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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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Mike Tyson’s PPV value in 2006 is…

By Zach Arnold | October 27, 2006

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Half of what Total Nonstop Action wrestling draws.

Oleg Maskaev has his Christmas card ready to send and mail off to Iron Mike now. Even he is laughing at Tyson’s buyrate power.

PRIDE looks to be very smart by marketing Tyson in Macau and not in America.

If you click on full-post view, you can read comments that HBO Sports boss Ross Greenburg made to Eddie Goldman in regards to UFC (along with the potential of MMA programming airing on the network).

On this week’s edition of Eddie Goldman’s No Holds Barred radio show, he had an interview with Ross Greenburg of HBO Sports. Greenburg is a big backer of boxing. You can download the show here.

Eddie asked Greenburg about MMA and boxing (if they are similar or different sports and do they share similar demographics). Greenburg stated that MMA and boxing are two vastly different sports, with very different demographics (he used a comparison of someone being a football fan and also liking baseball). Greenburg stated that MMA attracts a much younger audience, and that both boxing & MMA can co-exist. On November 18th, UFC 65 (which takes place at the Arco Arena in Sacramento) goes head-to-head against HBO’s boxing PPV featuring Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales (which takes place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas). Greenburg thinks that the UFC will show will not take away one PPV buy from the HBO boxing PPV. He stated that people have been proclaiming the death of boxing for the past 100 years, and it hasn’t died yet. It’s an industry with a cyclical nature and all it would take is for one hot, young star to bring more eyeballs back to watching the sport.

Eddie asked Mr. Greenburg about whether or not HBO Sports would consider airing MMA programming. Greenburg stated that the network was looking at martial arts closely (UFC in particular), and it all depends on whether or not HBO can find the right fit for programming. Time will tell and you can’t predict how it would work. Greenburg definitely agrees that there is a momentum behind the UFC brand, particularly in the 18-34 year old demographic bracket. In other words, HBO Sports is taking a wait-and-see approach in regards to ever airing MMA programming.

Topics: All Topics, Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “Mike Tyson’s PPV value in 2006 is…”

  1. Ivan Trembow says:

    lol at Ross Greenburg still needing to “find the right fit for programming” before MMA could be on HBO. Does he need to look at the Final Chapter demographic numbers some more?

  2. Mr. Roadblock says:

    You have to take Spike into consideration and what the UFC deal with them is. Spike certainly can’t want to lose out on good fights to HBO. It’s likely that UFC and HBO could partner in the PPV market. HBO produces high def PPVs, right now UFC doesn’t. But then the question is would they only do PPVs and nothing on HBO the premium channel? From UFC’s point of view does it make sense to leave Spike altogher for HBO? I don’t think it does. But HBO pays a couple mill for many of it’s best boxing cards. UFC has been running PPVs with payrolls of 200-600k. Maybe UFC could step up their cards on HBO.

    At the same time the best move might be for Pride and HBO to partner up.

  3. David says:

    I loathe boxing snobs. Other than Oscar De La Hoya, I can’t think of any boxing stars who draw anywhere near as many ppv buys as the UFC has been getting lately. Jim Lampley, who is a despicable prick in his own right, says mma is “nothing more than a bar fight” whereas he and people of his ilk extoll the beauty and nobility of boxing. What’s funny is, in 20 years, there won’t be any audience left for boxing in this country. MMA does much better than boxing in the young demographics, and it is no fad. If HBO Sports were smart, they would grow a set of balls and promote the IFL or one of the other up and coming mma organizations in America, so as to not completely miss the boat.

  4. Ivan Trembow says:

    The UFC is in a contract with Spike TV that does not expire until the middle of 2008, so if they are ever going to leave Spike TV entirely, it wouldn’t be until then. I doubt that will ever happen because they can be the centerpiece of the entire network on Spike TV, and they wouldn’t want to lose that.

    However, the Spike TV deal makes Spike TV the exclusive carrer of UFC programming on ad-supported cable TV, not all of cable TV. So there is nothing to stop the UFC from striking a deal with HBO in addition to the Spike TV deal, and that is exactly what is in ongoing negotiations (a number of UFC fight specials on HBO).

    As for the HBO PPV angle, I doubt the UFC would go that route simply because they don’t need to. When their top PPVs are already grossing over $30 million and even the bottom end of the scale PPVs are grossing $10 million to $15 million, they’re doing pretty well for themselves. Also, as previously reported, the UFC has no interest in “stepping up its pay scale” and according to the Wrestling Observer they have made a conscious, strategic decision to keep the pay scale the way it is.

