Showtime requests class actions suits over Mayweather-McGregor move to New York

October 4, 2017

Law360 reports that Showtime Networks is asking that lawsuits stemming from poor streaming feeds for the Mayweather-McGregor fight be heard in New York.

Currently, there are 8 lawsuits across the nation in which plaintiffs claim that they paid to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight but could not or received poor video streams.  The first was filed in federal court in Oregon.  Since then, there have been lawsuits in California and New York.

Showtime claimed that the venue for the lawsuits should be in federal court in New York despite the fact that the UFC, a Nevada company, is named in the lawsuits.  The network notes that one of the defendants, the UFC’s digital partner NeuLion, is based out of Long Island, New York.  Also, Showtime and co-defendant Showtime Digital, Inc. are based out of New York.

The argument to consolidate in New York is that it would prevent inconsistent rulings and cut down on the number of plaintiffs’ counsel taking part.  In the alternative, the case should be transferred to Nevada where the fight took place, where the UFC is based and where the fight took place.

Payout Perspective:

The request by Showtime is normal in multidistrict litigation as the parties are trying to consolidate on costs and prevent inconsistent rulings.  It also helps plan litigation strategy and determine which cases have merit and which do not.  Without knowing the merits of each of the cases, it would be surprising if Showtime, the UFC and the other defendants do not file a motion to dismiss based on prior rulings which include the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao lawsuits which were dismissed by a court in August.

Mayweather-McGregor draws $55.8M gate

September 6, 2017

ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reports that the gate for the Mayweather-McGregor fight drew $55.8 million.  The fight which took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26th.

The event came in second in total gate in Nevada to the $72 million gate of Mayweather-Pacquiao in May 2015.

Per ESPN:

There were 137 complimentary tickets given away, according to the Nevada commission. The gate was generated from the sale 13,094 tickets, far short of a sellout at an arena that could have held as many as 20,500 for the fight.

Payout Perspective:

There was a lot of high projections for the gate but the sluggish ticket sales were largely due to the astronomical prices.  Its interesting that this event did well with PPV buys but fell short in the projected gate.  $55.8 million still is much more than any other event in Nevada aside from May-Pac.

Mayweather-McGregor replay on Showtime draws 549,000

September 6, 2017

The replay of The Money Fight on Showtime this past Saturday drew 549,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  In addition, an epilogue of All Access which followed immediately after drew 291,000 viewers.

The Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight drew 549,000 Showtime subscribers and 0.15 in the A18-49 demo for the 42 minutes it aired on the network starting at 9:23pm ET.  It was a stand-alone presentation as it was not coupled with any live fights.

Previous PPV replays of note:

Mayweather-Pacquiao:  1.18M on HBO (coupled with Canelo-Kirkland)

Canelo-Chavez, Jr.:  769,000 on HBO

Canelo-Smith:  459,000 on HBO

Canelo-Khan:  767,000 on HBO

Canelo-Cotto:  901,000 on HBO

Mayweather-Berto:  587,000 on Showtime

Payout Perspective:

Maybe everyone saw the fight the previous Saturday or the opening weekend of college football detracted from the viewership.  The Labor Day Weekend likely took away some of the network subscribers from the ratings.  In comparison, the Mayweather-Pacquiao replay drew almost double the viewership although it was coupled with the live event of Canelo-Kirkland.  You might recall that event drew the best boxing ratings on HBO since 2006.

Payout Perspective: The Money Fight

September 4, 2017

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  Almost a week later, but we are still talking about The Money Fight that took place August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena.

Mayweather stops McGregor in 10

Floyd Mayweather waited it out.  As most believed, he tested out Conor McGregor for the first couple around before going on the offensive.  Out of the ordinary for the counterpuncher, but Mayweather pressed McGregor and it was clear that the UFC champ was tiring.  Despite not being brought to the canvas, the fight was stopped.  A good call despite McGregor’s post-interview protesting.

Mayweather gets his 50th win against McGregor who takes his first loss of his career.  Of course, it was just McGregor’s first fight.

We should see McGregor back in the Octagon but it’s clear that Mayweather may want to dabble in boxing again.  He wasn’t the worst in there but boxing in MMA is different than boxing.

