April 20, 2013
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that HBO’s showing of Nonito Donaire versus Guillermo Rigondeaux scored an average of 1.1 million viewers last Saturday night.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Nonito Donaire’s purse was $1.32 million while Guillermo Rigondeaux made $750,000.
The event took place at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in an interesting setup where the ring was on stage and most of the audience was on one side of the ring. Rigondeaux dominated the 2012 Fighter of the Year despite being put down by Donaire. Still, the Cuban fighter had enough to outpoint Donaire.
In addition, the TUF 17 Finale scored a 1.7 million viewer average the same night.
The ratings reflect a positive trend for combat sports. Fight Club OC, the Southern California boxing promotion run by long-time promoter Roy Englebrecht received its largest gate for its bi-monthly fight series run out of Costa Mesa, California. Its Thursday, April 11th card had a gate of $61,013. Pretty good for weeknight.
The fight kicks off a spring of loaded boxing events on either HBO or Showtime. With Golden Boy publicly severing ties with HBO, it appears that both networks are amplifying its boxing coverage which is good for fight fans.
April 17, 2013
The Sports Business Journal recently ran an in depth section focusing on the importance of content. One of its features included Top Rank Boxing and its strategy of producing its own feed for PPVs with the future hope that fans will turn to its web site as opposed to cable and satellite providers.
When subscribers pay $60 for a PPV, half of it goes to cable and satellite companies. Top Rank is attempting to cut into that pie by offering its own broadcast on its web site. Top Rank has teamed with MLB Advanced Media in developing content for its web site and offering its own production of its events. This includes its own feed of the PPV with its own camera angles and broadcast team.
Top Rank states that 3,000 people paid the same amount charged by satellite and cable providers for Pacquiao-Marquez IV. The belief is that with the growing amount of cord-cutters, the number of those ordering PPV online in the future will increase.
In addition to airing PPVs, the Top Rank site includes weigh-ins, interviews and behind the scenes content.
The UFC has looked into partnering with XBox in hopes of finding alternatives than the traditional PPV measures. The one issue pointed out in the SBJ piece is that a move to online PPV eliminates the promotional assets of the satellite and cable companies. This is something that boxing and the UFC rely on in promoting its upcoming events. The other issue is the reliance of live streaming. Several organizations including Invicta and the WWE have experienced technical difficulties during its live events. This can be a big issue if the platform becomes unreliable. But, turning to its own self-production of its product can mean bigger profits for the company.
March 20, 2013
Yahoo! Sports reports that HBO has ended its relationship with Golden Boy Promotions. The decision to leave the highest-rated boxing network will ignite a competition with rival Showtime.
Golden Boy fighters such as Bernard Hopkins, Adrien Broner and Andre Berto will likely move to Showtime. Former HBO fighters Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Canelo Alvarez are already on Showtime.
The move was made in part to continued friction between the companies. Despite an exodus of Golden Boy fighters, Nonito Donaire, Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao will likely stay with HBO.
Although not under contract with Golden Boy, Floyd Mayweather announced a contract with Showtime this past February.
The decision to break ties means that HBO will be the de facto network for Top Rank while Showtime will house Golden Boy fighters. Although HBO may feel the sting of losing the likes of Broner and Berto, it still has Donaire (who has a big fight in April), Bradley (who had the fight of the year while we watched GSP-Diaz) and Pacquiao. The good news is that this should bring out better fights on the network. The bad news is that we may not see cross-promotion fights due to the fact that there will be an impasse on which network would benefit.
December 18, 2012
Dan Rafael of ESPN reports that the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez earned over 1.15 million PPV buys. Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum confirmed the numbers to ESPN and HBO did not dispute Arum’s projection.
Despite “fan fatigue” for the fourth fight between the two and an admitted slow promotion, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum indicated a late surge in interest helped bring the buys above the 1 million PPV buy mark. The numbers are better than the 900K buys the fighter did in his first loss of 2012 against Timothy Bradley.
A quick estimate based on the 1.15 million PPV buys has the fight earning $70 million in domestic TV revenue.
Pacquiao’s last three PPV fights:
November 2011 – Marquez III: 1.25M PPV buys
June 2012 – Bradley: 900K PPV buys
December 2012 – Marquez IV: 1.15M PPV buys
It is odd to consider that the fourth fight’s success may mean a fifth fight between the two could (and should) draw bigger numbers. I say odd because admittedly there was a lack of interest (which may have contributed to the sluggish promotion) in seeing these two fight a fourth time before December 8th. But, the 1.15 million PPV buys is a success and also is a statement as to the drawing power of the “big fight” in boxing.
