Vaseline signs on to become presenting sponsor for Ruiz-Joshua 2

December 6, 2019

According to Bill King of the Sports Business Journal, DAZN has secured a sponsorship deal with Vaseline ahead of Saturday’s fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, Jr.

Financial terms were not disclosed but the petroleum jelly maker mainly associated with its application to boxer’s faces will be visible on the DAZN stream Saturday.  The brand will be in presenting sponsors positions and have its logo on a “corner cam.”

In addition, King reported that it has signed sponsors AutoZone and erectile dysfunction medication Roman for its North American telecasts.  Commercials for both will run during tomorrow’s telecast.

Payout Perspective:

The addition of a presenting sponsor reflects the big nature of this fight.  Despite what some believe is a controversial location for this fight, DAZN will see an uptick in subscriptions to watch tomorrow.  Vaseline, synonymous with boxing for its use on fighter’s faces to close and/or conceal cuts, will be all over the mat (perhaps literally) tomorrow in what the company believes will be a big value add.

Report: Ad buyers frustrated with lack of data from UFC on ESPN+, DAZN programming

November 19, 2019

According to a report from Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand advertisers are growing weary of the unknown viewership numbers that are watching online content such as the UFC on ESPN+.  The concern may lead to a demand from advertisers to provide solid numbers for specific program for direct-to-consumer platforms.

At a National Association of Broadcasters panel in New York Adam Schwartz, Horizon Media’s senior vice president and director of sports media noted that his company has pushed for specific numbers as to how many consumers are watching specific programming.  Notably Schwartz buys advertising packages for the likes of Geico, Sprint, Capital One, Burger King and Corona.

He noted that the UFC on ESPN + has been frustrating to decipher because rather than provide advertisers with actual viewership numbers, ESPN+ provides an overall number of subscribers.  According to the SBJ report from Schwartz’ appearance on the panel, there is a UFC sponsor (name not revealed) that entered into a deal with the company prior to the ESPN+ contract and was promised a specific number of viewers.

Additionally, DAZN has not provided concrete numbers for its MMA or Boxing events.  Schwartz cites these two as challenges for advertisers because they must make a monetary decision based on speculation.  Without concrete data, its hard to prove whether or not the advertising campaign was successful, influenced its target audience or was a bust.  Furthermore, it would be hard to convince your buyer of the bottom line if the specific program does not provide ratings that one might be able to assess.

Payout Perspective:

One of the questions that loomed when content moved to digital platforms was how would programming be tracked.  Television ratings are prevalent and are easy to access. Ad buyers are able to analyze the numbers of viewers watching and breaking down the demographics to determine how to target a specific audience.  As we have learned from this report, online content viewership of specific events is not released to even advertisers.  One might also believe this to be true of UFC PPV events.  While DAZN has noted it gained subscribers for big events, it does not disclose specifics.  Similarly, the UFC has not provided solid numbers unless it wants it to be known.  This may not be fair to the media.  But it would be frustrating for an ad buyer that cannot quantify its return on investment.

The panel did note that advertisers may seek to pay a premium for the specific numbers which might entice digital holders to provide them.  Of course, disclosing the information would make tracking the viewership patterns easier and the possibility that the media would get a hold of the information.

IBF rules that Pulev to get winner of Ruiz-Joshua

November 14, 2019

MMA Payout has learned that the IBF has ruled on the appeal of presumptive number one heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev and determined that he will get the next shot at the title.  But that will happen after Ruiz fights Anthony Joshua.

Pulev filed an appeal to the IBF citing that he should be the one to fight Ruiz instead of a rematch against Joshua.  Ruiz upset Joshua this past June in New York and a rematch was set.  But, Pulev citing the fact that he should be next in line at the title, not a rematch with Ruiz, filed an appeal with the IBF in an attempt to force the fight.

Last month, Pulev’s attorneys attempted to obtain Ruiz’s contract in a lawsuit filed against Ruiz by Joshua’s representation forcing the rematch.  However, the Court denied the attempt citing procedural issues.  Notably, the appeal to the IBF was to have happened October 10th however MMA Payout was not made aware of the ruling from the IBF until today.

The ruling as conveyed to MMA Payout is as follows:

Based on the recommendation of the Appeal Panel, and after consultation with the Championships Committee under Rule 12.F., the IBF hereby orders:

  1. The bout between Andy Ruiz, Jr. and Anthony Joshua must take place on or before December 7, 2019.

  1. The winner of that bout shall fight Kubrat Pulev next, with no intervening bouts, in an IBF mandatory bout on or before May 31, 2020.

