Ring Of Sports Marketing

Posts tagged espn

Boxing / Ratings

ESPN-Top Rank Partnership Showing Signs of Success

ESPN has been consistently losing subscribers on a monthly basis and with $24 billion wrapped up in television rights contracts for the next few years the worldwide leader needed a boost.  Fights like Vasyl Lomachenko’s win over Guillermo Rigondeaux that beat out UFC programming on FS1 in the younger demographics is exactly what the broadcast company needed.

TopRank boxing and ESPN are four months into their four year contract and ESPN is currently paying more for a single Monday Night Football game than they are for the entire partnership with Top Rank, according to Kevin Draper with the New York Times.

The Creative Arts Agency (CAA) is managing the sales for advertisers and sponsorships.  Creating revenue through advertisers and sponsors will be essential to make up for missing out on PPV revenue if the biggest fights and fighters are to remain on basic cable.

Ringside Analysis:

There are a few important takeaways from this article.  First, it seems that Top Rank has learned from the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) mistake.  The PBC sought to buy air time on sports networks and sell the rights themselves, then after a few years sell the rights for the events back to the networks they had previously bought air time from.  However, those results have likely not come to fruition the way the PBC thought and the partnership between Top Rank and ESPN may be a better route to go.  Networks will promote much more often if they have some skin in the game.  One example that Draper points out is that NHL coverage on ESPN dropped after the network was no longer pay the rights fees to broadcast the league.

Continue reading

Boxing / Ratings

Lomachenko-Rigondeaux Is Second Highest Ranked Boxing Match On Cable In 2017

Vasyl Lomachenko’s fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux set ratings records.  The fight drew 1.73 million viewers, making it the second most-watched fight of 2017.  Pacquiao-Horn, which took place in July of 2017 and averaged 2.8 million views but peaked at 4.4 million, remains the highest-rated boxing match on cable this year.

This boxing event went head-to-head with the UFC running an event on FS1 and Nielsen ratings indicate that the boxing event drew more viewers.  Brian Ortega’s win over Cub Swanson in the octagon earned 870,000 viewers.  The boxing event benefitted from the Heisman Trophy Ceremony preceding it, but Lomachenko-Rigondeaux actually drew more viewers than the ceremony.

From Awful Announcing:

Boosted by following the Heisman Trophy Presentation, the Dec. 9 edition of “Top Rank Boxing” featuring the marquee bout of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux drew a combined 1.85 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, ranking as the second most-watched boxing telecast on cable since 2012, behind only “Top Rank Boxing” (also on ESPN) from July 1, 2017 with Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn. Each of the four fight cards on Dec. 9 registered at least 1.63 million viewers: Vasiliy Lomachenko/Guillermo Rigondeaux (2.114 million), Shakur Stevenson/Oscar Mendoza (1.687 million), Chris Diaz/Bryant Cruz (1.647 million), Michael Conlan/Luis Fernando Molina (1.635 million). 

Ringside Analysis:

Continue reading


Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford Will Both Fight On Cards Broadcast By ESPN In August

World champions Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford will defend their championship belts on ESPN.  Lomachenko will fight Miguel Marriaga to defend his super featherweight belt on August 5th and Terence Crawford will take on Julius Indongo on August 19th to defend his junior welterweight belt and take Indongo’s.  Both fighters are on the pound-for-pound, best in the world list.

From Dan Rafael’s article:

“ESPN is thrilled to bring these two new title fights to fans,” Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling, said Thursday. “There is a lot of buzz around boxing right now, and much of it centers around these two great champions — Lomachenko and Crawford. We are excited and proud to showcase these two great events on all of our platforms.”

“Pound for pound, no one can match the talent of Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford,” duBoef said. “They drew the best ratings on premium cable this year, and now everyone will be able to see them when they defend their world titles in all-action fights in August, live on ESPN.”

Both Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford have had nearly all of their fights air on HBO, but not PPV.  HBO could have matched ESPN’s offer but decided to forego their matching option.  Top Rank has said that they are expecting a longer term partnership with ESPN.  Historically, Top Rank was one of the biggest suppliers of fights to HBO, who can still work with the other boxing promotional company giant, Golden Boy Promotions.

Continue reading

Boxing / Ratings

Pacquiao-Horn Sets ESPN Boxing Rating Record

Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn, known as “The Battle Of Brisbane,” is the highest-rated fight for cable television since 2010 and breaks the old record for most watched fight on ESPN that was set in the 1990s.  The average rating throughout the program was a 1.8 metered market rating.  On ESPN streaming digital platforms the fight averaged 78,000 viewers with 392,000 unique viewers over the course of the program.  ESPN Deportes attracted an average of 1,400 viewers with 7,800 unique viewers.

