March 5, 2017
PBC on CBS Saturday night drew 2.7 million viewers per TV By the Numbers. The event featuring Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman did better than the NBA on ABC Saturday night.
The NBA game featured the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls. It drew just 1.69 million viewers.
The title to unify the 147 pound which Thurman won by split decision drew a 0.8 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 3 share.
Last year, the CBS-televised event featuring Thurman Shawn Porter drew 2.12 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.
In July 2015, a fight featuring Carl Frampton drew a 0.8 share on CBS.
PBC on CBS Saturday night was narrowly edged out in its time slot by a rerun of Chicago PD which drew 2.76 million viewers.
Good numbers for PBC on CBS as this was a much-anticipated fight between two undefeated champions. PBC will hope to produce more high-level fights and may have found a star in Thurman. Maybe they do a rematch on PPV or go again on CBS.
June 26, 2016
Television By Numbers reports that PBC on CBS Saturday night drew 2.12 million viewers. It finished behind ABC and NBC in network ratings for its time slot.
The event, which aired from 9-11pm ET on CBS, eatured Keith Thurman taking on Shawn Porter with Thurman emerging as the victor in a very good fight.
The event drew a 0.5 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share overall.
PBC on CBS went up against the U.S. Olympic Trials on NBC (3.18M viewers) as well as the third place soccer game in the Copa-America Cup on FX and the College World Series on ESPN. It was third in its time slot behind ABC’s “In an Instant” which drew 3.93M viewers. Also, earlier in the night Fox aired an MLB game between the Dodgers and Pirates. It garnered 2.05M viewers.
The ratings are better than PBC on NBC last week. With a lot of live events on competing with boxing, the viewership has to be seen as a positive. Although just the Olympic trials, NBC does well in the ratings especially when it comes to gymnastics.
June 19, 2016
Premier Boxing Champions on Saturday night on NBC drew 1.32 million viewers per Television By Numbers. The rating slightly improves upon its lowest rating on the network this past April.
The event, which aired on the network from 8:30-11:00pm ET featured Andrzez Fonfara and Joe Smith, Jr. Smith scored an upset over Fonfara with a first round knockout. Previously, Fonfara was best known to the casual fan as stopping Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. He would have been the next in line for Adonis Stevenson.
According to TV By Numbers, the PBC drew 0.3 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 1 share.
April 2016’s PBC event drew 1.24 million so this rating improves upon its last showing. The event went up against other live sports on cable TV including the UFC, the U.S. Open Golf Championships and soccer. Major League Baseball on Fox which featured the Cubs-Pirates drew 2.78 million viewers on Fox from 8-10pm ET. A rerun of 48 Hours on CBS drew the most viewers on network TV Saturday night with 3.40 million tuning in to the 10pm ET show.
January 7, 2016
2015 was a big year for boxing. It featured the start of a new organization, a return to network television, litigation (of course), controversy and the long-awaited fight people waited years to see.
Mayweather-Pacquiao was the dream matchup that came several years too late. Still, the fight reaped the rewards due the brand names of its participants. At a $100 pay per view price point, it was guaranteed to compete for the De La Hoya-Mayweather buy mark. It far exceeded the 2.1 million PPV buys as the unique co-promotion between Showtime and HBO drew 4.4 million PPV buys.
The gate at the MGM Grand was an enormous $72 million as there were few, if any, comps for this event.
The fight itself was not exciting at all and widely criticized. Post-fight, Pacquiao admitted to having a shoulder injury and his camp placed blame on the NAC for not allowing him to take an injection they thought was allowable.
The news of the injured shoulder sparked outrage and litigation as a variety of lawsuits were filed against Pacquiao, HBO, Showtime, Top Rank and almost everyone else in the vicinity.
Mayweather came under scrutiny later in the year as a piece written for SB Nation by Thomas Hauser indicated that the undefeated fighter was allowed a TUE to rehydrate after weigh-ins the Friday before the fight. The Hauser piece drew the ire of USADA, the third party regulatory body that oversaw the testing for the event.
