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Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy: UFC can learn some things from boxing

By Zach Arnold | July 16, 2012

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From the crew at Fight Hub TV:

Looking at UFC deal with Fox, do you study what they do and incorporate it into your current business?

“I think UFC has certainly been able to connect with the fans in a very short period of time and sort of like captured that younger audience, be it through their… they were one of the first to embrace social media and so they’ve done a good job there. But it’s interesting if you actually look at the PPV numbers, the boxing PPV numbers are still substantially and when I say substantially it’s not, you know, one or two times, I mean multiples and multiples the size of a UFC PPV. So, yes, we can learn certain things from UFC but I think UFC can learn certain things from boxing. I do believe that the way to market an event in boxing, particularly a Mayweather fight at that level, is much better than what UFC does because we embrace our sponsors in a way where we not only… where we really ask them to activate and bring their platforms into play to promote the fighters and the fights and I think the results speak for themselves. I mean, Floyd Mayweather’s average PPV numbers are 1.5 million homes and I think UFC’s biggest PPV ever, they say it was a million but, you know, whether it’s true or not is a different story. But just to show you, you know, everybody can learn from everyone and that’s the beauty of that and I respect and admire UFC and Dana White and I have a good relationship with (them) as a matter of fact.”

Is the reason their PPV numbers are lower is because they are giving away big fights for free on Fox?

“No, I don’t think so, you know, one really has nothing to do with the other and I mean the PPV numbers were like before that, before they were when they were on Spike they were the same so it’s not like suddenly the PPV numbers dropped on the UFC. I mean, that’s just not… You know, they have a certain fan base which is willing to spend money and maybe it’s too much. I personally think a PPV a month is too much. It’s maybe OK when you are in the booming economy and everybody is flush with cash but when you are in a recessionary environment and people are looking for jobs, you have record unemployment and people losing their homes and so on and then a sports property whether it’s UFC or anyone else is doing every month a PPV, I think that’s probably you know a bit too much and so… but I think the fact that UFC is on Fox is terrific, it’s terrific for their sport, terrific for the UFC fans, and as I said you know I am working every day on getting boxing back on free over-the-air network television.”

MMA Fighting: Showtime Sports boss denies existence of list of Strikeforce fighters blocked from UFC

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

7 Responses to “Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy: UFC can learn some things from boxing”

  1. Chromium says:

    Really, I don’t think there’s a lot the UFC can learn from boxing, aside from maybe cutting back on the total number of events they are doing a bit (one PPV a month would be fine, although the UFC is doing more than that; if they dropped some of their Fuel shows that certainly could have helped some of their other cards more).

    Boxing is so heavily dependent on just their top two stars that they’d be totally fucked without them. The UFC lost Lesnar, and GSP is out for 18 months with an injury, and sure it hurt pretty bad but they’re still very successful.

    The UFC isn’t run perfectly by any means (they’ve definitely made a few headscratching decisions since coming to Fox), but they don’t have to worry about star power because it’s so spread out, as it should be. It’s not even like there’s a lack of talent or a lack of stories in boxing. The undefeated Andre Ward just went through a two-year round-robin tournament to become the undisputed Super Middleweight king. Why isn’t the mainstream media toting him as the next Sugar Ray Leonard? Bernard Hopkins became a World Champion at the age of 46. He’s a totally cool guy, too. Couldn’t hold a candle to Randy Couture on buyrates though. Even if the UFC should cut back just a little bit, I really don’t see how a boxing promoter can criticize the UFC holding too many events, when a lack of quality promoting is the reason boxing holds way too few.

    • Jason Harris says:

      Selling 1-2 events a year that sell double what UFC does 14 times a year…it doesn’t take a math wizard to see who’s doing more business.

      Great for Floyd that he’s able to sell 1.5m viewers on his annual fight. Not so great for anyone who didn’t make it onto that card.

      You think Khan and Garcia wouldn’t have liked to had PPV income for their title fight?

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        The UFC is doing 700,000 buys 14 times a year? No. Not really. That’s not to say they aren’t profitable, but the bottom for a PPV now is under 200,000 buys. Remember when it was 300/350? Also, I’d like to see how many UFC fighters are making Amir Khan money. His fight purse against Peterson was 1.1 million plus a cut of the UK TV, which was quite a bit. He at least made a million and a half after endorsements and that bonus TV money. Probably more.

  2. Chris says:

    this guy is full of it the ufc trounces boxing in overall ppv revenue its not even close , if floyd and pacquaio retired tomorrow there isnt one boxer that could sell close to one million buys.

    i think he is jealous myself

  3. Mr. Snrub says:

    I’m no fan of Schaefer, he’s just as bad as any other promoter but he is kinda right. ZUFFA is driving their overall PPVs into the ground by putting on monthly mediocre PPV cards. So far they haven’t broken their 200k base of buyers yet but they will eventually since they can’t maintain 14 quality PPVs a year.

    Casual fans are already picking and choosing PPVs for only big fights, just like boxing.

    You also get better value on a HBO or showtime subscription for boxing then the monthly PPV + fox channels deal we get from the UFC.

    “You think Khan and Garcia wouldn’t have liked to had PPV income for their title fight?”

    The thing is, both those guys got paid well (overpaid if anything) and the fans paid $20 (for three cards this month) on HBO instead of $60 for one PPV. So all in all I don’t see the problem.

  4. Weezy02 says:

    “But it’s interesting if you actually look at the PPV numbers, the boxing PPV numbers are still substantially and when I say substantially it’s not, you know, one or two times, I mean multiples and multiples the size of a UFC PPV.”

    That’s a very interesting comment, especially when one considers that Mr. Schaefer likely doesn’t have more than two fighters that can carry 300K PPV buys on their own. The UFC (even in a down year) averages more than that per PPV event. Trivia question for the fans: Excluding the three Mayweather bouts, how many PPV events has Golden Boy promoted/co-promoted in the past three years that have garnered over 300K buys? Or try this one: How many have garnered over 150K buys?

    Don’t get me wrong. Boxing is going to be just fine. As a fan I’m glad to see the product featured on HBO, Showtime and NBC Sports (formerly Versus) so prominently. And boxing doesn’t need to have more than a few guys that can sell over 300K buys. I guess all I’m saying is that Mr. Schaefer is hardly in position to look down his nose at UFC pay-per-view numbers.

  5. Alan Conceicao says:

    The difficulty the UFC has making big fights and creating new megastars has a lot more to do with the structure of their business than it does a lack of willing sponsor activation. If they aren’t willing to put a card on hold to make a money fight, then they pay the price of receeding PPV value. We’ve been at “Injury plague!” status with fight cancellations for a couple years now. It’s never going away, and they’re not adjusting. The numbers progressing to be more and more like boxing numbers until which point they may not be profitable is the inexorable result of that strategy.


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