Ratings for HBOs BAD and PBC on FS1 from Saturday

July 20, 2017

HBO’s Boxing After Dark Saturday night drew 683,000 viewers for its main event on the network per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.   The two other fights on the telecast scored in the 600,000

The event is more than its last Boxing After Dark main event this past January which drew 497,000 viewers.  This past Saturday, Joe Smith, Jr. faced Sullivan Berrera.  Despite being dropped in the first round, Berrera came back to dominate the fight and win a 10-round bout.  In addition, Miguel Berchelt defeated Takashi Miura via unanimous decision and Jerzeel Corrales defeated Robinson Castellanos.

The Berchelt fight drew 617,000 viewers while the Corrales fight drew 629,000.  Both scored 0.21 in the A18-49 demo.

There were three boxing telecasts Saturday.  PBC on Fox drew 886,000 viewers on the network,while  PBC on FS1 served as an add-on to the Fox event.  The show on FS1 drew 277,000 viewers and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo for a two-hour telecast which aired immediately after the Fox show.  The Fox show peaked above 1 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

 

PBC on Fox drew less than a million and the FS1 event did as well as it usually does on the network.  The shows on HBO had modest viewership with each of the three fights drawing in the 600s range which is good for the network after losing much of its prized fighters since Bob Arum signed a tv deal with ESPN.

Pacquiao-Horn scores huge ratings for ESPN Saturday night

July 3, 2017

According to Nielsen, the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight drew a 1.8 metered market rating which makes it the highest-rated boxing event on ESPN this decade.

Horn scored a controversial win over Pacquiao to win the WBO Welterweight belt.  The main event delivered a 2.4 overnight rating.

It will be interesting to see how it did up against the networks on Saturday as NBC showed a NASCAR event and Fox aired an MLB game.

It was the first event in a newly forged deal between Top Rank and ESPN.

Report states Top Rank strikes deal with ESPN, Pacquiao to fight on network July 1st

June 17, 2017

CBS Sports reports that Manny Pacquiao’s July 1st fight against Jeff Horn will be on ESPN to kick off a new Top Rank series with the network.  No word what the new alignment means with Top Rank’s longstanding relationship with HBO.

A Ring.tv report indicates that the new partnership with ESPN will also telecast Vasyl Lomachenko against Orlando Salido.  In August, it will also air a fight featuring Terence Crawford.

The new deal coincides with ESPN’s current series with Golden Boy Promotions which features young prospects.

Payout Perspective:

The news is another attempt this week to usurp the news cycle for the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev.  Earlier this week we had the Mayweather-McGregor news and now the Pacquiao on ESPN news.  This could be a major shift in programming for Boxing and ESPN.  An interesting move considering the number of layoffs that occurred at ESPN and that Top Rank has had a long relationship with HBO.  With that being said, Pacquiao returning to “free” television (not PPV) should boost ratings for a fight that many would not pay $60.  But, with it going being cable, it will be a ratings boon.

Where is boxing’s next PPV star?

May 6, 2017

As Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. get set to fight on the traditional Cinco de Mayo weekend boxing card, we wonder about boxing’s next big pay-per-view draw.

The two fighters in the main event were thought to be the future of boxing.  You can argue that only one of them has lived up to the billing of being the next big star while the other has been a disappointment thus far in his career.  For those that don’t follow boxing, Canelo is the fighter that is still on a career arc while JCC has the name and pedigree but perhaps not the desire needed to be a top star.

Last week, Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 in Wembley Stadium in a showdown between heavyweights.  While Joshua is massively popular in the UK, it’s still unknown whether that fandom would translate to US audiences.

The overarching question is whether any of these fighters could translate into a PPV star for boxing.

Canelo seems to be the best active fighter to be considered a boxing star on PPV.  He produced 2 million PPV buys when he fought Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 and 900,000 PPV buys against Miguel Cotto in November 2015.

