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.

Crawford-Diaz draw 961,000 viewers on HBO

May 23, 2017

The Terrence Crawford-Felix Diaz fight on HBO Boxing drew 961,000 viewers on Saturday night per ShowBuzz Daily.

Crawford dominated the fight against Diaz.  Per ShowBuzz Daily, it drew a 0.37 rating in the A18-49 demo.

The other fight on the telecast between Raymundo Beltran and Jonathan Maicelo drew 687,000 viewers on HBO.

Previously, Crawford drew 982,000 viewers for his fight this past February against Hank Lundy.  In October 2016, Crawford drew 1.07M subscribers against Dierry Jean.  In April 2015, he drew 1.004M subscribers against Thomas Dulorme.

Payout Perspective:

The telecast was opposite a Showtime show so there may have been a split in viewership.  Crawford is one of HBO’s prized boxers but will he get a shot at the upper echelon?  The one sure way is a big fight with Manny Pacquiao.  The ratings reflect that his viewership is around 1 million viewers but if he’s to return to PPV, he’ll need a Pacquiao fight to do so.

Where is boxing’s next PPV star?

May 6, 2017

As Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. get set to fight on the traditional Cinco de Mayo weekend boxing card, we wonder about boxing’s next big pay-per-view draw.

The two fighters in the main event were thought to be the future of boxing.  You can argue that only one of them has lived up to the billing of being the next big star while the other has been a disappointment thus far in his career.  For those that don’t follow boxing, Canelo is the fighter that is still on a career arc while JCC has the name and pedigree but perhaps not the desire needed to be a top star.

Last week, Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 in Wembley Stadium in a showdown between heavyweights.  While Joshua is massively popular in the UK, it’s still unknown whether that fandom would translate to US audiences.

The overarching question is whether any of these fighters could translate into a PPV star for boxing.

Canelo seems to be the best active fighter to be considered a boxing star on PPV.  He produced 2 million PPV buys when he fought Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 and 900,000 PPV buys against Miguel Cotto in November 2015.

But since the Cotto fight, Canelo has had lackluster PPV performances in a KO win over Amir Khan and Liam Smith.  In the Khan fight, it was estimated it had between 460,000 to 600,000 PPV buys.  It was later recalibrated down to 450,000 – 500,000 buys depending on who you asked.  This is respectable but down considering Khan had some notoriety prior to fighting Alvarez.  The Smith fight in September 2016 drew less than 300,000 PPV buys.  This may be due to the unknown opponent and the prior rumors that Alvarez was going to meet GGG.

In 2016, the biggest fight of the year, Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev, drew just 165,000 PPV buys.  GGG’s fight against Daniel Jacobs this past March did 170,000 PPV buys which was an improvement from GGG last showing on PPV.  Yet, fair or unfair to compare, 170,000 buys is less than a mediocre monthly PPV.  GGG is considered one of boxing’s best and can only muster 170,000 to pay for his fight, while a PPV with CM Punk drew 450,000 PPV buys.

In a November 2015 Sports Business Journal article former HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet identified seven factors that set apart PPV “megastars”:

  1. In-ring style – this goes to being an action fighter with the intent to KO an opponent in every fight
  2. Out-of-ring persona – Likable but also someone that sets themselves apart from the rest.
  3. Natural rivalries – this refers to fighters in the same weight class, or in a division close to their own.
  4. Demographics – this refers to the fighter being able to be identified with a particular group or audience.
  5. Media/technology – the ability to use social media to build followers and then monetize the opportunity.
  6. Intent – the desire to build a fan base as their career grows
  7. “It” factor – An undefined intangible, that Taffet states usually takes the form a storyline that is “unique and memorable.”

The likes of Vasyl Lomachenko, Errol Spence, Deontay Wilder and Keith Thurman may be on the next tier of boxing’s stars that have all of the above except the fact that they have yet to translate their in-ring success to monetary gain on PPV.  None of these fighters have headlined a PPV.  This is likely due to the fact that they see GGG and Canelo having trouble to gain traction in garnering PPV buys and are weary of pushing an event that might flop.  Recall Terrence Crawford fought Viktor Postol on PPV and drew 50-60K PPV buys.

While Canelo’s last PPV outing was disappointing, Golden Boy will continue to promote its premier star.  He has all of the seven factors above and if set with the right opponent, the fight could draw big PPV buys.  GGG lacks the natural rivalry that would help him equate his talent and persona.  The long-awaited showdown with GGG is in the offing and could give him a spark.

