MMAInsider spoke with Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio on Wednesday evening as he returned from a meeting with executives from Golden Boy Entertainment. The spectacled promoter said his team is working on logistics with the boxing promoters for future shows. At the time, he doesn’t know whether the idea of cross-breeding MMA and boxing will materialize. His guess for the alliance’s next event ranged from June to July.
But enough of all those question marks–MMAInsider wanted to know what the pay per view numbers were for “Day of Reckoning.”
Published reports citing Golden Boy CEO Richard Schafer have put the figure between 150,000-200,000 buys, giving the promotion a low estimate–at $44.95 a pop–of between $6,742,500 and $8,990,000 in net revenue.
Atencio, citing his company’s desire not to discuss money a la the UFC, put it this way: “We did 50% better than our last event.”
MMAWeekly.com was the first to report his estimate for Affliction’s first event, “Banned,” in which he said the broadcast “did well over 100,000 (buys).” That was before the partnership with Golden Boy; Atencio said his company got a better deal than the standard 40 percent of net revenue doled out to the promoter of the event. A conservative estimate of a $2.4 million take was “within the ballpark.”
In an interview with MMAInsider following the second event, Atencio claimed he was not privy to the pay per view deal secured for “Reckoning,” as Golden Boy was dealing with Showtime pay per view.
But assuming the standard 40 percent take for promoters in a pay per view event and a 50 percent improvement from 100,000 buys, a low estimate for Afflction/Golden Boy’s pay per view take would be $2,697,000. Combined with total gate receipts of $1,429,557, the event could have produced $4,126,557 in gross revenue, excluding other sources like merchandising and sponsorships.
The total on-the-books payroll for the event was $3.3 million. Fedor Emelianenko, who pummeled Andrei Arlovski in the main event, received $1.2 million less than his Belarusian counterpart, but it is widely believed he was given an off-the-books bonus north of a million dollars.
As you would expect, there are a lot of variables in Affliction’s equation of profitability. The two companies are private and are required only to disclose the salaries paid to their athletes. There are staff costs, venue costs, taxes, advertising–a litany of expenses that subtract from revenue. And as speculation indicates with Emelianenko, the true numbers of the event’s payroll may never be known. Those, in addition to live gate receipts, are a very limited picture of success.
Then there’s the possibility that Atencio and Golden Boy have been misleading about the true numbers–not a far-fetched scenario in the world of fight promotion.
Still, even at low estimates, the raw pay per view and gate numbers are impressive for a non-UFC promotion in this economy.
The sustainability of Affliction/Golden Boy’s business model is likely the main point of future meetings.