December 13, 2012
Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective as we take a look at Pacquiao-Marquez IV. The fourth fight probably will not be the last as Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez Planks Pacquiao
In what was the most intense and violent of the four fights, Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao with a counter right hand on the button with just one second left in the sixth round. The KO gave JMM the first win, and the most devastating in their rivalry.
For Pacquiao, it’s a forgettable 2012 with two straight losses. With such a devastating KO, one wonders if it’s wise to continue to fight. There’s no question that he’s going to fight but it appears that he is fighting more for others than he is for himself. This could prove to be a dangerous proposition for Pacquiao if his heart is not in it anymore.
On a side note, Freddie Roach is having as bad a year as Pacquiao. Not only did his star pupil lose twice this year, but Roach lost Amir Khan after Khan was upset by Danny Garcia and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. lost in his big showdown against Sergio Martinez.
Attendance and gate
Bad Left Hook reports that the attendance and gate figures show a sell out with a $10.8 million gate and attendance of 15,430 with 904 comps. It comes in second this year to the Mayweather-Cotto fight on May 5th which had a gate of a little over $12 million.
Manny Pacquiao will receive up to $30 million for last Saturday’s fight. The $30 million includes a PPV cut of the buys. The night’s winner, Marquez, will only receive $3 million as he took a pay cut from their November 2011 fight. This should likely change if and when we see a fifth fight. It’s likely that Pacquiao will still earn more than Marquez although JMM should get a bigger cut of the pie.
Top Rank streamed a Manny Pacquiao workout from the Wildcard Gym on its web site. In addition, it was aired in Times Square. A good promotion to serve as a reminder for those walking on the street in New York that Pacquiao has a fight coming up.
In addition to the mandatory 24/7 series, TNT included an additional program with the NBA on TNT’s Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller to promote the fight. It was shown after the NBA on TNT on Thursday night so it aired pretty late on both coasts. It was heavily promoted and talked about on the post-game show by Barkley and the other studio hosts.
The NBA on TNT also provided in game promos for the fight on its Thursday night prime time games. It helped that Barkley and Miller are fight fans as they talked about the fights even after the promo spots were done.
Reruns of the first three fights were available on the Audience Network and HBO. Although listings indicated that the fights were rerun on ESPN, I did not see them.
A new ad campaign for Wonderful Pistachios featuring Manny Pacquiao launched on Monday Night Football. More on this in the sponsorship section.
Pacquiao made his usual appearance on Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe after these last two losses he decides to go with Leno or Letterman.
There were six official sponsors for the Pacquiao-Marquez fight: Tecate, Wonderful Pistachios, the Cinemax show, “Banshee,” the movie, “Django,” Filipino wireless provider, Smart and Mexican wireless provider, Telcel.
Tecate once again served as the official beer sponsor and offered its usual PPV discount. If anyone has benefited from this, please let me know as I have never seen this offer in my area.
Paramount Farms’ Wonderful Pistachios chose Manny Pacquiao for its “Get Crackin” ad campaign featuring the boxer. Pacquiao joins an eclectic group of pop culture figures including Snooki and Snoop Dogg to sponsor the company. He is the only athlete on the list.
The “Get Crackin” slogan signage was around the ring and on Pacquiao’s shorts. Unfortunately for Manny, the sponsor received a lot of visibility when he lay face down on the canvas.
The pistachio deal is for one year and is in the neighborhood of six figures according to the Sports Business Journal (subscription required).
A pre-PPV buy estimate for this fight had it at 1 million buys which seems about right. There was little buzz for this fight outside of the hardcore boxing/Pacquiao/Marquez fans despite the synergy of Time Warner. With the ending of number 4, a 5th fight would exceed 1 million buys based on how good a fight it was plus the added interest in seeing how Pacquiao rebounds.
December 7, 2012
Top Rank Boxing indicated that Saturday night’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a sellout. The live gate is estimated at over $10.5 million and the 16,000 plus arena at the MGM is sold out.
If the numbers are confirmed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the gate would slide in at number 13 all-time in Vegas behind Mayweather-Hatton.
Top Rank indicated that there would be more closed circuit outlets which reflect demand despite this being the fourth fight between the two.
