Broner-Maidana off of PPV

October 28, 2013

It was announced on Saturday that Golden Boy and Showtime will be taking its December 14th Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana off of PPV and move it to the Showtime.  The Broner-Maidana fight occurs one week before another Showtime event featuring Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.

As the December 14th event will be taken off PPV, it will no longer take place in Las Vegas and moves to San Antonio, Texas.  The move should help with the live gate. Even though Maidana is from Argentina, the undercard features Mexican American fighter Victor Ortiz returning to the ring against Mexican fighter Alfonso Gomez.  The last big event in San Antonio received over 39,000 fans as Canelo Alvarez defeated Austin Trout.

Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza cited that the fight was happening during the holidays likely would not pull a sufficient amount of PPV buys.

Via Bad Left Hook:

“The real hesitation with the pay-per-view to the extent that we had hesitation was just the time of the year. We ran out of time on the calendar. Any other time of the year, this does 250-300,000 pay-per-views, easily,” said Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the second time in recent days that a combat sports organization decides to pull a PPV to put it on network television.  Here, there was no injury but the move to Showtime made sense.  While its Showtime’s desire to push Broner as a PPV draw, he isn’t right now and it saw ahead of time that it was running its shows on top of one another.  Moreover, with the fight during the Holiday season, casual fight fans would probably not want to shell out $65 for Broner-Maidana.

Mayweather-Canelo fight hits 2.2M PPV buys according to Showtime

September 19, 2013

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that “The One,” the fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr and Canelo Alvarez will do about 2.2 million PPV units in the U.S. for $150 million making it the highest grossing boxing PPV ever.  As a result, its believed that Floyd Mayweather could make $70-80 million while Alvarez will make well over $10 million.

Another 26,000 fans watched the fight on closed circuit for a gate of $2.62 million.

According to the Iole article, in Mexico the fight airing on Televisa received a 41.1 rating and 71 share equating to 22.1 million viewers.

While Showtime believes that Mayweather will pocket almost double his guaranteed $41.5 million, Leonard Ellerbee believes Mayweather could make $100 million.

Payout Perspective:

The price of the PPV and the added ways to watch were likely culprits of why it was not going to surpass the PPV buy record.  Still, 2.2 million PPV buys is an incredible number considering the hefty $75 HD price.  The strong numbers from Mexican fans means that Canelo Alvarez has arrived.  While we reported that he was guaranteed $12 million (he actually was guaranteed $5 million), it now looks like he will probably surpass that $12 million figure.

“The One” Payout Perspective

September 16, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we look at “The One,” the fight between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Mayweather dominates in Majority Decision

The look on Mayweather’s face when a Majority Decision was announced was not worth the $75 PPV price tag but it was still pretty good.  Notably, CJ Ross judged the Pacquiao-Bradley fight which makes one wonder if there are no other qualified judges out there.

The 36 year old did what he does in muting a game Canelo Alvarez.  While the judges may have thought it close, there was never a time that Mayweather looked to be in trouble.

Mayweather has indicated that he would like to fight Cinco de Mayo weekend 2014 with Danny Garcia and/or the winner of Amir Khan/Devon Alexander fight. A Khan fight may be the most entertaining based on the styles.  A Danny Garcia fight might be the best for promoting the fight with Angel Garcia and Floyd Sr. as sideshow entertainment.

Alvarez had a decent showing yet it would be hard to find a round you can say he won. People liked his utter disregard for Mayweather’s pleasantries which manifested itself with Canelo refusing to hold the belt with Mayweather post-weigh-in, during the fight a shoulder bump after a Mayweather liver shot and a low blow after having his head pushed down.


Garcia defeats Matthysse in slugfest

Angel Garcia is the father and mouthpiece for Danny Garcia and vowed he’d cut his own head off if his son would lose.  Although Matthysse was the challenger, he was the favorite coming into the fight.  But, Garcia was able to dominate Matthysse despite getting his mouthpiece knocked out (and replayed in slow motion) in the 11th round.  Garcia eventually dropped Matthysse in the same round.

Garcia is an understated champion and hopefully with all the viewers for this event, he’ll grab some fans.

