September 10, 2015
A report has shed some light on USADA, the newly contracted organization that is running the UFC drug testing program, in its dealings with Floyd Mayweather leading up to his fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Boxing writer Thomas Hauser, writing a long-form piece for SB Nation, provides interesting information which implicates Floyd Mayweather as it appears that he used an IV totaling 750 milliliters the day before his fight with Pacquiao May 2nd. The contents (saline and vitamins) are secondary to the fact that any IVs over 50 mL are strictly banned. What becomes more questionable is the fact that USADA, the drug testing agency which oversaw the fight, issued an exemption for the IV use after the fact. Thus, the Nevada State Athletic Commission did not learn of the IV use until 3 weeks after the fight.
Hauser pinpoints facts he obtained through his investigations of instances where USADA has acted suspiciously in the boxing world. Obviously, the instances he points out in his article can instantly be analogized in the UFC.
The main thrust of the article is that USADA, a not-for-profit corporation, appears to favor clients that pay more for its services. Notably, USADA was paid $150,000 up front to administer the testing for Mayweather-Pacquiao. Hauser points out that three weeks earlier it charged $36,000 to administer a PBC bout featuring Andy Lee and Peter Quillin.
The article alludes to the fact that USADA appears to accommodate those that pay a premium or are returning customers for their services. It brings up the Erik Morales example in addition to Mayweather.
You may recall that Pacquiao was denied an exemption to use a legal pain reliever to ease the pain of a torn rotator cuff. The revelation of this information post-fight caused a swell of lawsuits against Pacquiao, Top Rank, Bob Arum, et al. Now, the news that Mayweather was allowed an injection that was plainly against the rules, yet was granted an exemption by USADA post-fight seems almost absurd to think it legal. Yet, it appears that it was.
USADA’s CEO Travis Tygart did not provide comment but the organization issued statements through its senior communications manager Anne Skinner.
UPDATED: Courtesy of Josh Gross, USADA responds to Hauser’s article. Notably, there’s a typo in USADA’s statement. Good job.
— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) September 10, 2015
Hauser’s piece is a recommended read if you have the time. Whether you think its advocacy journalism or an unbiased view on the situation you cannot deny that the information laid out by Hauser should make you skeptical about the testing methods of USADA. At this point, the drug program is still in its infancy stages. No fighters have been caught by the drug testing protocol post-July 1 and there have been no inferences of wrongdoing. But, the Hauser article sheds on light possible inconsistencies by USADA when it comes to certain individuals (namely Floyd Mayweather).
As for the other side of the story, this information does not help Floyd Mayweather sell his $75 PPV fight this Saturday. There are obvious concerns by Mayweather that the PPV sales are down. Seats are not selling and Mayweather has even allowed footage of his sparring (something that he has never allowed in recent memory) to entice fans. This article cannot help this PPV or Mayweather’s legacy.
September 2, 2015
This past Monday attorneys for Al Haymon and other Haymon entities sued in the antitrust lawsuit brought by Top Rank in Los Angeles have filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint in its entirety. A hearing is set for October 5, 2015.
The Haymon Defendants (as they are identified in the moving papers) state that all of the antitrust claims should be dismissed and that the violations of the Muhammad Ali Act should be dismissed as well.
Notably, in response to Top Rank’s claim that Premier Boxing Champions strategy of purchasing time buys as a “loss leader” strategy to “tie out” other competitors is false. Rather, it states the move as a “pro-competitive innovation” meant to promote interest in the sport with regularity and at minimal cost “with the intention of expanding the diminishing fan base for the sport,” according to its motion.
The attorneys for Haymon point to the lack of evidence from Top Rank reflecting the predatory nature of Haymon in which it foreclosed opportunities for Top Rank to promote or sign boxers or were financially damaged from its practices.
It also stated that Top Rank’s use of the Ali Act is incorrect as only boxers are entitled to use the federal law.
According to records obtained by the Sports Business Journal, PBC was backed by at least $448M from a $23B mutual fund managed by Waddell & Reed Financial. Per the SBJ, in its latest SEC filings, as of June 30, 2015, Haymon Media Group Holdings are down $155M from its initial cost of $448M in 2013. It is believed that this is the part of the Waddell Fund that funds PBC. One may assume that the losses are based on the investment in PBC.
