9 months into his Premier Boxing Champions venture and Haymon’s stranglehold on boxing talent and position with the sport is as strong as ever, with boxing getting it’s most on air TV time in the US for decades.
There has been reports this week that Haymon’s financial backers in the States (who have invested heavily in Haymon’s PBC series) Waddell and Reed, have seen their shares drop considerably.
Some boxing fans seem to think that this has had a direct impact on Haymon and his investment received in Premier Boxing Champions. I can ensure you it has not.
Waddell and Reed (the US asset management company backing Haymon) are estimated to have invested in Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions TV series for upwards of $400 million dollars.
Quite the sum, but boxing fans must realize that this makes up probably less than 1% of the company’s overall gigantic fund portfolio, which many believe to be worth over $40 billion (at least).
The game Haymon is playing is a long-term one and with PBC only 9 months into their venture, its very early days.
Some are saying that it is a loss leader strategy he’s using with his excessive early media spending, in that the reason he’s buying all the TV space on network TV in America now is so he can in essence become the most dominant promoter by far in the coming years – then flip the model around entirely and actually start charging those same TV companies (and customers) big money to put on fights.
I’m not convinced of that though, at all.
Sure, he’s burned through some substantial dough early doors, but those backers have big wallets and the business in which Haymon is operating in from where he derives revenue and will continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future (advertising) has returned to growth in recent times.
People are spending on ads again, sponsorship also seems to be trending up too. Some forget that Haymon is also a boxing manager/adviser and as such, one would suspect he takes a 10% (approx) cut from all his fighter’s purses.
He’s got a stable of two hundred plus pro fighters with some of the leading names in America, and has now has even taken stakes in big European fighter’s purses as their adviser in the US, via the likes of IBF champions Carl Frampton (122lbs) and James DeGale (168lbs).
You do the math. That’s a lot of manager fees.
(Haymon famously refuses to give any interviews or speak to the media, but here’s a rare clip of the man himself captured backstage by the folks at Tha Boxing Voice in 2015:)
This offsets some of the heavy early investment the PBC venture have undertaken in with the investors. I have a feeling he has something more up his sleeve to recoup this spend long-term.
It might just lay in digital advertising (of some sort).
Digital ad revenue in the States is set to surpass TV ad revenue by 2019 (a stark reality of the times we now live in) and in my opinion, he might look to cash in on this rocketing trend, which is a highly unpredictable and changing one, but a massively growing one nonetheless.
How exactly he will I don’t know, but I firmly believe monetizing online revenue streams is a part of his plan over the coming years.
I just can’t see how shafting both his TV partners and customers with a loss leader strategy would work and for the life of me, can’t fathom any other way he’s going to make this money back for his investors.
Although Haymon is contending with significant law suits from promoters in the States on top of the perceived early heavy cash burn in his PBC series, the reality is his stable of athletes (or talent that he monetizes in entertainment business lingo) continues to grow month after month, and with the return of former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to the boxing world this year (a man Haymon did a lot of great business with in the past), don’t be surprised if you see these two boxing business titans re-unite once again, and possibly even look to expand the PBC series into the UK market to boot.
I remember writing about Haymon been the most powerful man in world boxing around two years ago. Well, he still is, and perhaps more so than ever.
Good ol Al is here to stay. Don’t be fooled by short-term cash burn in the PBC series.
Sure it’s probably operating at an early loss, but most businesses when starting out do, and have to invest heavy in the beginning to get medium to long-term traction, in any market.
If I were to bet on what the main poker card in his business plan is for his investors over the coming three to four years, it would be digital ad revenue of some description, as big fights potentially become streamed totally online and where the pay per view model might also switch online.
But its a complex one to work out.
Whatever the plan is, it will be an interesting year ahead for sure, as this powerhouse boxing player continues to exert considerable influence on the sweet science landscape.
Hopefully as a result of all this investment into the sport of boxing, fans will see more of the best fighters fight one another on a consistent basis, through as many TV and online platforms as possible.
(Top image source and credit – The Fight City)
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