Attendance, gate, etc.

The MGM Grand was a sellout of 16,746 for a record gate of $20,003,150.  The gate was an all-time record.

Moreover, the weigh-ins was at capacity with 12,200 people coming to watch the fighters get on the scale.

Closed circuit viewing of the event in Vegas were a sellout with tickets going for $100 and being sold for $150 on the secondary market.  Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Richard Schaefer indicated that it was a sellout with 26,355 tickets sold.

In addition, more bars across the nation showed the fight and the fight was available in more movie theatres (500) this time around.

Promotion of Fight

An unprecedented 11 city press tour which brought out thousands of fans.  So big was the fight that the Garcia-Matthysse fight was to have its own mini-press tour.

The four episode All Access Showtime show was available online so even if you did not have Showtime, you could check it out.  Nothing dramatic in these episodes, but a good primer for the fight. It was interesting that CBS did not show any of these episodes on the network.

One of the more underrated promotional tools for the fight is CBS Sports Network, Showtime and the 101 Network airing previous Canelo and Mayweather fights.  The best thing about it.  You get to see free PPV-quality fights.

ESPN The Magazine had a “Fight Issue” dedicated to the event and the LA Times also had a special section for “The One.”

Despite all of the platforms to watch the fight, PPV remains the central part of the business.  Although it was a $75 price tag (in HD), expectations are that PPV will exceed 2 million buys.

Via Forbes:

If the bout does hit its ambitious PPV goals, credit the all-out marketing blitz that mixes target markets with mass markets, and high tech with old school media and promotions. In addition to the natural Hispanic market, promoters say they’re going heavily after the youth and female markets, the better to take advantage of Alvarez’s youth and good looks.

On Wednesday or Thursday of fight week, various athletes and stars tweeted out the fact that they had ordered “The One.”  After comparing the tweets, it was obvious that it was part of a social marketing campaign for people to buy the PPV early.



The sponsors in the ring included AT&T, Nature Nutrition, Valvoline, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Mexico (we assume the tourism board), Fred Loya Insurance and Corona in the center.  Mexico sponsored the scale at the weigh-ins.

This event included record promotional spending of which CBS supported Showtime with $15-$20 million of promotional spots.

Valvoline offered a $35 rebate for the PPV if you purchased 5 quarts of motor oil.  O’Reilly Auto parts was the presenting sponsor at movie theatres showing the fight.  Corona had promotional displays at 15,000 stores in 32 states.

Canelo Alvarez’s sponsors included Under Armour which included a variety of workout shirts and his ring shoes (via FigherxFashion).  Online sales of his shirts were going at a swift pace.

Danny Garcia’s shorts was a sponsor’s nightmare.  It was hard to see the sponsors on his trunks unless you absolutely focused on them.  I could make out Western Union as one of his sponsors.  Also, Garcia had a Jumpman logo on the front of his trunks but wore Adidas ring shoes.

As if he needed more money, Floyd Mayweather pitched his line of “Money Wear” including shirts starting at $35 and his “TBE” hat going for $70.

Odds and Ends

-The weigh-ins included walk-ins for Matthysse, Garcia, Alvarez and Mayweather.  No one took advantage of the walk-in more than Angel Garcia.

-Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber walked to ringside with Mayweather which made him the obvious choice as villain for the main event.  Wayne rapped his way down to the ring without a shirt.  He also watched the entire fight without a shirt either.

-Maybe one of the harder shots Danny Garcia took was when his father hit him in the ear between rounds to wake him up.

-”USA, USA” chants were booed down by the pro-Canelo crowd.  A probable first in the states.


“The One” will go in the books as one of the biggest revenue generating fights in history.  This summary did not even cover the fact that Mayweather will receive a guaranteed $41 million without even factoring in the other revenue streams.  Canelo should receive at least $12 million not counting what he may earn from other revenue streams.

While we note how much will be made from this event, Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy and Showtime did outlay a lot of money with the hope of scoring big…which it looks like it did.

The marketing and promotion for this fight was all over and despite a $75 price tag, we may see a PPV revenue record broken.  Will it exceed the number of buys of De La Hoya-Floyd (2.5 million)?  Its not clear, but it should be close.

