April 17, 2017
Promoters for heavyweight boxers Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko have come to terms to air the IBF heavyweight title fight on both Showtime and HBO. Showtime will air the live broadcast at 1:15pm PT and HBO will rebroadcast it in prime time at 7:45pm PT. The event takes place at Wembley Stadium in London.
Per Yahoo! Sports, each network will provide its own announcing crew for the show. Showtime has an exclusive deal with Joshua and Klitschko has a deal with HBO.
The negotiated deal between rival networks is a rarity. The last time the networks worked in conjunction with one another for a boxing event was the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The business relationship broke down after the fight and resulted in a lawsuit.
This is a rarity and its good news for boxing fans that have only HBO or Showtime. It also reflects the fact that there can be a working relationship between rival promoters and networks. This has been a bone of contention which was brought up in lawsuits by Top Rank and Golden Boy against Al Haymon’s PBC. This is evidence that it can happen. It will be interesting to see the ratings for each network. While Showtime gets the live airing, it is in the mid-afternoon on Saturday for the west coast while HBO does get a prime time replay albeit many might know the result.
April 12, 2017
ESPN reports that Spike TV will no longer air Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV which ends a two-year partnership to air PBC on Spike TV.
In March 2015, Spike TV launched “Friday Night Lights Out” with Glory Kickboxing, Bellator MMA and PBC with Haymon’s company as the big add to the network. According to Spike TV, a third-year option was negotiated was not included in the final contract.
Notably, Spike TV was not happy with the quality of PBC cards aired on Spike TV and the network wanted to commit to Bellator MMA.
The last PBC on Spike TV card aired this past January. The network stated that it is willing to revisit PBC and/or a boxing event but it looks like its combat sports programming will be limited to Bellator MMA.
It’s interesting that Spike was frank about the quality of PBC cards. Most of PBC cable cards are now airing on FS1. The best PBC on Spike TV did on the network was its March 2015 debut when it drew 869,000 viewers. The ratings have struggled to grasp a consistent audience with its events on Spike TV. The network, which ended its relationship with Glory, now seems to be making a concentrated effort into Bellator MMA. Will this equate into a push for bigger ratings and more sponsors? We shall see.
March 9, 2017
PBC on CBS this past Saturday peaked at 5.1 million viewers during the 12th round between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia according to Nielsen. The main event, overall, drew 3.74 million viewers.
The overnight viewership revealed it drew 2.7 million viewers on CBS and outdrew the NBA on ABC.
The numbers make it the most-viewed boxing event in primetime since 1998.
Notably, last year, the Errol Spence, Jr.-Leonard Bundu fight which aired on NBC after the Summer Olympics gold medal game involving the U.S. That fight drew 4.8 million viewers with a peak of 6.34 million but aired on a Sunday afternoon with the peak occurring during the opening minutes of the fight.
Great numbers for the CBS card last Saturday. Unlike Spence-Bundu, it seems that that people gravitated toward Thurman-Garcia. It was a good matchup that was promoted well and shows that there is still interest in boxing when good fights are made.
March 7, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we take a look at UFC 209 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Woodley wins rematch with Wonderboy
The last seconds of the last round were really the most exciting part of this tactical fight. There was not a lot of action for the first four rounds and Woodley’s flurry at the end of round 5 may have been the most
Teymur defeats Vannata in FOTN co-main
Replacing Khabib Nurmogomenov and Tony Ferguson was a daunting task and Teymur and Vannata put on a respectable fight. Obviously, most MMA fans would have liked Khabib-Ferguson.
The get-in price as of Friday, was $62 on the secondary market although there were a lot of tickets available on Ticketmaster. The lowest price on Ticketmaster as of Friday was $95. Vivid Seats noted that most tickets on the secondary market were from California.
The event drew 13,150 for a gate of $2,385,230 at the T-Mobile Arena. It was by far the lowest out of the 4 events at the new arena. However, the other 3 (200, 202, and 207) had big names attached to those events.
The bonuses went to Darren Elkins, Iuri Alcantara, David Teymur and Lando Vannata. Elkins earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his come-from-behind win against Mirsad Bektic. Alcantara won via kneebar against Luke Sanders. Teymur and Vannata earned Fight of the Night.
Woodley earned $500,000 as he earned $400,000 to show and another $100,000 to win.
Stephen Thompson earned $380,000 for his narrow loss to Woodley.
Khabib lost out on $500,000 to show. Tony Ferguson was awarded his show purse of $250,000 but lost out on his chance to his win bonus of $250,000.
