HBO leaving boxing busines

September 27, 2018

The NY Times reports that HBO is leaving the boxing business after 45 years in the business.  HBO’s vice president of sports, Peter Nelson, made the announcement to HBO Boxing production staff Thursday morning.

According to the NY Times, Jim Lampley will remain on with HBO while Max Kellerman, Harold Lederman, Andre Ward and Roy Jones, Jr. will depart the network.  Nelson indicated that based on audience research, boxing was no longer a factor when subscribing to HBO.

The competition for boxing on television has increased in recent years.  Most recently DAZN launched its over the top platform this past Saturday with Anthony Joshua fighting Alexander Povetkin.  The company has signed a stable of boxers to fill its platform with content in addition to select Bellator MMA events and Combate Americas.  ESPN signed a deal with Top Rank which cut out a big piece of HBO’s roster of boxers.  Top Rank is now on ESPN and ESPN+.  Despite questions regarding its controversial business strategy, PBC has signed a lucrative deal with Fox to air its event on the network.

Payout Perspective:

The decline in viewership for boxing events on HBO and the increased competition was likely the nail in the coffin for boxing on the network.  There have been many memorable moments on HBO and it will be a shame to see it go.  But the reality is that the competition from other forces which center on combat sports and the network’s commitment to other areas of programming meant that this business decision was reasonable and probably best for the company.

Showtime wins boxing matchup of events with HBO Saturday night

September 11, 2018

Showtime won the ratings war against HBO in the battle of live boxing events on Saturday night.  The Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia fight topped out at 619,000 viewers on Showtime according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

HBO aired “Superfly 3,” its branded show which features flyweights.  However, the event did not feature Chocalatito Gonzalez or Srisaket Rungvisai, the two fighters featured in the last two “Superfly” events which made those successful.  In the main event of the night, Juan Francisco Estrada defeated Felipe Orucuta via unanimous decision.  The match drew just 302,000 viewers.

There was a controversial draw between Filipino fighters Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte.  The event topped out during this fight with 349,000 viewers watching the match.  In the opener of the televised card, Kazuto Ioka defeated McWilliams Arroyo.  The event drew 310,000 viewers.

Showtime ratings increased as the event went on.  The first fight on the televised card saw Adam Kownacki defeat Charles Martin in a heavyweight matchup.  The event drew 395,000 viewers.

In the second fight Yordenis Ugas defeated Cesar Miguel Barrioneuvo.  The fight which Ugas won via unanimous decision drew 447,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It was clear that Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia was the marquee fight of the night.  The Superfly series is a great concept to feature the flyweight division but without knowing much of the boxers on the card made it a hard sell since Porter-Garcia and UFC 228’s main event aired at the same time.

HBO’s BAD draws 777,000 for main event

July 24, 2018

HBO’s Boxing After Dark drew 777,000 viewers for the main event Saturday night featuring Jaime Munguia and Liam Smith.  The fight peaked with 827,000 network subscribers.

On the other card of the evening, Alberto Machado defeated Rafael Mensah via unanimous decision.  The event peaked at 762,000 viewers and had an overall viewership of 665,000 for the fight between the 130-pound fighters.

Payout Perspective:

It was a return to HBO from his May fight for Munguia which drew 711,000 viewers and peaked at 779,000.  In that fight, he defeated Sadam Ali.  This fight was entertaining as Smith was a game opponent.  The telecast reached the overall top 20 in cable ratings for Saturday.

HBO’s BAD draws 711,000 for Munguia-Ali main event

May 17, 2018

HBO’s Boxing After Dark 711,000 viewers for the main event which saw Jamie Mungia stop Sadam Ali to win the WBO world junior middleweight title.

The fight peaked with 779,000 viewers according to Nielsen. It also drew 289,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.  The other fight of the telecast saw Rey Vargas defeat Azat Hoyhannisyan via unanimous decision.  The fight drew 619,000 viewers and peaked at 740,000 It also drew 230,0000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Saturday night was a busy night for combat sports as we’ve already discussed.  HBO’s viewership did well likely due to the fact that ESPN’s Top Rank Boxing was already finished by the time BAD took to the air.

GGG draws 1.249M viewers on HBO

May 8, 2018

Gennady Golovkin’s return to the ring on Saturday drew 1.249 million HBO viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

GGG soundly defeated Vanes Martirosyan in the second right of their fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.  The fight viewership peaked at 1.361 million viewers.

The telecast featured the first women’s fight aired on HBO as Cecilia Brækhus defeated Kali Reis.  Their fight drew 904,000 viewers overall and peaked at 1.024 million viewers.