(H/t: Bill King)
MMA Payout will have a more detailed evaluation of the motion to dismiss in the coming days. The motion was expected at the outset even with a similar lawsuit filed by Golden Boy. One would assume that a similar motion is in the works for the Golden Boy lawsuit although there was an arbitration hearing on the matter in July to decide whether the arbitrator or a court would decide Golden Boy’s lawsuit.
August 18, 2015
ESPN reports that lawsuits filed as a result of the alleged fraud in the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight this past May will be sent to California. Judge R. Gary Klausner will decide class action status prior to a trial date is set and the court may also decide whether to consolidate the 32 plus cases filed against Pacquiao for not revealing an injury prior to the May 2nd fight.
As you recall, Manny Pacquiao revealed post-fight that he was suffering from a shoulder injury and was denied a pain-relieving injection by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That piece of information was not revealed in Pacquiao’s pre-fight questionnaire or through any other means. Thus, individuals that bought the $100 PPV claimed that the promoters misrepresented the fight since Pacquiao was not healthy.
Last Friday, a panel of judges decided that that claims filed in several states will be heard in the Central District of California (Los Angeles) where Pacquiao’s claimed injury occurred. It is also where Pacquiao makes his U.S. residence. The panel also discussed the possibility of consolidating the number of related lawsuits.
ESPN also quotes the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation which stated that Pacquiao’s rotator-cuff injury would require “significant factual, and possibly expert, discovery.”
There are at least 32 lawsuits filed across the United States related to the fight claiming that the boxer should have, or perhaps had a duty, to report the injury.
Most of the lawsuits name Pacquiao and his promoter Top Rank. Some also name Mayweather, HBO and Showtime.
In addition to the antitrust lawsuits between Al Haymon and Golden Boy and Top Rank in the Central District, it looks like it will get the Pacquiao lawsuits. Short of a settlement, we may see some interesting information come out regarding the factual information behind who knew what, when. Consolidating the cases and class certification are different issues at this point but look to be addressed by the Central District of California. Defense lawyers claim that this lawsuit is without merit. We will keep you posted.
June 30, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s HBO Boxing event featuring Timothy Bradley Jr. and Jessie Vargas drew an average of 1.121 million viewers for the live event from Carson, California. The fight peaked at 1.228 million viewers on a night where Bradley pulled off a unanimous decision.
The undercard featuring Oscar Valdez and Ruben Tamayo drew 826,000 viewers with a peak at 916,000.
The HBO fight is 9th best this year on the premium networks (HBO or Showtime) pulling in front of the Terrence Crawford-Thomas Dulorme fight.
HBO Boxing Ratings for 2015 (main event fights only)
Rios-Alvarado: 1.252 million viewers
GGG-Murray: 862,000 viewers
Kovalev-Pascal: 1.152 million viewers
Matthysse-Provodnikov: 1.243 million
Crawford-Dulorme: 1.004 million
Klitschko-Jennings: 1.63 million viewers
Canelo-Kirkland: 2.146 million viewers
GGG-Monroe: 1.338 million viewers
Cotto-Geale: 1.589 million viewers
Walters-Marriaga: 588,000 viewers
Bradley, Jr.-Vargas:1.121million viewers
The ratings are once again reflect that boxing is once again back. Tim Bradley has made himself into a name since his controversial win over Manny Pacquiao 3 years ago. Bradley improved in ratings since his last event on HBO when he drew 966,000 viewers against Diego Chaves. Notably, of the top ratings on HBO or Showtime this year 8 are HBO events while just 1 (Wilder-Stiverne) was on Showtime.
June 29, 2015
Bellator 139 drew an average viewership of 764,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings. The event is down from its tent pole event of a week prior but it still was the second-best rating on the network since February.
In the main event of Friday night, former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo defeated Alexander Volkov. The other big news coming out of Bellator 139 was the KO of Joe Schilling by Hisaki Kato. Per Nielsen sources, the peak for the show was 988,000 viewers during the last quarter hour (10:45-11pm).
Bellator 137 pulls the promotion’s 2015 Spike TV average up to 800,000 viewers.