But since the Cotto fight, Canelo has had lackluster PPV performances in a KO win over Amir Khan and Liam Smith.  In the Khan fight, it was estimated it had between 460,000 to 600,000 PPV buys.  It was later recalibrated down to 450,000 – 500,000 buys depending on who you asked.  This is respectable but down considering Khan had some notoriety prior to fighting Alvarez.  The Smith fight in September 2016 drew less than 300,000 PPV buys.  This may be due to the unknown opponent and the prior rumors that Alvarez was going to meet GGG.

In 2016, the biggest fight of the year, Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev, drew just 165,000 PPV buys.  GGG’s fight against Daniel Jacobs this past March did 170,000 PPV buys which was an improvement from GGG last showing on PPV.  Yet, fair or unfair to compare, 170,000 buys is less than a mediocre monthly PPV.  GGG is considered one of boxing’s best and can only muster 170,000 to pay for his fight, while a PPV with CM Punk drew 450,000 PPV buys.

In a November 2015 Sports Business Journal article former HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet identified seven factors that set apart PPV “megastars”:

  1. In-ring style – this goes to being an action fighter with the intent to KO an opponent in every fight
  2. Out-of-ring persona – Likable but also someone that sets themselves apart from the rest.
  3. Natural rivalries – this refers to fighters in the same weight class, or in a division close to their own.
  4. Demographics – this refers to the fighter being able to be identified with a particular group or audience.
  5. Media/technology – the ability to use social media to build followers and then monetize the opportunity.
  6. Intent – the desire to build a fan base as their career grows
  7. “It” factor – An undefined intangible, that Taffet states usually takes the form a storyline that is “unique and memorable.”

The likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Errol Spence, Deontay Wilder and Keith Thurman may be on the next tier of boxing’s stars that have all of the above except the fact that they have yet to translate their in-ring success to monetary gain on PPV.  None of these fighters have headlined a PPV.  This is likely due to the fact that they see GGG and Canelo having trouble to gain traction in garnering PPV buys and are weary of pushing an event that might flop.  Recall Terrence Crawford fought Viktor Postol on PPV and drew 50-60K PPV buys.

While Canelo’s last PPV outing was disappointing, Golden Boy will continue to promote its premier star.  He has all of the seven factors above and if set with the right opponent, the fight could draw big PPV buys.  GGG lacks the natural rivalry that would help him equate his talent and persona.  The long-awaited showdown with GGG is in the offing and could give him a spark.

Anthony Joshua might be the next PPV boxing star.  It is still unclear whether his UK marketability will equate in the U.S., but last week’s event which aired on Showtime and HBO drew great ratings.  More importantly, once people tuned in, they saw a great fight in which he was knocked down but eventually came back to stop Klitschko.  With 13 sponsors already in his portfolio including big brands Jaguar, Under Armour and Beats By Dre, the former Olympic Gold Medalist has the pedigree, the look and the “It” Factor to succeed.

Clearly, Joshua’s marketability can translate to U.S. dollars as it did for Manny Pacquiao.  Notwithstanding the last year or so of his career, Pacquiao’s fighting style and large Filipino following allowed him to be one of the biggest boxing stars of the last 20 years.  He was able to accomplish this despite not being from the United States.  With his Mexican roots, Canelo is doing almost the same.  Joshua may have an advantage over Pacquiao and Canelo as he speaks fluent English.  Not to discount Manny or Canelo, but each has difficulty with carrying on interviews in English.

This year could be a big year for boxing starting with Saturday’s Canelo-Chavez fight.  If Canelo wins, it should ready us for a showdown with GGG in September.  If Chavez scores an upset, we can see a rematch later this year.  In June, we will see the rematch between Ward-Kovalev and see if that spurs more buys this time around.

Despite the wealth of networks that will show boxing, pay-per-view is the gold standard for boxing as it generates the most revenue for all in this sport.  For one reason or another, boxing fans have decided to hold off on buying their fights and instead wait for the next one on television.  In a post Manny-Floyd era, the lack of star power to drive boxing PPVs must be a concern for promoters.  But, there are several boxers that could fill the void.  The question is how to build these stars.