  5. ZDL says:

    The fashion in which HBO promotes PPVs and boxing is such that its going to make them a ton of money almost no matter what. Their buys have been nothing fantastic this year (outside Oscar/Mayorga), but the fact is that it’ll end up one of their top 3 most profitable years ever. Additionally, they’ve been able to put the entire sport almost in a chokehold as Golden Boy Promotions continues to tighten its grip. In essence, HBO will soon have the ability to almost solely control the production of *North American* boxing stars in this country soon. They’ve spent 20 years working to that end, and they’re not about to throw it out just because the UFC has had some really good shows of late. Not only that, but contrary to most folks belief, boxing still has the higher profile for sportswriters. Since HBO doesn’t run off advertiser’s dollars but rather subscribers, its a whole different ballgame in terms of what they can expect as a possible “jump” in income.

    (also: remember that the network itself is incredibly expensive and often downright usually illegal to televise in a setting such as a sports bar, to the point where it is cost prohibitive)

    They also recognize the fact that MMA is a still developing market with a ton of stuff that still needs to be sorted out before anything can happen. I know that a lot of people seem to imagine that nothing will ever change compared to what’s going on right this second, but you’re sitting in the middle of a giant boom in the sport. Hell, reading this blog, you should be deftly aware that there’s a ton of people trying to spend their way into the hearts and minds of US consumers with their own brand of MMA. They don’t want an alphabet soup, seeing as they’ve had to unfortunately deal with it the last 25 years.

    As for boxing being dead, its a matter of finding and promoting new fighters that aren’t hype jobs, and having them be in good fights. Judah/Mayweather lost a ton of its sheen with the Baldomir loss and still did 410,000 in early numbers. HBO otherwise hasn’t even really tried to do it, pushing instead stuff like the two Vargas/Mosley bouts (which did decent numbers) and Quartey/Forrest. Its their own fault. But if you think its impossible, just look over at Japan. Everyone loves to do it when it comes to the rise of MMA and what it did to the pro wrestling industry, but the fact that Kameda does 3 times the ratings of K-1 Hero’s in a country where 80% of the events are held in the same arena (Korakuen Hall) doesn’t seem to be as popular.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    Not only that, but contrary to most folks belief, boxing still has the higher profile for sportswriters.

    As KW at Fight Report has been talking about all year long, it is amazing to see how many people proclaim boxing’s death – yet HBO PPV has been rolling along just fine. Of course, that doesn’t stop a lot of the mainstream writers from proclaiming boxing’s death… by solely focusing on the heavyweight scene and nothing else.

  7. ZDL says:

    The idea that the heavyweights are dead is really popular among American sports writers. Basically, its almost envy at this point because none of the top heavyweights are from the states, and none likely will be any time in the next decade. Over in Central and Eastern Europe, the idea that heavyweight boxing is dead doesn’t resonate as well, seeing as they can put 5,000 asses in seats, all paid, for C-class bouts like Alexander Dimitrenko’s 52 second fight this weekend.

    Oscar is a good example of why boxing isn’t beyond hope. The numbers of buys for his last two PPVs have been right around a million. Now, you can claim that its all old folks, but c’mon. Everyone on earth knows its not true. UFC didn’t even make an attempt at crossbranding to Hispanic or Urban audiences until this year when they added Genaro Hernandez as a Spanish announcer for their shows and a “en espanol” version of their site. Then again, they really don’t have any fighters that will appeal to that audience. The best shot they have is Diego Sanchez, and he isn’t attractive enough to pull the large volumes of women that Oscar did, and its doubtful that he’s of the same class of fighter in his respective sport either. And he’s from Albuquerque, not Mexico DF or Tijuana. Hell, can he speak spanish?

    Now, boxing has done a great job marketing to white males 18-34, and they’re as big a demographic as you can get. They’ve built up about 3 guys that really, really sell shows well (Hughes, Liddell, and Tito), and then everyone else is really riding more off the UFC name than anything. I doubt UFC 64 did 400,000 buys very highly, especially with UFC 58’s performance. Andrei Arlovski’s headlining performance at UFC 55 did the worst numbers of the SPIKE era, running about 100,000 buys and only filling 2/3 of the arena. Tim Sylvia is always paired up with bigger fights. None of the UFN shows featuring TUF talent in the main event seem to draw significantly larger numbers than the ones that don’t (like Sylvia/Silva, for instace). So, perhaps in what should surprise no one, maybe everyone in the UFC isn’t a mega draw. Maybe its limited to 2-3 guys, and perhaps when they’re not competing, the number of tickets sold and buy rates go down? Its really not a absurd line of thought.

    And hey, after Liddell/Ortiz II, both of those guys are gonna be out at least 3 months, more if there are injuries and cuts. Sherk’s got a nasty cut to heal. No one knows exactly how Hughes/St. Pierre II and Monson/Sylvia will go. So who headlines Super Saturday?

  8. Chuck says:

    I think I can go ahead and speak for the TNA fans and say….

    TNA! TNA! TNA!

    But seriously, TNA actually (more than likely) got more ppv buys than the Tyson exhibition and the HBO ppv card COMBINED!! I still would LOVE to see Bound For Glory’s and Pride American show’s buyrates.

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