 GGG Fights on HBO (excludes PPV replays)

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)

May 2015 vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. 1.338M viewers (fight only)

April 2016 vs. Dominic Wade 1.325M viewers (fight only)

September 2016 vs. Kell Brook 843,000 viewers (afternoon fight)

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are impressive considering this was widely thought of as an easy fight for GGG after the rematch with Canelo Alvarez fell through.  Also impressive were the ratings for the women’s fight which drew over 900,000 HBO subscribers and peaked with over 1 million viewers.

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN draws 407,000 viewers

March 27, 2018

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 407,000 viewers Saturday night.  The event headlined by Jose Martinez and Alejandro Santiago garnered 104,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast aired about the same time as the Elite Eight game between Florida State and Michigan.  The NCAA game on TBS drew 9.713 million viewers and 3.9 million viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Also, on Saturday was HBO Boxing with an afternoon telecast that replayed again on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

As with the HBO telecast, Saturday was a hard afternoon/night to compete with NCAA basketball as both boxing events did not draw that many viewers.

HBO Boxing After Dark ratings draw 387,000 viewers for live telecast; 424,000 for replay

March 27, 2018

HBO Boxing drew 387,000 viewers for a special afternoon “Boxing After Dark” on Saturday afternoon.  The replay which aired later that night drew 424,000 viewers per Nielsen.

The event featuring just one match between heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne peaked with 444,000 viewers.  Whyte knocked out Browne in the sixth round.  The replay peaked at 490,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The live broadcast went up against the Elite Eight matchup between Loyola-Chicago and Kansas State on TBS.  The live boxing telecast went head-to-head with the first half of the game which saw the Cinderella Ramblers draw over 7.7 million viewers.  The replay went up against the second Elite Eight game on TBS which featured Florida State and Michigan.  That game drew over 9.7 million viewers.  It was a tough night for boxing although this was likely expected.

Superfly 2 on HBO Saturday night peaks with 753,000 for Rungvisai win

February 27, 2018

HBO Boxing’s Saturday night telecast, Superfly 2, drew 639,000 for the main event featuring Sor Rungvisai and Juan Francisco Estrada peaked at 753,000 viewers according to Nielsen.

Runvisai successfully defended his WBC super flyweight title against Estrada with a majority decision.  The co-feature saw McWilliams Arroyo defeat Carlos Cuardras and draw 548,000 viewers and peaked at 598,000 viewers.  The opening fight on Saturday night saw Donnie Nietes stop Juan Carlos Reveco after he was stunned at the end of the 6th round and the ref decided to stop the fight in the 7th.  The fight drew 432,000 viewers and peaked at 533,000.

Payout Perspective:

In comparison with “Superfly” held this past September which saw the rematch between Rungvisai and Roman Gonzalez draw 796,000 viewers and peaking at 835,000.  The ratings for this past Saturday’s event were on par with HBO’s first event in January when Lucas Matthysse stopped Tewa Kiram.  The fight peaked with 769,000 viewers.  The opening bout on that night drew 659,000 viewers and peaking with 731,000.  The ratings may be attributed to the lack of Gonzalez on the card.  Rungvisai may start to pick up some momentum with his second title defense and the appealing fight style.  The “Superfly” cards are great ways to package the lighter weight divisions and hopefully we see more of these in the future.

HBO Boxing After Dark draws 719,000 for Matthysse fight

January 31, 2018

HBO’s Boxing After Dark drew an average of 719,000 viewers on Saturday night for the main event featuring Lucas Matthysse and Tewa Kiram according to Nielsen.

The fight peaked with 769,000 viewers.  Mathysse stopped Kiram in the 8th round. The event drew a 0.26 in the A18-49 demo.

The opening bout of the night saw Jorge Linares’ win against Mercito Gesta.  It drew 659,000 viewers and drew a peak audience of 731,000 viewers.  It also drew a 0.23 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are on par with this past December’s HBO offering which drew 719,000 viewers for the main event between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux.  While Matthysse is on the downside of his career, he still drew for this event.  It fared well as it aired after UFC on Fox earlier in the night.

2017: The year in boxing

January 6, 2018

2017 was a great year for boxing which saw some great fights and the spectacle that was Mayweather-McGregor.

The year started off with the talk about Mayweather-McGregor as the UFC’s lightweight champion stirred the pot by going on a rant on Instagram where he wrote “F*** the UFC.”  Dana White warned that if Conor went on without the UFC it would be an “epic fall.”

