The Wrestling Post – 03.23.14

March 23, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This week we look Total Divas ratings, WWE stock and Dish Network plays hardball with the WWE.

Total Divas Ratings for Season 2

The first episode of the second season of Total Divas on E! debuted last Sunday with an average viewership of 1.07 million viewers.  The ratings are below the season 1 average of 1.34 million.

Payout Take:  The one hour premiere likely did not do as well due to the lack of the lead-in of “Keeping Up with The Kardashians.”  Still, to think that this show is doing over 1 million viewers on the biggest night of television (Sunday night) for the week are remarkable.

Would the WWE Sell?

Things are bullish with the WWE stock nowadays as the launch of the WWE Network and the potential for a huge payoff with a new rights deal expected later this spring.  But, would the WWE sell to the highest bidder?  This is the question posed by Bloomberg in a blog post earlier this week.

The short answer to the hypothetical question is no.  WWE stock is parsed into two distinct groups, Class A and Class B.  The Class A shares are held by regular stockholders while the McMahon Family owns Class B stock.  With Class B stock comes 10 votes per share which means essentially Vince McMahon controls the voting power of the company.

But rumors of AMC Networks merging with the sports entertainment company have been brought up although it appears that these rumors are only “fantasy matchmaking.”  While neither AMC or WWE have commented on the rumors, this does not mean much but for bloggers to speculate and generate page views.

Payout Take:  Perhaps a conspiracy theory but rumors that the WWE would sell could be the WWE themselves generating rumors to drum up “newsworthy” items as it postures in rights fees negotiations.  It would be hard to believe that the WWE put itself in this position in order to sell.  Moreover, the perception of Vince McMahon is similar to that of Dana White as the leader of their respective organizations.  Neither one would want to lose control of their companies.  The company was built by McMahon and no matter how much money is offered, it’s unlikely that he will sell or merge.

Something wrong with WWE Earnings?

Seeking Alpha penned an article questioning whether WWE’s earnings quality come from sustainable sources.  The web site cites Thomas Reuters research in coming up with its concerns for the stock.

First, the research indicates that the operating profit margins have been decreasing steadily over the last three years.  Secondly, the company has poor free cash flows in its last five quarters.  This is likely due to the investment into establishing the WWE Network.  Of course, the investor concern is that the network will impact the PPV revenues.  Notably, the report cites “other programming like the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter.” Finally, there was a concern of bad debt. The question here is that the WWE’s allowance set aside for accounts receivables that it does not expect to collect from clients had fallen over the last three quarters.

Payout Take:  The article is an interesting look at concerns over the stock.  However, there are questions regarding its questions.  A lot of money it has spent in the recent quarters has gone to the development of the WWE Network.  There are other expenditures as well including the opening of a new state of the art training facility in Florida for NXT (development territory).  There is also the issue of its WWE Studios which has seeped money over the quarters after failed attempts to make stars out its own WWE characters and its attempts to revamp that unit.

Dish Network gets chesty with WWE

Dish Network announced this past Thursday that it would not carry Wrestlemania XXX according to Cageside Seats.  The move by Dish appears to be in reaction to the launch of the WWE Network.

In its official statement, Dish indicated the move was due to the WWE “not willing to adjust PPV costs to satellite/cable companies, which is unfair to their customers.”

Payout Take:  With the network launch, distributors such as Dish and DirecTV were likely upset that the WWE is putting its PPVs on its subscriber-based network.  This directly affects revenue the distributors usually shared with the WWE.  Thus, the distributors are losing out on the $60-$70 it anticipated fans would pay to watch the PPV.  While there was a likelihood that those not subscribing to the network, yet still fans of the WWE would order the PPV, the number is likely to shrink exponentially due to the popularity of the new network.  We will see if DirecTV follows in not carrying Wrestlemania XXX.

UFC 169 and UFC 170 PPV Updates

March 19, 2014

Dave Meltzer, from MMAFighting.com, reported the latest estimated PPV numbers from the first two events in 2014, UFC 169: Barao vs Faber II and the much talked about UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann.

Final_UFC_170_event_poster

According to Meltzer, UFC 169 drew an estimated 230K pay-per-view buys while UFC 170, which was mostly sold on Rousey’s name, did an estimated 340,000 buys. Meltzer then went ahead and discussed the new UFC draw PPV categories:

It appears, at least for now, that there are a few categories of UFC on pay-per-view.