The other salaries are as follows as disclosed by the NAC (via MMA Junkie)
David Teymur: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Lando Vannata: $25,000
Daniel Kelly: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Rashad Evans: $150,000
Cynthia Calvillo: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Cooper: $17,000
Alistair Overeem: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mark Hunt: $750,000
Marcin Tybura: $72,000 (includes $36,000 win bonus)
def. Luis Henrique: $16,000
Darren Elkins: $92,000 (includes $46,000 win bonus)
def. Mirsad Bektic: $21,000
Iuri Alcantara: $68,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Luke Sanders: $12,000
Mark Godbeer: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Daniel Spitz: $12,000
Tyson Pedro: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Paul Craig: $12,000
Albert Morales: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $10,000
Promotion of the Fight
The Embedded series seemed to focus on getting to know Khabib Nurmogomenov. They showed him a lot during the series including going to see Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for Khabib. It also gave us a glimpse of the return of GSP. Once again, there was no sponsor for the series.
The UFC Countdown show airing Sunday night on FS1 drew 80,000 viewers. I wouldn’t look too much into this as many fans watch it online instead of just the show.
Woodley and Wonderboy did media rounds together to promote the fight. Woodley brought up the issue of race during the media rounds. Dana White dismissed this issue and while praising Woodley also called him a “drama queen.” Whether or not you believe Woodley, his courage to talk about a controversial subject when many UFC fighters tip-toe around being controversial for fear of being punished by the company.
The St. Louis Cardinals supported the Missouri-born fighter.
Woodley is a Monster Energy sponsored athlete as evidenced by the “M” on his fight kit and holding the Monster can in the Octagon post-fight.
7-11 used UFC 209 for sponsorship activation as it offered a free Slurpee or Big Gulp by simply texting a number.
In addition to 7-11, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Budweiser and Monster Energy were in the Octagon.
The UFC continues its relationship with Netflix as this PPV it featured the series Ironfist.
The Sidekick Experience is a second screen experience where fans can go on the UFC Fan Page to watch Facebook Live of people talking about the fights.
Odds and ends
Maybe the best sponsor of Saturday night was actually Kung Fu Teas which was on the mat during the Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia Fight. It received great network exposure for a product I did not know existed. Also of note, Monster Headphones, a UFC sponsor, was in the ring for Thurman-Garcia.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would have placed the strap around Wonderboy had he defeated Woodley.
Bob Bennett showing up at the post-fight press conference to denounce a judge’s score in the main event sets bad precedent. It undermines his judges and brings into question close decisions. Press and fans will be looking to Bennett each time there is a questionable score.
There were over 500,000 google searches on Friday night for UFC 209 another 500,000 Saturday night and 100,000 for UFC may bode well for the final PPV buy rate.
The UFC and Dana White filed a Motion to Dismiss Mark Hunt’s lawsuit during fight week. Despite Hunt stating he was not thinking about it, one has to think it had to be on his mind a little bit. He is still being paid at a high level, $750,000. The pay puts him in the top 1-2% of UFC contracted fighters right now. This is something that the UFC will bring up during the lawsuit as it proceeds.
Perhaps unrelated to UFC 209, but Geico amplified its relationship with the UFC by having Cody Garbrandt star in its latest commercial.
The return of GSP and the announcement that he will take on Michael Bisping did alleviate some sting from the Khabib news. As for the press conference, what was the deal with Bisping being late and seemingly drunk? Very unprofessional for the champ.
This event was not going to do huge numbers but looked good from a hardcore MMA perspective as Khabib-Ferguson was a much-anticipated fight that was cancelled twice before this latest cancellation. It probably hurt some, but overall this PPV was not going to do big numbers. But, without Khabib-Ferguson, one would think this PPV does between 300-325K viewers.
March 5, 2017
PBC on CBS Saturday night drew 2.7 million viewers per TV By the Numbers. The event featuring Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman did better than the NBA on ABC Saturday night.
The NBA game featured the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls. It drew just 1.69 million viewers.
The title to unify the 147 pound which Thurman won by split decision drew a 0.8 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 3 share.
Last year, the CBS-televised event featuring Thurman Shawn Porter drew 2.12 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.
In July 2015, a fight featuring Carl Frampton drew a 0.8 share on CBS.
PBC on CBS Saturday night was narrowly edged out in its time slot by a rerun of Chicago PD which drew 2.76 million viewers.
Good numbers for PBC on CBS as this was a much-anticipated fight between two undefeated champions. PBC will hope to produce more high-level fights and may have found a star in Thurman. Maybe they do a rematch on PPV or go again on CBS.
February 26, 2017
PBC on Fox drew 1.76 million viewers Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings. It finished third out of three sports on the networks on Saturday night.
The NHL on NBC drew 2.02 million viewers and the NBA on ABC drew 2.34 million viewers Saturday night. ABC drew the most in the adult 18-49 demo on Saturday night as it featured the Chicago Bulls-Cleveland Cavaliers in prime time.
The PBC event featured Deontay Wilder and Gerald Washington. It drew a 0.5 in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share for its 2 hour time block. Wilder KO’d Washington.