Despite a lackluster (in my opinion) 24/7 series running up to Saturday, it appears that there is still demand for this fight. Maybe some want to see how Pacquiao rebounds from a loss or whether Marquez can finally defeat Manny, but the popularity for an unprecedented fourth fight has not diminished. According to reports, the weigh-ins this afternoon will be at capacity. We shall see how this translates into PPV buys.
December 5, 2012
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that Manny Pacquiao could earn up to $30 million for his fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez will receive $3 million for this Saturday’s fight.
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Pacquiao will earn an $8.595 million fight purse with Marquez receiving $3 million. However, Pacquiao will receive a cut of the PPV and foreign TV earnings which are estimated between $25-$30 million.
According to Top Rank, closed circuit locations for the fight are up from the Pacquiao-Marquez III in 2011. Despite the loss in June, it appears that the Pacquiao popularity continues.
Saturday night’s PPV is estimated to be between 1 million and 1.3 million buys – which is the amount from their last fight in November 2011. The article did not indicate whether Pacquiao is receiving a portion of the closed circuit money. Also, it does not state whether Marquez is receiving an upside of the PPV.
Pacquiao earned $26 million for his last fight whereas his opponent Timothy Bradley made $5 million. Interesting enough, Marquez made $5 million for Pacquiao-Marquez III and could have earned up to $5 million from PPV. So, Marquez is making less and it’s not clear whether he is receiving a cut of the PPV.
September 17, 2012
This weekend saw some big boxing action with Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions going head to head Saturday night with competing PPVs. The main event for Top Rank had Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. succumbing to Sergio Martinez. Golden Boy had Canelo Alvarez winning by TKO victory over Joseito Lopez.
According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission it was a sellout at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas for JCC-Martinez with 16,939 tickets and 751 comps. No tickets were unsold. The gate was estimated at $3 million.
The NSAC also reported that the Alvarez-Lopez fight was a sellout although there was some controversy behind these numbers. It did a gate of $1,618,150 with 12,860 tickets purchase (and 0 unsold) and 1,659 comps. Despite the announcement of a sellout at the weigh-ins, tickets were still available for sale. But, it appears a late surge in ticket purchases made this a true sell out.
Earlier this year, we reported on whether the boxing business could make a comeback. This weekend helped persuade us to believe that it can. The better news is that this weekend did not feature Pacquiao or Mayweather. Which means that boxing had a buzz without its two big draws and there will be boxing after these two big stars. The JCC-Martinez 24/7 episodes on HBO were interesting and drew the viewer in and perhaps it seemed fresher because it was not a rehash of Pacquiao or Mayweather.
Couple this past weekend with last weekend’s Chad Dawson-Andre Ward fight on HBO, and boxing is interesting once again. Realistically, many still will clamor for Pacquiao and Mayweather but this past weekend showed that boxing is on its way back.
June 15, 2012
The SBJ’s Fight Issue includes an article on boxing’s regular return to television. The article cites the emergence of better packaging of the sport as well as the need for more live content programming as reasons for its return.
The article reports on how networks are utilizing boxing for television purposes. As an example, Showtime is using more of the undercard and televising it on Showtime Extreme in promotion of the main card. The additional cost for production of the prelim card is minimal.
HBO has provided shoulder programming complementing the 24/7 series with “2 days: Portrait of a Fighter” – a 15 minute show going behind the scenes of 48 hours in the life of a fighter. HBO also includes the “Face Off” series with Max Kellerman in which the fighters face off with one another and a new series entitled, “The Fight Game” with Jim Lampley.
NBC’s Fight Night is aided through its rebroadcast of the live events as it sees positive ratings for the reruns which also air on Comcast regional sports networks.
The rebirth of boxing on television is being attributed to the growth of sports networks and the need for live programming. Top Rank Boxing President Todd DuBoef told SBJ the success of boxing on television is due to better packaging of boxing as a product with the addition of shoulder programming and additional promotion from media companies such as Time Warner and CBS. One need only look to HBO’s 24/7 on CNN and Showtime’s 360 show appearing on CBS last year for Pacquiao-Mosley as examples.
Some interesting numbers from the article:
The Mayweather-Cotto fight received $94 million on 1.5 million buys.
The Pacquiao-Bradley fight is expected to receive 1.2 million buys.
NBC Fight Night received 264,000 viewers for its first card in January and 283,000 viewers for its second card in March. Only IndyCar and NHL have produced higher ratings on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). Of course, there has not been much on the network in the first half of this year.
