Top Rank Boxing to be featured on new ESPN+ service

April 2, 2018

ESPN announced its new over the top platform which will debut next week. The service will feature Top Rank Boxing as well as many other professional and college sports.

The standalone subscription streaming service, ESPN+ will launch on April 12th for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. ESPN+ will be integrated into the main ESPN mobile app.

Top Rank Boxing will be featured year-round and will kick off with the April 21st bout featuring Amir Khan vs. Phil Lo Greco. The service will feature undercard fights throughout the year from Top Rank on ESPN events and re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and PPV events. According to the release there will also be “an unmatched library of legendary fights from the Top Rank and ESPN Big Fights archives.”

Payout Perspective:

When Top Rank signed on with ESPN last year, this was going to be one of the focal points of the agreement.  What will be interesting to boxing fans will be the library of fights that Top Rank and ESPN may have on the service.  This might be an interesting purchase for those longing for older fights.  The grouping with MLB, MLS and NHL’s service also can help with the subscription service.

FITE.TV becomes UFC’s new online streaming partner

September 1, 2017

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has a new partner for PPV events.  FITE.TV has secured a deal with the UFC and will begin streaming for the company with next week’s UFC 215 through its app and website.

The financial details were not disclosed.  The company, with a U.S. base in Uniondale, New York has streamed over 450 live combat sports events including MMA, pro wrestling, boxing, striking and grappling events.

The event is being offered by FITE.TV at a flat rate of $59.99 for HD or SD.

The announcement comes less than a week after the UFC’s online partner, NeuLion suffered technical difficulties of its PPV broadcast of Mayweather-McGregor on its and UFC Fight Pass platforms.  The UFC offered an apology which directed the issue at NeuLion while offering refunds.

NeuLion did not comment regarding the UFC’s new relationship with FITE.TV and its not known whether the UFC is severing ties.

Payout Perspective:

While the working relationship with NeuLion may not be over altogether you have to wonder about the timing of this announcement.  Less than a week after technical issues during its biggest PPV of the year caused a PR issue forcing the company to issue refunds and deal with the potential for lawsuits, it would not be surprising that the UFC is looking elsewhere for a new online platform.

UFC to issue refunds for Mayweather-McGregor

August 30, 2017

The UFC has issued an apology to 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.

Top Rank announces ESPN deal including OTT service

August 28, 2017

On Saturday, Top Rank Boxing announced a deal with ESPN that will bring the promotion to the network as well as obtaining the fight library which shall be a part of a streaming service that will launch in 2018.

Taking advantage of the assembled media in Las Vegas for the Mayweather-McGregor fight, the company announced a multi-year deal that will bring boxing to the cable network.

The Hollywood Report reports the deal will create a “direct-to-consumer boxing vertical with international reach.”  It will also get a minimum of 16 fights a year to run on ESPN or ABC primetime “with a minimum of two additional direct-to-consumer live boxing cards exclusive to ESPN’s upcoming multisport digital service that’s set to launch in early 2017.”  There will also be other boxing content including studio shows, documentaries and other boxing programming.  Perhaps one of the jewels of the deal is that ESPN is getting the rights, and archival fights will be available on the ESPN OTT service.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Payout Perspective:

Thus far, Top Rank on ESPN has done well in the ratings and with more talented fighters appearing on the network, ratings should continue to blossom.  It was a matter of time for boxing to take advantage of an OTT service and this deal looks like subscribers will be able to access Top Rank’s vast fight library on ESPN’s upcoming OTT service.  The new deal may mean a shift in the business model of Top Rank as one might imagine that it will pivot from PPV and focus on its deal with ESPN.  The deal will allow for a number of fights it could take to premium cable although ESPN has certain rights to those as well.

UFC teams with Samsung to show content on VR device

May 30, 2017

Engadget reports that UFC fights have been added to a list of content for Samsung’s new VR Live Pass.  The X Games and Live nation were also a part of the announcement by Samsung on Tuesday.

Selected events will be available via the Samsung VR app in early June.  Users with the Gear VR can watch events from anywhere with the device.

Via Samsung news release:

“We are excited to offer Samsung Gear VR users the opportunity to experience their favorite live music and sporting events through our industry-leading VR ecosystem,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics. “Partnering with these companies to expand our VR services helps us to open up a new gateway of opportunities for fans and demonstrate our commitment to delivering experiences that make the seemingly impossible, possible.”

“We’ve always felt that the potential of combining UFC events with virtual reality would give our fans the ultimate enhanced experience,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Ike Lawrence Epstein said. “We’re excited to partner with Samsung on this game-changing initiative to further revolutionize how fight fans consume our content and live events around the world.”

