September 4, 2016
ESPN’s Dan Rafael notes that July’s HBO PPV featuring Terrence Crawford as he took on Viktor Postol drew between 50,000-60,000 PPV buys.
Bob Arum noted that a “stronger-than-expected” gate helped offset losses although he noted that Top Rank lost $100,000 on the fight. Arum noted in the ESPN piece that he wanted the fight to be on HBO but the network did not have the money in its budget to buy the fight.
Whether or not HBO did not have a budget might be based on who you ask. HBO did not provide comment on the brief article about the PPV buys. It could be possible that HBO simply passed on paying a rights fee for the fight. However, Crawford has been a mainstay on HBO and this was his first time on PPV.
A generous PPV buy rate would mean that the July 23rd event drew approximately $3.6 million in gross PPV revenue. According to Arum, a strong gate offset losses which still amounted to $100,000. The numbers reflect the high cost for producing these type of events and also the need for star power to drive a PPV. Crawford is a fighter on the rise but he’s not a fighter than the casual fan would pay $60 for at this time. A fight with Pacquiao could have changed this and set him up to be the next in line. But, Pacquiao and/or his camp decided to go with Jessie Vargas. Notably, Top Rank will put on the Pacquiao-Vargas PPV as HBO has passed on it in favor of Ward-Kovalev later in November.
August 12, 2016
Manny Pacquiao will be facing Jessie Vargas on November 5th on pay-per-view. However, according to Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, HBO will not be the PPV distributor despite a contract with Pacquiao.
The cause might be due to the fact that HBO PPV will be handling the anticipated fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev on November 19th. Certainly, HBO could handle two PPVs in one month if it made economic sense. But, with the diminishing PPV value of Pacquiao, it appears that HBO will not make a guarantee to the once dominant Filipino fighter.
For Pacquiao, it’s a matter of finances. It’s been written that the fighter needs money and his salary as a public official is not sufficient. Frankly, not many people felt like Pacquiao was going to quit boxing.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael notes that Arum has inferred that if HBO will not produce or distribute the PPV, it will make him a free agent. With a potential rematch with Mayweather (yes, really) a possibility next year, HBO may lose out on what (still) could be a big money fight.
Outside of the Mayweather PPV, Pacquiao has not been the bright PPV star he once was. The April 2016 PPV drew between 400-500K PPV buys. Prior to Mayweather, his fight with Chris Algieri mustered just 300K-400K PPV buys. Despite the need to retain Pacquiao, the Vargas fight is nothing that the casual Pacquiao fan will want to purchase. With a long-awaited fight later in the month, HBO probably wants to dedicate its resources to Ward-Kovalev with the knowledge that more boxing fans would be willing to spend their money on that fight than Pacquiao at this point.
May 29, 2016
Showtime Networks, Inc. has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of New York against Top Rank, Inc. citing indemnification and breach of contract related to lawsuits filed by third parties against Showtime and Top Rank stemming from Manny Pacquiao’s claim that he fought with an injury against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The lawsuits, filed by individuals who purchased the PPV claimed that Pacquiao was not ready to participate in the fight because of an injury in early April 2015 and it was not disclosed. Most of the lawsuits point to the Pre-Fight Medical Questionnaire provided by Pacquiao which seemingly misrepresented the injury by not disclosing it.
Under the terms of an agreement between Showtime and Top Rank, Top Rank was to defend and indemnify Showtime from any liability (i.e., lawsuits) and supply Showtime with its own legal counsel. Showtime’s attorneys point out that a potential conflict occurred when Pacquiao did not notify officials of a shoulder injury prior to the Mayweather fight. According to the lawsuit, Showtime demanded that Top Rank pay for Showtime’s legal representations once these lawsuits were filed due to the potential conflict. Top Rank claimed that the terms of the agreement which would trigger Top Rank to defend and indemnify Showtime would be an instance of actual conflict between the parties. Per the lawsuit, Showtime claims that Top Rank did not believe that there was a conflict.