  1. Andy Ruiz, Jr. and Anthony Joshua must agree in writing to indemnify, hold harmless and otherwise reimburse the IBF for any and all legal fees or other expenses related to the granting of said Exception, including, but not limited to, the costs attendant to any resultant litigation. (IBF Rule 11.F.)

Ruiz and Joshua 2 will happen in Saudi Arabia on December 7th on DAZN in the U.S.

Attendance, gate and payouts from Canelo Kovalev

November 12, 2019

The Nevada Athletic Commission disclosed its payout sheet from last weekend’s Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev fight. It also disclosed the attendance and gate which shows over 10,000 fans in attendance.

Per the Nevada Athletic Commission:

11/02/19 Canelo v. Alvarez
Gate $8,173,920.00
Sold 10,005
Comps 1,643

Sergey Kovalev $3 M
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez $35M

Ryan Garcia $250,000
Romero Duno $50,000

Seneisa Estrada $50,000
Marlen Esparza $50,000

Blair Cobbs $20,000
Carlos Ortiz Cervantes $5,000

Tristan Kalkreuth $5,000
Twon Smith $2,000

Beklemir Melikuzlev $10,000
Clay Collard $12,000

Evan Holyfield $4,000
Nick Winstead $2,500

Bakhram Murtazaliev $55,000
Jorge Sales $20,000

Meiirim Nursultanov $12,500
Cristian Olivas $12,000

Notably, Evander Holyfield’s son made his debut and earned $4,000 in a win over Nick Winstead.  Also Ryan Garcia earned $250,000 in a first round KO of Romero Duno.  I should also note that the payout from Kovalev does not include additional guarantees secured for the fight.

PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 159K viewers another 74K on Fox Deportes

November 6, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night averaged 159,000 viewers and an additional 74,000 viewers on Fox Deportes per Nielsen.

The FS1 telecast peaked from 12:15 am-12:30am with 198,000 viewers.  Notably, this was prior to the main event in Las Vegas featuring Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev as DAZN paused their event to await the finish of the UFC feature fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Also airing Saturday night were PBC studio specials promoting the upcoming Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz fight.  The Fox PBC Face-to-Face averaged 590,000 viewers from 12:21am-12:51am and PBC’s Fight Camp averaged 365,000 viewers from 12:51am-1:21am.

The telecast featured Brian Castano as he defeated Wale Omotoso in a battle between super welterweights.  Castano earned the victory.

Payout Perspective:

There was a lot of boxing on Saturday night including PBC on FS1, Top Rank on ESPN and the DAZN card featuring Canelo.  Not to mention the UFC card which sparked controversy for DAZN’s decision to wait for the card to end to begin the main event.  While the PBC ratings on Saturday was comparatively low, there is still general interest in the buildup for the Wilder-Ortiz fight.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 635,000 viewers Saturday

November 5, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on Saturday night drew 635,000 viewers on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast drew 268,000 in the A18-49 demo.

The telecast which aired during the UFC 244 PPV on ESPN+ and the Canelo-Alvarez undercard on DAZN featured Miguel Berchelt as he stopped Jason Sosa in the 4th round.  The battle between the junior lightweights took place at the Dignity health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Recent Top Rank on ESPN Ratings

10/19 Top Rank Boxing 635,000

8/17 Top Rank Boxing 471,000

7/13 Top Rank Boxing 530,000

6/28 Top Rank Boxing (Fri) 490,000

6/8 Top Rank Boxing (Sat – Fury Prelims on ESPN2) 493,000

5/25 Top Rank Boxing 556,000

5/11 Top Rank Boxing 740,000

5/4 Top Rank Boxing 480,000

Payout Perspective:

Identical ratings from the October 19th Top Rank Boxing telecast on ESPN.  On a night with UFC, PBC on FS1 and DAZN, 635,000 for this event has to be considered promising.  With the perceived debacle by DAZN to hold the main event until after the UFC card, boxing fans could have turned into this event on ESPN.

Canelo-Kovalev will go on after Masvidal-Diaz

November 1, 2019

Combat sports fans wanting to watch the Canelo-Alvarez fight on DAZN but not miss out on the main event of UFC 244 between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz or vice versa will not have to worry.  DAZN has confirmed that the WBO light heavyweight title fight will not happen until the conclusion of UFC 244’s main event.

EVP of North America, Joe Markowski of DAZN told MMA Fighting that they agreed with Dana White’s contention that the events should be staggered.  Markowski called it an “easy decision.”

