The boxing match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on Dec. 1 "generated approximately 325,000 pay-per-view buys," according to sources cited by Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. The total is "considered a success given that neither fighter had ever appeared on pay-per-view previously and Fury was largely unknown to the American public because he had had very little television exposure." Based on 325,000 buys, the PPV grossed around $24M, though about "half that money goes to the cable and satellite providers." Meanwhile, Showtime's taped broadcast of the fight on Saturday night "drew fairly strong viewership for the week-old fight, averaging 488,000 viewers" (ESPN.com, 12/12).
A NEW ERA: Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya, whose client Canelo Alvarez in October signed a five-year, 11-fight deal worth a minimum of $365M with OTT service DAZN, said, "Pay per view is dead and we’re going to bury it. I have mixed feelings saying that. My career was built on pay per view and I know to make this move is ballsy, but I believe in it. It’s now. It’s the future. I’m betting [Canelo's] future on it." In N.Y., Wallace Matthews notes with a promise of 70+ Golden Boy events a year, DAZN "believes it can generate enough monthly subscriptions to make its investment in Canelo a profitable one." De La Hoya: "We want to give fight fans some bang for their buck." He said of Alvarez' landmark deal with DAZN, "It was a really easy deal to make. We literally pulled it out of our ass" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/13).
HBO's "Momentum Generation," which premiered Tuesday, is a "revealing documentary about a tightknit group of professional surfers who achieved fame" in the '90s, and viewers "don’t have to know or even care that much about pro-surfing history to become absorbed by it," according to Hank Stuever of the WASHINGTON POST. The doc, which is also available on HBO Go, features "plenty of satisfying and even breathtaking shots of surfing," but filmmakers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist are "less concerned with delivering a standard surf movie than exploring the ways in which boys become men." The film features "household names" like Kelly Slater and "makes a clear case for the ways surfing saved these kids from less happy fates" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/11). In L.A., Robert Lloyd wrote viewers "do not need to be interested in surfing to be excited and moved" by the documentary. Even with "so many characters," the film has a "solid narrative drive and focused arc, while leaving room for disagreement, ambiguity and lapses in memory" (L.A. TIMES, 12/11). TV INSIDER's Matt Roush wrote it is a "beautifully filmed documentary" that features "plenty of thrilling surf photography." What viewers will "likely remember is the camaraderie evidenced in revealing interviews, as the surfers happily recall sharing a group home as up-and-comers on Hawaii’s North Shore" (TVINSIDER.com, 12/11). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Andrew Bucholtz wrote the film "will appeal to longstanding surfing fans given the new access and interviews, but it’s also accessible to those who don’t know much about the sport or its history." It is an "interesting look at a culture and a sport that’s very different than mainstream American professional sports, and a window into how surfing transformed" in the '90s (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 12/11).
TWITTER REAX: ESPN's Will Cain: "Loved it. You can pretty much lure me into any surf, Hawaii, 90s doc. But even without all that, it’s an awesome story about buddies." Barstool Sports producer Henry Lockwood: "I might watch Momentum Generation 25 times this week." Austin-based KTXX-FM's Trey Elling: "One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a long, long time. Even if you’re not infatuated with surfing, it’s well worth a viewing."
Nationals pre- and postgame host Johnny Holliday said that he is "stepping away from his role on MASN as he cuts back his workload." In DC, Barry Svrluga notes Holliday is also the "full-time voice of Maryland football and men’s basketball." Holliday had been "serving alongside" Ray Knight on Nationals broadcasts, but Knight "didn’t have his contract renewed this offseason." Holliday: "With Ray gone, seems like a good time to back off a little." The nightly travel also "began to wear on Holliday" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).
SPEAKING OUT: In Detroit, Dana Sulonen notes former Tigers broadcaster Mario Impemba yesterday "broke his silence" after being let go by FS Detroit in October following a physical altercation with broadcast partner Rod Allen. Impemba tweeted, "The last three months have been challenging for both myself and my family. I would like to thank the countless Tigers fans who have reached out to me to offer support. I would also like to thank my broadcasting colleagues who have provided both support and encouragement. It was always my intention to return to the Tigers booth in 2019, but that decision was out of my hands" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/13).
NEW LINEUP: In N.Y., Andrew Marchand cites sources as saying that the Mets' pre- and postgame shows on SNY will have a "new lead analyst, as Todd Zeile is replacing Nelson Figueroa." Zeile has been a "longtime favorite" of Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. Figueroa is "expected to remain with the network in a still-undefined role." Gary Apple is "expected to remain as the Mets’ pre- and postgame host." Zeile has "been in the mix on SNY for a few years, but had been behind Figueroa on the depth chart" (N.Y. POST, 12/13).