The relevant indemnification language of the Showtime/Top Rank contract is below:
— Jason Cruz (@dilletaunt) May 26, 2016
Showtime also claims that Top Rank threatened to assert its own indemnity claims against Showtime. Top Rank claimed that Showtime promotional materials for the fight were relevant in relation to claims of breach of contract filed by plaintiffs. Thus, Top Rank requested the same defend and indemnification that Showtime had been of Top Rank.
Despite the refusal to pay for its attorneys, Showtime defended the lawsuits it was named in. The legal fees through May 12, per the lawsuit is $682,754.06 plus interest. Showtime seeks to recoup this plus fees and costs of the lawsuit in this action.
It’s clear that this was bound to happen. Once Pacquiao claimed the injury post-fight, the lawsuits started to pour in from plaintiffs’ attorneys and they were going to name any and all entities in its complaints. The lawsuit presents the question of what is a conflict and what is not and when the right to indemnify and defend took place. Showtime claims that the unreported injury should have triggered the indemnification in the contract while Top Rank will likely deny this citing no conflict at the time.
We will keep you updated.
May 19, 2016
The parties in the Top Rank Boxing v. Al Haymon, et al. lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles has been settled. The parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss the case on Wednesday. Terms of the settlement are confidential per the stipulation filed with the court.
Al Haymon and his various business entities were sued by Top Rank Boxing this past July as the promoter claimed that Haymon’s upstart Premier Boxing Champions violated federal antitrust laws as well the Muhammad Ali Act and California State Business Regulations.
Perhaps what precipitated the beginning of the end of this litigation was securing the opportunity to obtain documents (including financial information) from promoter Lou DiBella and his company DiBella Entertainment, Inc. It was claimed by Top Rank that DiBella was a “sham promoter” essentially working for Haymon.
Another theory which may have caused the two sides to settle would be the downturn of PBC. Ratings have been sluggish and reports of PBC seeping money seems valid. Also, investors filed a lawsuit in Kansas over a fund’s strategy to invest in PBC. Settling this lawsuit may negate the hefty legal bills the company is racking up.
A similar lawsuit filed by Golden Boy against Haymon continues in Los Angeles with discovery ongoing.
It will be interesting to see how much further the Golden Boy lawsuit goes. If they are to obtain documents from other promoters (like DiBella) in discovery, it could leverage into a favorable settlement. It is unknown if PBC would run the risk of continuing with defending this lawsuit if there is the possibility of losing a huge verdict.
May 17, 2016
The HBO replay of Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan drew 767,000 subscribers on Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.
The replay, which aired from 10-10:44pm ET, on ESPN drew 339,000 subscribers in the 18-49 adult demo. Dan Rafael of ESPN added that Nielsen reports the peak to be slightly over 1 million viewers right around the time that the KO took place in Round 6.
Notably, Alvarez-Khan occurred after the UFC Prelims went off the air on FS1.
Notably, the Alvarez-Cotto replay drew 901,000 HBO subscribers. However, that replay this past November was aided by a live Heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury. The Alvarez-Khan replay was without a live fight. The spike for the KO is impressive and it goes to 1) the popularity of knockouts and 2) the popularity of Alvarez. Maybe one outweighs the other, but I’m sure the comments section will hash this out.
April 26, 2016
The fight drew 758,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The fight preceding GGG-Wade was Roman “Chocolito” Gonzalez soundly defeating McWilliams Arroyo. The fight drew a rating of 1 million viewers and 537,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
GGG Fights on HBO
May 2014 vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. 1.338M viewers (fight only)
November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)
July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)
October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)
February 2015 vs. Martin Murray 862,000 viewers (fight only)
It was the second time that Chocolito has appeared as the opening act for GGG on HBO and it appears to be a good formula. Notwithstanding a poor PPV debut last fall, GGG does well on HBO. If he does attempt PPV again, one might expect a big-time opponent.
April 20, 2016
The Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley trilogy did poorly on PPV according to Bob Arum in a report from ESPN’s Dan Rafael. The Top Rank promoter admits that the PPV did between 400K-500K buys and that the event lost money.