Payout Perspective:

This is an experience for the early adopters of the virtual reality phenomenon.  Essentially, you would be watching the UFC with the headset on your head.  Not sure how that looks out in public.  But, the move is a way to bolster Samsung’s sales of the device and it is obviously geared toward the younger demo.  The UFC has been a company willing to be one of the first to use new technology and we will see how this works out.

ONE Championships eyes U.S. streaming deal

March 16, 2017

The Singapore-based ONE Championships is near a streaming deal which will make it easier for U.S. fans to watch its fights.

Currently, it costs $9.99 per event on the promotion’s web site to watch ONE Championship events.

ONE spokesperson, Loren Mack, indicated that the company will still have events onllne but the new deal will make it easier for fans in the U.S. to watch.

The promotion is based primarily in Asia and has a vast following there than in North American where big MMA diehards follow the sport.  For more on the promotion, we interviewed CEO Victor Cui a while back about the company.

Payout Perspective:

The new deal will likely make it more accessible for fans here in the U.S. which leads me to believe that it will partner with someone with an existing over the top platform.  The plan is a sign of growth for the company and a hope to open up more fans to the sport via a streaming deal.

GGG-Jacobs to stream PPV online

March 15, 2017

The GGG-Daniel Jacobs fight set for this Saturday will not only be available via traditional PPV, but will be online at

The PPV will go for $64.95 online and will vary via traditional PPV depending on your distributor.

In addition to Gennady Golovkin, Roman “Chocalito” Gonzalez is scheduled to fight Srisaket Sor Runvisai on the same card.

Payout Perspective:

GGG’s first appearance on PPV in October 2015 against David Lemieux drew about 150,000 PPV buys.  He once again gets Chocalito on his undercard as the two are inextricably paired together on cards.  Will the online option help PPV buys?  Maybe for hardcore boxing fans that can purchase it on their phone or iPad.  While it’s a great option in this day and age, I don’t think impacts the overall buy rate.

UFC 200 to offer 4K PPV stream

July 9, 2016

The Verge reports that UFC 200 will be available in 4K making it the first organization to offer its streaming PPV in this technology.

The 4K availability is limited to those in the US and Canada in ultra HD resolution on select Sony TVs.  People wanting to take advantage of this will need the UFC’s app, a 2015 or 2016 Sony 4K Ultra HD TV and pay the requisite price.  Of course, the PPV Saturday will also be available via normal PPV distribution methods as well as UFC.TV.

The UFC’s partner, NeuLion, will be providing the 4K stream.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC has been an early-adapter when it comes to technology and this foray in to 4K will be watched by other leagues and entertainment companies as how this will be executed and the demand for such a product.

WWE and Snapchat announce multiyear partnership

April 1, 2016

Variety reports that World Wrestling Entertainment and Snapchat have signed a multiyear deal that will start this Sunday at Wrestlemania.

The image messaging app will produce and distribute Live Stories from Wrestlemania and other events.  According to Variety, “WWE fans will be able to contribute video and photos that will be curated and packaged by Snapchat along with WWE-supplied content into a brief video available to the app’s more than 100 million daily active users.”  Snapchat will cover other WWE live events throughout the year.

Payout Perspective:

This partnership is a push by the company to reach out to a younger demographic as those that use Snapchat tend to skew on the younger side.  It is also a way for the WWE to reach out to fans on other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other digital channels.  The article also indicates that one of the other big pushes is for this partnership to help bolster the subscription base of the WWE Network.

UFC App now on Amazon

November 13, 2015

UFC announced the launch of an official app on Amazon’s Appstore.  The app will be available on Amazon Fire streaming devices which will allow users access to UFC PPV broadcasts starting with this Saturday’s UFC 193 and UFC Fight Pass.

Via UFC press release:

“We are thrilled about the new UFC app on Amazon’s Appstore as fight fans can now enjoy the UFC experience on Amazon Fire TV’s set-top-boxes and Fire TV Sticks,” UFC Senior Vice President of Digital Edward Muncey said. “UFC has always been on the cutting edge of utilizing technology to engage our fans, and now Amazon Fire users can view exclusive content wherever they are.”

UFC 193 App

The UFC app will initially be available in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, China, Japan, Australia, Spain, France and Italy, and will support in-app purchasing in local currencies. The app will provide access to UFC weigh-ins, press conferences and other live streams, bringing fans closer to UFC and their favorite athletes anywhere with their Amazon Fire device.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC app comes to Amazon just in time for the holidays.  The news should bolster Fight Pass subscriptions.  It could help with PPV sales as well although we may never hear an estimate of those purchases.  What this move does is make the UFC available to more people on a widely used platform.

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