There is the somewhat rare sub-200,000 buy show, which are fights that, for whatever reason, a lot of the regular buyers are willing to skip. The 200,000 to 275,000 range are usually title fights with champions who have yet to establish themselves as major draws, fights significant to fans of the sport but the general public doesn’t really care about. The 275,000 to 375,000 range looks to be the major champions, Jones, Rousey and Cain Velasquez, when put in with opponents without major name value, although Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos was in that range.

When the public feels there is a big fight or a can’t miss show, like UFC 168, the sky is still the limit. But even [Canelo] Alvarez, coming off the biggest grossing pay-per-view event of all-time, only hit 350,000 buys on March 8 when matched up with someone who was not considered a pay-per-view level star.

The changes from a few years back, where any UFC event was seemingly guaranteed to hit 300,000 buys, is a natural evolution coming from the proliferation of free content on television.

Ultimately, the economic future is going to be driven by television rights worldwide, and new technological advances. It will be less reliant on pay-per-view, the revenue stream that allowed UFC to have its huge growth from 2005 to 2010.

The MMAPayout Blue Book has now been updated with these latest numbers.

 

Payout Perspective:

The week leading to the fight, MMAPayout analyzed trends and historical data to predict what Ronda Rousey’s impact would be on the event. We pegged the event doing 300K-400K buys in the “acceptable” range. Above 400K would have been a huge hit while anything below 300K would have been a disappointment. So it fell exactly in the range in which we predicted.

The new “floor” for the UFC seems to be around 150K PPV buys for those rare cases that even core MMA fans are willing to pass up a PPV event.  You then have this range of 200K-400K which most fighters not named Anderson Silva and GSP will fall into.  At this point, getting anything over 450K will be a tough talk and will definitely have to be something beyond the average card that fans and casuals will both want to see. We expected that 2014 would be a telling year for the PPV business for the UFC considering most of their big PPV draws are absent. The only question heading into 2014 was if the next tier of UFC stars such as Rousey, Jones, Weidman, and now Hendricks would be able to hold the fort until either the stars comeback or the UFC figures out how to make a big fight fans will gladly pay for.  The biggest fight that they have touted so far in 2014 is Rousey vs Carano or against Cyborg.  That alone tells you drastically the UFC has changed in the past couple of years.

Canelo and Garcia produce for Showtime-Golden Boy

March 19, 2014

Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions should be happy with the past two weeks as its promotion has produced good numbers on PPV and on Showtime.

Canelo Alvarez’s first time headlining a boxing PPV has produced “well over 350,000 buys” according to Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions.  Alvarez stopped Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round of their fight March 8th.  The 350,000 buys is a good number if you consider the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight last October produced 375,000 PPV buys.

This past Saturday night Showtime showed the replay of the Alvarez-Angulo fight as a lead-in to Danny Garcia versus Mauricio Herrera.  The show peaked at 1.1 million viewers and averaged 972,000 viewers of its Showtime subscribers.  The event was a 26% raise in viewership from Garcia’s last appearance on Showtime when he defeated Zab Judah in April 2013.

(H/t:  Bad Left Hook and ESPN)

Payout Perspective:

According to ESPN, the PPV generated at least $20 million.  This would be roughly based on the number of buys (350K) multiplied by $54.95, the HD price point for the fight.  The PPV buys are a good indicator that Alvarez has bounced back from his loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in September and it did nothing to diminish his image as the most popular active boxer in Mexico.  At only 23 years old, he has a bright future ahead of him.

As for the Garcia fight, a part of the rating might be attributed to those wanting to see the Alvarez fight.  But, Garcia, who was also on the Mayweather undercard, is beginning to garner a following which may equate to a bump in viewership since his last time on the network.  The Showtime fight also competed with UFC 171 Saturday night.  So, despite the average viewership being below 1 million, it still did well for a card with Garcia as the feature.

UFC 171: Payout Perspective

March 17, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time well be taking a look at UFC 171 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Hendricks wins vacant title

A scare with not making weight did not matter for Johny Hendricks as he defeated Robbie Lawler in the Fight of the Night.  For Hendricks, it was redemption from a controversial loss to GSP last time out.  Lawler was impressive in defeat but just didn’t have enough to win the title.