Arum admitted that the April 9th event will be closer to 400K PPV buys than 500K and that the PPV numbers are terrible.
The event will lose money considering Pacquiao was guaranteed $20 million and Bradley $4 million even before considering pay for the rest of the card. Although the reported purse for Pacquiao was $7 million, he was guaranteed $20 million.
The replay on HBO did a respectable 750,000 network subscribers without an accompanying live fight.
Clearly there was no appeal to this third matchup and Pacquiao’s comments about same sex relationships hurt this event even more. Similarly, Floyd Mayweather’s September fight against Andre Berto likely was a money loser as well considering the payouts to fighters and a comparable buy rate (400K-500K). Maybe its best that Pacquiao fade away as his PPV draw has faded. Of course, this is boxing so we will likely see him this November.
April 19, 2016
The HBO replay of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight from April 8th drew 750,000 network subscribers per Sports TV Ratings.
The event drew 347,000 viewers in the Adult 18-49 demo.
The event was marred by Pacquiao’s controversial comments about same sex relationships which cost him his Nike sponsorship. Notably, Pacquiao still wore Nikes in his fight with Bradley. It is also worth noting that Bradley, who was a former Nike-sponsored athlete, was not wearing the swoosh for this fight. In fact, he had Asics shoes in the ring.
The PPV buy rate seems to reflect that most were not interested in this trilogy as Dan Rafael reported that the initial buy rates were between 400K to 500K buys which is similar to the Mayweather-Berto buy rate.
The last Pacquiao replay was in May 2015 which was ran with a live event featuring Canelo Alvarez taking on James Kirkland. That event drew the best rating on HBO since 2006 as 2.146 million subscribers tuned in to watch the Alvarez-Kirkland fight and over 1 million watched the Pacquiao-Mayweather replay. Again, there was a lot of sports on Saturday night and the luster was off of this event despite it may being Pacquiao’s “last fight.”
April 8, 2016
Manny Pacquiao will make at least $7 million and Timothy Bradley will make $4 million for their third fight coming this Saturday in Las Vegas.
Kevin Iole posted the purses for Saturday night’s event which will be on HBO PPV.
Purses for Saturday. Pacman and Bradley also share in PPV revenue pic.twitter.com/aeSQwNhENo
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) April 6, 2016
According to the Las Vegas Journal Review’s Steve Carp, Pacquiao will make $20 million including PPV.
36-year old Arthur Abraham will make $500,000 in his WBO Super Middleweight title defense against Gilberto Ramirez. The challenger will make $150,000.
Bradley will also make more than the reported $4 million as he will receive a share of the PPV revenue. The question will be how many people will pay $70 to watch this fight. It appears that HBO has taken the foot off the gas when it comes to promoting this fight since Pacquiao’s controversial comments. HBO issued a statement about Pacquiao and his comments about homosexuality. Nike dropped Pacquiao. There are less mainstream articles about this fight as opposed to Pacquiao’s previous fights taking place in Vegas. We have not seen a 24/7 series and it seems that only the hardcore boxing fans are interested in this fight. Would things have been different without Pacquiao’s comments?
March 29, 2016
Andre Ward’s return to the ring Saturday night drew 1.064 million HBO subscribers according to Sports TV Ratings. Ward defeated Sullivan Barrera by unanimous decision in what many believe is a tune up for bigger fights (i.e. Sergey Kovalev).
HBO Boxing drew 1.064 million from 10:55pm-11:42pm ET on Saturday night. This included 506,000 in the adult 18-49 demo. The other fight shown on the broadcast, Joseph Diaz, Jr. defeated Jayson Velez in a featherweight matchup. That fight drew 756,000 viewers overall and 363,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.
Ward’s fight did better than Terrence Crawford last month and was the highest-rated program on sports cable Saturday night. The biggest sporting event Saturday night was the NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Finals on CBS. Despite Ward being a polarizing figure, he can be a draw for HBO.