Last January, PBC on Fox drew 2.24 million viewers and finished behind Bulls-Cavs on ABC and US Figure Skating on NBC.
PBC on Fox this past July drew 1.45 million viewers.
A rough night for PBC but it does improve from July’s showing. PBC went up against two other sporting events on the networks and finished third. Notably, UFC on Fox is doing much better than PBC events which have yet to catch on.
January 26, 2017
Judge John Walter issued an order granting Al Haymon’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Golden Boy’s antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on May 5, 2015. The case was set to go to trial in March.
In his 25-page opinion filed on Thursday, Judge Walter determined that Golden Boy did not come forth with genuine issues of fact to support its claims that Haymon’s promotion, Premier Boxing Champions, foreclosed the market on boxers and other promotions among other antitrust violations. Moreover, it determined that Golden Boy’s injury “was caused by conduct that was beneficial to competition in the promotion market.”
The judge noted that Haymon’s business strategy actually helped boxing with more televised matches and better pay for fighters.
The opinion noted that the tv strategy of securing deals with multiple networks implemented by PBC did not foreclose all networks. It also pointed to the fact that Golden Boy expert’s did not provide an examination of recoupment of money of PBC’s purported strategy of “flipping” its business model from tv buys to securing license fees.
It also was not persuaded by Golden Boy’s claims of “sham” promoters that aided PBC nor the alleged “firewall” between promoters and managers. The court found no evidence that boxers were coerced into working with promoters. Moreover, the judge noted that PBC worked with other promoters. In the latter claim, the Judge wrote that there was no antitrust injury because there was no standing. Only boxers and governmental agencies may make the claim per the Ali Act.
In its conclusion, it noted that antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) January 27, 2017
In reading the opinion, one might be concerned with the UFC antitrust lawsuit. The court stressed the issue that antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors. Despite the speculation that Haymon’s PBC attempted to foreclose the market on competitors, there was no evidence found by the court which conflicted with antitrust laws. The court determined that Golden Boy did not define the relevant markets and did not establish a “tie in” or “tie out” which may have been a violation of antitrust laws. Based on the opinion, it is unlikely that Golden Boy appeals this decision.
September 13, 2016
PBC on Spike TV Friday night drew 547,000 per Sports TV Ratings.
In the main event Daniel Jacobs stopped Sergio Mora to retain his middleweight world title. Per Sports TV Ratings, it drew 187,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The event was up a slight increase from PBC last event on Spike TV in August. Jacobs’ win makes him the next in line to face Gennady Golovkin if we listen to the World Boxing Association’s issuance of a mandatory challenge.
|PBC on Spike|
Notably, PBC on Boxing did better than Glory Kickboxing on ESPN2 later that night as it drew 517,000 viewers. Earlier in the college football on ESPN2 featuring Louisville-Syracuse scored the highest rating for sports on cable Friday night with 1.73 million viewers.
August 26, 2016
The LA Times did a feature in anticipation of this weekend’s MMA/Boxing doubleheader in Southern California this weekend. With Bellator having a show at the Honda Center in Anaheim Friday and PBC doing an event on Saturday, the story outlines the differences.
Friday night’s card features former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson while Saturday features Robert Guerrero. The story details how Guerrero is an example of how losses do not matter so long as you can produce great fights. This is a product, according to the article, of the MMA culture which does not penalize a fighter for a loss. Rather, the type of style of fighting is more important.
For its part, MMA has evolved into more of a striking sport rather than grappling. The story points to the lack of submissions at last week’s UFC 202.
I think that boxing and MMA can be complimentary to each other rather than competing. This weekend’s “doubleheader” in combat sports is a likely test to see if Spike can do another similar weekend. Bellator has tried to mesh kickboxing and MMA to mixed results. While the article indicates that MMA is taking from boxing with more fighters standing up and boxing is taking from MMA by producing better quality matchups regardless of Ls, I think the overarching point is that both sports are promoting excitement to entice fans. That translates to more action which could lead to highlight knockdowns or knockouts. While neither boxing or MMA will outright say it, there’s the belief that sudden violence that attracts the casual fan to the sport.
August 25, 2016
In case you missed it, PBC on NBC Sunday afternoon drew a huge rating for the Errol Spence, Jr.-Leonard Bundu fight. The event drew an overall average viewership of 4.8 million viewers and a peak of 6.34 million making it the highest-rated PBC fight since its inception.
As noted by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the fight aired on NBC after the U.S. Olympic gold medal basketball game between the U.S. and Serbia. The one-hour show was in between the Olympics on the network which may have attributed to the huge ratings.
The large numbers can be attributed to the fact that viewers did not turn off their television despite a blow-out in the gold medal basketball game. It’s the best ratings for PBC and Spence is a boxer that could see more spotlight fights for the organization.