Anthony Joshua might be the next PPV boxing star.  It is still unclear whether his UK marketability will equate in the U.S., but last week’s event which aired on Showtime and HBO drew great ratings.  More importantly, once people tuned in, they saw a great fight in which he was knocked down but eventually came back to stop Klitschko.  With 13 sponsors already in his portfolio including big brands Jaguar, Under Armour and Beats By Dre, the former Olympic Gold Medalist has the pedigree, the look and the “It” Factor to succeed.

Clearly, Joshua’s marketability can translate to U.S. dollars as it did for Manny Pacquiao.  Notwithstanding the last year or so of his career, Pacquiao’s fighting style and large Filipino following allowed him to be one of the biggest boxing stars of the last 20 years.  He was able to accomplish this despite not being from the United States.  With his Mexican roots, Canelo is doing almost the same.  Joshua may have an advantage over Pacquiao and Canelo as he speaks fluent English.  Not to discount Manny or Canelo, but each has difficulty with carrying on interviews in English.

This year could be a big year for boxing starting with Saturday’s Canelo-Chavez fight.  If Canelo wins, it should ready us for a showdown with GGG in September.  If Chavez scores an upset, we can see a rematch later this year.  In June, we will see the rematch between Ward-Kovalev and see if that spurs more buys this time around.

Despite the wealth of networks that will show boxing, pay-per-view is the gold standard for boxing as it generates the most revenue for all in this sport.  For one reason or another, boxing fans have decided to hold off on buying their fights and instead wait for the next one on television.  In a post Manny-Floyd era, the lack of star power to drive boxing PPVs must be a concern for promoters.  But, there are several boxers that could fill the void.  The question is how to build these stars.

Joshua-Klitschko produce ratings for Showtime and HBO

May 2, 2017

The Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko fight on Saturday produced big ratings for both Showtime and HBO.

The live event on Showtime drew 659,000 subscribers and 0.24 in the A18-49 demo per ShowBuzz Daily.  The pre-event on Showtime drew 308,000 subscribers.  The post-fight on Showtime drew 401,000 viewers.

The replay main event on HBO drew 738,000 subscribers and 0.22 in the A18-49 demo.  The Canelo/Chavez shoulder programming which followed the HBO showing of the fight drew 315,000 viewers and 0.11 in the A18-49 demo.

On a separate note, PBC on FS1 drew 300,000 viewers Saturday night.  The 101-minute event starting at 10:19pm ET drew 0.08 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Excellent ratings for both showings and you can see that more people watched the HBO replay.  There are more subscribers to HBO and with the afternoon showing on Showtime, some probably could not watch it live.  Of course, maybe some like Lampley, Kellerman and Jones more.  Still, Showtime produced a great event and embraced the big event feel at Wembley Stadium.  The ratings on Showtime do not surpass the Broner-Granados fight earlier this year but again, this was a mid-afternoon fight on the west coast so that may have impacted viewership.

Is Joshua the next big thing in boxing?

April 29, 2017

Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko to unify several Heavyweight belt before 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London, England.  Joshua’s ascent to boxing superstar should help a sport in continued search of the next big star.

Saturday’s fight aired in the United States on Showtime (live) and HBO (same-day tape).  It was just the third time that both networks aired the same fight.

The Sports Business Journal recently pegged Joshua as one of the rising stars for the sport.  Certainly, sponsors have recognized Joshua.  The former 2012 gold medalist had 13 sponsors going into his fight with Klitschko.  This included Jaguar, Under Armour and Beats By Dre.

One of the big questions is whether Joshua’s popularity in the UK translates to US popularity.  Thus far, Deontay Wilder’s popularity is gaining but with fights in his home state of Alabama, there must be concern that he could not carry an event in Las Vegas let alone a PPV anywhere.

It is expected that Joshua’s popularity becomes PPV success.  Undoubtedly, 90,000 at Wembley is amazing, but his promotion and his broadcast partners will be looking toward potential PPV success in the U.S.

Porter-Berto fight draws 468,000 on Showtime

April 26, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s Andre Berto-Shawn Porter fight drew 468,000 network subscribers per ShowBuzz daily.

The fight, which Porter won via TKO in the 9th round sets up another big fight with Keith Thurman.

In addition to Berto-Porter, Showtime had two other fights prior to the main event.  The network is on a roll this year and heads into a weekend where it will show Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitschko live on its network ahead of a replay on HBO.

Payout Perspective:

Showtime had its biggest ratings since 2015 earlier this year with a February fight featuring Adrien Broner.  Berto-Porter was another good matchup and 468,000 network subscribers is pretty good considering Showtime has not produced huge ratings for its events and it was up against UFC, NHL and NBA playoffs.  The CBS Sports Network shoulder programming of prior Berto, Porter fights may have helped with the marketing.

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