Joshua-Klitschko to air on Showtime and HBO Saturday

April 17, 2017

Promoters for heavyweight boxers Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko have come to terms to air the IBF heavyweight title fight on both Showtime and HBO.  Showtime will air the live broadcast at 1:15pm PT and HBO will rebroadcast it in prime time at 7:45pm PT.  The event takes place at Wembley Stadium in London.

Per Yahoo! Sports, each network will provide its own announcing crew for the show.  Showtime has an exclusive deal with Joshua and Klitschko has a deal with HBO.

The negotiated deal between rival networks is a rarity.  The last time the networks worked in conjunction with one another for a boxing event was the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.  The business relationship broke down after the fight and resulted in a lawsuit.

Payout Perspective:

This is a rarity and its good news for boxing fans that have only HBO or Showtime.  It also reflects the fact that there can be a working relationship between rival promoters and networks.  This has been a bone of contention which was brought up in lawsuits by Top Rank and Golden Boy against Al Haymon’s PBC.  This is evidence that it can happen.  It will be interesting to see the ratings for each network.  While Showtime gets the live airing, it is in the mid-afternoon on Saturday for the west coast while HBO does get a prime time replay albeit many might know the result.

Broner-Granados on Showtime draws 779,000 viewers

February 24, 2017

Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports that the Showtime Boxing event Saturday night featuring Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados drew 779,000 viewers making it the best event on the network since the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne fight in January 2015.

The event was held during Showtime’s free preview weekend although the free users are not included in the calculation, just the paid network subscribers.

The event also broadcast on twitter.

The fight peaked at 859,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A good showing by Showtime.  Broner is coming back after nearly a year away from boxing and I wouldn’t consider him a big draw.  Still, the event was the highest-rated event since 2015.  Hopefully, this bodes well for the network as it ramps up for the big fight on March 4th with Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia on sister network CBS.  The following week Showtime will headline a boxing event with Clarissa Shields.

Showtime to air Broner fight on Twitter

February 17, 2017

Showtime Boxing will air its main event Saturday night on twitter featuring Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados.  It’s the first-ever of its kind for the sport of boxing.

The event coincides with Showtime’s free preview weekend.  The card will also be on Showtime this Saturday night at 6pm PT.

This past fall, the NFL aired Thursday night football games on twitter as a method to expand its audience, fan engagement and future means for revenue.  Since then, college football, college basketball, tennis and golf have all streamed on the social media platform.

Payout Perspective:

The twitter stream could be the wave of the future for sports viewership.  Also, twitter is finding ways to bolster its business.  Despite its heavy use, it has not capitalized on turning it into an investment return.  We will see how this will do for twitter viewing.  Broner is a name that is attempting to comeback after several bad outings.

Shields to be first female boxer to headline on Showtime

February 9, 2017

USA Today reports that Claressa Shields will be the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television as she will be the main feature on Showtime’s ShoBox series on March 10th.

Shields was featured in the WSJ last November where they drew comparisons to her and boxing as Ronda Rousey was to women’s MMA.  She made her pro debut on the undercard of Kovalev-Ward and is thrust into the spotlight in March.

She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.  Due to her Olympic success, she earned a $40,000 a year stipend from USA Boxing along with her own room at the training center in Colorado Springs.  She also receives meals, training and health insurance.

Turning pro is a gamble considering women boxers make little.  However, her pedigree meant that she earned $50,000 in her first pro fight.

She meets Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in the main event from Detroit next month.

Payout Perspective:

This was a calculated gamble by Shields and her management team.  Women’s boxing does not receive the publicity as women’s MMA.  Notably, two women headline this Saturday’s UFC PPV.  Shields looks to be the new face of women’s boxing.  Certainly, she is getting paid better than most women MMA fighters.  But her pay is not the norm for women’s boxers.  For Showtime, which usually lags behind HBO in boxing ratings, Shields may bring much-needed interest for its ratings.

Showtime gets victory over HBO in Saturday boxing ratings

January 31, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s card on Saturday night did better than HBO’s Boxing After Dark.  The Showtime card featured Leo Santa Cruz taking on Carl Frampton in a rematch of their first encounter last July.

Santa Cruz-Frampton peaked with 643,000 Showtime subscribers and an overall viewership tally of 587,000 for the main event which lasted from 11:07pm-11:57pm ET according to Nielsen.

In comparison, per Sports TV Ratings HBO’s Boxing After Dark drew 497,000 viewers (234K in A18-49) for Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas.  Berchelt victory over Vargas aired approximately the same time as Santa Cruz-Frampton.  The other fight on HBO BAD featuring Takashi Miura knocking out Mickey Roman drew 491,000 viewers (209K in A18-49).

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that Santa Cruz-Frampton was the more notable fight to watch on Saturday night despite the fact that the BAD telecast had solid viewer numbers.  The fight was a rematch of their July 2016 fight which handed LSC his first loss. It’s a rare victory for Showtime Boxing which seems to lag in viewers in comparison to HBO.

Showtime event featuring Jack-Degale draws 454,000 viewers

January 18, 2017

Showtime Boxing’s event featuring Badou Jack and James DeGale drew 454,000 viewers on Saturday night.  The overall event scored 391,000 per Nielsen.

According to Sports TV Ratings, the event drew 175,000 viewers in the A18-49 rating.

The entertaining fight which sought to unify the super middleweight belts ended in a draw.  Each fighter was down once during the back and forth fight.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are exceptional for a Showtime Boxing event as it’s rare that any fights on the network muster near 400,000 viewers.  It is significant to note that the fights happened the same night as the Patriots-Texans game on CBS.