Hendricks was the top welterweight of the night as he will now look to a smorgasbord of challengers to the title which may include a couple fighters (Lombard, Woodley) on the card and one (Nick Diaz) that was in attendance.

UFC_171_event_poster

Woodley upsets Condit

Tyron Woodley may have moved to the top of the contender’s list for the welterweight division with his victory over Carlos Condit.  While the knee injury to Condit caused the stoppage, it should not take away from the fact that Woodley was impressive and can argue he is next in line for a title shot at Hendricks.

Attendance and Gate

As we reported on Sunday, the UFC announced its attendance at 19,324 for a live gate of $2.6 million.  The numbers reflect the largest U.S. crowd to see a UFC event.  The numbers bested the UFC’s last event in Dallas which did 17,428 for a $2.4 million gate at UFC 103.

There were no information yet on comps and the Texas Department of Licensing will confirm the numbers later this week.

Bonuses

The bonuses were awarded to Hendricks-Lawler, Ovince St. Preux and Dennis Bermudez.

Fight of the Night – Hendricks-Lawler

Performance of the Night – OSP (Von Flue!) and Bermudez.

Each fighter earned an extra $50K.  In addition, Harley Davidson ran a promotion in which one of the bonus winners could win a Harley Davidson based upon a fan vote on the UFC’s Facebook page.  Hendricks won the fan vote and a new motorcycle.

Sponsors

The usual suspects were in the Octagon including the official UFC sponsors of MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Alienware, Corn Nuts as well as Bud Light taking the center of the Octagon.  Fram Auto Filters was the latest addition to Octagon signage.  In addition, Robbie Lawler’s sponsor, the Air Force Reserve also had signage in the Octagon.

The most notable sponsor for Hendricks was Reebok. Hendricks wore a shirt with the hashtag Reebokzquick.  Hendricks co-starred in a commercial featuring the Reebok fitness line in a recent commercial It was the second time that the clothing brand has sponsored him in the Octagon.  With Hendricks as champ, we can expect that Reebok will extend its sponsorship deal.  Hendricks was also sponsored by two official UFC sponsors: Corn Nuts and Alienware.

reebok-johny-hendricks-ufc-171-shirt

Diego Sanchez had a product tie-in where he wore a Training Mask during his workouts on the UFC Countdown show.

Myles Jury was sponsored by a Panini America and Dee Zee truck accessories on the front of his shorts.  According to its web site, Jury will be making an appearance for his Panini sponsor.

mylesjury_headshot

Tyron Woodley signed on with Affliction Clothing prior to UFC 171 (via FighterxFashion).  He also snagged a deal with Monster Headphones.

You don’t f*ck with #TheChosenOne Tyron Woodley (<href=”https://twitter.com/TWooodley”>@TWooodley)! Let’s get that title shot, eh? #UFC171 #MonsterOctagon pic.twitter.com/c1VZnFJSLV

— Monster Products (@MonsterProducts) March 17, 2014

The UFC had a “Vote for the T” Contest where fans had a chance to design a t-shirt for the UFC to market and sell for $30.

Post-UFC171 Headlines

Who’s next for Johny Hendricks?  A lot of debate swirling that Woodley, Hector Lombard or even Nick Diaz should face Hendricks next.  Diaz, who flew to Dallas courtesy of the UFC, was featured on the company’s Instagram account mocking Hendricks when it appeared he had missed weight and needed to retry.  Despite the showings of the other welterweights on the card, the appeal of Diaz is that he can sell a fight without even trying (i.e. we’re not talking Wolf Tickets).  But, the bottom line is that the show revealed that the welterweight is a very competitive division with many challengers to face Hendricks.

Odds and Ends

Unfortunately, the UFC 171 Prelims were on FS2 due to college basketball tournament action as the prelim fights were probably the best in recent memory.

The Von Flue Choke will be the most demonstrated move in BJJ gyms across the nation this week.

Hendricks marketed “BeardHeads” riffing off of his trademark facial hair. There was a sponsor giveaway associated with the gimmick as well.

I am not clear why Diego Sanchez was eating quail egg and steak tartare before a fight.  It seems very suspect.

The top cities that searched the name Johny Hendricks on Google were Oklahoma City and Montreal.

Google trends revealed that Johny Hendricks was not getting as many searches as when he fought Georges St. Pierre but UFC 171 was getting significant traffic.

