With Fox deal ending, could Showtime be a landing place for UFC?

September 11, 2017

MMA Fighting reports that Showtime is interested in jumping back into partnership with the UFC once the company’s current rights fee is up.

In an interview last week with MMA Fighting, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza stated that it would reach out to the UFC about being one of its broadcast partners.  Of course, since its likely that the UFC will have events on multiple platforms and multiple networks, Showtime’s concern would be what level of events it would receive for the network.

And, of course, how much it would need to pay.

Showtime worked with Zuffa in brokering a deal for the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight last month.  It appeared that there the working relationship went fairly well as the two sides were able to put together the deal in a relatively short time span.  Compare that to the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in May 2015 which seemed to have taken several years to put together.

Payout Perspective:

There are obvious details that would have to be hammered out aside from the financials.  Dana White had issues with Showtime and its production of Strikeforce once Zuffa took over.  Whether or not White has softened his stance on Showtime based on his dealings with The Money Fight is yet to be seen.  Of course, with the new ownership, we can see if WME-IMG is willing to work with Showtime.  Then again, this upcoming rights deal will be something the company expects to be lucrative and whether Showtime is willing to pay for it is something to be seen.  I would expect other bidders competing including Fox (which ended or is at the end of an exclusive negotiating window), Turner Sports, NBC Universal and Amazon.

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.

First lawsuit due to Mayweather-McGregor streaming issues has been filed

August 28, 2017

A lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon as a result of the streaming issues with the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on Saturday night.

The lawsuit seeks class action status with the lead plaintiff being Zack Bartel who paid $99 to watch the fight via the Showtime App.  The Complaint includes multiple screenshots evidencing payment for the fight and the subsequent issues experienced by many due to what appears to be the high demand for the fight.  The screenshots include “grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls instead” of the advertised HD at 1080p resolution.

The Complaint cites a violation of Oregon law of Unlawful Trade Practices citing that they are entitled to equitable relief and are “entitled to recover actual damages or $200 in statutory damages, whichever is greater, interest and fees and costs…”  They also cite Showtime for Unjust Enrichment in that Bartel and others paid $99 for live HD streaming services “that were never provided or received.”

The Hollywood Reporter has a copy of the Complaint.

Payout Perspective:

This is likely the first of many lawsuits to come due to the issues with the streaming services from Saturday night.  There has yet to be an organized resolution to the matter (i.e., will people be refunded for not being able to see the fight or seeing portions of it).  The lawsuit was filed due to the fact that there is the potential for attorney fees and costs as a prevailing party.  Showtime will need to figure out a legal strategy here as a lot of people will want to partake in this lawsuit.

Corona will be the main sponsor for The Money Fight

August 23, 2017

The Sports Business Journal reports Mexican beer maker Corona will be the main sponsor for Saturday night’s fight between Conro McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.  Aside from Corona, Body Armor will have “prime placement” as it will be all over the ring on fight night.

Terms of the Corona deal were not announced although it was previously reported that the asking price for the sponsorship, along with a suite of branded areas would go for $10 million.  Corona will have its logo in the center of the mat and will be integrated into Showtime’s PPV telecast of the bout.  Of course, ring girls that have been at Mayweather-McGregor events this week will be

Body Armor will have its logo on “towels and stools in the fighters’ corners.”  Fighters will drink out of BodyArmor-provided bottles.

The fighters have secured their own sponsor deals as Mayweather has renewed a deal with Hublot to have its name across the waistband of his shorts for the fight. He also signed a deal with high-end tequila brand Avion.  Mayweather’s likeness will appear on a limited number of its Tequila bottles.   McGregor has signed deals with Monster Energy and online gambling site BetSafe.

Payout Perspective:

It was curious that the sponsors had not been announced until this week but it appears that there will be a major presence at the event.  Whether or not the fight was able to garner the $10 million price tag for the main sponsor is something that may be revealed at a later date.  Corona is a long-time fight sponsor and most events they seemingly interchange with Tecate as the beer (and usually) main sponsor.  The BodyArmor deal is a big one for the company.  It has had a presence in the sport but I would assume that this is likely its biggest sponsorship to date.  As for the fighters, I think both will earn a lot of money from in-ring sponsorships.

Garcia-Broner on Showtime draw 881,000 viewers Saturday night

August 2, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s feature fight between Mikey Garcia and Adrian Broner drew 881,000 network subscribers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It was the highest-rated fight since Deontay Wilder faced Bermane Stiverne on Showtime.

Garcia thoroughly dominated Broner in winning via unanimous decision.

The Wilder-Stiverne fight in January 2015 drew 1.24 million viewers on Showtime.

Broner continues to be a Showtime draw.  His last fight in February against Adrian Granados drew 779,000 viewers.  Saturday night drew a 0.32 rating in the A18-49 demo.  The co-main event of the night, Jermell Charlo and Jorge Heiland drew 598,000 viewers and 0.23 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

A good night for boxing despite UFC 214.  Broner, for one reason or another, continues to be a draw.  In December 2013, his fight with Marcos Maidana drew 1.3 million network subs.  Also to note that the first All Access for Mayweather-McGregor aired the same night on Showtime.

Report: Mayweather-McGregor set for August 26th at T-Mobile

June 14, 2017

Kevin Iole reports that the long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is set to happen on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena MGM Grand Garden Arena T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Review Journal has also confirmed the fight.  An official announcement may come as soon as Wednesday.

SECOND UPDATE:  Sorry folks, I was right the first time, it’s the T-Mobile Arena.  Possibly a Mayweather concession since the UFC is one of T-Mobile Arena’s anchor tenants while Mayweather usually fights at the MGM Grand.  TMZ has more of the details including both Mayweather and McGregor likely making over $100M each.  No news on what weight they have agreed upon.