According to ESPN Media Zone the cities with the highest market ratings were Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Raleigh-Durham, New Orleans, and San Diego.

Continue reading

Entertainment Business / MMA / UFC

Golden Boy Boxing Partners With ESPN

Golden Boy Boxing and ESPN have partnered together to create “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.”  The program will begin in March.

According to ESPN:

The series, sponsored by Tecate, will air on ESPN2 and will be simulcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes as well as streamed on ESPN3. A few of the 2-hour cards, which will generally take place twice per month, will not be available on ESPN2, however, because of scheduling conflicts.

The deal includes 18 cards in 2017 (which will air either on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays) and 24 more in 2018. ESPN has an option for a third year of the series.

ESPN Exectuvie VP of Programming and Scheduling Burke Magnus said:

“We are excited to announce this new agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, one of the world’s top promoters… ESPN and ESPN Deportes look forward to featuring a new series of exciting world-class matches, along with a deep and wide variety of studio and digital content, in this multi-year, exclusive, live fight package.”

Golden Boy Boxing owner Oscar De La Hoy cited ESPN’s reach as a big selling point in entering into the partnership.  The promotional company will rely on sponsors to pay the fees for air time instead of relying on licensing fees from ESPN.

Continue reading

Entertainment Business / Ratings

Disney Invests In BamTech Streaming

Bamtech is Major League Baseball’s fastest-growing streaming division and Disney has just purchased a 33% stake in the company for $1 billion with the option to purchase a majority stake in the company in the future.  The investment is a direct response to the viewers that ESPN and cable television as a whole are losing a significant amount of users every day.  Disney will be developing an over the top streaming service for ESPN that will debut by the end of the year.

Continue reading

Entertainment Business / UFC

WME-IMG & UFC Betting Against Sports TV Rights Trend

When the WME-IMG paid $4 billion for the UFC they are making multiple bets on the future.  First, they are betting that they can market athletes so the revenue stream on a per athlete basis boosts the income of WME agents.  Second, that IMG can coordinate huge sponsorship agreements between corporations and the UFC.  Third, that the volatility in the industry between an inconsistent schedule and looming legal battles will work in the UFC’s favor.  Lastly, and probably most importantly, that when the UFC and FOX reach an agreement on a new television rights deal in 2019 will earn the UFC $400 million annually.

Continue reading


McGregor: ‘I am very focused on returning’ – ESPN Video

McGregor: ‘I am very focused on returning’ – ESPN Video


Pacquiao-Bradley III PPV Bust, “Terrible Numbers”

Manny Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradley for the second time in their third fight on April 9th at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  According to Arum, the event appears to have generated 400,000-500,000 PPV buys, which would mean the promotion lost money.
Pacquiao was paid a guaranteed $20 million and Bradley was guaranteed $4 million.

From the ESPN article Arum said:

“It will be somewhere between those numbers, 400,000 and 500,000. It’s all being added up, but it will be closer to 400,000 than 500,000. Terrible.”

“Certainly the pushback from Manny’s gay remarks killed us.  It hurt us a lot. But I think it was also less a reaction to the match than a reaction to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. It was a reaction like Mayweather got. Mayweather also got punished [by consumers].”

The fight against Bradley is supposedly Pacquiao’s last fight in the sport.

Ringside Analysis:

Arum believes that the main factor in the financial troubles was the homophobic and ignorant comments Manny Pacquiao made.  The comments did lose Pacquiao multiple sponsors, including Nike.  It also appeared that HBO slowed down all of the promotional efforts as a result of the comments.

However,  Arum is underestimating how stale this fight was to fight fans.  Any fight fan who had watched the first two fights saw Manny Pacquiao being the clear winner, despite the judges giving Bradley the decision win in their first match.  That means that core fight fans were not very enthusiastic about this fight and in this fight the core fan base had to carry the fight to financial success.  Casual sports fans were going to be out on this fight given Pacquiao’s poor performance against Mayweather, his post-fight comment on his shoulder that was largely considered an excuse from a sore loser, and the homophobic comments.

Arum also points out that Mayweather only received 400,000-500,000 PPV buys.  I would argue that result was somewhat expected given the opponent and the post-super fight climate.  Lastly, many in the industry believe that Arum is intentionally overstating the actual PPV purchases.