Boost Mobile signs on with Bellator

January 16, 2018

Boost Mobile has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Bellator MMA and will appear in the cage this Saturday as Bellator 192 relaunches Spike TV as the new Paramount Network.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the deal will make Boost Mobile the “official wireless carrier” of Bellator MMA.

Boost Mobile sponsored the World Series of Fighting but has been away from MMA until the news of this deal on Tuesday.  It also was a sponsor of the UFC in 2010.  The company has scheduled a meet and greets for this Thursday to promote Saturday’s event in LA.

The SBJ article quotes Scott Coker of describing Boost Mobile as a “blue chip” sponsor.

Payout Perspective:

No financial terms were disclosed but the report indicates the logo will be prevalent throughout the Bellator broadcast Saturday.  The wireless carrier is back sponsoring esports and the return to MMA shows a dedication to reach out to a young demo in its target audience.  Look for Bellator to seek out other sponsors in 2018 as it will compete with UFC for additional revenue in this business segment.

Jimmy Smith joins UFC broadcast team

January 12, 2018

Jimmy Smith has joined the UFC broadcast team according to a company release.  Smith will be a part of all facets of UFC programming including UFC broadcasts for Fox Sports, PPV events and pre-fight programming.

“I am honored to join the world’s premier combat sports brand in 2018. It is a privilege to call fights for a living and I can’t wait to join the tremendous UFC broadcast team to call the best fights in the world. To the UFC fans, I am thrilled to join you for this wild ride. See you all very soon!”

Smith left Bellator late last year where he served as the company’s color commentator.

Payout Perspective:

Smith’s hiring comes days after Bellator announced the signing of “Big” John McCarthy as a color commentator.  The news is somewhat surprising considering that the UFC has a stable of commentators/analysts including fighters Dominick Cruz, Paul Felder, Daniel Cormier and former fighter Dan Hardy.  Notably, Cruz and Felder have been great in their analysis.  Perhaps Smith’s signing will alleviate the travel of some of the UFC’s commentating team as well as scale back Joe Rogan’s PPV duties.

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.

UFC 219 Prelims draw 914,000 viewers

January 3, 2018

The UFC 219 Prelims on FS1 drew 914,000 viewers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims featured Khalil Rountree against Michal Oleksiejczuk with the Polish light heavyweight picking up the victory.

The event drew 0.32 in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims scored the 4th highest rating for 2017 out of 12 aired prelims.

Also of note, the prefight show on FS1 drew 209,000 viewers from 6:39pm to 8:00 pm ET and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo.  The post-fight show drew 119,000 viewers from 1:04am to 2:15am ET and 0.05 in the A18-49 demo.

The prelims drew 76,000 viewers on Fox Deportes.

Payout Perspective:

While it pales in comparison to last December’s UFC 207 which drew 1,511,000 viewers, the 914,000 viewers is a strong rating for a relatively uninspiring prelim card.  Notably, the prelims aired about the same time as the Orange Bowl on ESPN which drew over 11 million viewers.  We shall see if the viewership translated into PPV buys.

UFC 218 replay on FS1 Christmas Eve draws 357,000 viewers

December 27, 2017

The Christmas Eve replay of UFC 218 drew 357,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured the main card of the PPV event earlier this month.

Last year’s Christmas Eve replay on Fox drew astounding 4.72 million viewers.  This year, the special presentation aired on FS1 despite the fact that the NFL games on Sunday may have brought the replay similar ratings to last year.

However, the 90-minute presentation on FS1 drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo in addition to the 357,000 viewers.  The telecast featured Max Holloway’s domination of Jose Aldo as well as Francis Ngannou’s KO of Alistair Overeem.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe it was because it was Sunday night and on FS1 that we saw a large decrease over last year’s surprising ratings for the December replay.  It would be nice to see this Christmas Eve replay to return to the Fox network although we have seen one of the worst years for the UFC on Fox in terms of ratings.

UFC 218 on FS1 Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017

UFC 218 will replay on Christmas Eve on FS1.  The main event featured Max Holloway successfully defending his Featherweight title against Jose Aldo.

The event also featured the brutal KO of Alistair Overeem by Heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou and Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje.