If GSP does come back against Hendricks, it could be the Cowboy Stadium show that the UFC wants and a 1 million PPV buy event.

Conclusion

While the attendance and gate numbers are impressive for a show not featuring GSP/Anderson Silva or Cain Velasquez (note we excluded Ronda Rousey based on her last outing), it’s hard to conclude a big buy rate.  There was nothing that stood out in the promotion of this event despite it being for the vacant welterweight title.  Still, the Hendricks win puts him in a position to be groomed to be the next big draw for the UFC.  With the lack of a big name at the top, and the minimal buzz for the event, a buy rate of 300,000 would be solid.

Jackson-Lawal set for Bellator PPV

March 11, 2014

Rampage Jackson will be taking on King Mo Lawal in the co-main event of Bellator’s inaugural PPV on May 17th according to a Bellator press release. Bellator also announced that the PPV would be emanating from the Memphis area where Jackson originally grew up.

Via press release:

A native of South Memphis, Rampage returns to The River City for the first time in fifteen years to battle King Mo in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals. Since joining Bellator in 2013, Rampage has delivered two highlight reel knockouts, and will face his toughest test in Bellator to date when he battles King Mo from The Landers Center on Saturday, May 17th live on Pay-Per-View.

“I’ve been wanting to come back to Memphis for the last decade, and I’m finally getting that chance to fight in one of the biggest fights of my career for Bellator,” Jackson said. “After being part of the Bellator family for a while now, I feel like the old Rampage, and that’s not a good thing for Mo. I’m back, I’m a monster, and I’m looking to put on another entertaining fight for all my fans on May 17th.”

“When it comes down to it, this is a fight I’ve wanted for a long time, and I’m going to be able to beat his ass in his hometown, and everyone is going to respect me,” Lawal said. “Rampage is just a stepping stone in my way to get that title shot again and get that belt. It’s all I want, and after I beat Rampage, I’m going for that belt, simple as that.”

“We now have two fights on this card that are absolute fireworks,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Like I said before, we have Alvarez and Chandler headlining a card that will end the best trilogy ever in MMA, and now we’ve added two more superstars to the mix with Rampage and King Mo. May 17th is going to be an absolutely huge night for Bellator, live on Pay-Per-View.”

Bellator PPV

Payout Perspective:

It was only a formality for Rampage/King Mo to be set based on their run-in at Bellator 110. As noted before, these two will be able to do a hefty amount of the promotion for the PPV. In fact, it would not be surprising if these two end up on some sort of cross-promotion on TNA’s Impact Wrestling in the coming weeks as a way to get the word out on the Bellator event. You may recall the UFC planned an event for Rampage in Memphis to fight Rashad Evans but that fell through due to Jackson’s commitment to the movie, “The ‘A’ Team.” His return home should equate to good attendance which should bring out the atmosphere on the PPV.

Vitor Belfort out of UFC 173 title bout after NSAC TRT ban

February 28, 2014

Earlier in the day, the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone treatment therapy (TRT), just a few hours after that announcement was made, UFC teased a big announcement would be aired on FOX Sports Live tonight.

Fox Sports Live reported that Vitor Belfort would not be applying for a Nevada license for UFC 173, which is scheduled to take place on May 24th, due to the NSAC ruling to ban TRT.  His replacement was announced to be Lyoto Machida after his recent win against Gegard Mousasi, which means the new UFC 173 headliner will be Weidman vs Machida.

Belfort claimed that he would now make the efforts to get off of TRT and continue to fight in the UFC without the testosterone therapy since other athletic commissions in the US would most likely follow the NSAC’s ruling.

 

Payout Perspective:

Today’s NSAC ruling on banning TRT will have a ripple effect on MMA for years to come. We got some of that today already, as Belfort’s announcement today to pull out of his fight three months in advance will cement his status as the face of the TRT era in Mixed Martial Arts and in the UFC.  The UFC is already in a tough spot to find headliners this year due to injuries and the impromptu departures of Georges St. Pierre (infinite leave) and Anderson Silva (injury), two of their biggest stars.

