Glory appoints new CEO, returns to Spike for ’15

August 20, 2014

Glory Sports International announced that it has appointed Jon J. Franklin as Global Chief Executive via company press release.  It also announced that it has extended its agreement with Spike TV to provide original kickboxing programming through 2015.

Via Glory press release:

GLORY Sports International and its board of directors today [August 19, 2014] appointed Jon J. Franklin as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. In this role, Franklin will oversee management of the world’s premier kickboxing league, with coverage in over 170 global territories.

Since 2002, Franklin has been President of The Sports and Entertainment Company (Sports-EntCo), a sports and entertainment marketing firm that assisted with production, programming, sponsorship, and logistics for GLORY events in the United States.

“I look forward to working with Jon in this new capacity. He has been a big part of our incredible success thus far and is uniquely suited to lead GLORY into the next phase of development,” said Pierre Andurand, GLORY Chairman and Co-Founder. “With Jon at the helm, we are confident that 2015 will be a banner year in the evolution of our brand as a leading combat sports league in the United States and abroad”.

Previously, Franklin spent 15 years in senior roles at IMG-Media and has also served as President of Golden Gloves Boxing LLC and AP-X, a division of America Presents Boxing.

“I’m honored to have been a part of GLORY’s growth into one of the top fight promotions worldwide, but the work is not done,” said Franklin. “I truly believe that we have the best athletes in the world, with production for both live audiences and home viewers that is second to none. As we move into the new year, I can’t wait to share GLORY’s global vision for kickboxing with our fans.”

Andrew Whitaker, who served as CEO previously, will assume an advisory role withGLORY as a consultant for business development.

Payout Perspective:

The big news for kickboxing fans is that Glory will be returning to Spike TV in 2015.  We will see if there will be a new direction for the company in 2015 with the appointment of Franklin.  It will be interesting to see how it intends to increase the brand and whether it will make another attempt at a PPV or focus on events on Spike.

Alvarez given unconditional release from Bellator

August 19, 2014

Bellator has released Eddie Alvarez from his contract with the organization per a company Media Alert.  The media advisory also includes a statement from Alvarez.

Via  Bellator media advisory:

Bellator President Scott Coker has released a statement regarding Eddie Alvarez:

“We’ve granted Eddie his unconditional release. Eddie is free to explore the free agent market, we hold no matching rights, and we wish him the best in the future. We sat down with Eddie and his team a few times, and it became pretty clear early on that he just wasn’t interested in fighting for Bellator in the future. We want guys in this organization that want to be here, and after the history Eddie and the former regime had here at Bellator, we decided to move on. We wish Eddie the absolute best of luck with whatever is next for him. It’s a new chapter for everyone involved.”

Eddie Alvarez has also released a statement:

“This was a long process but it’s a decision that everyone seems happy with. I think it’s important to say that I am genuinely thankful for my time at Bellator. I know that sounds a little crazy given everything I went through, but I’ve fought there since 2009, and have been involved in some really amazing fights. The staff there always treated me great, and I’m going to miss seeing a lot of those familiar faces around for sure. Myself and my team had some really good discussions with Scott, but in my heart I knew I was ready to move on and start the next chapter in my career.”

Payout Perspective:

This move is probably not surprising to most following the situation since it was clear Alvarez wanted out and Coker likely wanted a clean break from the old regime. Releasing Alvarez under “amicable” terms lets Bellator move on without having to answer any more questions about the Alvarez situation and it allows Alvarez to move on with his career.  We’ll see if his career continues in the UFC or somewhere else.  The one negative for Alvarez here is that he loses leverage with the UFC in negotiating a contract since the UFC is the only place (with the money) where he can land.

UPDATED: 3pm 8/19/14.  And just like that Alvarez is in the UFC.

UFC Fight Night 47: 735,000 viewers

August 19, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 47 received an average of 735,000 viewers. The prelims for the event on Fox Sports 2 received an average viewership of 116,000 viewers.

UFC Fight Night 47 which featured Ryan Bader defeating Ovince St. Preux in the main event was up almost 5% from UFC Fight Night 45, the previous Fight Night on FS1.  Below is a graph of the Fight Nights on FS1 since the beginning of the year.  It excludes those Fight Nights on Fight Pass since viewership numbers for those events are not released.

UFC FN TV Ratings 2014

According to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, UFC Fight Night 47 was the top audience on FS1 for the week.

Payout Perspective:

Due to a programming conflict with MLB, the prelims were on FS2 and thus the reason for the low number. Based on Ourand’s tweet, it reflects the value UFC has to the network. The average viewership for UFC Fight Night events on FS1 since the start of the year is a little over 862,000 viewers.