January also saw Al Haymon get a court victory with a dismissal of Golden Boy’s Antitrust lawsuit.  In a ruling which did not include oral argument, the Judge determined that Golden Boy did not come fort with genuine issues of fact to support its claims.  Most importantly, and a word of caution for the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, the Judge reiterated that the antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.

Although Golden Boy suffered the loss in court, it inked a deal with ESPN with 42 fights airing on ESPN starting in March 2017.  As the prevailing party, they requested legal costs in the amount nearing $35,0000.  Golden Boy appealed the dismissal but it appears that the sides resolved the case as the appeal was dismissed by agreement of the parties.

The Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin/World of Boxing lawsuit went to trial in February and it did not take long for a jury to decide that Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  However, the case continues with the parties litigating the other claims as well as the issue who receives the millions of dollars that has been placed in escrow.

Wilder was also sued by rival Dominic Breazeale for a hotel melee.  The case was thrown out as the episode happened in Alabama but Breazeale sued in California.

Showtime Boxing had the highest rating of 2017 with Adrian Broner taking on Adrian Granados drawing 779,000 viewers.  The fight also aired on Twitter as the service continued to expand its offering of streamingClaressa Shields became the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television. In March.

The GGG-Daniel Jacobs PPV drew between 130-150K PPV buys.  GGG’s next PPV appearance against Canelo would draw much higher as the draw drew 1.2 million buys.  The fight also had a higher price tag than usual:  $79.99 HD.  A rematch for May 2018 seems imminent.

March saw the second highest-rating for network viewership as Keith Thurman faced Danny Garcia in the battle of unbeatens on CBS.  The fight drew 5.1 million viewers while the overall telecast drew 2.7 million viewers.

After going through a lot of money, the viability of the PBC obtaining a media rights deal was brought into question.  Its deal with Spike TV ended but the organization found a home on FS1.

In 2017, it seemed as those everyone applied for a boxing license:  Conor, Nate Diaz, Cyborg…

Anthony Joshua faced Vladimir Klitschko in one of the biggest fights of the year.  The event aired live on Showtime and tape delay on HBO.

May’s Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. PPV drew 1.3 million buys and its replay on HBO drew 769,000 viewers.

In May, we took a look at where was Boxing’s next PPV star.  Aside from Canelo Alvarez, there are several contenders to be the next star on PPV including Anthony Joshua.

In June, The Money Fight was announced.

Also in June, Top Rank announced that it had a deal with ESPN to air fights with the first one being Manny Pacquiao fighting Jeff Horn in Australia on July 1st.  The debut earned big numbers as Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Horn.

The Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev II PPV in June drew between 130-135K PPV buys.

July saw a 4-city tour to promote the Mayweather-McGregor bouts.  It was an ambitious tour that fans clamored to be a part.  It was announced that the PPV price would be $99.95 HD.

The Money Fight drew huge numbers and was a big financial success.  We wrote about it here.  The event had streaming issues on both UFC Fight Pass and Showtime platforms.  As you might expect, there were lawsuits which are still matriculating through the court system.

Despite the big event, HBO ran an event featuring Miguel Cotto and it did well considering as it drew 730,000 viewers.

Capitalizing on the publicity of The Money Fight, announced an ESPN deal which will include airing its fight library on an OTT service that will launch in 2018.

Austin Trout sued the WBO which included claims under the Ali Act.  The case was moved to federal court in Puerto Rico where the WBO is seeking to dismiss the case and move it to arbitration.  The case will be an interesting look as to whether the court will allow a claim under the Ali Act will go to arbitration.

In September, Magomed Abdusalamov settled with the state of New York for $22 million for injuries sustained in a fight in 2013.  Abdusalamov was left with a brain injury and paralysis due to improper conduct and lack of training by the New York State Athletic Commission.

A huge ESPN fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux drew 1.73 million viewers.  The overall telecast drew 1.487 million viewers.

In December, Showtime announced Mayweather-McGregor drew 4.3 million domestic PPV buys.  This is off from the 6.7 million Dana White had stated.  After hearing of the announcement, White took issue with Showtime’s numbers.

One of the bigger stories to watch going into 2018 is the announcement by Dana White that he will be promoting boxing.  Zuffa Boxing, a t-shirt worn by White during The Money Fight press tour, was a hint that White was up to something.  White made it official late in the year.  He indicated that he was meeting with Floyd Mayweather.  Despite stating that he will never work with Showtime again, he said he would be willing work with other promoters with the exception of Bob Arum.

Next Page »