SBD/September 4, 2013/Events and AttractionsPrint All
Already a lock to set the record for the largest gate in boxing history, the Sept. 14 Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight also will set new Golden Boy Promotions highs in closed-circuit tickets sold, sponsorship sales and activation levels and on-air promotional support. "We're not just breaking the records," said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. "We're shattering them." The live gate for the sold-out fight at the MGM Grand will come in at $19,905,000, Schaefer said, beating the $18,419,200 set by Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya in the same arena in '07. Though evolutions in technology and viewing habits make it unlikely that the fight -- or any fight -- will break the PPV record of 2.4 million set by Mayweather-De La Hoya, Mayweather-Alvarez is on pace to make history in most other categories. Among the indicators:
* Closed-circuit sales in Las Vegas eclipsed the initially anticipated 8,000 tickets in the first few days after they went on sale, Schaefer said, leading MGM Resorts Int'l to expand to 12,000 and then 25,000 seats at six properties, the most ever made available since the emergence of at-home PPV. Those tickets are priced at $100, rather than the $50-75 that is typical for closed-circuit viewing on the Strip.
* About 5,000 U.S. bars and restaurants have purchased rights to show the fight, up from about 3,000 for Mayweather-De La Hoya.
* NCM Fathom will distribute the fight to about 500 movie theaters set up for almost 125,000 seats, five times as many as the previous high set by Mayweather in his victory against Miguel Cotto in May.
* CBS, Showtime and various TV distributors will combine to deliver $80-100M in promotional value through commercials plugging the fight, an increase of about 40% over the most they had spent previously on a Golden Boy PPV promotion, Schaefer said. The breakdown: CBS-Showtime will deliver $15-20M; In-Demand will deliver about $24M through its 355 affiliated cable systems and about $10M through other channels; satellite providers will provide $8-10M; telecoms will provide $5-7.5M; NCM Fathom in-theater spots will provide $3-5M; and fight sponsors will dedicate $15-20M.
* Sponsors will pay rights fees of more than $2M, up from the previous high of $1.25M and more than double the $800,000 generated by Mayweather-De La Hoya.
* Foreign rights from about 160 countries will exceed $3.3M -- not including PPV in Puerto Rico and Canada -- a 50% increase over the previous high set by Mayweather-De La Hoya. "When you have a couple of hundred thousand fans come out to see Canelo and Floyd Mayweather live on the (10-city) press tour as we did, that sort of sets the stage," Schaefer said. "It was sort of like Beatlemania. It really gave us an idea of how big this fight is."
UNPRECEDENTED PROMOTIONAL SUPPORT: Showtime will get unprecedented promotional support for the fight from the CBS mothership, in part because of where the fight falls on the calendar. The network promoted Mayweather's last fight during its Final Four coverage, but that was a month ahead of the event. This fight will get mentioned during CBS' NFL coverage this Sunday and then during its telecast of the Alabama-Texas A&M game on Sept. 14, hours before the PPV. CBS will air 10-, 15- and 30-second promos throughout the week during male-skewing primetime shows, including "CSI:" and "Hawaii Five-0," as well as during "Late Show." "Where we benefit on the entertainment side is from a variety of top-rated and male-skewing programs on the network which (reach) the casual fan," said Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza. "Those types of shows give us access to a huge audience of males 18-49. That's a promotional opportunity we've never had before."
Monday's U.S. Open fourth-round match between Roger Federer and Tommy Robredo was relocated to Louis Armstrong Stadium from Arthur Ashe Stadium following a four-hour rain delay, and the move "particularly irked fans," according to Stu Woo of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Louis Armstrong Stadium "holds 10,103 spectators, less than half of that of Ashe." Fans with tickets for Arthur Ashe Stadium "had to fight for unassigned seating with fans with cheaper tickets for Armstrong." That meant "not everyone in the line going to see Federer Monday" got in. Under the tournament’s normal inclement-weather policy, the event "would not offer ticket exchanges or credit" because one match was completed at Arthur Ashe Stadium. But USTA Dir of Corporate Communications Chris Widmaier said that the tournament officials would allow fans to exchange Monday tickets for one session next year "as a courtesy to our fans who came today" (WSJ.com, 9/2).
LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP: TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote Louis Armstrong Stadium for "any longtime American tennis fan" is "our imperfect place." The seats are "cramped, the wind swirls inside, and there are no architectural or decorative touches to please the eye." The entrances that "let fans up from below are narrow by today’s standards," and "once you are inside, it’s not easy to find a place to sit down; the concrete pathways are cramped." Most "agree that tearing down the Open's intimate third stadium, the Grandstand, would be a tragedy, or at least an unfortunate by-product of the tournament's modernization plan." The USTA once had Louis Armstrong Stadium "slated for demolition as well, but more recently it has been granted a reprieve." Yet the stadium has "a strange appeal, one that makes me wonder if memories and nostalgia don’t ultimately trump all questions of aesthetics and taste" (TENNIS.com, 9/2) In N.Y., Michael Kimmelman noted the USTA has City Council approval to demolish the Grandstand and build a new one "on the other end of the center’s grounds, as part of a master plan to improve circulation and add retractable roofs to Armstrong and Arthur Ashe Stadiums." Plans call for the Grandstand to be torn down after the '14 U.S. Open, with the "new version done in time" for the '15 tournament and the "entire project finished" by '18. The Grandstand is "the most intimate and exciting place to watch tennis at the Open, beloved by players and fans." Kimmelman: "No place on the grounds embodies better the Open's gritty nature than the Grandstand" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/2).
DOES TOURNEY STILL REGISTER? SportsNet N.Y.'s "Daily News Live" panel yesterday examined the state of the tennis in the U.S. and whether American fans care about the U.S. Open. The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said there are "still tennis fans out there," but he noted there is "nobody on the horizon right now" among young American male players to galvanize fans. The N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said, "It tells you something when the biggest story of the U.S. Open was the little … teenager with the high voice (Victoria Duval). Once she was eliminated it was over for me." The N.Y. Daily News' Bill Madden said Serena Williams is the "one appealing American player out there." Madden: "Otherwise, it's Serena and a lot of women with 'ova' the end of their names." Murray said, "With all due respect to Venus Williams and Serena Williams, tennis is driven by what goes on in the men's side and there's just nobody there competing for the U.S." ("Daily News Live," SNY, 9/3).
The Izod IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore needs to secure a new date for future events, but "most involved believe that open-wheel racecars will roar again," according to Don Markus of the Baltimore SUN. Event GM Tim Mayer said that what had "started out as a rocky marriage between the city and IndyCar has smoothed considerably." While attendance figures for this year's race have not been released, Mayer said that the "general 'vibe' has been positive." Mayer: "This is a city that has needed to see this operate smoothly and want to associate their name with it. Last year was a rescue situation, and who wants to be part of a rescue? This year they are seeing it not as a rescue but as a proper event. ... I think it's really on firm footing for the future." Markus noted the original contract runs out in '15, and organizers "have known from the start that Labor Day weekend was not available next year because of a conflict with a Navy-Ohio State football game at M&T Bank Stadium." Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Friday said that the "value of the Grand Prix remains as a Labor Day event." But she added, "We're hopeful that there might be another date possible." Mayer said trying to find dates that do not conflict with the Orioles, Ravens conventions is like a "Rubik's cube" (Baltimore SUN, 9/2). Mayer said of Labor Day weekend next year, "It's in our contract since the very beginning of the race that this date was not available. That was never a question. We've always known that in this month we would start working on the date. For me, this is business as usual. I've met a dozen times this week on the subject, and everybody is determined to make this go forward" (AP, 9/3).
Competitor Group "will no longer pay appearance fees or travel expenses for elite runners in its North American races, effective immediately," according to Scott Douglas of RUNNER'S WORLD. Competitor "will still pay prize money at its races; many offer $1,000 for first place." Competitor President & CEO Scott Dickey said that the company "will also retain its relationships with a handful of well-known elites, including Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher." Dickey: "From time to time we will bring in runners who have some of the highest profiles." He added that the well-known runners Competitor will continue to work with "will not only appear at races and race expos, but also meet with sponsors, develop training plans, and/or develop content for Competitor's media outlets." Dickey listed Hall, Goucher, Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, Frank Shorter and Rod Dixon as "current and past elites who Competitor will continue to work with." Douglas noted one "near-future race affected by the decision about appearance fees" is the Sept. 15 Rock ’n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Competitor has "told runners' agents that they will be reimbursed for travel already booked to the event, and that already-invited elites are welcome to seek the event's prize money, but that appearance fees already agreed upon will not be paid." Dickey said that the half-marathon in Virginia Beach last week was "unaffected by the new policy" (RUNNERSWORLD.com, 8/31).
BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS? In Utah, Amy Donaldson wrote, "The truth is that CGI built the RNR series on the backs of runners like Keflezighi." Having elite runners in town "means a lot more media coverage." That coverage "attracts recreational runners," and having "thousands of people sign up for a race that they know they’ll never win is how a company like CGI makes millions." If Competitor is "really interested in investing in the back-of-the-pack, they should do more to put us in touch with and in the same room as the sport’s most elite athletes." Donaldson: "I don’t want more bananas and bagels; I want to an hour with Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor" (DESERET NEWS, 9/2).