Joshua-Klitschko to air on Showtime and HBO Saturday

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

HBO Boxing draws 806,000 for Crawford-Molina

December 14, 2016

HBO Boxing’s main event of Terrence Crawford versus John Molina drew 806,000 subscribers per Sports TV Ratings.  It drew 416,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

According to Nielsen, the viewership peaked at 871,000 viewers.  Crawford made a defense of his junior welterweight title in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

The ratings are below average from Crawford on HBO.  Coming off of his first PPV in July which did only 50-60K buys, his return to HBO was disappointing.  The replay of the bout on HBO a week later drew 378,000 viewers.

Past Terrence Crawford Fights on HBO

Hank Lundy, February 2016, 982,000 viewers

Dierry Jean, October 2015, 1,070,000 viewers

Thomas Dulorme, April 2015, 1,004,000 viewers

Raymundo Beltran, November 2014, 836,000 viewers

The prior matchup between Raymundo Beltran and Mason Menard on the undercard Saturday night drew 636,000 viewers and peaked at 751,000.  Also, shown during the telecast was a bout between Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr.  It averaged 521,000 viewers and peaked at 585,000.  According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the telecast overall drew 639,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Saturday night was filled with combat sports action as UFC 206 and Showtime also had a boxing event on at the same time as the HBO event.  Crawford is one of the fighters HBO hopes will draw more fans as the network moves on from Manny Pacquiao.  Saturday’s showing did not help his argument that he can be a top star that can draw on PPV.

Ward-Kovalev PPV replay on HBO draws 834,000 viewers

December 1, 2016

The Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev replay on HBO drew 834,000 viewers on Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The live fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters drew 761,000 viewers.

The replay of the PPV fight aired from 10:42pm-11:33pm ET aired first followed by the Lomachenko-Walters fight from 11:59pm-12:27am ET.

Per Sports TV Ratings, Ward-Kovalev drew 391,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo while Lomachenko-Walters drew 347,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The replay did much better than the last PPV replay this past September for Alvarez-Smith which drew 459,000 viewers.  Notably, there was a UFC Fight Night the same night as that HBO replay.  This time around, HBO boxing did better than the UFC Fight Night from Melbourne on Saturday night.  Of course, last Saturday occurred during a free preview weekend which may have bolstered the viewership.

Ward-Kovalev draw 160K PPV buys

November 29, 2016

The Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev PPV drew just 160,000 PPV buys as first reported by Kevin Iole.  TheRing.tv also reported the PPV buy rate for last Saturday’s event.

Ward defeated Kovalev in somewhat of a controversial decision as unofficial scorers had the fight for Kovalev.

The ratings are lower than the reported Pacquiao-Vargas PPV buy rate earlier this month which drew 300,000 PPV buys.  It was the first time that Top Rank distributed its own PPV in some time.  The Ward-Kovalev bout was distributed by HBO.

Boxing PPVs 2016

April 9, 2016 – Pacquiao-Bradley III: ~400K PPV buys

May 7, 2016 – Alvarez-Khan: ~450K-600K PPV buys

July 23, 2016 – Crawford-Postol: 50K-60K PPV buys

September 17, 2016 – Alvarez-Smith: >~300K PPV buys

November 5, 2016 – Pacquiao-Vargas: ~300K PPV buys

November 19, 2016 – Ward-Kovalev – 160,000 PPV buys

Payout Perspective:

The PPV buy rate for Ward-Kovalev might have been impacted by the Pacquiao fight and UFC 205 as it would have been the third PPV this month for combat sports fans.  The buy rate may reflect the casual boxing fan’s consumer interest.  Among those in the boxing community, Ward-Kovalev was a matchup of two of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport today.  Yet, it drew less than most UFC PPV events.  The PPV buy rate ends a down year for boxing PPVs as it tries to move beyond Mayweather and Pacquiao on PPV.

