|Tyler's 'Real Bite' w/ Paul Magno - Pacman beats Desert Storm; Mayweather vs. Maidana, Cotto vs. Martinez, Boxing PPV Talk and much more...
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (April 10, 2014)
Image by icheehuahua, Doghouse Boxing Inc.
Poster Image Debut: April 10, 2014
|Boxing's top expert once again visits the doghouse with his thoughts about the upcoming PPV events. Let's welcome Paul Magno.
David Tyler: Do you still feel that this Saturday's fight (Timothy 'Desert Storm' Bradley vs. Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao II) on HBO PPV is a sure thing for Pacquiao?
Paul Magno: I sure do. I actually doubled down on my prediction in this week's Rant: theboxingtribune.com/monday-rant/ . It would surprise me greatly if Bradley got the nod, even if he goes out and actually does enough to win this time. My Rant explains the whole reasoning, but a Bradley win makes no sense. Now, Bradley can go out and fix this by taking Pacquiao to school or knocking him out, but how likely is that? Bradley has only stopped one person since 2007. Pacquiao can also erase any potential stink by doing the same and going out and dominating Bradley, which could happen.
DT: Let's stay with the upcoming PPV events, how do you see Mayweather vs. Madiana?
PM: Mayweather, all day. I see Maidana having more of a chance than, say, Robert Guerrero, but that's about it. Maidana's wide punches and awkward, fundamentally unsound style may actually work to his advantage at times. Mayweather loves to handle orthodox guys who lack creativity and adaptability. Maidana is all improvisation and will be throwing lots of punches at unusual angles, meaning there'll be a greater chance of him landing something out of the blue. He'll also be pushing hard for the entire fight-- you won't see Maidana give up on himself and go into a shell like so many other Mayweather opponents. But, still, Mayweather likely figures Maidana out by the fourth round and will make relatively easy work of him the rest of the way.
DT: The next PPV event occurs on June 7th, your thoughts about Cotto vs. Martinez?
PM: If Martinez has anything left, I think he wins. But that's a huge "if." Martinez is falling apart, piece by piece, but if he's at least semi-together, he should beat Cotto as long as he can move a little and, most importantly, earn Cotto's respect by landing something big early in the bout. Cotto is a tough guy, but he will give you your space if you can shake him up a bit..
DT: Paul, do you have any idea why the Boxing PPV events cost $70.00?
PM: Probably because they can get away with it. They could probably do better business and make even more money by streamlining things, charging less, and reaching out to the casual fan who may be scared away by the big price tag. Under the current system, half of the PPV money goes to the cable or satellite provider, about 7 or 8% goes to the network host (HBO or Showtime) for production costs, and the rest is divvied up between the promoters, fighters, and the rest of those involved. Ultimately, I think the smarter idea would be to adopt a Netflix-type model where fans would pay less per fight, but have greater access to more events at their convenience. The live fight PPV model will never die, but the idea needs to be tweaked a bit in order to keep up with the times and with customer needs.
DT: I like your answer and possible solution but I still am not clear on how many PPV buys it takes for everyone to make money. Is there a specific number that must be obtained?
PM: It all depends on how much the fighters are earning and how much the live gate brings in. So, let's take the recent Canelo-Angulo PPV. Golden Boy's fighter payroll was about 3 million, total (Canelo had a $1.25 million base and a percentage of the profit). The live gate ended up generating a little over $2 million. That means that at a price of 60 bucks per buy (with 30 immediately going back to the cable/satellite provider), Golden Boy had to generate just under 40,000 sales in order to make up the difference between payroll and live gate. In other words, to break even (not taking into consideration foreign rights, which usually wind up making just enough to cover advertising and marketing costs). Anything over 40K was pure profit– 80% of which, per contractual agreement, went to Alvarez. Alvarez-Angulo would generate more than 350,000 buys and bring Alvarez a total payday likely in the area of $8 million when all numbers are finally tallied. Obviously, when dealing with a huge earner like Mayweather, you have to sell many more shows in order to get back your money.