Showtime Boxing Saturday night, Mares-Cuellar: 327,000

December 14, 2016

The Showtime Boxing event featuring Abner Mares and Jesus Cuellar drew 327,000 viewers on the network and peaked at 368,000 per Nielsen.  The three-bout telecast drew an overall viewership of 271,000 viewers.

The event aired at the same time as HBO Boxing’s event which may have caused fans to split viewership for both events.

The co-feature on Showtime saw Jermall Charlo KO Julian Williams.  The fight drew 321,000 and peaked at 370,000.  The telecast also replayed the Anthony Joshua-Eric Molina from earlier in the day.  The fight drew 224,000 viewers and peaked at 244,000.  The live showing of Joshua-Molina on Showtime Boxing International drew 368,000 and peaked at 390,000.

Payout Perspective:

Showtime viewership is usually lower than HBO events so this seems in line with the ratings.  The afternoon live event (4:07pm-4:21pm PT) of Joshua-Molina did better than the overall three-bout telecast which is promising news that fans are searching out specific fights and fighters.

Crawford-Postol replay draws 378,000 on HBO

August 4, 2016

The PPV replay of the Terrence Crawford-Viktor Postol fight drew 378,000 HBO subscribers per Sports TV Ratings.

The event, which aired from 10:15-11:17pm ET also drew 178,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  Showtime Boxing drew 480,000 viewers and 201,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

Not a good showing considering Crawford drew 982,000a live event fe this past February in a defeat of Hank Lundy.  The February 2016 event was a live event. Prior to that Crawford on HBO drew 1.07M subscribers in an October 2015 fight with Dierry Jean.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps the UFC may have taken away some viewers from Saturday’s replay or no one was interested in a fight that Crawford dominated.  The rating does not bode well for the PPV buy rate.  With the news that Manny Pacquiao has bypassed Crawford as an opponent for his return, Crawford will have to forge his own name to become a PPV star.

HBO-Showtime post similar ratings on Saturday night

June 14, 2016

HBO Boxing edged out Showtime Boxing in ratings as the two went up against one another for most of Saturday night.

According to Sports TV Ratings,  the fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Roman “Rocky” Martinez drew 585,000 HBO network subscribers.  It drew 269,000 in the adult 18-49 category.  Lomachenko scored a stunning KO of Martinez in round 5.

Showtime offered Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina, Jr. in its main event.  Molina scored the upset of the favored Russian.  The event drew 465,000 viewers.

Notably, per Sports TV Ratings, the post-fight segment on HBO drew more (597,000, 278,000 A18-49) than the actual main fight.  The Felix Verdegjo-Juan Jose Martinez fight drew 513,000 viewers and 219,000 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The Showtime event actually did well in comparison to its last 3 events on the network.  The HBO event is lower than last week’s Vargas-Salido slugfest (833,000).  The dual events may have taken viewers from each other. One would have thought Showtime could have received more viewers as Lomanchenko is an up and coming boxer, but Provodnikov is more known to the casual fan due to his fighting style.

Showtime sues Top Rank for Pacquiao lawsuits

May 29, 2016

Showtime Networks, Inc. has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of New York against Top Rank, Inc. citing indemnification and breach of contract related to lawsuits filed by third parties against Showtime and Top Rank stemming from Manny Pacquiao’s claim that he fought with an injury against Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

The lawsuits, filed by individuals who purchased the PPV claimed that Pacquiao was not ready to participate in the fight because of an injury in early April 2015 and it was not disclosed.  Most of the lawsuits point to the Pre-Fight Medical Questionnaire provided by Pacquiao which seemingly misrepresented the injury by not disclosing it.

Under the terms of an agreement between Showtime and Top Rank, Top Rank was to defend and indemnify Showtime from any liability (i.e., lawsuits) and supply Showtime with its own legal counsel.  Showtime’s attorneys point out that a potential conflict occurred when Pacquiao did not notify officials of a shoulder injury prior to the Mayweather fight.  According to the lawsuit, Showtime demanded that Top Rank pay for Showtime’s legal representations once these lawsuits were filed due to the potential conflict.  Top Rank claimed that the terms of the agreement which would trigger Top Rank to defend and indemnify Showtime would be an instance of actual conflict between the parties.  Per the lawsuit, Showtime claims that Top Rank did not believe that there was a conflict.

The relevant indemnification language of the Showtime/Top Rank contract is below:

Showtime also claims that Top Rank threatened to assert its own indemnity claims against Showtime.  Top Rank claimed that Showtime promotional materials for the fight were relevant in relation to claims of breach of contract filed by plaintiffs.  Thus, Top Rank requested the same defend and indemnification that Showtime had been of Top Rank.

Despite the refusal to pay for its attorneys, Showtime defended the lawsuits it was named in.  The legal fees through May 12, per the lawsuit is $682,754.06 plus interest.  Showtime seeks to recoup this plus fees and costs of the lawsuit in this action.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that this was bound to happen.  Once Pacquiao claimed the injury post-fight, the lawsuits started to pour in from plaintiffs’ attorneys and they were going to name any and all entities in its complaints.  The lawsuit presents the question of what is a conflict and what is not and when the right to indemnify and defend took place.  Showtime claims that the unreported injury should have triggered the indemnification in the contract while Top Rank will likely deny this citing no conflict at the time.

We will keep you updated.

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