How much does the Pacquiao-Bradley fight hurt boxing? We might answer that by saying that the decision could hurt boxing PPV but maybe not boxing on TV. Despite what happened on Saturday, HBO saw a 10% increase since 2010 in its viewership of World Championship Boxing on its network. Also, NBC Sports and Fox have entered into deals for boxing over its network. These deals were nonexistent several years ago.
One of the underlying themes in the boxing comeback is pushing promoters for better matchups and exciting fights. Showtime has pushed for this to air its undercard on Showtime Extreme prior to the main card on the main Showtime channel. NBC Sports Network will not work with promoters that appear to be protecting their fighters from an upset possibility.
The interesting part of this article is the belief that boxing is a good complement to UFC programming whereas one might construe this differently 10-15 years ago. Undoubtedly, the UFC has taken over television and despite its recent decline in the ratings, the UFC content has been a constant on television for several years now whereas boxing (excluding ESPN’s Friday Night Fights) is finally making inroads back to viewers.
June 11, 2012
Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective where we look at the world of boxing. This time we look at the controversial fight which took place Saturday night at the MGM Grand where Timothy Bradley shocked the world by taking a split decision over Manny Pacquiao to the stunned fans in attendance and the viewers on PPV.
Pacquiao dominates Bradley for easy Unanimous Decision
Bradley perseveres to surprising split decision
When you heard Michael Buffer read the first score of 115-113 you knew something was up. Yes, Timothy Bradley shocked the world with an upset win over Manny Pacquiao. However, it was probably not the way he wanted it. HBO’s Howard Lederman couldn’t have been that wrong from his 11 rounds to 1 Pacquiao score. Everyone couldn’t believe it, including Bradley. Somewhere Juan Manuel Marquez was probably saying, “Really?”
He actually said now he (Manny) knows how I felt.
Although Bob Arum was seen congratulating Bradley after the fight, he is seeking an investigation by the Nevada Attorney General. Per ESPN (via LA Times), that won’t happen.
Regardless of the investigation, the decision leaves a negative mark on the sport of boxing. It’s hard for anyone to say that Bradley won the fight. What’s more remarkable is that the champion (or the higher profile star) did not get the benefit of the doubt.
Pacquiao’s renewed commitment to his faith probably helped Saturday night as any other fighter would likely have gone nuts. Maybe we’re being too hard on the decision and should accept it like Pacquiao. But, if Pacquiao were to lose, you would have liked it to be a decisive victory by the opponent (think JDS win over Cain.)
Pacquiao’s 7 year, 15 fight winning streak marked a rejuvenation of boxing due in part to the Filipino contingent of fans and his general likability. It also marked a turning point for the lighter weight classes in boxing as Mayweather and Pacquiao began to receive huge purses for their fights. Its hard to imagine someone in the 140-150 pound weight classes getting $25-$40 million a fight 10 years ago.
SI points out the significance of Pacquiao:
When a shortage of marketable stars threatened the sport’s popularity in the late aughts, the effortlessly charismatic Pacquiao emerged as the sport’s biggest international star. Propelled by a quasi-messianic desire to stamp out poverty in his native Philippines — a compulsion that’s led him to pursue (successfully) a political career — Pacquiao became the most socially important boxer since Muhammad Ali. There won’t be another one like him anytime soon.
It’s likely we’ll see a rematch November 10th as that date was already set before the fight as a possible date in case something like this were to happen.
Manny Pacquiao received a guaranteed $26 million including the upside of the PPV buys while Tim Bradley received $5 million and no report of a PPV cut. How will this change if we see a rematch in November?
24/7 – Pacquiao-Bradley
HBO ran its usual 24/7 series which ran on its network partners including CNN and TruTV. The Audience Network also ran Pacquiao-Marquez from November 2011. The fight was heavily promoted during the NBA Playoffs on TNT as well.
24/7 gave us a first look at Bradley as well as another look at Pacquiao. While the series gave us the standard fare I think the last couple minutes of the fourth installment of 24/7 was one of the best narration of the overall series. If you have it on DVR, rewatch it. The writer should win an award.
Does the decision Saturday night help MMA?
Listening to a sports radio show the day after the fight, they discussed how MMA was taking over combat sports as anyone can beat anyone in any given night. However, in boxing, they argued that could not happen. I will leave that failed argument aside but the question remains whether boxing took a hit. Many people on twitter proclaimed boxing dead after the judging debacle as some hypothesized a fix.