Mayweather fought one more time in September and announced his retirement. His fight against Andre Berto drew the lowest PPV buy rate under his Showtime contract.
Bob Arum announced that Manny Pacquiao’s April 2016 fight will be his last. It was recently announced that he will fight Tim Bradley for the third time.
Another big event occurring in 2015 was the advent of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). PBC was all over the networks this year. It forged deals with SpikeTV, Showtime, NBC Sports Network, Fox, FS1, Bounce TV, ESPN, CBS and NBC. The return to network television was a big event as it drew 3.13M viewers in March. In April, it drew 2.9M viewers. But since the nice starts, the boxing cards rarely make a dent in viewership.
Spike TV also made boxing a part of its “Friday Night Lights Out” promotion which started in March. Similar to other PBC events, they ratings have decreased since its debut.
|PBC on Spike|
The other big business story occurring in boxing in 2015 was the two antitrust lawsuits filed by Top Rank and Golden Boy against Al Haymon and his business partners in federal court in Los Angeles. The Golden Boy lawsuit (a detailed review here) was filed in May and the Top Rank lawsuit was filed in July. Both lawsuits are similar in nature as they claim that Al Haymon’s strategy violates antitrust laws.
An April 2015, a Sports Business Journal article on the finances of PBC may have been a driver toward these lawsuit. Obviously, one article does not decide whether or not an organization is willing to delve hundreds of thousands of dollars into a lawsuit which may impact the industry of professional boxing, but it did shed light on how Haymon (who is still a very private individual) and how he runs his business.
The lawsuit is still in its initial stages after several attempts by Haymon to dismiss both lawsuits. In the Golden Boy lawsuit, he sought a stay of the lawsuit pending the results of an arbitration.
Haymon did win a motion to dismiss the Top Rank lawsuit this past fall. However, the court allowed Top Rank to amend its complaint and re-file. And, a subsequent attempt to dismiss the amended complaint was denied by the court this past Wednesday.
We will see where this lawsuit heads in the coming year.
Although Wladmir Klitschko lost his heavyweight title in 2015, he drew the largest rating on HBO for boxing since 2012 when he made a rare New York City title defense this past April. His upset loss to Tyson Fury drew over 1 million HBO viewers this past November.
July 20, 2015
Sports Business Daily (subscription required) reports that Saturday afternoon’s Premier Boxing Champions on CBS drew an overnight rating of 0.8 in the 4:00-6:00pm ET time slot.
According to Sports Media Watch, 3 of the 4 PBC events on CBS have failed to earn at least a 1.0 overnight average. Saturday night’s fight on CBS featured Carl Frampton and Alejandro Gonzalez, Jr. with the IBF super bantamweight champ Frampton earning the win.
The ratings points represent the percent of all households with televisions tuned in, according to Nielsen.
Saturday also featured UFC Fight Night 71 and boxing on Showtime later that evening. PBC on CBS also went up against The British Open on ABC.
In comparing the ratings from PBC on NBC to CBS. April’s PBC on NBC drew a 0.80 rating and 2.9 million viewers. The latest PBC on NBC from June drew a 0.95 rating. It appears that the PBC cards on the network are slipping slightly in the ratings.
June 23, 2015
With two network shows this past weekend, Premier Boxing Champions seems to be on every channel. You may now include Fox Sports as another network that has added PBC to its programming.
Last week PBC replaced Golden Boy Promotions on FS1 as the network allowed its contract with Golden Boy end and signed a deal with PBC.
The list of networks that air PBC include FS1, NBC, NBC Sports Network, CBS, ESPN, Spike TV and Bounce TV. Also, PBC has some of its fighters on Showtime.
According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, it’s not clear if the Fox Sports deal is a time buy like with some of its other deals. Also, there was no immediate word if the Fox network would air PBC cards. Expect PBC on FS1 sometime this summer.