The buzz for a Weidman vs Machida main event in Las Vegas will not have the same feel as previous major events during the Summer time. This news puts even more pressure on Ronda Rousey to keep things going in 2014 as a number of UFC champions will continue to be sidelined from injuries suffered last year. As far as PPV numbers go so far in 2014, UFC 169 was estimated by Dave Meltzer to be in the low 200,000′s while UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann figures to do somewhere on the lower to mid end of 300,000 buys.  Factoring in today’s news of Belfort pulling out of UFC 173, it looks like it will be a tough first half of the year for UFC PPV sales.

UFC 170 Post Fight Scrum – Gate and attendance in question

February 23, 2014

After UFC 170 concluded, UFC President Dana White held a post fight scrum where he briefly fielded questions from the MMA media, which included the gate discrepancy, performance bonuses, Cyborg, Cormier, Will Smith, and Rousey’s stardom.

Link: MMA Fight Corner

 

Payout Perspective:

One odd observation from the post fight scrum is the media asking Dana White about the UFC 170 gate and attendance.  Earlier in the week, Dana White stated that the gate for UFC 170 would be around $2M dollars.  During the post fight press conference, the attendance and gate was announced as 10,217 for a live gate of $1,558,870. White stated “Are you f*cking sh*tting me? It’s $1.5M?”  He did not know why there was a discrepancy but stated that it was a good question. Later in the video, he stated that this was still a good gate and said it was “a quarter of a million” more than her debut.  As a note, UFC 157: Rousey vs Carmouche at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California officially drew 13,257 in attendance for a $1,350,191 live gate.

As for comparison, UFC 157: Aldo vs Edgar in the same Mandalay Bay venue in Las Vegas drew 10,275 for a gate of $2.34 million, though it is notable that the ticket prices for this event were scaled back, which may explain the lower gate.  There is also an expectation of a high number of complimentary tickets, as MMAPayout expected yesterday.

Ronda Rousey’s Impact on UFC 170

February 22, 2014

UFC 170 was supposed to feature Ronda Rousey versus Sara McMann, Rashad Evans versus Daniel Cormier, and Gilbert Melendez versus Khabib Nurmagomedov. Three really great fights many fans were looking forward to since the announcement was made during the UFC 168 post-fight press conference. A lot has changed since then.

ufc-170-poster-Melendez

About a month after the announcement, we started to get some displeasure between the UFC and Melendez about signing a new contract.  The UFC quickly mentioned that Melendez vs Nurmagomedov was never official despite being on the UFC 170 poster.  Considering that Melendez eventually signed with Bellator and is now waiting to see if the UFC will match their offer, we now know what happened with that bout.  Just a few weeks later, Rashad Evans abruptly announced that he was being pulled out of his fight against Cormier due to a leg injury with only two weeks left until the event. That announcement created a mad scramble for the UFC to find an opponent for Cormier, which led to booking unknown Pat Cummins in the co-main event against Cormier.  That left us with only one fight in tact since the original announcement, Rousey vs McMann.

It’s rare to see someone with only two UFC fights being put in the position that Ronda Rousey is in for UFC 170, but considering the huge success of UFC 168, it left the UFC with no other options.  Rousey was always going to be the mainstream attraction for UFC 170.  But after Melendez and Evans pulled out of the card, there is no denying that the success of the event will be solely on Rousey’s shoulders, which is even more daunting considering the short turn-round and the lack of time to promote the event as UFC 168 and UFC 157 had. UFC 168 had 500K+ Google Hot Searches though it ended up with 2M+ due to Anderson Silva’s gruesome leg break. Rousey’s UFC debut for UFC 157 ended up with 200K+ searches, which is a better comparable than UFC 168. As the UFC 170 event begins, Ronda Rousey already has 100K+ searches without any other UFC search in near sight. UFC 169 only had 100K+ total searches for the event, which is a remarkable comparison.

With that being said, UFC 157 did an estimated 450,000 PPV buys with a ton of casual media attention as the UFC heavily promoted the debut of women in the promotion.  UFC 170 won’t have that benefit, but it does have the momentum UFC 168 created with MMA and casual fans.  If you look at the numbers and the lack of stars on the UFC 170 card, anything above 400,000 buys would have to see as a major win for the UFC and would make Rousey one of it’s biggest draws.  300,000 – 400,000 would be deemed acceptable and anything below 300,000 would be considered a disappointment.