Sports TV ratings also notes that boxing on TruTV drew 303,000 viewers Friday night in the 10pm-12am slot. The TruTV fights are promoted primarily by Top Rank. Also, boxing on FS1 on Friday drew 129,000 viewers. The event on FS1 appears to be the last promoted by Golden Boy. Additionally, Showtime aired a prospect card Friday night although no information on the ratings were available at this time.
There were a lot of viewing options Friday night for combat sports enthusiasts but viewers tuned in to Bellator 139 which should be seen as a positive for the company and Spike. It’s interesting that it did so well the week after its tent pole event. The last tent pole event, Bellator 131, did not have a follow event the next week. In fact, the next Bellator event was not until January 2015. We could see more follow up events the week after to take advantage of the momentum.
In terms of boxing ratings, the TruTV ratings are surprising and it looks like Top Rank has found a nice way to promote its HBO fights the next night.
May 12, 2015
Yahoo! Sports reports that the official PPV buys for the May 2nd fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao drew an astronomical 4.4 million PPV buys that equates to more than $400 million in revenue. The numbers shatter the old PPV buy rate record set by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and the revenue record set by Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez in 2013.
The live gate for the event also drew more than $72 million which also did better than the previous record set by Mayweather-Alvarez. According to the NSAC, Mayweather-Pacquiao drew 16,219 for a gate of $72,198,500. May-Alvarez drew 16,146 for a little over $20 million.
The PPV outdid the 2.2 million PPV buys set by Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007.
Kevin Iole’s Yahoo! article also indicates that May-Pac sold more than 46,000 closed-circuit seats in Clark County, Nevada which pushed total revenue to more than $500 million.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe attributed Mayweather’s star power as well as social media as well as the mainstream media push. Of course, Pacquiao’s presence probably assisted in the interest in the fight too.
It’s clear that despite some negativity surrounding the fight did not diminish any of those wanting to purchase the PPV or watch the fight in person or closed-circuit. Social and mainstream media probably helped with the promotion of the fight but the pro-active nature of the cable and satellite distributors to push subscribers to purchase the PPV ahead of time also helped with the buy rate. The revenue records were likely considering the $100 PPV price point for HD or $90 for SD. Also, the high ticket prices and lack of comps were also factors for the record-setting gate.
May 5, 2015
ESPN reports that two Nevada residents have sued Manny Pacquiao, Bob Arum, Todd DuBoef , Michael Koncz and Top Rank for not disclosing the fact that he had an injured shoulder going into the fight with Floyd Mayweather. The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Nevada on Tuesday.
The lawsuit obtained by TMZ Sports lists three counts: 1) Fraudulent Concealment, 2) Statutory Consumer Fraud based on NRS 41.600 and 3) Conspiracy to Commit Consumer Fraud. The allegations relate to violations of the Nevada statutory code by Pacquiao, et al. for not disclosing a shoulder injury suffered by Pacquiao while in training for the May 2nd fight. Pacquiao revealed the injury in the post-fight press conference.
The lawsuit cites the Nevada state code related to deceptive and unfair trade practices. The plaintiffs claim that they either purchased tickets and/or the PPV. They claim that Pacquiao misrepresented to the NSAC that he was not injured.
Michael Koncz told the NY Times that he filled out the questionnaire incorrectly. The Pacquiao camp indicated it had told USADA about the shoulder injury but not the NSAC.
Even before the lawsuit was filed, the Nevada State Athletic Commission indicated that it would investigate Pacquiao’s comments and who knew what, when. Pacquiao did not disclose on an NSAC pre-fight questionnaire that he had an injury although he had one. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted out the questionnaire.
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 5, 2015
In all likelihood, a Motion to Dismiss will be filed by Pacquiao, et al.’s representatives. This was stated as much by Pacquiao’s lawyers. It also appears that this lawsuit should be filed in state court since it relates to questions related to Nevada rules. The lawsuit was bound to occur but this seems like one that will either be dismissed or settled quickly. While the NSAC may investigate the matter, I would not expect a Pacquiao suspension. At this point, the 36 year old Pacquiao is slated for shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff and is out 9-12 months. Even then, he’s expected to fight in Macau again so even if the NSAC were to assess a penalty/suspension, I doubt that does much. But, if you were to be cynical (or practical) about the situation, Pacquiao is a big economic driver for the state when he fights and it’s unlikely the NSAC does anything to prevent Pacquiao from fighting in the state.