PBC replacing Golden Boy on FS1 has to sting especially since Golden Boy is suing Al Haymon and others regarding PBC’s business strategy alleging antitrust violations. We will see if this move has repercussions with respect to Golden Boy’s lawsuit. As for viewership, we shall see if PBC does better on FS1 than Golden Boy promoted fights.
March 18, 2015
ESPN reports that “Premier Boxing Champions,” the upstart promotion advised by Al Haymon will replace ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” starting Saturday, July 11th. The two year deal will run through July 2017 and include two shows on the ABC network on Saturday afternoons.
The deal with ESPN includes 24 events over the course of the deal and an option by Haymon to hold 6 additional cards. Haymon will have to pay the fighter purses and other expenses related to the events. ESPN retains worldwide rights to the fights and editorial control over the broadcast.
Weigh-ins and prelim bouts for the events will be available on ESPN3.com. PBC will also be available on other digital platforms.
Haymon’s investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the PBC, which this year already announced deals with NBC/NBCSN (40 shows through 2016), CBS (at least eight shows this year in a multiyear deal), Spike TV (at least 33 monthly shows through 2017) and Bounce TV (monthly prospect-oriented cards beginning in July on the network Haymon helped found in 2011).
Notably, UFC 189 will air on the same night that PBC debuts on ESPN.
Haymon’s PBC is now on, or will be on NBC/NBCSN, CBS, Spike TV, Bounce TV, ESPN and ABC. Now we know why Haymon has such a robust stable of fighters. He needs them to fill all of these events. It’s clear that Haymon and his investors have a strategy and we are seeing it being executed. There is a long term vision and even if there are setbacks, they are willing to see this through. The return of boxing to ABC Saturday afternoons should evoke memories for some of ABC’s Wide World of Sports which featured boxing among other sports during the 1970s and 1980s.
February 17, 2015
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that CBS Sports and Showtime have brokered a deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions to be aired on Saturday afternoons. The sides have agreed to an 8 show deal starting April 4th featuring light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson.
In addition, shoulder programming will assist in promoting the fight cards.
It’s beginning to look a lot like everyone is an Al Haymon guy. The boxing landscape for 2015 will have a lot of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions across multiple networks. Certainly, this evolving strategy will be fascinating to watch as it is executed. I am thinking that this investment will come with some blue chip sponsors that would like to advertise along some, if not all of these platforms.
September 16, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we look at “The One,” the fight between Canelo Alvarez and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Mayweather dominates in Majority Decision
The look on Mayweather’s face when a Majority Decision was announced was not worth the $75 PPV price tag but it was still pretty good. Notably, CJ Ross judged the Pacquiao-Bradley fight which makes one wonder if there are no other qualified judges out there.
The 36 year old did what he does in muting a game Canelo Alvarez. While the judges may have thought it close, there was never a time that Mayweather looked to be in trouble.
Mayweather has indicated that he would like to fight Cinco de Mayo weekend 2014 with Danny Garcia and/or the winner of Amir Khan/Devon Alexander fight. A Khan fight may be the most entertaining based on the styles. A Danny Garcia fight might be the best for promoting the fight with Angel Garcia and Floyd Sr. as sideshow entertainment.
Alvarez had a decent showing yet it would be hard to find a round you can say he won. People liked his utter disregard for Mayweather’s pleasantries which manifested itself with Canelo refusing to hold the belt with Mayweather post-weigh-in, during the fight a shoulder bump after a Mayweather liver shot and a low blow after having his head pushed down.
Garcia defeats Matthysse in slugfest
Angel Garcia is the father and mouthpiece for Danny Garcia and vowed he’d cut his own head off if his son would lose. Although Matthysse was the challenger, he was the favorite coming into the fight. But, Garcia was able to dominate Matthysse despite getting his mouthpiece knocked out (and replayed in slow motion) in the 11th round. Garcia eventually dropped Matthysse in the same round.
