Ring Of Sports Marketing

Date archives June 2016

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Report: NHL Choose Las Vegas for Expansion

Report: NHL Choose Las Vegas for Expansion

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Adidas sales jump 31 percent, announces plan to sell TaylorMade – Portland Business Journal

Adidas sales jump 31 percent, announces plan to sell TaylorMade – Portland Business Journal

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Nate Diaz Remains Not Surprised

Coming off of a win over PPV cash cow Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz is making a big push to get the pay, promotion, and respect he feels he deserves.  During negotiations it appeared that Nate Diaz is a dangerous person to deal with.  With the little details we get from twitter conversations and rumors on the web it seems like Nate Diaz was really in it to win it on the discussions.  He’s a fighter who had his first professional fight at 19, won The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 at age 22, and fought most anybody at any time.  He loves fighting and understands the business side, as much as he dislikes it.  It is because of his understanding of the business that he had been making things difficult when negotiating for his matchup against Conor McGregor at UFC 202.
Nate Diaz went years fighting for only tens of thousands of dollars while having to pay a few fines.  After taxes and paying members of his team he wasn’t netting a significant amount of money for how much fighting takes out of a person’s health and life.  With the win over McGregor, for which he was paid $500,000, he now is pushing all his chips in.

It reminds me of the dialogue in Oceans 11 when Danny Ocean is explaining to Rusty Ryan why he wants to knock over three casinos in Las Vegas on one night:

‘Cause yesterday I walked out of the joint after losing four years of my life and you’re cold-decking “Teen Beat” cover boys. [pause] ‘Cause the house always wins. Play long enough, you never change the stakes. The house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, then you take the house.

Nate Diaz felt that he was in the position to have the perfect hand.  A McGregor-Diaz rematch would be one of the most profitable fights in the history of the UFC.  Diaz knew this, and the UFC knew this.  To really understand the story behind the negotiating it’s important to know the history between Nate Diaz and the UFC.

Nate’s older brother, Nick, has historically been the bigger “needle mover” as Dana White likes to say.  Nick Diaz was paid handsomely relative to other fighters in the UFC but still felt fighters deserved better pay, so it’s not surprising that now Nate Diaz is in the spotlight.  Nate Diaz made significantly less and even was a main event on UFC on FOX.

In all the interviews the Diaz brothers did there was a constant tension that the brothers loved fighting but hated the business of it.  The brothers just wanted to fight and were annoyed with having to negotiate with the compensation they received.  They didn’t understand why it had to be such a difficult process when the answer seemed extremely clear to them.  With Nate Diaz finally earning a payday, becoming a huge name by submitting the biggest “needle mover” in the sport, and the possibility that the miles of fighting were catching up to him, it makes sense that he may be on the edge of retiring.

Nate Diaz’s willingness to not participate in the UFC anymore was apparent during the press conference for UFC 200.  When Conor McGregor said he was retiring Diaz got on twitter and said he would also being retired.  When Diaz was asked if he would fight someone else at UFC 200 Diaz responded by saying no because he would rather go on a vacation.

The dangerous side to the negotiation is that there was probably a realistic chance that Diaz would just walk away from the table if he felt he wasn’t being dealt with fairly.  The winning side of a negotiation is always the one who has more leverage.  Who needs who most?  What was unique about this situation is that leverage wasn’t present.  Sure, the deal with Diaz was most likely going to be made but the mere threat of Diaz walking away from the table.

In the Cold War the US and the Soviet Union had missiles pointed at each other that could obliterate both of them.  There was an incentive that always carried both parties through the negotiation: that neither of them wanted mutually assured destruction.  The unifying factor was that neither the US or the Soviet Union wanted to walk away from the table without a deal, which could prove disastorous.  But, there was a unifying factor.  In this case Diaz squared off against the UFC and there was a feeling that the unifying factor of making a lot of money wasn’t as important to Diaz as it was to the UFC.  Diaz wanted the money, sure, but he wanted the promotion, and the respect.  It appeared that Diaz was willing to walk away from the table.

Sports business has a long history of making all things work when enough money comes into the fold.  When the NFLPA and the NFL were in heated negotiations for the new CBA there was always enough money in play that neither party would walk away from the table.  When the losing side of the negotiation is still making billions of dollars and gaining advantages in certain parts of the CBA, the deals tend to find a way of making themselves.