Coker says Bellator going month to month in 2015

August 18, 2014

New Bellator head Scott Coker stated that Bellator is going to focus on a monthly event in addition to four major shows which will likely feature the bigger stars for Bellator.

Coker revealed the news Monday which means that the upcoming 11th season will be the last with tournament formatting…for now.  Coker indicated that he may bring back the tournament if warranted.  In addition to the once a month event on Spike TV, the promotion would also do four major shows.  There was no clear indication whether the plan would eventually mean these shows would be PPVs although Coker stated the focus would be Spike.

(H/t:  MMA Junkie/The MMA Hour)

Payout Perspective:

The reduction of actual shows from 26 to 16 is the opposite of the UFC plan.  We’ll see if this works as Coker’s plan seems to be quality rather than quantity.  Certainly, focusing on a show a month allows for build and focus on the monthly event.  The one hurdle is keeping viewers engaged in the three or so weeks that its off the air.

UFC Fight Night 47 attendance, gate and bonuses

August 17, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s Fight Night event from Maine.  Dana White announced the information during the post-fight press conference.

For its first trip to Maine, the UFC drew 5,329 for a gate of $321, 470.  No comps were mentioned.  The event took place at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.  According to its web site, the venue can hold up to 8,000.

Bonuses went to Tim Boetsch, Thiago Tavares, Alan Jouban and Seth Baczynski.  Each earned $50,000 each.

Boetsch and Thiago Tavares earned the Performance of the Night honors with the former defeating Brad Tavares with a third round KO.  Jouban and Baczynski won Fight of the Night despite it lasting only 1 round.

Payout Perspective:

The event attendance was comparable to UFC FN 45 in Atlantic City (4,115/no gate announced).  Based on the attendance and gate alone, this may be seen as a disappointment if you compare it to how UFC FN 44 in San Antonio (9,227/$728K gate) and UFC FN 42 in Albuquerque (8,775/$697K).  The UFC is trying to expand its market to regions it has yet to visit and it is discovering where not to return.  One might argue that ratings on FS1 will matter more than the gate but its still something to take note.

 

Harvick’s agency signs Tate

August 15, 2014

ESPN reports NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick’s athlete management agency, KHI Management, has signed Miesha Tate to a multiyear commitment.  Reports are that Tate will be sponsored by Budweiser in her next fight against Rin Naka on September 20th.

It is the second MMA fighter to be signed by KHI as it has Donald Cerrone in its stable.  Cerrone was the first MMA fighter in recent memory to be sponsored by Budweiser in the Octagon.  Aside from Budweiser, he is also sponsored by golf brand EZ-Go.

Harvick told ESPN about its approach to UFC sponsorships:

“UFC has a younger demographic,” Harvick said. “NASCAR doesn’t have quite the reach UFC does. It took us a little bit to figure out exactly how we wanted to activate sponsors at a UFC fight. But in the last three fights, we’ve kind of taken a different approach and we’ve had great participation from all the sponsors we’ve entertained.”

Harvick does not identify what its done differently, although its clear his NASCAR contacts have helped Cerrone obtain non-traditional MMA sponsors.

Payout Perspective:

Harvick has been featured many times on FOX as that NASCAR driver that attends UFC fights.  His agency may have an edge in recruiting MMA fighters for its company as it can pitch the fighter to non-traditional MMA brands.  It obviously has an “in” with Budweiser and EZ-Go.  These two brands (and there may be more) are not on any fighter aside from Cerrone.  Now Tate will sport the Budweiser brand (and maybe the golf cart company too).  We will see if KHI gains traction in recruiting MMA fighters to its company.

Women’s MMA comes to Bellator

August 14, 2014

Bellator has announced that it is re-establishing its women’s division and announced the signing of Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd.

Via Bellator press release:

Bellator MMA has reestablished the women’s division with two of MMA’s top featherweights leading the forefront. Finding previous success in the female MMA game, Bellator President Scott Coker has added Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd to the roster to start the next era of the Bellator women’s division.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring in two of the best athletes competing in our sport today,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “We are making a commitment to bring back the female division to Bellator, and feature some of the world’s best in the Bellator cage.”

A former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion and Remix World Cup Champion, Coenen has recorded a 21-6 professional record with 15 wins coming by submission and 12 in the first round. Ranked as the number two featherweight in the world, Coenen is ready to get back in the cage and put on an explosive performance for the fans in the first female fight under Coker’s reign.

Budd joins Bellator riding a four-fight win streak and is currently ranked as the number three featherweight in the world. Having previously fought for Strikeforce and Invicta, the Canadian striker is known for her strong Muay Thai background and is looking for a strong finish in her return to the bright lights.