PTI claims Boxing dead

September 14, 2013

Want to raise passion among combat sport fans? Advise the world the death of a sport.

This happened with ESPN Pardon The Interruption recently as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the Stadler and Waldorf of the network talking heads decried that boxing was dead.  Certainly, a part of this proclamation was to ignite a fire.  It certainly drew the ire of ESPN’s own boxing writer Dan Rafael.  On Friday, the two pondered whether a Mayweather win or a Canelo win would be good for the sport.

The two questioned that if Canelo won it would provide an immediate rematch with Mayweather which would regain boxing’s momentum as more people would get to know Canelo (and get behind the 23 year old) for an inevitable Cinco de Mayo redux.  A Mayweather win would mean that the 36 year old would continue the Money train and handpick another fighter for the third of six fights on his Showtime contract.  Its a sign of dominance of a sport that is rarely seen.

Personally, I like Kornheiser and Wilbon despite not agreeing with everything they might opine.  Certainly, they aren’t fans of MMA, but I respect their opinions with the exception of Wilbon’s rudderless following of NBA protocol during its season.

But the PTI guys suggest that the sport is dead because its their belief that “The One” is just that – the one.  There are no longer multiple big fights in a year.  There is just a singular event that gets the fight fans revved up for a night.  Moreover, there aren’t too many household names in boxing.  Perhaps the introduction of a new name like Canelo will get more fans to take notice.

But, Kornheiser and Wilbon may be wrong.  According to a survey in May, boxing is still popular among 30-44 year olds as well as the Spanish/Hispanic demographic.  This is due to the fact that the older generation grew up with boxing on free television.  As for the Spanish/Hispanic demographic, boxing stars of that ethnicity are more prevalent.  Juan Manuel Marquez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. are prime examples.  One need only think of Chavez, Jr and the Argentine Sergio Martinez fight from last year to recognize the nationalistic pride for country within the sport.

This year, the undercard of “The One” will feature Danny Garcia versus another Argentine Lucas Matthysse in a matchup that may have fight fans in their seats a little earlier than normal.

But if you are thinking about reasons why the sport is dying you may look to issues such a pay.  While many boxers are compensated better than many MMA fighters, the problem of pay is an issue not just limited to MMA.  Thus, fixes within the sport must be addressed.

The issue of corruption has always been a theme simmering under the surface of the sport.  The Muhammad Ali Act was put into place to protect fighters.  However, few fighters have taken advantage of the protections of the act and no fighters have prevailed in a lawsuit under the Act.  The expense of litigation is one of the main factors that fighters do not utilize the Act.  A recent law article in the Sports Lawyers Journal proposed that the Act be modified to allow the fighters to arbitrate their issues with promoters which would be less expensive and potentially promote more fighters to speak up if they feel wronged.

Then, there are the issues of performance enhancing drugs, the alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies and the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud which will refuse to put together fights.  There’s a lot to clean up.  But, no sport is perfect.  Of course, no one is suggesting other sports are dead.

Payout Perspective:

Boxing is not dead.  But, will most of us be able to see it should be the question.  Last year, it returned to network television on both NBC and CBS and did well ratings-wise.  NBC Sports Network’s quarterly showings of boxing events have had decent showings as well.  On the other hand, FS1’s Golden Boy offerings have not done well in the ratings although it may be too soon to tell.  The recent signing of boxers by Showtime has developed a rivalry with HBO.  The issue for consumers is whether its worth spending money on the premium channels to watch the fights the networks provide.  If you are not fans of “Homeland” or “Boardwalk Empire”, would you really want to spend an extra $30 on your cable bill just to see boxing?

Saturday’s PPV event will remind the sporting world that boxing is a spectacle and if more people were exposed to its fighters, it might regain the recognition it once had.

Record promotional spending for Mayweather-Canelo

September 9, 2013

The Sports Business Journal (subscription only) reports on the record breaking night for boxing this Saturday night.  Aside from Floyd Mayweather’s astronomical guaranteed purse and gate, the article details the money invested and anticipated from the event.

