Sorry Michael D. Cohen, it looks like your “dynamic changing” announcement has been spoiled. According to a report from MMA Weekly, the highly speculated partnership between Affliction and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has been confirmed.
Golden Boy Promotions – the boxing promotion company spearheaded by Oscar De La Hoya – and Affliction Entertainment on Saturday are set to announce a partnership between the two companies.
Golden Boy Promotions’ CEO Richard Schaefer and Affliction vice president Tom Atencio will make the announcement during the Ricky Hatton vs. Paulie Malignaggi press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Golden Boy is one of the promoter’s of the boxing match set for Nov. 22 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
That will now change as Golden Boy and Affliction are expected to announce that their partnership will begin with “Day of Reckoning,” Affliction’s sophomore offering that was recently postponed from Oct. 11 in Las Vegas and moved to Jan. 17 in Anaheim, Calif.
It is believed that the partnership will result in fight cards mixed with MMA and boxing matches.
But is it going “change the world of mixed martial arts?” Doubtful.
Personally, I tune into MMA events to watch mixed martial arts. I’ve never been into boxing, and yes, I have given it plenty of chances, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I could really do without watching a boxing match to see Barnett, Arlovski, or Fedor go at it. Honestly, I’d rather just watch Megadeth or Ozzy. But, that’s just my feelings on it, and I realize some are fans of both.
Regardless of my dislike for boxing, the partnership is interesting. I think it’s safe to say Golden Boy is probably a little better than Affliction at promoting an event. Affliction is still very young and inexperienced in the art of promotion and could certainly use a little guidance.
One of the big questions will be what level of boxers is Golden Boy going to bring to the table. C-level? B-level? A-level? Anyone who actually draws? Outside of boxing’s top stars, boxing hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire in pay-per-view the past few years. I’m skeptical of how many more buys Golden Boy will actually bring with them, which brings up the question of how this deal is structured. I’m sure Golden Boy is fully aware that Affliction lost a lot of money on their first show. If the co-promoted events actually do turn a profit, how much does Affliction get? Golden Boy seems to have the leverage to get the more favorable terms. If the first event loses money, I doubt Golden Boy will stick around to lose more on a second event.
The other question mark is HBO. It seems Affliction would stand to gain the most from Golden Boy’s relationship with HBO, but HBO has already shot down the notion of any MMA programming in the near future. Without HBO’s involvement in the partnership, Affliction’s still missing the most critical piece of the puzzle—a television outlet to promote their events.
If nothing else, this partnership will get people talking, build up some buzz, but at the end of the day, they have to deliver something people want to buy, and I’m very skeptical that this will actually sell without big boxing names on the card. I find it hard to believe that the answer to Affliction’s problems is bringing in someone who has struggled in pay-per-view themselves without a De La Hoya or a Mayweather on the card. It just seems like more of a gimmick than a solution.
(Ed. note update: HBO boxing did better in ppv than I initially thought according to this report from MMAPayout.com.)
[UPDATE 9/13/08 3:00PM ET] – MMAWeekly has spoken to Tom Atencio about the partnership.
Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio on Saturday confirmed that his company has entered into an agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, the boxing promotion led by Oscar De La Hoya. The two will co-promote a hybrid evening of boxing and mixed martial arts to be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Jan. 17.
“It’s very good news,” Atencio told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s good for the company, and it’s good for the sport.”
Atencio said the companies were in talks with premium channel HBO to air the Jan. 17 show, but were not close to a deal yet.
If they can get in with HBO, they might have something.
[UPDATE 9/13/08 4:54PM ET] – MMAJunkie.com reports there are plans for four co-promoted events.
The newly-formed partnership will include four co-promoted pay-per-view events to begin in 2009. The cards will feature both mixed martial arts and boxing matches in the same ring.
[UPDATE 9/13/08 7:42PM ET] – ESPN answers the question of the split, reveals Affliction and Golden Boy attempted to get Arlovski vs. Barnett on the upcoming Pavlick/Hopkins HBO PPV card, and how Affliction’s clothing line factors into the partnership.
Golden Boy and Affliction will partner 50-50 on at least four pay-per-view shows next year that will include boxing matches and MMA fights on the same card. Smaller promoters have paired the two sports on cards, but never at the top level.
When the card was called off, Golden Boy attempted to have Arlovski-Barnett rescheduled as part of the Oct. 18 Pavlik-Hopkins HBO PPV card. However, co-promoter Top Rank and HBO rejected the overture.
As part of its deal with Golden Boy, Affliction will produce a line of event T-shirts for Golden Boy fights to sell at retail locations and at the fight. The first fight it will make shirts for is the Dec. 6 match between Golden Boy boss Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. In addition, Affliction will become the official apparel licensee for Ring Magazine, which Golden Boy bought last year. It unveiled several sample T-shirts featuring old covers of Ring magazine, including ones of Sugar Ray Robinson.
MMAPayout.com has more on HBO and how this partnership opens up other avenues of marketing opportunities for Affliction.
As of now HBO won’t be involved as a TV partner, but Affliction VP Tom Atencio said they will continue to negotiate with the pay TV company. Without HBO as a TV partner, one possible avenue for promoting the shows may be doing so within Golden Boy’s boxing PPV’s. With a Oscar De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquiao PPV coming up that should generate over a million buys, Affliction/Golden Boy may look to piggyback promotion for the hybrid cards with this high profile match-up.
That all sounds good on paper if nothing else. This has never been done before on this scale, so no one really knows if this is going to work or not. I have my doubts, but I really hope this helps Affliction become a viable promotion. You can’t say they aren’t trying.