The Canelo-Kovalev fight is set to take place in Vegas and UFC 244 is in New York.  In most instances big boxing events taking place in Vegas normally start around 9pm west coast time.  But, the Masvidal-Diaz fight is likely to be going on at that time.  Staggering start times would mean that the boxing main event may not start until after 10pm west coast time/1am on the east coast.

Payout Perspective:

“Holding the curtain” is not unheard of in combat sports. Famously, Manny Pacquiao wanted to watch the end of Game 7 between the Heat and Celtics before he made his walk to the ring against Timothy Bradley.  Moving back the start time for Canelo-Kovalev might lose some east coast fight fans that would have to stay up past 2am to watch boxing.  Yet, most on the west coast will get the uninterrupted advantage of watching both.

DAZN looks to raise $500M to expand operations

October 26, 2019

DAZN is looking to raise $500 Million according to a report from Bloomberg News. The over the top platform is said to be expanding and the funds would facilitate the build.

This past year, DAZN restructured its monthly fee schedule from $9.99 per month to $19.99 per month. Alternatively, subscribers could pay $99.99 for an annual subscription.

The company has spent a lot of money on talent in order to establish its platform including the historical $365 million deal to sign boxer Canelo Alvarez. Its also signed up GGG, Anthony Joshua as well as a $1 billion partnership with Matchroom Boxing. According to the report Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is working on the fundraising.

Notably, DAZN has just inked a deal with Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions in featuring documentaries under the banner ‘One Night,’ per Deadline.com. The first one is set to air on November 20 and will feature this past spring’s Antony Joshua-Andy Ruiz showdown at Madison Square Garden.

According to Crunchbase, there have been over 2.45M downloads of the DAZN App in the last 30 days reflecting an almost 31% growth this past month.  Monthly visits to DAZN is up over 26%  in the past month over last month with over 26 million visits.

Payout Perspective:

The competition in the streaming world is competitive and DAZN is looking to expand its operation. Thus far, DAZN has done its best in securing content for its product and has made swift changes to its subscription rates in order to capitalize on it. It will be interesting to see how it expands and hopefully some of the funds will go to upgrading its technology as evidenced by several streaming issues during Saturday’s Regis Prograis-Josh Taylor fight. Still, DAZN has been embraced by many boxing fans and some MMA fans for its content. We will see if the expansion will include more sports and/or regions.

GGG gets $7.5 equity stake in DAZN parent as part of fight purse

October 5, 2019

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the purses for Saturday night’s fight on DAZN for the vacant middleweight title between Gennadiy Golovkin and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

According to Rafael, GGG will receive $7.5 million in cash and $7.5 million in DAZN parent company equity.  Derevyanchenko will receive a guaranteed payout of $5.2 million but it is being reported as a $4 million purse.

The $7.5 million in equity for GGG is a rather unique way to pay a fighter.  One would have to question whether taking equity in the parent company is better than actual cash…or vice versa.  Certainly, an equity stake could be much more than the cash at the time.  Then again, the actual cash value give the individual the freedom to invest however they wish.  Moreover, the terms as to when GGG could cash out on the equity should be taken into consideration.  Obviously, if it believed that the company could grow, the equity stake could be a valuable commodity.

DAZN signs first U.S. distribution deal with Comcast

September 19, 2019

The Sports Business Daily reports that DAZN has signed with Comcast for the digital platform’s first U.S. distribution deal.  Those wishing to watch DAZN still must subscribe separately from their Comcast contract.

According to the report, DAZN will be available for Comcast internet customers that use the Xfinity Flex box for streaming apps as well as the Xfinity X1 set-top boxes.  The deal will begin October 5th with DAZN’s card featuring GGG and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

A spokesperson for DAZN noted that it was the company’s first distribution agreement in North America but it would not be its last.  It also expects to attempt to replicate this model in other countries.

Payout Perspective:

The purpose of the strategy is to make DAZN easier and quicker to find to subscribe to and better to watch per DAZN.  With Comcast signing on, those that subscribe to cable will be able to watch the app as part of the cable company’s online offerings.  While the strategy is somewhat contrary to the purpose of having an online platform, it makes sense for the company to make an effort to broker distribution deals with such a robust lineup of content coming this fall.  Does the distribution strategy make sense for a company that wants customers to pay a monthly subscription in addition to its cable bill?  One might suspect that despite the cord cutters out there, there is a certain level of consumer willing to do both subscriptions and keep their regular cable/satellite.

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