UPDATED:  I guess it is official via Mayweather social media.  Note the “It’s Showtime” reference which means that Mayweather gets his way with the PPV provider.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission approved a date reserved by Mayweather Promotions for Saturday, August 26, 2017.  The news had Mayweather cancelling the commission review of the date, but that never happened as the commission approved the reservation Wednesday.

With that news, in all likelihood we now have a fight between Mayweather and McGregor.

Payout Perspective:

We will have more news on this as it comes.  But, I am impressed that the sides came to an agreement.  Recall, the prolonged negotiations for Mayweather-Pacquiao.  This happened sort of quickly.  No word on how much PPV will be but expect it to be $100 as both will likely be making over $100 million from the fight.

Could late August be the date for Mayweather-McGregor?

June 12, 2017

A calendar reservation on the Nevada Athletic Commission web site gave people some hope in a Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather fight as Mayweather Promotions reserved the MGM Grand Garden Arena for a professional boxing event to be televised on Showtime.

Conor McGregor sent out a cryptic tweet which indicated some news was coming soon

As of late Monday night, the request which was to be formally made at Wednesday’s commission hearing was removed and won’t be brought up at the meeting.  But, this may be due to the fact that an agreement on Showtime PPV has not been finalized yet.  Once finalized, a request can be made to the commission at a future hearing.  The request is likely a mere formality.

Of course, the commission also has on calendar a September 16th date for the UFC to hold an event in Vegas.  This would be the same night as GGG-Canelo at the T-Mobile Arena.  It’s clear that the UFC will not be running an event the same night as that fight.

So, there’s still speculation and lots up in the air but the news might mean it’s getting closer.

For those wondering, there’s a Bellator event scheduled on Friday, August 25th and no UFC event scheduled that weekend and it’s likely that this event would be competing with preseason NFL games.

Payout Perspective:

Could this be the date for this fight or just another public game of using media to place blame if/when the fight falls through.  There was a request for the date by Mayweather Promotions but then it was removed which could mean that they wanted to just get people talking.  We will see what happens in the coming days.

Stevenson-Fonfara fight draws 390,000 on Showtime

June 7, 2017

Saturday night’s Showtime Boxing event featuring the rematch between Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara drew 390,000 of the network’s subscribers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

UPDATED: Stevenson fight drew 145,000 in the A18-49 demo.  The Alvarez fight drew 149,000 in the A18-49 demo.

In the undercard event, Jean Pascal and Eleider Alvarez, the event drew 373,000 network subscribers.  Alvarez edged out Pascal via majority decision.

In the main event, Stevenson quickly dispensed Fonfara in two rounds after a knockdown which shook the challenger forcing his corner to stop the fight.

The time in between the fights which included a build up for the return of Adrien Broner this July as he faces Mikey Garcia drew 380,000 viewers.

Saturday Showtime Boxing Events 2017

1/14/2017 Jack/Degale 454,000
1/28/2017 Santa Cruz/Frampton 587,000
2/18/2017 Broner/Granados 779,000
4/22/2017 Berto/Porter 486,000
4/29/2017 Joshua/Klitschko *afternoon 659,000
5/20/2017 Russell Jr./Escandon 481,000
5/27/2017 Brook/Spence *afternoon 291,000
6/3/2017 Fonfara/Stevenson 390,000

Payout Perspective:

Going up against a UFC event, the numbers were likely going to be down.  However, based on the normal Showtime Boxing events, 390,000 is good for this fight.   The ratings for 2017 show a much stronger year for Showtime with better matchups and bigger ratings for the network that usually doesn’t produce notable ratings.

Brook-Spence draw 291,000 on Showtime Boxing

May 31, 2017

Showtime Boxing drew 291,000 viewers on Saturday night for the fight between Kell Brook and Errol Spence, Jr.

The event took place from Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England.  Spence stopped Brook in the10th round and established himself as one of the next great boxers in the sport.

The fight drew 291,000 viewers and 0.11 in the A18-49 demo.  The ratings reflect the 46 minutes in which the main event took place.  The post-fight drew 207,000 viewers and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo.  The pre-fight, which included the walk outs, drew 155,000 subscribers of the premium network and 0.05 in the A18-49 demo.

The event was also on Sky Sports.  No word on those ratings yet although you might expect them to be higher.

H/t:  ShowBuzz Daily

Payout Perspective:

The live event took place on Saturday afternoon (2:15PT/5:515ET) which can account for the lower-than norm ratings.  Couple that with the fact that this happened on Memorial Day weekend and we have a sub-300K viewed fight which really should have been much more considering the talent involved.

Showtime Boxing main event draws 481,000 viewers

May 25, 2017

The main event featuring Gary Russell, Jr. versus Oscar Escandon on Showtime Boxing on Saturday night drew 481,000 fans per ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast ran opposite HBO’s boxing event featuring Terrence Crawford.  The event drew 961,000 viewers for Crawford’s event against Felix Diaz.

Russell was the featured event on the telecast which also featured the unfortunate post-fight incident where Andre Dirrell’s uncle took a cheap shot at Jose Uzcategui after he was disqualified for an after-the-bell foul on Dirrell.  The fight drew 354,000 viewers and 0.11 in the A18-49 demo.

Also, a fight between super lightweights Rances Barthelemy and Kiryl Relikh drew 267,000 viewers.

The first fight on the Showtime telecast drew 206,000 viewers.  It was a junior lightweight contest between Floyd Mayweather’s fighter Gervonta Davis and Liam Walsh.  Davis won via third-round TKO.

The Russell event drew 481,000 viewers and 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event is on par with prior Showtime telecasts and likely had to compete with viewers that also watched HBO’s boxing telecasts.  Usually, HBO boxing events do better than Showtime although Showtime may have had better fights on Saturday.

Next Page »