With Rousey already having a couple of movies lined up in 2014, the UFC is trying to get the most out of their newest main-stream star by declaring a few days ago that they are planning to have her fight three times this year in addition to her movie responsibilities, which would be an incredible feat without burning out.  With the recent talk of Cyborg dropping Tito Ortiz as her manager, potentially dropping to 135 lbs and possibly facing Rousey this year, it would likely be the UFC’s biggest fight in 2014 when you consider the loss of Georges St. Pierre (on leave/retired) and Anderson Silva (broken leg/39 years old), two of their biggest stars and PPV draws.

UFC 169: Payout Perspective

February 3, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the Super Bowl Weekend card taking place at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Barao handles Faber

To paraphrase Richard Sherman, “Barao is the best fighter in the game, when you put up a mediocre turtle defense like Faber, that’s the result, you going to get. “

A thumbs up couldn’t stop Herb Dean from calling this fight off.  Even if the fight would not have been stopped, it likely would have delayed the inevitable.

UFC_169_2_poster

Aldo demos Lamas

“I’m just ‘bout that action boss. “ – Money Lynch

At least rounds 1-4 Jose Aldo brought the action to Ricardo Lamas.  The combinations were devastating as were the leg kicks which were reminiscent of Aldo-Faber from WEC days.

Attendance and Gate

UFC 169 drew 14,308 in attendance for a gate of $1.651 million based on the announcement at the post-fight press conference. The last time the UFC came to New Jersey in April 2013 for Jones-Sonnen, it drew 15,227 for a gate of $2.7 million.  The actual numbers announced by the UFC point to a disappointing show when there was opportunity for bigger numbers with a lot of sports fans in the area for the Super Bowl.

Bonuses

Only Jamie Varner and Abel Trujillo received bonuses as there were no submissions on the card.  Notably, there were 10 decisions out of 12 fights on the card.

Varner and Trujillo received $75K for Fight of the Night and Trujillo scored the standard $50K for the KO of Varner.

Pre-UFC 169 Promotion

In order to appeal to those coming out for the Super Bowl, the UFC sent out an email to Seahawk fans (and likely Bronco fans) on its mailing lists reminding them of UFC 169 the day before the big game.

UFC 169

The UFC Countdown show worked around the language differences of Jose Aldo and Renao Barao to tell their stories.  I think this is a major hurdle in promoting both of these guys.  It’s nothing against them but I think many English speaking fans find it hard to get behind them because English is not their first language.

The UFC also brought its championship belt to NFL Super Bowl media day but were quickly muted by NFL PR staff.  The NFL thought that the UFC was the WWE and didn’t want it to outshine its day.  It was not until Jay Glazer straightened out the situation with the NFL did the staff at media day allow the UFC to stay so long as the belt didn’t get on the podium.

Then, look which belt the Seahawk GM was wearing:

"The Champs are here."

“The Champs are here.”

Probably small potatoes here, but shouldn’t he be wearing the UFC belt?  According to SB Nation, the picture was taken prior to the Super Bowl so maybe there’s an excuse for the UFC.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon included the UFC”s UCasino.com, Dodge, Toyo Tires, Xyience, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Musclepharm, History Channel and Bud Light had the middle of the Octagon.

The History Channel’s series, “The Vikings” was a sponsor for 169 and it showed a promo video that included lots of blood and gore.  “The Vikings” logo on the Octagon mat was pretty hard to see.

It appears that Auto Shopper received the same deal as Dynamic Fastener as many fighters had the two sponsors on their shorts.  Dynamic Fastener appeared to own the back side of fighter shorts while Auto Shopper had the front of shorts.

MetroPCS offered digital autographs of Urijah Faber.

Post-UFC 169 Headlines

Who’s next for Aldo?  Short answer is Anthony Pettis.  The cynical question is what to do when/if Pettis gets injured.  The Pettis showdown would mean Aldo gives up the 145 belt (I guess you can’t hold belts in two different divisions) and the UFC could hype up a “superfight.”

Anyone left for Barao?  Is this the definition of clearing a division?  While Aldo may have Chad Mendes left in his division if he decides to stay, Barao has no one compelling to defend his belt against.  Maybe Dominick Cruz if he can ever get back but aside from that, TJ Dillashaw?

Odds and Ends

Toyo Tires re-signed with the UFC and will be an official sponsor for the company through 2015.

I wonder if Chris Caraiso earned any extra points from his sponsor, Training Mask, after donning the mask before facing off at weigh-ins.

