More boxing coming to UFC Fight Pass in revamp of digital platform?

July 31, 2019

Is a Fight Pass revamp coming?  If so, it will happen this fall.

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand his sources tell him that the digital streaming service is set to relaunch by October.  Without saying, Ourand notes that there will be “addition of boxing programming” on FightPass.

UFC Fight Pass has Roy Jones, Jr.’s boxing promotion on its platform but one might assume that there is more boxing coming.  If we are to piece this together with the recent news that someone has been hired to Zuffa Boxing, it sounds as though that Fight Pass is diversifying to include more boxing.

Fight Pass commercials have hyped more combat sports in addition to MMA.  Ourand inquires as to how this will play with ESPN which has used UFC programming to bolster ratings.  Also, what does it due with DAZN’s streaming business.  Another query would be how Top Rank feels about one of ESPN’s properties becoming a competitor in the field of boxing.

The news is interesting considering that Zuffa Boxing is imminent and appears to have a home on Fight Pass.

Zuffa Boxing makes a hire

July 24, 2019

Zuffa Boxing may be taking another step to becoming a reality and likely a major player in the industry.

Mike Coppinger of The Athletic reports that Zuffa has hired an individual to run Zuffa Boxing.

White has intimated the promotion’s foray into boxing and one might expect Zuffa Boxing to become a disrupter in an industry that is ‘antiquated’ as described by Coppinger.

White was in the middle of the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight in August 2017 which landed the largest PPV buy rate in the history of combat sports.  During that promotion, White collaborated with Al Haymon and Showtime for that fight but will be competing with the likes of PBC, Top Rank, Matchroom, Showtime and DAZN.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly, White is a polarizing figure in the sport of MMA and has received a fair amount of criticism balanced with praise for making the UFC the power it is today.  With boxing on an ascension due in part to content-hungry digital platforms such as ESPN+ and DAZN, the prospects of another promotion entering are good.  Yet, one has to wonder if there is enough talent for White to sign enough boxers to his brand.

The good news for Zuffa Boxing is that it has a built-in infrastructure in place.  The construction of the Vegas-based UFC Apex gym and Performance Institute are enticements for boxers.  One would think that the gym and training facility would benefit boxers and the gym could be a place to broadcast shows either through a television/digital partner or through Fight Pass.  No word on a launch date, but with the announcement of a hire, one would suggest that the move to boxing is happening sooner than later.

The Interview – Rafe Bartholomew

July 17, 2019

I had a great time catching up with Rafe Bartholmew of The Athletic. I first interviewed Rafe back in 2010 about his first published book about the love affair that the Philippines has with basketball.

We talk a little about Filipino basketball, the upcoming Pacquiao fight, Canelo, his latest piece about PBC fans/trolls and his pick to win the 2020 NBA Championship (which is a surprise to me).

4:00 – Filipino Hoops talk

14:15 – Preview of Pacquiao-Thurman

24:10 – Rafe’s Prediction on the fight

28:35 – I ask Rafe if we can appreciate this version of Pacquiao

35:04 – We talk about Pacquiao’s philanthropy

43:30 – Canelo announces he’s not fighting in September

54:45- We talk about Rafe’s latest piece on PBC fans

1:10 – Rafe gives us his 2020 NBA Champion Prediction

Rafe’s books can be found wherever you buy books and you can find him on twitter @rafeboogs.  You can also find his latest on boxing at The Athletic.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday draws 530K viewers

July 16, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 530,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Shakur Stevenson as he defeated Alberto Guevara in the third round via KO.

The KO improves the record of the 22-year old to 12-0 in his professional career.  Stevenson retained the WBO NABO Featherweight title.

Last 5 Top Rank Boxing Events on ESPN Network

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

5/11 Top Rank Boxing 740,000

5/4 Top Rank Boxing 480,000

Payout Perspective:

The 5/11 edition of Top Rank Boxing may have been helped by the UFC which preceded the event.  The 530,000 viewers is very good as the last two telecasts have been sub-500K.

Plaintiffs in UFC Antitrust Lawsuit file brief opposing Top Rank, Bellator and Golden Boy’s objections to use of documents

July 3, 2019

Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust Lawsuit filed an Opposition this past Friday to the objections of Bellator, Golden Boy and Top Rank from producing the use of “potential” confidential information at August’s evidentiary hearing.