May 3, 2015
Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at what was dubbed as the “Fight of the Century” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada as Floyd Mayweather took on Manny Pacquiao.
Mayweather takes care of Pac Man
It was the likeliest of outcomes despite the wagering line drawing down as many bet with their hearts and not with their heads. Mayweather muted Pacquiao’s flurries with well-calculated right hands to counter his attacks. It was a comfortable decision for Mayweather amid many voicing their displeasure for a variety of reasons. Of course, we could have done without the Pacquiao excuse of injury despite the fact it may have been the truth.
The unholy alliance of Showtime/HBO and Mayweather/Arum will likely never come to pass again. Yet, the mission was accomplished. Without an official tally, one need only eyeball the dollar amounts with egregious amounts of zeros to know that the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was the highest grossing boxing event in its history.
Attendance and Gate
The goal was $74 million and with the astronomical prices for seats and the decree that there would be no comps, it likely made it. Even Pacquiao paid $3-$4 million for tickets for his hefty entourage to attend.
With the 60-40 split of the fight purse, Floyd Mayweather should take in $180 million. Pacquiao will pocket $120 million. As we reported, the amount of gross revenue favored the winner between $160-$180 million with 51-49 split.
Promotion of the Fight
The unique co-promotion between rivals was to the benefit of fight fans from one perspective. It saw a week with past fights from Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on cable television. CBS Sports Network replayed most of Mayweather’s fights under his current Showtime contract and it aired the one Pacquiao fight he did with Showtime – a battle with Shane Mosley.
With the co-promotion, both networks worked with distributors in pro-actively targeting satellite and cable customers that had order past PPVs to pre-order this event. Essentially, making sure that their customers ordered Mayweather-Pacquiao. The question is how many people actually pay for the PPVs a day or two ahead of the event? Yet, it appears that the strategy worked.
Although there was no full blown HBO 24/7 or Showtime All Access 360, both networks aired shows to promote the fight.
The Pac-May press conference did better ratings-wise than the second episode of TUF last Wednesday.
Of course, there were tons of media, both sports and mainstream, too numerous to mention.
Pacquiao’s camp reported that he would receive over $2 million in sponsorship money from ad space on his trunks. The sponsors included Wonderful Pistachio, Smart Communications, Nike and Butterfinger. Butterfinger leveraged its sponsorship with a social media campaign which included tweets specifically from Pacquiao. He also had a deal with Samsung which was a reason why Freddie Roach took a selfie with Manny during the walk-out.
— Manny Pacquiao (@MannyPacquiao) May 3, 2015
Mayweather, who usually has little if any sponsors aside from his TMT clothing brand, had luxury watch-maker Hublot and Fan Duel on his trunks. He also wore Reeboks. Also of note was the Burger King walking out with Mayweather.
Freddie Roach forged a sponsorship with Geico. In addition, Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s second, wore a ton of sponsors on his shirt including the use of long sleeves to include the SoCal Mitsubishi sponsors.
Odds and ends
The dual use of ring announcers and the mixed broadcast team was unique and awkward at the same time.
The replay will be aired at the same time on Showtime and HBO on Saturday night May 9th. It will be interesting to see the ratings for each network.
What are we to make of the Michelle Beadle and Rachel Nichols credential-gate? The fact that Beadle continues her own story by doubling down with stating she no longer supports WWE because Triple H is a fan of Mayweather one must wonder how much Beadle was a fan of WWE. Why was she unaware that Triple H once walked down to the ring with Mayweather and that he was involved in Wrestlemania?
Jimmy Kimmel dressed as Justin Bieber > Burger King dressed as Burger King.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 3, 2015
For the first time, fans were charged $10 to attend the weigh-ins and even those were being sold for more on the secondary market.
HBO Sports confirmed that the fight was delayed “about 45 minutes” to help fix PPV issues.
Seems like the first weekend in May (with boxing, Kentucky Derby and NBA and NHL Playoffs) is bound to be the best Saturday of the year in sports.
For those wondering, the PPV buy record is 2.48 million (Oscar de la Hoya-Mayweather) and PPV revenue record is $150 million (Canelo-Mayweather). These numbers will fall with ease.