Attendance and Gate

The fight was not a sellout which was not a surprise leading into the fight.  The astronomical price to see the event without much of an undercard likely was the primary reason for a non-sell out.  Due to the prior disappointment of Mayweather-Pacquiao, the event likely scared the big spenders away.

Payouts

The official payouts from the event had Mayweather earning $100 million not including PPV upside and McGregor getting $30 million.

Attendance and gate

The only thing that may have been a disappointment was the attendance for the event at the T-Mobile Arena. The event drew 14,623 although the gate was yet to be officially announced.  It was thought that due to the high prices the event would have drawn over the $72 million record for May-Pac.  With capacity at 20,000, the event fell way short of capacity but the big financial boon was the $99.95 price tag for the PPVs.

Promotion of the Fight

The 4-city world tour this past July introduced us to The Money Fight.  Maybe the Toronto tour stop was the best and the New York/Brooklyn stop was the worst.  Whatever you thought of it, it was the beginning of a monthlong run-up to the fight.

There were tons of promotion around the event including Showtime All Access and UFC’s Embedded Episodes.  At times, it appeared that each show favored its own boxer.  As always, this shoulder programming always interests me.

Saturday Night Live did a skit during its prime time Weekend Update the week before the fight.  The skit featured someone pretending to be Conor McGregor.  It was a bad impression.

Television Ratings

The Prelims to Mayweather-McGregor on Fox peaked at 3.1 million viewers and averaged 2,568,000 viewers.   It drew an outstanding 1,156,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Other associated ratings:

  • Mayweather-McGregor Prefight Show 1,463,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Postfight Show 368,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Weigh-In 287,000
  • PBC on FS1 drew 269,000 viewers on Friday night.

PPV estimates

Dana White proclaimed that the event drew 6.5 million buys.  Showtime stated that the fight sold between 4 and 5 million buys.  Other reports stated that the initial estimates did not break the 4.6 million record of Mayweather-Pacquiao.  ESPN noted that an estimated 50 million people saw the event.

The PPV estimates will not come in until this week but Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza claims it was a “massive financial success.”  This seems like an understatement based on the numbers.

Espinoza noted in a New York Times article that 10 to 12 percent of the total buys were through a digital service.  We note the tech difficulties those users had below.

Technical Difficulties

Due to the high demand, people reported issues with their streaming of the event.  The Showtime App, UFC.tv and Fight Pass were the main culprits with issues although other ways to purchase the PPV had problems.

Showtime issued a “limited number” of refunds.  Espinoza seemed to minimize the affect the technical difficulties had claiming that they were “definitely exaggerated.”  However, the first lawsuit filed over not being able to watch the event was filed in Oregon over futile attempts to watch the vent on the Showtime App.

The fight was delayed 20 minutes to accommodate for the technical difficulties but those paying $99.95 shut out of the telecast.

The UFC did not immediately state they would issue refunds, but upon meeting with its vendor, noted that it would issue refunds for those that had issues on the UFC.tv/Fight Pass app.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that the PPV issues “appeared to come from a surge of late purchase and connectivity issues.”

Related?  The UFC announced less than a week later that FITE.TV would become the UFC’s new online streaming partner.  No official word, if NeuLion is out altogether with the UFC.

Sponsors

Corona was the main sponsor for The Money Fight.  Notably, this was not rolled out until a week or so prior to the fight.  One would have thought that the sponsorship for the event would have been announced much sooner.  In addition, Body Armor was very visible during the event as “towels and stools in the fighters’ corners had the Body Armor logo on it.  Also, fighters took their hydration from Body Armor bottles.  Also, Wish Shopping made a big splash with signage on the mats and on the weigh-in scale.

McGregor wore irish flag-inspired Beats By Dre headphones for the weigh-ins.  The company also released an ad starring McGregor on August 23rd.  McGregor signed a sponsor deal with Online betting site, Betsafe.

Odds and Ends

There were tons of newsy items coming out of this event and we couldn’t get them all in.  I wrote a preview on many of the issues including the commission agreeing to the glove change and Zuffa signing on as a co-promoter here.

While the PPV estimates may break records, Showtime had to deal with pirates using Periscope.  While Showtime obtained an injunction to stop some sites, it could not stop private users.  A tech security company claimed that almost 3 million viewers watched pirated streams.

