By Zach Arnold | April 12, 2017
Spike, as @danrafaelespn reports, the first PBC network to bail. Others, industry execs say, will follow. Haymon creation crumbling.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) April 12, 2017
Dan Rafael at ESPN is reporting that Spike TV has dropped PBC programming. The reporting tone at ESPN regarding Al Haymon is a far cry from when he was doing business with the network. Now the network is in bed with Golden Boy.
Rafael’s report claims that Spike TV was the only “non-premium” cable network paying a rights fee for PBC programming. This goes against what I had been told in the past regarding the deal PBC has with Fox Sports 1, but I could be factually wrong on that account. Nevertheless, PBC programming on FS1 continues while their deal with Spike TV is over.
The big picture now is the stability of PBC with other television networks. Chris Mannix claims PBC is about to get dropped by other television stations.
Things changed in a hurry for Al Haymon once PBC agreed to drop their exclusivity clauses from television contracts as part of the settlement with Top Rank. Top Rank settled their antitrust lawsuit against PBC. Golden Boy, however, did not. They lost their court case via summary judgment. However, Golden Boy got very lucky that they were not subjected to “loser pays attorney fees” status. Instead, the most that Al Haymon’s side could recover was court costs estimated to be around $35,000.
In the end, Golden Boy paid a lot in legal fees but so did PBC. That had to hurt.
While various reasons/excuses were stated for Spike TV dropping PBC, not mentioned in mass media reports is the fact that the legal climate for PBC changed once a few shareholders from the Ivy Fund in Kansas filed a shareholder derivative lawsuit against the hedge fund for financing PBC and allegedly putting $525 million dollars in a shell LLC (Media Holdings LLC). The lawsuit is attempting to get the hedge fund to claw back the money they invested into Al Haymon.
The lawsuit was filed in April of 2016. PBC had a big run in the Summer of 2016. Then things slowed down to a crawl. The shareholder lawsuit was part of (what we guestimated in past articles) a legal python strategy to choke the cash from PBC.
Even if PBC dies a slow & agonizing death, Al Haymon will have made his money. He will have cashed out big. As long as PBC isn’t subjected to future litigation by business partners or adversaries, things will be good for Al Haymon. He’ll be free and clear to do as he pleases in boxing. Can the same thing be said for the fighters he has signed to long term deals? Will fighters attempt to extricate themselves out of his management/advisory contracts?
Lost in the noise is what the impact will be on athletic commissions like California, Texas, and New York. A past breakdown I did of the revenue numbers in California showed that revenue from PBC & Al Haymon was around 15-to-20% for the state Athletic Commission. With UFC slumping and Al Haymon facing new economic realities, it’s not good news for the athletic commissions who helped propel Haymon’s rise in the boxing world.