How will Kovalev-Ward do on PPV?

November 18, 2016

On Saturday night, Sergey Kovalev will take on Andre Ward in a much-anticipated fight for a variety of titles at light heavyweight and will answer the question as to who is the best pound-for-pound boxer.  How will the HBO PPV do?

For combat sports fans, November is/will be an expensive month as Kovalev-Ward will be the third straight week for a PPV.  Pacquiao-Vargas started the month, with UFC 205 next and now comes Kovalev-Ward.  It may be argued that Saturday’s boxing event in Vegas will be the best PPV of the three.  But, for the casual combat sports fan, will Saturday’s event be worth the money in a month where you could feasibly spend over $200 on PPV.

Another issue is that Kovalev-Ward comes on one of the biggest days for combat sports in some time.  There are two UFC events and a huge Bellator card competing for eyes.

The allure of Ward, 30-0, facing Kovalev, 30-0-1, is tantalizing for boxing fans.  Ward, the former Olympian, has been criticized for not taking on challenging opponents.  He’ll get one in Kovalev.  The Krusher looked invincible as he prepared for this fight but looked human against Isaac Chilemba as he was unable to knock Chilemba out.

It’s been an underwhelming year for boxing on PPV.

April 9, 2016 – Pacquiao-Bradley III: ~400K PPV buys

May 7, 2016 – Alvarez-Khan: ~450K-600K PPV buys

July 23, 2016 – Crawford-Postol: 50K-60K PPV buys

September 17, 2016 – Alvarez-Smith: >~300K PPV buys

November 5, 2016 – Pacquiao-Vargas: ~300K PPV buys

On another note, according to Lance Pugmire, Ward will make $5 million while Kovalev will earn $2 million for Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

The Alvarez-Khan number has been rumored to be anywhere from 300K to slightly under 600K and anywhere in between.  But, the main point is that there has not been a blockbuster fight this year which has drawn truly big “Conor McGregor” numbers.  Boxing is centered on the one fight whereas the UFC packages 2 or 3 big fights together.  Still, it’s the one star (i.e. McGregor, Rousey) that does the huge numbers for the UFC.  Even Canelo Alvarez, the next big hope for boxing on PPV, had an uneven year.  While he may have done well in May against Amir Khan, he did not follow-up in September with a strong buy rate.  We already knew that Pacquiao is trending down domestically while the hope is that he does better in Asia.  As for Saturday, I do not expect Kovalev-Ward to do better than 300K PPV buys due to the aforementioned combat sports competition.  In addition, there has been little lead-up for this fight by HBO.  The shoulder programming has been less than previous HBO Boxing PPVs and the stars are less familiar to the casual viewer.

Pacquiao-Vargas draws “a little over 300,000” PPV buys

November 16, 2016

USA Today reports that the November 5th fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas deliver “a little over 300,000” PPVs according to Bob Arum.  The event was the first event in years without support without HBO as its PPV distributor.

Pacquiao defeated Vargas via unanimous decision and won a welterweight title in the process.  Arum indicated that the buy rate was similar to Pacquiao-Bradley III last April.  The initial report from ESPN on Pacquiao’s fight last April was between 400-500K PPV buys.

Pacquiao-Vargas: ~300K PPV buys

Pacquiao-Bradley III: ~400-500K PPV buys

Pacquiao-Mayweather: 4.4M PPV buys

Pacquiao-Algieri: ~300K PPV buys

Pacquiao-Bradley II: ~750-800K PPV buys

Payout Perspective:

Arum intimated in the article that he will not need HBO as its PPV distributor based on the results of this event.  If you saw the PPV, Arum is focusing on Asia for Pacquiao in terms of sponsorship and revenue.  The card was stacked with Asian fighters and Chinese sportswear maker, Anta, was a visible sponsor for the event.  We shall see if Top Rank can recoup some of its losses in the domestic market with international gains.

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