This negotiation process is the story of a fighter who loves fighting but also knows the business, and knows his value to the business.  In an interview with Ariel Helwani Diaz said:

“Treat yourself like a business and quit f*cking (saying) ‘I’ll fight for free.  That don’t help nobody. That’s bad karma for you for even f*cking (saying that). Stupid ass Cowboy Cerrone says that sh*t. That’s bad karma for everybody. You’ll fight for free, now everybody else has got to? Why wouldn’t they pay us? Because they got dumbsh*ts like you fighting for free. Start acting like a businessman and start treating yourself like a business and get your ass paid for being in an Octagon. The whole world watches you fight.”

Nate Diaz has treated himself as a fighter first and a reluctant businessman.  For years he felt, whether justified or not, that he was getting the bum end of the deal.  Maybe he felt that the negotiation over the rematch was the perfect hand to go all in on.  We will probably never know exactly how the negotiations went but Diaz probably knew that when you get the perfect hand, you bet big, and you take the house.

The deal was made.  Conor McGregor is fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 202.  There was enough money on the table for the fight to happen almost no matter what.  Because of that, I’m not surprised.

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Boxing body votes to let pros fight at Rio

Boxing body votes to let pros fight at Rio

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Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz 2 Scheduled For UFC 202

The rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor is officially scheduled for UFC 202, which is scheduled to take place on August 20th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor at UFC 196.  Conor McGregor is still the UFC featherweight champion heading into this fight.  However, this fight will take place at the 170-pound limit, which is the weight that the last fight took place. ate Diaz took the fight UFC 196 fight on 10-days notice and wouldn’t have been able to make the 155-pound lightweight limit so McGregor said they could fight at 170.

Ringside Analysis:

At one point the rematch looked to be in serious jeopardy.  While originally scheduled as the main event for UFC 200, a Conor McGregor faux-retirement derailed any negotiations of the fight.  Mix in some demands made by Nate Diaz and the situation become exponentially more complicated.  Ultimately, there is simply too much money involved for the rematch not to happen.

Diaz had some grievances with the UFC so the Diaz and the UFC must have reached an agreement on marketing and payment for the rematch.  McGregor was always going to come back to fighting in the UFC but needed to negotiate his responsibilities when it comes to marketing the fights.

McGregor claims his inability to pace himself is what did him in against Diaz so we will see how much he learned from his first loss in the UFC.  It will also be interesting to see how well Diaz does when he gets a full training camp to prepare for the fight.

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Brock Lesnar Makes UFC Return, Will Fight At UFC 200

The already stacked card for UFC 200 just got got bigger with the addition of Brock Lesnar.  In March 2015 Lesnar said he was done with MMA and he returned to the WWE.  While he is still under contract with the WWE, he was given permission in a one-off event.

Brock Lesnar was the main event for UFC 100, which still stands as the most purchased UFC program with 1.6 million buys.  He is a former NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion from the University of Minnesota who will be turning 39 next month.

The former heavyweight champion will be facing an opponent July 9th that has yet to be named.  Lesnar will return to the WWE for an August event.

Ringside Analysis:

There is beautiful symmetry with Brock Lesnar returning.  It is fitting that the former champion who was the main event for UFC 100 would at least be a participant at UFC 200.  However, Lesnar had a lackluster finish to his UFC career and is not the star he once was with the WWE.  The biggest selling point is his name, which is still known amongst casual sports fans.

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Bill In US Congress To Expand Muhammad Ali Act To MMA


Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, has sponsored a bill into the House of Representatives would expand the Muhammad Ali Act, which currently only applies to boxing, to MMA.

Under the proposed amendment to the Professional Boxing Safety Act of 1996 all combat fighters would be protected.  The law requires that a manager and promoter be separate to theoretically protect boxers from exploitative practices and conflicts of interests.  Government intervention was required to protect boxers because there is no centralized governing body for the sport.

MMA fighters have been without the protection of this act because the act explicitly only covers boxers.  The UFC signs fighters as contract workers, making the fighters unable to unionize.  Also, the UFC is a private company so has no obligation to share the financial information of the organization, making the percentage of fighter pay to revenue gained a mystery.

Ringside Analysis:

Many say that the proposed law will result in weakening the centralized power of Bellator MMA and the UFC, which has enabled MMA to explode by correcting many of the deficiencies inherent in the boxing business.  The same detractors of the bill claim that the NBA and NFL have flourished because of being a central power.  However, the difference between the NBA and, for example, UFC is that the NBA has a player’s association as does the NFL and any other huge sports organization.