The Plaintiffs hope to utilize deposition testimony from Scott Coker related to Coker’s prior employment at Strikeforce, a copy of a standard Golden Boy promotional agreement template with boxers and a single paragraph from the Expert Rebuttal Report of Plaintiffs’’ expert Dr. Andrew Zimbalist which displays Top Rank’s wage share for the years 2013 to 2016.  There is also additional financial information from each of the three parties which Plaintiffs contend is “granular information.”

Plaintiffs’ Oppo to Non… by on Scribd

A set of evidentiary hearings will take place the last week of August and mid-September to determine the evidence provided by experts in the Antitrust lawsuit.  Pursuant to a scheduling order, the parties have produced exhibit lists they intend to use for the hearing.  Objections and responses have now been filed with reply briefs coming soon.

In addition, Bellator and Top Rank have filed objections to the use of information that includes information.  As third-parties to this lawsuit (they are not a plaintiff or defendant in the Antitrust lawsuit), they have filed objections to preserve the confidentiality of the documents.

Plaintiffs point out the standard that Bellator and Top Rank must convince the Court is that there must be “compelling reason” to exclude the documents from use.  Described as a high burden by Plaintiffs they cite to the overarching public policy that there is an “assumption that the press and public have a presumed right of access to court proceeding and documents.”  The only instance in which a party could overcome the policy is if “closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.”

In arguing that Top Rank’s financial information which include the total annual revenues from 2010-2016 and average wage share are not commercially sensitive, they state that neither of the figures sought to use convey “granular, athlete-or event-specific information that could convey competitive advantage.”  Similarly, they suggest that the gross revenues from Bellator and Golden Boy would not provide a competitor advantage.

“Bellator and Golden Boy’s annualized gross revenues do not contain granular information that a competitor could potentially use to harm the Objectors because the figures convey no information that would enable a competitor to, for example, sign one of Objectors’ athletes, counterprogram Objectors’ events, or lure away Objectors’ sponsors.  If Objectors assert another type of harm, they have not articulated it and it is therefore waived.  Similarly, Objectors’ wage shares do not include information that could provide their competitors with an unfair advantage or put Objectors in a disadvantaged position in athlete negotiations or otherwise.”

Plaintiffs argue that Bellator’s annualized top-line revenues provide important context for assessing Zuffa’s dominant position in the market and wage share provides comparison regarding the class wide effects of Zuffa’s anticompetive Scheme.

With respect to the request to seal references to annual revenues and average wage share from 2010 to 2016, Plaintiffs argue that the information is “too old” to contain any competitive value.  Plaintiffs highlight the years in which each wants to seal their financial information from disclosure in arguing that the information is far removed from the litigation of today.

Bellator financial information:  2010-2016

Golden Boy financial information:  2015-2016

Top Rank financial information:  2013-2016

With Bellator and Golden Boy signing deals with streaming platform DAZN, Plaintiffs argue that the financial information is now obsolete.

Also, Bellator is asking to seal two passages from the deposition of Scott Coker.  Plaintiffs contend that there is not a compelling reason to do so.  Specifically, Coker reads from an email Zuffa produced that he wrote while he was Strikeforce president which is supposedly exemplifies Zuffa’s market share and its approach to competition.  The second passage asks the Court to seal identities of three principals in Strikforce’s parent company.

Finally, Plaintiffs claim that the Golden Boy standard contractual template is not a trade secret as it contains nothing specific or identifies an individual fighter.

Payout Perspective:

Top Rank, Bellator and Golden Boy will have a chance to respond to the Opposition Brief and argue the compelling reasons why the documents should remain confidential.  Alternatively, they might argue that the standard for exclusion is less than that proposed by Plaintiffs.  More likely, Bellator and Golden Boy will argue that the release and/or use of the financial information may provide a future template for competitors.  Regardless of how old the financial information is and despite any new partnerships, the information would be trade secrets that should not be disclosed to the public or utilized by Plaintiffs.  There is a lot riding on this ruling as Plaintiffs hope to use the information in late August for the expert hearings.  If not, it would present a big obstacle as they would have to find another way to present their evidence.  For Bellator and Golden Boy, the possible release of information might present more scrutiny on their company from its fighters and public as to the state of their finances as compared to prior statements of the company’s health.  MMA Payout will keep you posted.

Top Rank Boxing on Friday night draws 490,000 on ESPN

July 1, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 490,000 viewers Friday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event, which took place in Temecula, California, was a unique Friday event as opposed to its usual Saturday fight cards.

The main event Richard Comney as he stopped Ray Beltran.  The event drew a 0.15 share in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event was held Friday likely due to the ESPN event on the network Saturday night.  A couple weeks prior Top Rank Boxing on Saturday night drew 799,000 viewers as it had the UFC as a lead-in to its telecast.  The decrease in ratings might have been simply to a change in nights.