CBS, Showtime and other television distributors will spend between $80 to $100 million in promotional value for the fight which exceeds previous spending on Golden Boy fights by 40 percent. This likely includes the multi-city press tour for Mayweather-Canelo. It also intended to hold a mini-press tour for the undercard fight between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse.

Sponsorship revenue totals more than $2 million and “will shift $15 million to $20 million of their media spending to promote the PPV.”

Corona, Valvoline and AT&T are three of the seven major sponsors involved in promoting the fight.  Corona will have its largest retail activation in sports with displays in 15,000 retail outlets across 32 states.  Corona is devoting $6 million worth of on-air media during sports programming on multiple networks.  Corona and AT&T have shot its own commercial spots promoting the fight.

Valvoline will offer $35 rebates to fans that purchase the PPV and 5 quarts of its motor oil.  O’Reilly Auto Parts is the presenting sponsor for the showing of the fight in theaters and will conduct its own sweepstakes promotion.  As a side note, has anyone noticed that O’Reilly is now sponsoring WWE programming.  At what point does it venture into the UFC?

CBS Sports Network will also be utilized during fight week airing the press conference, weigh-ins and post-fight show.

In addition, CBS will devote $15-$20 million of spots during sporting events and in its prime time.  It will also air spots during the much anticipated college football game between Alabama and Texas A&M this Saturday in hopes of grabbing last minute buys.

Payout Perspective:

Its interesting that with all of the promotion, CBS didn’t decide to air the Mayweather-Canelo All Access series on the network. Instead, the series has been available online.  With all of the investment into the promotion of this fight, it may break the all-time mark for PPV revenue.  However, there is some question that it surpasses the mark for PPV buys.  With a steep price tag of $75 HD and other ways to watch (closed circuit, theatres and bars), it may not reach the 2.4 million PPV buys set by Mayweather-De La Hoya.

Mayweather guaranteed $41.5 million

September 4, 2013

Floyd “Money” Mayweather is guaranteed $41.5 million in his upcoming fight with Canelo Alvarez. Mayweather’s take and some other hefty financial terms were revealed regarding the September 14th event entitled, “The One”.

According to Forbes, the Mayweather guaranteed payday is even before any of the PPV cut which is to approximate a total of $140 million if the Golden Boy prediction of 2 million PPV buys is correct. Also, Mayweather will receive a portion of the closed circuit and movie theatre showings. 500 theatres will carry the Mayweather-Canelo fight which is 5 times as many as the previous high. In a teleconference held today, Mayweather rep Leonard Ellerbee stated that almost all tickets for the closed circuit showings in Vegas are sold out. There are approximately 25,000 seats at $100 per ticket.

The gate for Canelo-Mayweather will have the largest gate in combat sports history as it will come in at $19,905,000 according to the Sports Business Daily (subscription required). SBD also indicates that sponsors will be paying rights fees of $2 million. Seven sponsors have signed up including AT&T, Corona and Valvoline.

Payout Perspective:

The guaranteed payday as well as the multiple revenue streams shows Mayweather’s business acumen. While Showtime and Golden Boy have spent a lot of money to promote the fight including a multi-city press tour, huge promotional and marketing campaigns and 360 shoulder programming, it appears that based on the gate and closed circuit sales, a lot of fans are excited about this fight. We will see if the PPV buys will break a record.

On a side note, ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted Dana White about whether a UFC fighter would ever make $41.5 million. Of course, White tweeted back.

UFC Fight Night 26: Payout Perspective

August 21, 2013

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at last Saturday’s Fox Sports 1 taking place at the TD Garden in Boston.

Sonnen subs Shogun

Chalk another one up for the bad guy.  Chael Sonnen looked good.  Or, Shogun Rua looked bad. Sonnen scored a first round guillotine choke of the former UFC champ.  After the fight, he proceeded with a pro wrestling promo in which he challenged “middle age comedian” Joe Rogan and then Wanderlei Silva.