Even Dana White chimed in with his feelings of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The problem with the argument that MMA is taking over boxing is that the NSAC judges also judge MMA fights when the UFC is in Vegas. As we’ve seen, poor judging happens in MMA too.
What about not leaving it up to the judges? It’s an ongoing mantra in the UFC. I understand the argument but it also runs contrary to a boxer’s strategy and the opponents will. My argument is that going for the knockout each round is not a sound boxing strategy. If every fighter would throw like that, every fight would have a Leonard Garcia-type feel to it. Certainly Pacquiao was going for a knockout but to Bradley’s credit he was able to negate the advances.
Does the Pacquiao fight make people less inclined to pay $65 ($70 if its Mayweather) for a boxing PPV? Probably not. Despite the decision, people will still buy PPVs for big fights.
Will boxing fans convert to the UFC? That’s the hope if you are Zuffa. With the Fox relationship, the hope is that the boxing fan will get comfortable with MMA and Fox will give them every opportunity to watch it. The only problem right now is the constant injuries happening in the UFC. Imagine if Pacquiao had to pull out a week before this fight. The injuries in MMA could speak to the intense and variety of training that occurs in the sport but from a business standpoint the shuffling of cards and injury replacement hurt the promotion of the sport.
Corruption or Incompetence
The issue of corruption has come up with Bob Arum calling for an investigation of the judging. If it is discovered that corruption occurred, this would be a huge issue with the sport and could cause many to leave.
The 115-113 scores may have us believe its incompetence. As most analysts believe, the fight was a one-sided affair for Pacquiao. Thus, one might believe that its judge incompetence. What’s interesting is that the NSAC has stated it will not review the judge’s decision despite such an uproar. Good decision on the part of the NSAC?
Does the judge’s decision help boxing?
Does the Pacquiao controversy help boxing as more people are talking about it? SI’s Chris Mannix on the Dan Patrick Show compared it to a bench clearing brawl in baseball or the infamous Detroit-Ron Artest “Malice in the Palace.” Essentially, the press is good for the sport but long term good fights will make boxing. However, the problems with multiple organizations and promoters make good fights hard to put on. Mayweather-Pacquiao is Exhibit A. The fight has now lost its luster as both sides for one reason or another cannot agree to terms. Even if the fight finally happens (which I doubt), both fighters will be past their prime. From a business perspective, a May-Pac fight will do great business (gate, PPV buys, etc.) but not as good if it would have happened in 2010.
- Beermaker Tecate had its usual rebate for its PPVs.
- Aside from Tecate in the middle of the ring, AT&T and Smart Phone (Filipino Telecommunications Provider)
- How good does Nike’s investment in Bradley look now? The swoosh signed up the new champ with a one year deal. Does anyone think that the Bradley “B” logo look a little like the Bentley logo without one of its wings?
- Buboy Fernandez had a ton of sponsors on his shirt. For a big man, he certainly made use of it.
- UFC official sponsor RYU sponsored boxer Teon Kennedy. Unfortunately, Kennedy was knocked down several times (I counted 5) during his fight.
- In the co-main event, Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas fought to a No Contest. Some noteworthy sponsors for both. Arce sported Samsung while Rojas was sponsored by Steve Madden.
- Since it was an HBO PPV, the cameras showed the stars of HBO’s “True Blood” in the crowd. Coincidentally its season premiere was the following night.
Odds and Ends
- For those that think that Pacquiao deserved to lose because he held up the fight…Where were you actually going at 12:10 am EDT? Tape the fight and go to bed if you can’t stay up.
- If anyone rewatched the rest of the card, what was Randall Bailey’s walkout ring attire? He wore a balaclava and two axes on his back. I’ve never seen him before so maybe that’s his usual attire.
- Boxing glove makers Grant and Reyes were discussed during the fights. From what we know now, Grant is considered more of a puncher’s glove as the padding is more compact. Reyes is softer.
- Max Kellerman was complementing Pacquiao the whole night. I’m a fan (of Kellerman and Pacquiao) but at a certain point you shake your head.
This was a Manny Pacquiao driven fight as Bradley was not a known commodity. The fact that they announced that the fight would not start until after Game 7 of the Heat-Celtics matchup probably picked up some casual fans on the fence about buying the PPV. Of course, we now know that Manny was not going to fight until after the game too. Still, a Pacquiao fight will not exceed the May 5th Mayweather-Cotto fight. It will likely grab about 1 million PPV buys.