Garcia is an understated champion and hopefully with all the viewers for this event, he’ll grab some fans.
Attendance, gate, etc.
The MGM Grand was a sellout of 16,746 for a record gate of $20,003,150. The gate was an all-time record.
Moreover, the weigh-ins was at capacity with 12,200 people coming to watch the fighters get on the scale.
Closed circuit viewing of the event in Vegas were a sellout with tickets going for $100 and being sold for $150 on the secondary market. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that Richard Schaefer indicated that it was a sellout with 26,355 tickets sold.
In addition, more bars across the nation showed the fight and the fight was available in more movie theatres (500) this time around.
Promotion of Fight
An unprecedented 11 city press tour which brought out thousands of fans. So big was the fight that the Garcia-Matthysse fight was to have its own mini-press tour.
The four episode All Access Showtime show was available online so even if you did not have Showtime, you could check it out. Nothing dramatic in these episodes, but a good primer for the fight. It was interesting that CBS did not show any of these episodes on the network.
One of the more underrated promotional tools for the fight is CBS Sports Network, Showtime and the 101 Network airing previous Canelo and Mayweather fights. The best thing about it. You get to see free PPV-quality fights.
ESPN The Magazine had a “Fight Issue” dedicated to the event and the LA Times also had a special section for “The One.”
Despite all of the platforms to watch the fight, PPV remains the central part of the business. Although it was a $75 price tag (in HD), expectations are that PPV will exceed 2 million buys.
If the bout does hit its ambitious PPV goals, credit the all-out marketing blitz that mixes target markets with mass markets, and high tech with old school media and promotions. In addition to the natural Hispanic market, promoters say they’re going heavily after the youth and female markets, the better to take advantage of Alvarez’s youth and good looks.
On Wednesday or Thursday of fight week, various athletes and stars tweeted out the fact that they had ordered “The One.” After comparing the tweets, it was obvious that it was part of a social marketing campaign for people to buy the PPV early.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 13, 2013
The sponsors in the ring included AT&T, Nature Nutrition, Valvoline, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Mexico (we assume the tourism board), Fred Loya Insurance and Corona in the center. Mexico sponsored the scale at the weigh-ins.
This event included record promotional spending of which CBS supported Showtime with $15-$20 million of promotional spots.
Valvoline offered a $35 rebate for the PPV if you purchased 5 quarts of motor oil. O’Reilly Auto parts was the presenting sponsor at movie theatres showing the fight. Corona had promotional displays at 15,000 stores in 32 states.
Danny Garcia’s shorts was a sponsor’s nightmare. It was hard to see the sponsors on his trunks unless you absolutely focused on them. I could make out Western Union as one of his sponsors. Also, Garcia had a Jumpman logo on the front of his trunks but wore Adidas ring shoes.
As if he needed more money, Floyd Mayweather pitched his line of “Money Wear” including shirts starting at $35 and his “TBE” hat going for $70.
Odds and Ends
-The weigh-ins included walk-ins for Matthysse, Garcia, Alvarez and Mayweather. No one took advantage of the walk-in more than Angel Garcia.
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) September 13, 2013
-Lil’ Wayne and Justin Bieber walked to ringside with Mayweather which made him the obvious choice as villain for the main event. Wayne rapped his way down to the ring without a shirt. He also watched the entire fight without a shirt either.
-Maybe one of the harder shots Danny Garcia took was when his father hit him in the ear between rounds to wake him up.
-“USA, USA” chants were booed down by the pro-Canelo crowd. A probable first in the states.
“The One” will go in the books as one of the biggest revenue generating fights in history. This summary did not even cover the fact that Mayweather will receive a guaranteed $41 million without even factoring in the other revenue streams. Canelo should receive at least $12 million not counting what he may earn from other revenue streams.