DT: Paul, in your opinion what should a customer expect from a PPV event...what should the promoters and networks be providing other than a good matchup? Also, are we getting the good matchups as it appears that all the PPV fights are easy to call?
PM: As hardcore fans, we all want quality match-ups from top to bottom and a truly elite-level pairing in the main event. The reality is that the casual fans are the ones that drive the PPV market and they respond to celebrity and targeted marketing. I'm afraid, under the current business model, we're always going to be in a situation where the "real" fans are somewhat disappointed with the PPV product. The solution to this is to revamp and re-energize things by, as I mentioned earlier, going to a Netflix model where fans can pick and choose the fights they want or maybe by doing away with the idea that PPV shows have to be these big, bloated affairs. Smaller, more frequent shows for considerably less money could be the key to delivering the casual fan while appeasing the hardcore fan and, at the same time, bringing in some curious non-fans. Would Mayweather-Maidana and Khan-Collazo at $12.99 with the undercard available a la carte make the same amount of money over the long haul as the current set-up? I say yes, because they could also afford to deliver the show via internet stream and to tablets and smart phones. Every month a high quality PPV for less than it currently costs to subscribe to HBO or Showtime. This could work and it would be better for the sport because it would force the promoters to put together quality bouts all throughout each card. And there would never be these lulls where no boxing is going on. There'd always be a big card to look forward to.
DT: I realize that some fight fans will mortgage their house and purchase all three upcoming PPV events. For the rest of us that can only afford one fight or maybe two....which one(s) should we pick?
PM: I'd recommend, in this order: Martinez-Cotto, Mayweather-Maidana, and last Pacquiao-Bradley...I think the undercard for Pacquiao-Bradley is beyond weak and you already know how I feel about the main event....
DT: Paul, I will make this the last question. If you were the President of HBO sports, what changes would you make to improve all their boxing telecasts, i.e., HBO boxing, HBO boxing After Dark, & HBO PPV?
PM: My first step would've been to ditch all the overt nastiness aimed at Golden Boy and Al Haymon. Going public with a direct burning of bridges is never a good thing. But that ship has sailed. So, going forward, I would, first and foremost, fortify my roster and make sure that there's more than a smile and a handshake standing between my talent and jumping ship to Showtime. Then, you have to focus on the matchmaking. Book good, quality bouts that fans can get excited about. Who was excited to see Dulorme-Mayfield, a clutcher vs. a mauler? I saw disaster a mile away in that one. Make exciting fights that lead to even bigger fights. I'd also get into the lower weights. It's a crime that boxing doesn't do anything with at least a quarter of its talent. The flyweight division is the best, most intriguing division in the sport right now and I'd experiment with selling the little guys. It's a low-risk proposition since you could probably put together an elite-level flyweight tournament for the money it costs to put together just one WCB show. As for PPV, HBO is in a tough spot because most of their top draws are at the tail-end of their careers and likely one loss away from retirement, except for Chavez Jr., who is a drama queen just as likely to implode as he is to rise to any occasion. They have to focus on delivering big content on smaller shows and hope that one or two of their next level draws can break through. It's going to be a rough ride for them, though. Golden Boy has a lot of the key divisions already tied up and HBO future stars like Golovkin and Kovalev just don't have a lot of big fight options. If it were up to me, though, I'd do away with the premium channel boxing business model. So, it's tough for me to pull for either network.
DT: Paul, thank you for your insight into the upcoming PPV events on HBO and SHOWTIME. It's always a pleasure to capture your thoughts about this sport.
PM: Your welcome and anytime. Take care.
Readers: Do you agree with Paul's opinion's? Which of the upcoming PPV events are you willing to purchase? E-mail me and please let me know! (* E-mail provided below).
Readers: Paul Magno is the author of a wonderful book… Notes from the Boxing Underground. For the fans who like gritty, uncensored boxing writing: http://amzn.com/B00FEN6OD0
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