On this edition of NO HOLDS BARRED, host Eddie Goldman discusses the future of the most important business model and source of revenue currently used in combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts: pay-per-view television.
Some might question whether this business model is in any real danger at present. UFC toppled the all-time annual pay-per-view TV revenue record by reportedly bringing in more than $200 million in 2006, while the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight, held May 5, 2007, shattered all records for a single pay-per-view TV event in the U.S. by getting 2.15 million buys and $120 million in revenue.
We first speak about pay-per-view with Mark Taffet, senior vice president of sports operations and pay-per-view for HBO Sports, which distributed De La Hoya-Mayweather. We also got his comment on a possible HBO-UFC deal.
We next have a lengthy discussion with a critic of pay-per-view TV, boxing writer Jacqui Snow. She has her own web site, at http://www.jacquisnow.com/, and also serves as the moderator of the MySpace boxing group. She discusses the numerous problems with this model, including the growth of numerous web sites which stream these pay-per-views for free. Such sites, several of which she names, may be doing so in violation of copyright restrictions. However, similar to how the original Napster changed how music was distributed, these sites may also force a radical change in the business model of the combat sports.
She has written, "once the genie's out of the bottle, there's no forcing it back," and explains that point in depth. We also discuss how the Internet is actually saving boxing.