Conor McGregor’s flip up sunglasses during the promotion of this fight were reminiscent of Dwayne Wayne’s.

Conor McGregor announced the roll-out of his first foray into the whisky business:

Floyd Mayweather introduced TMT-themed apparel for this event including one with the Irish Flag colors on a TMT shirt. He also had an assortment of mouthguards.  Iceberg Guards is selling a replica guard of the one he wore during The Money Fight for $295.00.

Gervonta Davis drew 100,000 google searches on Fight Night mainly due to his headgear coming out during the walkout.  Davis won, but drew the ire of some fans since he didn’t make weight.

While the Mayweather/McGregor announcement overshadowed the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev this past June, Top Rank attempted to take advantage of the assembled media in Vegas by announcing a deal with ESPN that would include providing the company with the Top Rank fight library for an upcoming Disney-OTT platform.

ESPN showed old Mayweather fights where analysts talked about how he was such a pro and a likeable guy.  How times have changed.  The UFC also aired his fight with Maidana on UFC online to help promote the fight.

Although there was much publicity for this fight, the Miguel Cotto fight in Carson, California on the same night drew 730,000 viewers on HBO which is very good considering it was overshadowed by The Money Fight.

Mayweather and McGregor did the standard media appearances including on Jimmy Kimmel.

There were over 10 million google searches for the “Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight,” and 10 million google searches for “Mayweather.”

Conclusion

Usually we predict a buy rate, but with the news that it’s likely between 4 and 5 million PPV buys, we don’t have to conclude that this fight was a success.  The only question will be whether the buys passed the 4.6 million PPV record.  Whether or not it did, this fight was impressive in how it was marketed and promoted.  The UFC helped its brand with its involvement in the event and Mayweather made money as he always seems to do.  Will we see more crossover fights in the future?  Only if it is big names and promises to bring in big numbers.

The Ratings Buffet week ending September 1st

September 1, 2017

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending September 1st featured a lot of events this past weekend centered squarely around The Money Fight.

Friday

Showtime: All Access Mayweather-McGregor 10:00pm-10:23pm 105,000 viewers, 0.04 A18-49

FS1 Mayweather/McGregor Weigh-In Show 6:00-7:00pm ET 368,000 viewers

FS1:  All Access Mayweather/McGregor 8:30-9:00pm ET 214,000 viewers

FS1:  All Access Mayweather/McGregor 7:00-7:30pm ET 215,000 viewers

FS1  PBC on FS1 269,000 viewers, 93,000 viewers A18-49

Spike TV:  Bellator 182  481,000 viewers

Saturday

FS1:  Prefight show 1,463,000 viewers

Fox:  Mayweather/McGregor Prelims  7:00-9:00pm ET 2,438,000, 1,156,000 A18-49

FS1:  Postfight show 12:56am-2:00am 368,000 viewers

HBO:  Miguel Cotto/Yoshihiro Kamegai:  730,000 viewers

HBO:  Rey Vargas/Ronny Rios:  687,000 viewers

HBO:  Canelo-GGG 24/7 351,000 viewers

*Notably, the ESPN Sportscenter after The Money Fight drew 1.29M viewers which was the highest rating for Saturday night on cable.

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.364M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.384M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 3.163M viewers

Tuesday

USA WWE Smackdown 8:00pm-10:00pm ET 2.455M viewers, 0.76A18-49

Wednesday

FS1 TUF 26 Episode 1 10:00-11:00pm ET 308,000 viewers

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 92,000 viewers, 9pm ET 49,000

Thursday

PopTV: Impact Wrestling, 8:00pm-10:00pm 268,000 viewers, 0.05 in A18-49

Showtime’s Espinoza claims The Money Fight a “massive financial success”

September 1, 2017

While the 6.5 million PPV buys boasted by Dana White may be premature, the PPV buys for this past Saturday’s Mayweather-McGregor fight may draw closer to the North American record of 4.6 million PPV buys earned by Mayweather-Pacquiao.

According to Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza, the event was a “massive financial success.”  If it doesn’t break the record, it will come close according to Espinoza.  CBS Corp.’s estimates have the fight drawing more than 4.5 million buys and could be closer to 5 million once all buys are calculated by next week.

