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.

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.

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