for the massive amount of tickets being sold according to Schaefer.  But the true test of this event will be how it will do on PPV.  With the UFC running a show in the afternoon, Saturday night belongs to this event.  PBC has done as much as it could to promote this event via Fox in order to introduce the casual fan to Spence and Garcia. The question will be is whether that translates into a $75 purchase.  If the event draws 300,000 buys I would suggest it a success considering that the heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder hit 325,000.  Of course, Schaefer is a promoter so 1 million is an aspirational projection not a concrete number.

Porter tops payroll from Saturday’s PBC on Fox card

March 13, 2019

The California State Athletic Commission has disclosed the payouts from Saturday’s event at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.  Main card fighters Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas topped the payouts.

Via CSAC:

Viktor Slavinskyi $4,000 def

Luis May $5,500

Justin Cardona $2,000 def

Phillip Bounds  $1,800

Jesus Cuellar $40,000 def

Carlos Padilla $1,000

Robert Guerrero $25,000 def

Hevinson Herrera  $1,000

Jose Perez $2,000 def

Carlos Trevino $2,000

Ruben Rodriguez $4,000 def

Jeremiah De Los Santos $1,800

David Gomez $1,000 def

George Carranza $2,000

Issaac Avelar $6,000 def

Juan Antonio Lopez $6,500

Rolando Romero $6,000 def

Nicolas Atilio Velazquez $1,000

Eimantas Stanionis $8,000 def

Samuel Figueroa $10,000

Juan Carlos Payano $5,000 def

Damien Vazquez $15,000

Efe Ajagba $8,000 def

Amir Mansour $25,000

Francisco Santana $50,000 def

Abel Ramos $50,000

Shawn Porter $1.2M def

Yordenis Ugas $300,000

 

Disgruntled May-Pac fans get oral argument in appeals court

March 12, 2019

On March 7th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the appeal of the lawsuit brought by plaintiffs that purchased the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao in May 2015.  The case was dismissed but appealed by the plaintiffs.

The underlying facts of the lawsuit brought by multiple individuals and consolidated into one case claim that they were victims of fraud when they purchased tickets and/or PPV for the fight without the knowledge that Pacquiao had an injured shoulder.  The details of the dismissal of the lawsuit were covered by MPO this past September.

Three parties representing the plaintiffs, the defendants including HBO and Showtime and separate counsel for defendant Floyd Mayweather and his company argued their briefs before the Night Circuit.

The appeal came down to two differing theories.  Plaintiffs viewpoint that the case is a consumer protection action where fans were duped into thinking that they were purchasing tickets and/or a $100 PPV to watch a healthy Paquiao and Mayweather.  But it was not revealed that Pacquiao was fighting with a significant injury.  As a result, consumers were taken advantage of by the promoters and those with business interests tied to the event.  Plaintiffs, in part, infer that the defendants were not going to cancel or postpone the event regardless of Pacquiao’s condition.

Defendants maintain the District Court ruling and uphold the ruling that the case is premised upon a revocable license.  The fans paid for what they received and despite the fact that they did not get the fight they wanted, they received the fight that they paid for.

The appellate court seemed to probe the question of whether Charpentier could be distinguished from this case based on the business-side of sports.  Charpentier was premised upon the fact that in the mid-1990s the Los Angeles Rams franchise was leaving for St. Louis, and despite its knowledge that it would, stated that it was staying.  While in Pacquiao, he indicated that he felt fine going into the fight, Mayweather asserted he knew everything within his opponent’s camp yet did not speak about a shoulder injury pre or post-fight.  HBO and Showtime did not claim to know about a pre-existing injury and promoted the fight as the Fight of the Century  It believed it to be so big that it set the ticket prices and PPV price point at astronomical prices.

Hart Robinovitch, arguing on behalf of the plaintiffs, stressed that facts were intentionally concealed from consumers set against the backdrop upon quotes from commentators inferring that the fight less that what was expected.  He portrayed the plaintiffs as the little guy that paid big prices for the event.

The Court asked about where the line might be drawn on a failure to disclose theory, here the omission of Pacquiao’s injury, where it is common that athletes play with injuries at all times.  Plaintiffs argued that the failure to disclose Pacquiao’s injury was material to this case.  Notably, Pacquiao did not publicly disclose the injury until 30 minutes into the PPV based on his request to the commission for a pain reliever for his shoulder. The Court grilled Robinivitch on the claim that Pacquiao omitted any claim of injury prior to the fight.  But, premised upon the omission, there must be a duty to disclose.  The Court also asked about “puffery” claims made by athletes (i.e., “I feel great,”) and whether something like this would give rise to a claim.