Good win for Sonnen and calling out Silva means another entertaining promotion and fight down the road.  Does that mean that Sonnen has given up on a title run?  Calling out the “Axe Murderer” isn’t climbing the ladder.  But, Sonnen was soundly defeated by Jon Jones this year and a run at Middleweight seems unlikely with Anderson Silva in the way. Even if Sonnen sticks to entertaining fights, he serves a purpose for the company.

Browne KOs Overeem

Deja Vu all over again.  Alistair Overeem looked impressive in the first round and then proceeded to stand in front of his opponent which was his eventual demise.  Despite Overeem’s gaffe, Browne showed great resilience to come back to win as it looked like the “Demolition Man” was going to stop him.

For Browne, its another step up the ladder in the Heavyweight division.  Could he be in the waiting room for a title shot in 2014 or does he need several more fights to prove he’s championship caliber.  Stipe Miocic, the winner of Barnett-Mir, Roy Nelson are all good possibilities for Browne.

For Overeem, who knows what happens next.  Its likely he gets another shot in the UFC but is he past his prime?  The loser of Barnett-Mir or Mark Hunt could be an interesting matchup for him.

Attendance and gate

MMA Junkie reports attendance for UFC Fight Night 26 was 12,539 for a gate of $1.53 million.  On Tuesday of fight week, 10,600 tickets had been sold.  The number of comps have yet to be released so we may have had a nice last minute purchase of tickets.

The UFC’s last visit to Boston drew 14,168 fans for a total gate of $2.8 million.  You may recall that event featured BJ Penn’s rematch with Frankie Edgar and James Toney succumbing to Randy Couture.


Bonuses were the standard $50,000 but the UFC gave an extra KO and submission bonus:

Fight of the Night:  Michael McDonald-Brad Pickett

Submission of the Night:  Michael McDonald, Chael Sonnen

KO of the Night:  Matt Brown, Travis Browne


The story of Saturday’s event had to do with the ratings it pulled for the main card on Fox Sports 1.  New channel, new network and the UFC pulled a 1.78M viewer average from 8:00-10:45 p.m. according to The Wrestling Observer. John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that the 8:00-11:00 p.m. pulled a 1.7M viewer average which accounts for the last quarter hour.

The ratings outdid all others for the prime time spot in the 18-49 demo.  Only Gymnastics (another sport) on NBC had more overall viewers for the time period.

The ratings are surprising considering that there was concern that subscribers would not know where the channel was and/or whether it was on their current tier of programming.

It also did much better than the UFC’s stint on FX.

Via Television By Numbers:

FOX Sports 1’s first ever primetime event, UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN, averaged a 1.38 and beat the average of the eight UFC on FX Fight Nights by +49% in rating (1.38 vs. 0.93) and +38% in viewership (1.78 million vs. 1.29 million).  FOX Sports 1’s first UFC FIGHT NIGHT also beat seven of those eight FX Fight Nights individually.  Among younger demographics, last night’s FOX Sports 1 card easily beat the average of FX’s primetime UFC cards by +50% in viewership among Men 18-49 (994K vs. 663K) and +44% higher among Men 18-34 (492K vs. 342K).


The usual sponsors were in the octagon for the event: TapouT Corn Nuts, Dodge, Toyo Tires, MetroPCS,,

Modell’s Sporting Goods, EA Sports UFC game was also advertised in the Octagon.

One notable sponsorship from Saturday was that Travis Browne was sponsored by Salt Lake City Personal Injury Attorney 1Law.

Boston issues

Although its his hometown, Dana White encountered hurdles to putting on the event.  First, there was a licensing issue which was rectified.

Then, the Culinary Union attempted to put a halt to the event in Boston by requesting that the Massachusetts Athletic Commission prohibit Chael Sonnen from fighting due to his prior real estate fraud conviction.

There was also an attempt to ban fans under 18 years of age from attending the event.  In fact, an ordinance was passed after today banning minors from attending an MMA event without an adult.

Then, there is what is becoming the usual Deadspin piece taking a shot at the company.

Odds and ends

The new camera angles and slow mo replays were interesting although gratuitous at times.

Stephen Siler looked impressive in his quick work on the prelims.

Conor McGregor-Max Holloway prelim received main card treatment as Dana White indicated via twitter that he would show the walkouts for both.  This was mainly to show the response Boston gave McGregor.

