Boxing mega-promoter Bob Arum, the man who controls Manny Pacquiao's career spoke to Fight Hub TV about the UFC's deal with Fox TV and the impact of that deal on the UFC's pay-per-view sales.
- On boxing vs the UFC: "There is no real competition between boxing and the UFC. There is a very small cross-over (of fans who buy both boxing and UFC PPVs): 8%."
This is very interesting to me because the only other time I've heard a major boxing figure cite market research on the cross-over between UFC and boxing fans it was an HBO executive in 2008 saying there was a 5% cross-over. Has there been a 3% increase? If so my guess is that it's been UFC fans crossing over and trying out boxing, given the flurry of Pacquiao and Mayweather bouts that have caught on with MMA fans in the past 18 months.
- On the UFC's business model: "It's a totally different game plan from what we (boxing) have. Going on Fox TV is OK but I don't know if it helps their PPV numbers. It's a mixed bag. Their numbers have been very very bad on PPV (since the Fox deal) because people say we can get the same thing for nothing why should we pay?"
Another very interesting remark from Arum. I think he's misreading the numbers because the UFC is actually up a little bit on PPV since their debut on Fox in November. The real drop was in late 2010 and 2011 before the Fox deal began. They haven't had a really big UFC PPV (with the exception of UFC 141) since the Fox deal started but the numbers have generally been up.
- He adds an important caveat: "You can't make value judgments with the very small window that they've had. Let's see how it works out over a year. I thought (the Fox deal) was very very good but now I'm having some second thoughts. Their numbers really are not improving on PPV, indeed they're getting worse. These shows are not distinguishing themselves from the Fox shows. It's all like one same thing, it's UFC."
Now he's hitting on something very important, but it's not news to anyone who's been following the UFC's business closely. The UFC has a very limited number of big stars that stand out from the crowd and with Brock Lesnar retired and Georges St. Pierre out for at least 18 months with injuries the UFC is hoping that Jon Jones, Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem can break out and become stars.