The $99.95 price tag would calculate to approximately $450 million and perhaps $500 million if it hits 5 million PPV buys.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, the percentage that the cable and satellite operators may take are closer to taking closer to 40% of the revenue as opposed to the standard 50%.  The same thing occurred with the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

Notably, Espinoza states that the technical issues were “over-exaggerated.”

Payout Perspective:

Maybe the 6.5 million buys White was talking about was worldwide and not just North America.  The results are astounding and a “massive financial success” almost seems like an understatement.  The PPV buys reflect the great marketing behind this fight and the star power of Mayweather and McGregor.  Interesting comment from Espinoza minimizing the technical issues on Saturday.

White states The Money Fight drew 6.5 million buys

August 31, 2017

6.5 million buys.  This is the amount that Dana White state’s this past Saturday’s Mayweather-McGregor bout.

White stated this while talking to Urijah Faber and Snoop Dogg on Tuesday.  The amount is thought to be a worldwide total and not just limited to North America.  No official announcement had been made by Showtime or Zuffa.

The Los Angeles Times indicated that it should surpass the record 4.6 million buys by Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in 2015 although it was too early to tell.

Payout Perspective:

All signs point to this fight breaking the record.  The Prelims on Fox, which did not have any boxer of note, peaked at 3.1 million viewers and averaged 2.438M viewers.  There were over 10 million searches for “MayweatherVsMcgregor Fight” and “Mayweather” on Saturday night which would suggest that this fight was widely sought after.  6.5 million seems like a worldwide number which would directly correlate with a lofty number of those coming from Europe and Ireland.  The official estimates are said to come out later today.

Mayweather-McGregor Prelims peak at 3.1M and other ratings

August 30, 2017

Nielsen has provided some additional ratings from this past weekend’s Mayweather-McGregor fight.  Notably, the prelims drew 2,568,000 viewers across Fox, Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Go.  The show peaked at 3,110,000 viewers.

The Prelims on Fox drew 2,438,000 from 7-9pm ET.  In the A18-49 category, it drew 1,156,000 viewers and was up over 150% versus the average to date for Fox boxing telecasts.

The first prelim bout on the show drew 2,360,000 viewers.  The show peaked at 3,110,000 from the 8:45-9pm ET quarter hour.  This was during the welterweight fight between Yordenis Ugas and Thomas Dulorme.  Ugas defeated Dulorme.

Other ratings from the telecasts associated with The Money Fight include:

  • Mayweather-McGregor Prefight Show 1,463,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Postfight Show 368,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Weigh-In 287,000
  • PBC on FS1 drew 269,000 viewers on Friday night.

Also, a replay of All Access Mayweather/McGregor on FS1 drew 215,000 viewres.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect the immense popularity of The Money Fight.  Ratings were up across the board for the Prelims as well as the pre/post and weigh-in shows.  Despite the technical issues, the marketing and promotion of the fight had people buzzing to watch this fight.

Bellator 182 peaks at 825,000 viewers

August 30, 2017

Bellator 182 on Spike TV Friday night drew 481,000 in the overnight ratings and increased to 565,000 in the DVR +3 adjusted viewership.

The peak viewership for the Friday night live event was 825,000 viewers during the main event.  The live telecast featured Andrey Koreshkov defeating Chidi Njokuani via TKO.

Payout Perspective:

With the hype from the Mayweather-McGregor fight going on during this live event, some may have overlooked this card.  The 481,000 was the lowest mark since Bellator 176 in April.

UFC to issue refunds for Mayweather-McGregor

August 30, 2017

The UFC has issued an apology to UFC.tv subscribers and will be issuing refunds.  The statement from the company comes after assessing the issues with NeuLion.

Based on the statement, the UFC still holds NeuLion liable for the issues and not anything related to the UFC’s technology.

Payout Perspective:

The refunds should help quell the potential for lawsuits nationwide resulting from the technical difficulties.  There is a question as to how much/if any, the refunds may cut into the number of PPV buys for the event which may eventually impact the bottom line for Mayweather and McGregor.  This was a good move by the UFC.  Despite losing money, it had to issue refunds to fans that paid for the fight but could not see it.

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