Plaintiffs argue that the license approach is premised on a contract claim, which differs from what it is arguing here.

They claim that the district court erred when it did not interpret Plaintiffs claim that Pacquiao concealed his injury for the sole business reason of making money.  Plaintiffs argue that there is a material fact, which cannot be dismissed on a Motion to Dismiss stage.

During oral arguments, Plaintiffs stressed the Charpentier case which was central to its case.  The case was brought by Los Angeles Rams season ticket holders that claimed the franchise publicly denied moving while concealing material facts that its intention was to move.   The court in that case stated, “Defendant knew these statements were false, but defendant made them purely to maintain and manipulate the sales of tickets.”  In that lawsuit, the court dismissed the contract-based claims but maintained the plaintiffs’ fraud claim.  The distinction is important when set upon the footprint of the Pacquiao case because plaintiffs argue that the material misrepresentation of Pacquiao’s injury in addition to the affirmations that he was fine is sufficient for this case to go forward.

While the question of disclosing an athlete’s injury is a debatable question, Plaintiffs cited the NFL’s policy of injury reports which discloses the nature and reason a player does not practice in the week prior to the game.  It notes this as an example of an affirmative

Daniel Petrocelli represented the defendants except the Mayweather defendants.  He argued that there are reasons why an athlete’s private health information is not disclosed.  First, there is a right to privacy issue regarding health issues.  Second, there should not be an expectation to know an up-to-date status of an athlete’s physical condition.  Finally, its common knowledge that boxers do fight with injuries.

The Court questioned Petrocelli if whether there are cases where there are material misrepresentations or omissions that give rise to a consumer claim.  But, Petrocelli argued that the cases are segmented between off the field business cases versus athletic case.  He argued Charpentier was based on the misrepresentation of the business aspect of sport and differed from Pacquiao’s shoulder.  He claimed that the case was extrinsic to the case and this was where the line can be drawn.  He gave the example of an announcement that a team had signed LeBron James and consumers made purchases based on the representation but in actuality it was another individual, not the famous basketball player.  In that instance, would there be an issue regarding a material misrepresentation.

While the Court did not side with either about the ultimate question of the veracity of the case, it did question Petrocelli if there were material facts about the omission of Pacquiao’s injury with respect to whether or not consumers were defrauded.

Mark Tratos, the attorney for Defendants representing Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum, Todd duBoef, Top Rank, Inc. and HBO argued that the district court correctly dismissed the lawsuit arguing that the license approach applied.  They also claimed that there is no carve-out exception to the license approach where there is a fraudulent inducement to purchase an event.

Notably, the Defendants argued an alternative scenario in which Pacquiao was cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission which would relieve any liability on behalf of the defendants since a third party allowed the fight to occur.  This would place some level of liability on the commission.

During oral arguments, Tratos argued a floodgates of litigation scenario if there is a duty of a fighter to disclose an opponent injury.  The implication here would be that it would be implausible for a fighter to know whether or not there is a pre-fight injury of an opponent.  But there would be hundreds of lawsuits filed if there was an affirmative duty for a fighter to know another’s injury.

Payout Perspective:

One can expect an opinion in this case later this year.  If the court were to side with Plaintiffs, it would go back to the district court and continue as the lawsuit was dismissed just at the pleading stage.  If it sides with the defendants, the case would likely go away.  While most from the outside would see this as an easy case to decide in favor of the defendants, it brings up interesting theories with respect to consumer fraud.

Plaintiffs claim that there are material facts that would overcome a motion to dismiss the case purely on the filed lawsuit.  This is the initial goal of the Plaintiffs. Will this actual happen?  It would be surprising.  The Court seemed to wrestle with the necessity of disclosing an athlete’s injury prior to an event.  While Plaintiffs attempt to carve out the analytical argument that Pacquiao’s omission of disclosing the injury to generate sales as a business reason which would buttress its fraud claim, defendants argue that this is purely athletic strategy.  Defendants note that consumers are only entitled to watch an event and cannot dictate if its exciting or not.  It stresses that Pacquiao fought all 12 rounds and even won certain rounds based on the scorecards.  The cases argued before the court are carved out between a license approach (fans entitled to watch an event and nothing more) and those which follow the Los Angeles Rams case (Charpentier) where the court allowed a fraud claim when the Rams misrepresented that it would not move but did.  It does seem that the case will be decided upon whether there is a belief that there are material facts to determine whether the defendants had a duty to disclose the alleged injury.

The Court will be setting a new precedent when it decides this case as it will guide future lawsuits where sports fans feel duped by sports teams and/or events.

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