Payout Perspective:

Gina Carano benefits the most from this announcement as now she has some bargaining leverage with Zuffa.  There were rumors that she had signed with Bellator but there has not been any official confirmation.  The addition of Coenen and Budd is a start and reflects another big move by Scott Coker.  With the apparent re-opening of women’s MMA in Bellator, we will see how the company will utilize its women fighters.

The Wrestling Post – 08.13.14

August 13, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post where we write about the WWE Network launching overseas and the news that tickets demand are lowest in four years for Summerslam.

WWE Network launches overseas

The official launch of the international over the top network went live this week as it was made available in 170 countries outside of the United States.  The hope is that it will pick up much needed subscribers after meager additions after the company’s second quarter.  In addition, in order to entice fans that do not want a longer commitment, it is offering two other tiers of subscription.

Via WWE press release:

The U.S. English language version of WWE Network is now available, on an over-the-top basis, in more than 170 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain, and the Nordics, among others. The network is expected to be live in the U.K. by this October and plans for the network in Italy, UAE, Germany, Japan, India, China, Thailand and Malaysia will be communicated at a later date.

For $9.99 (U.S. dollars) per month with a six month commitment, fans have access to 24/7 programming, all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events, and the most comprehensive video-on-demand library. In addition, subscribers can now choose a monthly offering at $12.99 (U.S. dollars) with no commitment and the ability to cancel at any time. The $12.99 price point is a change from the previously announced $19.99 monthly plan and allows WWE to offer an option with no commitment that we believe better reflects the variety of economies that exist internationally.

Payout Take:  We will see how many subscribers latch on to the WWE Network.  Overseas growth had been key in the past for WWE traditional businesses.  Certainly, the WWE hopes that proves the same with its network.

Summerslam Ticket prices lowest in 4 years

In addition to the WWE Network subscriber disappointment, tickets for this Sunday’s big event, Summerslam, ticket demand for this year rivals that of UFC 174.

Via Forbes.com:

According to TiqIQ, the average price for SummerSlam is currently $205.99 with a get-in price of $67, both lows since 2011. Last year the average price was $213.71 with a get-in price of $71. Neither year come close to the peak from 2011 and 2012, which had average prices of $248.31 and $249.64, respectively, with a get-in price of $75.

Payout Take:  Take it for what it’s worth as the article was written by the CEO of TiqIQ and he sources his own company for the ticket information.  Summerslam 2014 is likely not as bad as UFC 174, but if we assume that the ticket demand is down from last year, it reflects a bad spate for the WWE.  Even with Brock Lesnar-John Cena in the main event, the interest appears to be off for this year if we are basing it on the ticket demand.  Due to cost-cutting measures from the expenses incurred from the WWE Network, the WWE did away with its mini-exhibition, Axxess, during Summerslam although it will have a scaled down version.

NSAC holds off on ruling on Jones-Cormier brawl

August 13, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will hold off on ruling on the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier media day brawl due to the fight being postponed until 2015.

Per MMA Junkie, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett stated, “The incident between Jones and Cormier will not be on the agenda for the commission meeting this month.”  The NSAC indicated that it would review the video before determining action.  Now, it is postponing its decision due to the fight’s postponement.

Payout Perspective:

The decision to not make a decision is befuddling to me.  There has to be some sort of ruling by the commission since it’s made the announcement.  Whatever the decision (fine, no fine, stern reprimand), it could have done it swiftly and without much media attention now, since the fight is not until January.  Instead, it will appear as the commission is dragging its feet and without ruling, it infers that a fight in public (where the safety of bystanders could have been compromised) is not that important.

 

Jones-Cormier showdown postponed to UFC 182

August 12, 2014

It was officially announced on FS1’s America’s Pregame that Jon Jones is out of UFC 178 due to a leg injury and his title fight with Daniel Cormier has been postponed until the January 3, 2015 card.  In its place, Demetrious Johnson will face Chris Cariaso for the flyweight title.

The news of Jones’ injury stalls the momentum between the Jones-Cormier feud which was amplified by last week’s media day brawl at the MGM Grand.  It followed with “hot mics” picking up some unrefined banter between the two which was not to be for public consumption.  Yet, it perked everyone’s interest.

Now, it appears that the UFC will replace this hot feud with another title fight featuring Johnson.  Of course, the last time Johnson headlined (at UFC 174), it was the lowest PPV output in 10 years.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 178 will still have Connor McGregor on the card so there is still buzz to be made.  However, replacing Jones-Cormier with Johnson-Cariaso is a disappointment (and its neither Johnson or Cariaso’s fault).  Unfortunately for Johnson, he has yet to translate into a PPV draw and his June showing at UFC 174 reflects the fact that he is not a main eventer.  On the bright side, both Jones and Cormier will get time to nurse their respective injuries so that they will be fresh for UFC 182 on Jan. 3rd 2015.

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