Last year, Fox replayed UFC 206 on Christmas Eve highlighting certain entertaining fights.  The results drew 4.7 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps due to NFL Football, Fox is not airing UFC 218 on the network.  We will see if the UFC can capitalize on last year’s Christmas Eve success.  I would think we might see a downtick from last year’s 4.7 million since its on FS1 but I would think you may see a nice viewership rating.

Updated UFC on Fox 26 ratings reflects peak over 3 million for main event

December 19, 2017

UFC on Fox 26 peaked with over 3 million viewers according to Nielsen.  The adjusted viewership for the event on Saturday drew 2,107,000 million viewers.

Saturday night’s event featured Rafael Dos Anjos as he defeated Robbie Lawler in a 5-round main event.  The overrun into the 10:00 time slot saw the peak viewership for the telecast as it drew 3,071,000 viewers per Nielsen.

The event drew just slightly under 1.8 million viewers in the Live plus same day rating for Saturday’s event.  But, that did not include the main event which drew the most fans.

On FSGO and FOX Now the telecast had an average minute audience of 15,521.

The UFC Prelims on FS1 drew 456,000 viewers and on FSGO and FOX Now the telecast had an average minute audience of 5,658.

In addition, the pre-fight show on FS1 drew 121,000 viewers and the post-fight show on FS1 drew 115,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership continued on into the overrun and peaked during the main event which is good news for the UFC as the audience grew toward the main event which we assume is anticipated and planned by the telecast.  The ratings are on par with this past year’s viewership.  In comparison with past years, one can see that the viewership has been down for the network broadcasts this year.

HBO’s Boxing telecast draws 716,000 viewers

December 19, 2017

HBO’s Boxing telecast on Saturday averaged 716,000 viewers for the main event featuring David Lemieux and Billy Joe Saunders.

Saunders defeated Lemieux in the matchup which emanated from Laval, Quebec in Canada.  The main event peaked at 775,000 viewers.  It drew 0.19 in the A18-49 demo per ShowBuzz Daily.

The triple-header included Spike O’Sullivan’s seventh-round KO of Antoine Douglas which drew 668,000 viewers and peaked at 696,000 viewers.  The opening fight saw Yves Ulysse, Jr. KO Cletus Seldin.  The fight averaged 624,000 viewers with a peak of 717,000.  It drew 0.18 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event drew better than last week’s BAD event that went opposite Loma-Rigo.  The 716,000 is a pretty good rating considering it went up against the UFC on Fox event.  Despite ESPN’s return to boxing, HBO is still producing boxing fans are tuning in to watch.

UFC on Fox 26 Prelims draw 456,000 viewers

December 19, 2017

The UFC on Fox 26 Prelims on FS1 drew 456,000 viewers on Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The 3-hour prelims drew 0.15 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen.

The featured fight on the prelims saw Jan Blachowicz defeat Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision. The bonuses for the event were all on the prelims as the Fight of the Night was awarded to Julian Marquez and Darren Stewart.  Nordine Taleb stopped Danny Roberts within a minute of the first round.  It also saw Alessio Di Chirico win a Performance Bonus via a huge knee over Oluwale Bamgbose.

Last December’s UFC on Fox 22 Prelims on FS1 drew 679,000 viewers.

UFC on Fox Prelims – 2017

UFC on Fox 26:  456,000 viewers (FS1)

UFC on Fox 25: 1.137M viewers (Fox)

UFC on Fox 24: 1.105M viewers (Fox)

UFC on Fox 23 : 619,000 viewers (FS1)

Payout Perspective:

Clearly, having the Prelims on Fox garners more viewers but this year’s December Fox event did not produce a lot of viewers.  The prelims on FS1 reflects the decrease of interest for this year’s December UFC on Fox.

PBC on FS1 Friday night draws 276,000 viewers

December 18, 2017

PBC on FS1 Friday night drew 276,000 on Friday night according to Nielsen per ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured the return of Jessie Vargas as he defeated Herrera via unanimous decision.  Prior to Friday night, Vargas last fought Manny Pacquiao in November 2016.  Notably, Vargas has a victory over Sadam Ali, the fighter that upset Miguel Cotto in his retirement match.

The PBC post-show on FS1 drew 217,000 viewers.

The telecast drew slightly better than last Friday’s PBC event on FS1 which drew 236,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Friday night could be the night for PBC on FS1.  The NBA on ESPN drew the top ratings in the time slot but boxing could be a nice alternatives for those wanting an alternative to hoops.

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