Oscar de la Hoya made an appearance during the broadcast to promote Golden Boy’s Monday night boxing event.  The working relationship between Golden Boy and the UFC can only help with crossover viewership.

More disappointing night:  Uriah Hall, Joe Lauzon or Alistair Overeem.


Overall, a great start for the network and a nice debut for the UFC.  As ratings start to trickle in for FS1, we are learning that the UFC may be an important part of the new network.  Certainly, Fox is happy with the early returns and if the UFC maintains a healthy rating for its live events, it will be the anchor programming for the channel.

Mayweather-Canelo set gate record; Garcia-Matthyse added to undercard

July 18, 2013

Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer announced during a conference call that the Canelo Alvarez-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight will set a new gate record as it will garner a reported $19,500,000 on September 14th.  It was also announced Wednesday that Danny Garcia versus Lucas Matthyse will be on the undercard of the Alvarez-Mayweather fight.

The reported gate for Alvarez-Mayweather will surpass the old record of $18,419,200 from the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather fight in 2007. Recorded attendance for that Cinco de Mayo bout was 15,432.

The Garcia-Matthyse undercard could have been set as its own main event with the quality of the two boxers.  In fact, the fight will have its own press tour hitting New York, Puerto Rico and Los Angeles.


Payout Perspective:

The announcements today ensure that September 14th will be one of the highest grossing boxing events ever.  The gate is of no surprise considering the price points for tickets.  But, the addition of such a quality undercard fight as Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthyse (a potential future opponent for Mayweather) stacks the deck that people will pay the $75 (HD) PPV price to watch.  Usually, fans buy a boxing PPV for just the main event.  Here, fans will get two fights that should be competitive.  Will it surpass the 2.4 million PPVs buys of De La Hoya-Mayweather?

Mayweather-Canelo PPV set at $75

July 3, 2013 reports that the PPV price point for the Floyd Maywether Jr. v. Canelo Alvarez fight set for September 14, 2013 will be set at $75 for HD and $60 for SD.  This is a $5 price increase from Maywether’s May fight against Roberto Guerrero.

Its being billed as the biggest fight in years and the promotional tour has been massive in the type of spectator draws its receiving and the amount spent on the tour; an estimated $1 million for the hype alone.  It should not be a surprise that the PPV price point would be raised as well.

Richard Schaefer told that he had heard that the fact its such a big fight a $100 PPV price tag was not out of the question.

Payout Perspective:

We saw disappointing PPV buys (at least rumored but never confirmed by Showtime) from the Mayweather-Guerrero fight and this year’s Wrestlemania.  The common thread was that both were priced at $70 (for HD).  Will May-Canelo suffer the same concern?  Unlikely.  As many have pointed out, Showtime/Golden Boy will still do well even though it may lose a portion of the audience wanting to buy the event.  One would think that the higher PPV price may see an increase in closed circuit sales and bars/clubs showing the fight.  But this rationale is predicated on the monumental build, marketing and promotions going into this event.

Showtime may seek MMA content

July 1, 2013

Fox Latino News reports that Showtime Networks may still be looking for an MMA organization to put on its network.  Showtime Sports’ lead Stephen Espinoza indicated that they may still be interested in MMA at a press tour stop for the Maywether-Alvarez fight.

Espinoza indicated that there might be too much MMA on telelvision at the point but Showtime was still investigating whether there is a market for more..

Espinoza hinted at the idea that the all-women’s MMA organization, Invicta FC was a possibility to air on its network. But its pure conjecture at this point.

Payout Perspective:

Would an MMA organization on Showtime benefit the network? Most organizations (excluding the UFC and Bellator) would certainly benefit from exposure on Showtime. Espinoza’s concern that there may be too much MMA programming on television is valid.  But, if he could do for MMA what he’s been able to do for its boxing programming, Showtime may be able to bolster another sports property on the Showtime network.  One issue may be whether Showtime would want to invest its resources into MMA programming.  Next, how much control would Showtime have in producing the product.  Showtime ran into this issue when Dana White took over Strikeforce events.


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