Unfortunately, the UFC and the MMA world is paying for the sins of boxing.  People are largely distrustful of promotional and managerial companies because of the past examples that show exploitation is not only common but most likely inevitable.

As the UFC and other MMA groups get more powerful there does need to be some securities in place to protect the fighters themselves.  If the UFC is going to make a strong push into the “mainstream” then casual fans have to be able to trust that there are no exploitative practices happening between a promotion company and fighter.

Lastly, the more revenue that the fighters can get, which will only increase with more financial transparency between the fighters and the promotional company, the better athletes will begin fighting and will result in a better product.

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UFC, DGital Media to produce podcasts with White, fighters – SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global

UFC, DGital Media to produce podcasts with White, fighters – SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global

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Nate Diaz Discusses Talks With UFC About Rematch With McGregor

Since Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor at UFC 196 there was been a whirlwind of media surrounding Conor McGregor and his brief retirement while Nate Diaz hasn’t received nearly as much attention.  Nate Diaz now believes that he is going to be fairly compensated for the value he brings to the promotion.

UFC leadership met with Diaz last week and the meeting was reportedly not good for bringing Nate Diaz back and getting closer to a deal in order to make Diaz-McGregor 2 happen.

Much of Diaz’s demands are a result of his leverage in negotiations since he is the man who defeated Conor McGregor, the UFC cash cow.  Diaz cites Dana White’s history of saying that Diaz wasn’t a “needle-mover” and how Diaz felt like he wasn’t being respected for the value he brought to the organization.

Below are some of the key quotes from Nate Diaz’s interview with Ariel Helwani. NSFW Langauge

Nate Diaz on his pay rate from the UFC:

“They’re like, ‘this is free TV.’ I’m like, wait, wait, wait, let’s not get it twisted. Free for motherf*ckers at home who aren’t paying for pay-per-view. But you guys are getting paid. That’s how it works. So I understood what was going on. They wanted to be like, that’s why you’re not on pay-per-view (because you’re not a needle mover). I already knew what was up. This isn’t newly developed information for me. I was up on the game. Because I cussed a little and told people to f*ck off, this guy is stupid and we don’t want to hear that? Like I’m some educated mother*cker talking about numbers, what do I know?”

Nate Diaz on how fighters need to be valuing themselves:

“Treat yourself like a business and quit f*cking (saying) ‘I’ll fight for free.  That don’t help nobody. That’s bad karma for you for even f*cking (saying that). Stupid ass Cowboy Cerrone says that sh*t. That’s bad karma for everybody. You’ll fight for free, now everybody else has got to? Why wouldn’t they pay us? Because they got dumbsh*ts like you fighting for free. Start acting like a businessman and start treating yourself like a business and get your ass paid for being in an Octagon. The whole world watches you fight.”

Following up with:

“Entertainers are there in the front row. I’m sitting there with Lil Jon and f*cking Mike Tyson and who else? Everybody. Anyone you could think of that’s famous is sitting front row. Baseball players. These guys are getting paid millions of dollars, and we’re entertaining the entertainers. So doesn’t that make us the crème de la crème? Shouldn’t we be paid the f*ck out? Why are you fighting for free, you dumbsh*t motherf*cker. That sh*t gets on my last nerve.”

Ringside Analysis:

Nate Diaz truly feels that this is his time to act on his own best interests.  The UFC and McGregor will continue to make hundreds of millions together even if Diaz doesn’t fight, but if a rematch between the two doesn’t happen there are hundreds of millions more left on the table.

Diaz is also very frustrated that McGregor gets so much promotion by the UFC while he receives very little.  He refers to McGregor being a byproduct of the UFC marketing hype, saying that McGregor’s wins before Jose Aldo were against forgettable competitions, which means that his rise to the top was manufactured.

McGregor learned the hard way that millionaires can’t expect to compete with billionaires in fights.  However, the difference between that situation and the one Diaz’s is in is that the UFC knew that both parties wanted to connect again to make money again.  I get the feeling that Diaz, if not given the right deal, would walk away from the sport given his already solid record in the sport.

Having said that, there is simply too much money to be made for this fight not to happen and the rematch will most likely be the main event for UFC 202 or 203.