For all of the hype and promotion, this was one event that was too big to fail. Even though PPV distributors experienced some technical difficulties last night, the overarching issue was that people were trying to get in and order the $100(HD) PPV. We should see this fight eclipse PPV records.
But do you think it goes over 4 million PPV buys as Kevin Iole predicts?
I am hearing the PPV for #MayPac is tracking for an enormous number. If trends continue, I expect it over 4 million
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 1, 2015
Despite the last minute decrease in prices and hotel rooms in Vegas, this event drew immense attention and the casual viewer was willing to pay the steep price to see it even though they were not keen on heading to Vegas. I would tend to think this event drew near 4 million PPV buys but would not be surprised if the reports of surpassing 4 million were true.
April 23, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports the ratings from Saturday’s boxing events on HBO and Showtime. The shows went head to head with two intriguing main events.
HBO had the much anticipated fight between Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov drew 1.243 million subscribers and peaked at 1.38 million.
Rafael also reports that the fight between Julio Cesar Chavez-Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime drew 618,000 viewers with a peak of 836,000. Fonfara upset Chavez in the latter’s return to the ring. The last time Chavez fought was on an HBO card that drew an average of 1.4 million HBO subscribers. On the Showtime undercard, the fight between Amir Iman and Walter Castillo averaged 346,000 viewers with a peak at 427,000.
Prior to the Matthysse-Provodnikov fight, Terrence Crawford knocked out Thomas Dulorme. That fight drew 1.0004 million viewers peaking at 1.084 million viewers. Crawford’s last fight on HBO in December drew 836,000 subscribers of the premium network peaking at 936,000 viewers.
In addition to dueling boxing events, Saturday night was the UFC on Fox, NHL and NBA Playoffs so there was lot for sports fans to pick. However, for boxing fans the big event of the night was the showdown between Matthysse and Provodnikov which many thought was a draw despite Matthysse pulling out the victory. It was also a nice bounce back for Terrence Crawford in terms of viewers as he had disappointing numbers in December despite being backed by a Pacquiao replay. This time, being linked with Matthysse-Provodnikov likely helped too. Yet, the average for Chavez Fonfara has to be considered a disappointment based on Chavez’ name value. Of course, it could be extrinsic factors about JCC that may turn boxing fans off
April 18, 2015
The New York Times reported on the unusual need for a central system to be used for the logistical payouts for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather with respect to the long-awaited fight coming May 2nd.
The article primarily relies on quotes from Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum with respect to how the gross revenues will be divided between the two fighters and other ancillary entities.
For Pacquiao, he is on the wrong-end of a 60-40 revenue split but should clear over $100 million when all is said and done. Of course, the IRS will take its share from Pacquiao (and Mayweather we assume) right off the top.
Rival networks, HBO and Showtime are co-producing and co-distributing the PPV event. They have dueling shoulder programs on its respective networks and in a unique production agreement, each of the networks’ broadcast teams will participate in the event (including dueling ring announcers). The two sides have created a central accounting system to ensure what one might believe is “integrity” in splitting the revenues from what should be the biggest event in boxing history (at least from a gross profits standpoint).
The central system will distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters.
All revenue from the fight would be put into the central accounting system. This would include foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc. The estimate of these monies per the NYT is at $130 million. In addition, PPV revenue which could gross $300 million also goes into this pot.
Most of the PPV revenue will go to the fighters minus 15% (7.5% each for HBO and Showtime). You may recall that HBO and Showtime were in vigorous negotiations with the satellite and cable companies regarding the PPV distribution for the event.
A “wrinkle” pointed out by Arum is that the winner of the fight will receive a 51-49 percent split for revenue between $160 million and $180 million. Thus, ideally the winner will receive $10.2 million while the loser gets $9.8 million. The amount over $180 million reverts to the 60-40 split in favor of Mayweather.
Despite the lofty price point for this PPV, it is believed it should break the PPV record. Similarly, the $72 million gate at the MGM will break a record as well. One might assume the same for international rights, closed-circuit money, sponsorships and merchandise. It’s clear that the logistics for splitting up the revenues required a central system (we assume with necessary checks, balances and protocols).