Speaking of weigh-ins, I do not recall ever seeing so many people excited about making weight.

Faber wearing Uggs at weigh-ins?  Does that make him the Tom Brady of the UFC?

Super Bowl Fact.  Super Bowl Rings:  Dan Marino – 0, Tavaris Jackson – 1

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the greatness of Renan Barao and dominance of Jose Aldo will not mean much when it comes down to PPV buys.  In retrospect, when Fox announced that the UFC would be a part of Super Bowl weekend, one would have envisioned much more of a collaborative promotion between the NFL-UFC and Fox.  However, there was not much in terms of promotion of this event.  Even when the UFC made an appearance at Super Bowl media day, they were not recognized by NFL PR.

The nonperformance of the marketing efforts aside, UFC 169 may not do well in terms of buys simply because of the fighters on the top of the card.  Fighters under 155 pounds do not draw on PPV.  Is the UFC doing these fighters a disservice by not marketing their divisions correctly?  Or, are the fighters not marketable?  Urijah Faber could have been that guy but with Saturday’s loss he won’t be able to get another shot unless Barao loses and Faber gets on another win streak. Arguably, the top three fighters in the UFC fight below 155: Aldo, Barao and Demetrious Johnson. But, that does not seem to equate to viewers.

Due to the card and the lack of buzz, UFC 169 will likely do somewhere around 200K PPV buys.

Boxing set for big PPV year

January 20, 2014

Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reports that boxing is set for one of its biggest years on PPV in 2014.  The question is whether fight fans will be willing to pay for all of the fights that will occur on PPV this year.

Canelo Alvarez will be prominently featured this year as Showtime and Golden Boy anticipate Alvarez to headline 3 major PPVs starting in March.  Showtime and Golden Boy will also have Floyd Mayweather for his customary Cinco de Mayo/Mexican Independence Day PPVs.

On the Top Rank side, it is expected that Manny Pacquiao will be back with two PPVs this year and it’s anticipated Miguel Cotto will fight Sergio Martinez on PPV in June.

The article outlines the boxing PPV market over the past couple years in which it concludes that the PPV market should be reserved for “top shelf” fighters.  A prime example of how conservative boxing is with its PPVs occurred last month when Golden Boy decided to scrap an anticipated PPV with Marcos Maidana and Adrien Broner.  While the fight was PPV quality, it was likely the smart move for Golden Boy to hold off on putting it on PPV (note:  if you didn’t have Showtime, you could have purchased the fight, but obviously we mean the whole card being on PPV).

According to SBJ research, last year, the overall buys for 4 events received 3,975,000 for a total revenue of $252.2 million.  The previous year (2012), 4 PPV events received 4,015,000 buys for $238 million.  As you can see the $75 Mayweather PPV seemed to help the total for last year.  For those wondering, 2011 sported 7 boxing PPVs for a total of 4,540,000 buys and revenue of $262 million.

The article also went into an extensive calculation of what may be considered a “successful” PPV for someone like Canelo which Showtime/Golden Boy would like to have as its top star after Mayweather leaves.  According to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer he concluded with 200,000 buys and deducting the “50 percent cut taken by cable and satellite operators and the 7.5 percent paid to providers HBO or Showtime, the promotion would be left with about $5 million.”  Schaefer goes on to extrapolate $1million for the undercard payroll, rights fees and foreign and closed-circuit sales which cover the marketing costs for the PPV.  In the end, Schaefer predicts a $4 million upside for the fighters which is a little better than if it were to be aired on HBO or Showtime.

Schaefer also noted that for a boxing PPV, its anticipated that 5 people are watching per buy whereas UFC PPVs are close to 9.

Payout Perspective:

The article is an interesting look at the boxing PPV market which is different than the UFC PPV market. There are at least 8 PPV fights anticipated this year.  The question will be how fight fans will decide how to spend their entertainment dollar.  2013 saw great strides in quality fights on HBO and Showtime and now see that some of the upper tier fighters will be on PPV.  But should there be some concern for the state of boxing PPVs?  Manny Pacquiao’s last PPV fight in November was decidedly disappointing buy-wise.  Floyd Mayweather’s first fight against Roberto Guerrero for Showtime/Golden Boy in May 2013 was lower than expected.  So, with more fights scheduled for PPV, and the new price point of $64.99 (which is likely), how receptive will fight fans be to more boxing PPVs.

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