While we note how much will be made from this event, Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy and Showtime did outlay a lot of money with the hope of scoring big…which it looks like it did.
The marketing and promotion for this fight was all over and despite a $75 price tag, we may see a PPV revenue record broken. Will it exceed the number of buys of De La Hoya-Floyd (2.5 million)? Its not clear, but it should be close.
September 14, 2013
Want to raise passion among combat sport fans? Advise the world the death of a sport.
This happened with ESPN Pardon The Interruption recently as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the Stadler and Waldorf of the network talking heads decried that boxing was dead. Certainly, a part of this proclamation was to ignite a fire. It certainly drew the ire of ESPN’s own boxing writer Dan Rafael. On Friday, the two pondered whether a Mayweather win or a Canelo win would be good for the sport.
The two questioned that if Canelo won it would provide an immediate rematch with Mayweather which would regain boxing’s momentum as more people would get to know Canelo (and get behind the 23 year old) for an inevitable Cinco de Mayo redux. A Mayweather win would mean that the 36 year old would continue the Money train and handpick another fighter for the third of six fights on his Showtime contract. Its a sign of dominance of a sport that is rarely seen.
Personally, I like Kornheiser and Wilbon despite not agreeing with everything they might opine. Certainly, they aren’t fans of MMA, but I respect their opinions with the exception of Wilbon’s rudderless following of NBA protocol during its season.
But the PTI guys suggest that the sport is dead because its their belief that “The One” is just that – the one. There are no longer multiple big fights in a year. There is just a singular event that gets the fight fans revved up for a night. Moreover, there aren’t too many household names in boxing. Perhaps the introduction of a new name like Canelo will get more fans to take notice.
But, Kornheiser and Wilbon may be wrong. According to a survey in May, boxing is still popular among 30-44 year olds as well as the Spanish/Hispanic demographic. This is due to the fact that the older generation grew up with boxing on free television. As for the Spanish/Hispanic demographic, boxing stars of that ethnicity are more prevalent. Juan Manuel Marquez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. are prime examples. One need only think of Chavez, Jr and the Argentine Sergio Martinez fight from last year to recognize the nationalistic pride for country within the sport.
This year, the undercard of “The One” will feature Danny Garcia versus another Argentine Lucas Matthysse in a matchup that may have fight fans in their seats a little earlier than normal.
But if you are thinking about reasons why the sport is dying you may look to issues such a pay. While many boxers are compensated better than many MMA fighters, the problem of pay is an issue not just limited to MMA. Thus, fixes within the sport must be addressed.
The issue of corruption has always been a theme simmering under the surface of the sport. The Muhammad Ali Act was put into place to protect fighters. However, few fighters have taken advantage of the protections of the act and no fighters have prevailed in a lawsuit under the Act. The expense of litigation is one of the main factors that fighters do not utilize the Act. A recent law article in the Sports Lawyers Journal proposed that the Act be modified to allow the fighters to arbitrate their issues with promoters which would be less expensive and potentially promote more fighters to speak up if they feel wronged.
Then, there are the issues of performance enhancing drugs, the alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies and the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud which will refuse to put together fights. There’s a lot to clean up. But, no sport is perfect. Of course, no one is suggesting other sports are dead.
Boxing is not dead. But, will most of us be able to see it should be the question. Last year, it returned to network television on both NBC and CBS and did well ratings-wise. NBC Sports Network’s quarterly showings of boxing events have had decent showings as well. On the other hand, FS1’s Golden Boy offerings have not done well in the ratings although it may be too soon to tell. The recent signing of boxers by Showtime has developed a rivalry with HBO. The issue for consumers is whether its worth spending money on the premium channels to watch the fights the networks provide. If you are not fans of “Homeland” or “Boardwalk Empire”, would you really want to spend an extra $30 on your cable bill just to see boxing?
Saturday’s PPV event will remind the sporting world that boxing is a spectacle and if more people were exposed to its fighters, it might regain the recognition it once had.