Payouts for Top Rank Boxing’s Comney-Beltran event

June 28, 2019

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the purses for Top Rank Boxing’s event in Temcula, California on Friday night.  The information was disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.

Per Rafael’s post:

Richard Comney:  $350K plus $20K from Ray Beltran’s purse for failing to make weight.

Rey Beltran:  $160K minus $40K per the CSAC

 

Carlos Adames: $30K

Patrick Day:  $50K

 

SauL Rodriguez:  $30K

Miguel Angel Gonzalez:  $5K

 

Junior Fa:  $15K

Dominic Guinn:  $15K

 

Vincente Morales:  $3K

Ruben Rodriguez:  $4K

 

Augustine Mauras:  $3K

Raymond Muratalla:  $4K

 

Joaquin Chavez:  $5K

Elvis Rodriguez:  $6K

 

Jose Antonio Meza:  $4K

Dmitry Yun:  $5K

 

Prisco Marquez:  $3K

Christopher Zavala:  $5K

 

Osbaldo Gonzalez:  $3K

David Kaminsky:  $3K

Fury tops payout for Saturday’s Top Rank event

June 18, 2019

MMA Payout has obtained the full roster of salaries from the Nevada Athletic Commission from Saturday’s Top Rank promoted event featuring Tyson Fury at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tyson Fury’s reported salary was $1 million although its been known that he’s receiving around $12.5 million for the fight.  According to the NAC paysheet, he’s paying $300,000 to the IRS as well as a $25,000 sanctioning fee. Fury also paid incidentals which equated to him taking home $673,428.  His opponent Tom Schwarz received $250,000 for the fight.  He paid $75,000 to the IRS and $7,500 in sanction fees for a take home of $167,450.

The rest of the roster payout from Saturday’s event are as follows:

Jesse Hart:  $150,000

Sullivan Barrerra:  $125,000

 

Mikaela Meyer: $20,000

Lizbeth Crespo: $10,000

 

Andy Vences: $20,000

Albert Bell:  $20,000

 

Isaac Lowe: $20,000

Duam Vue:  $20,000

 

Cem Kilic:  $4,000

Martez McGregor:  $5,000

 

Guido Vianello: $10,000

Keenan Hickman: $4,000

 

Peter Kadiru: $1,000

Juan A. Torres: $4,000

 

Sonny Conto:  $4,000

Daniel Infante:  $3,000

Payout Perspective:

The disparity in salaries from the top of the card to the mid-tier fighters to the starters is glaring.  One boxer just made $1,000 on the card in which Fury will reportedly making $12 million.   Fury did pay the most in sanctioning fees and to the IRS.

Fury-Schwarz Prelims on ESPN2 draw 493,000 viewers

June 18, 2019

The undercard for the Top Rank Boxing event this past Saturday night on ESPN2 drew 493,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast preceded the main card for the Fury-Schwarz fight.

The event drew 143,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.32 share overall.

The undercard featured several fights including Junior lightweight Mikaela Mayer’s win over Lizbeth Crespo and Albert Belll’s win over Andy Vences.

On the main card, Jesse Hart scored a victory over Sullivan Barrera in a mild upset in a light heavyweight contender matchup.  The main card was featured on ESPN+.

Payout Perspective:

The prelims began at 4pm west coast time so the 493,000 viewers is a pretty decent turnout for boxing on ESPN2.  According to Jake Donovan, it outperformed every 2019 PBC Show on FS1 except for one and every Showtime card except for last month’s Wilder-Breazeale fight.  The ratings could go to the draw of the heavyweight matchups and/or the character that is Tyson Fury because the fight itself was anticlimactic and not competitive.

Top Rank Boxing draws 799,000 viewers on ESPN Saturday

June 11, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 799,000 viewers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event drew 314,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The telecast, which featured Oscar Valdez defeating Jason Sanchez to retain his featherweight title drew a 0.56 share.

The event came after the UFC 238 Prelims which drew 964,000 viewers.  It drew 489,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.63 share.

Payout Perspective:

Based on the bare numbers, the numbers reflect little drop off from the UFC as a lead-in.  Certainly, you have little crossover audience although the hope for the UFC and the network is that those that watched the prelims buy the PPV on ESPN+ but if they didn’t, tune into boxing.  The viewership numbers for Top Rank are promising considering there was a self-imposed competition with MMA on Saturday night.

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