July 31, 2008

Much speculation has surrounded the financial success of Affliction's debut as a mixed martial arts promoter. With a confirmed $3 million payroll July 19th, as well as a 15,000-seat arena to fill, it seemed a tall order for the clothing company to end up in the black.

But Affliction VP Tom Atencio says that the money pit many imagined wasn't as deep as expected, though he won't give specific numbers on its pay-per-view performance.

Like his promotional rival, UFC President Dana White, Atencio believes that when people know how much money you make, it creates problems.

"It's been my experience that the UFC doesn't release their numbers, and I try to learn from other companies with mistakes and what they're doing right," Atencio said.

However, Atencio did give a rough estimate -- one he stood by while the initial gate and salary figures for the event were released.

"We did well over 100,000," he said. "At this point, we did well over, but I don't want to give the exact numbers."

Atencio also confirms that his company did buy a large portion of tickets that contributed to its bottom line. But claims 90 to 95 percent of them were sold. He says $2.1 million in gate revenue is accurate.

Calculating a conservative number of 100,000 pay per view buys, it translates to $4 million in event revenue. Traditional pay per view deals give 40 percent of the revenue to the promoter, while the cable companies and middlemen take the remaining 60 percent.

"That wasn't our deal," Atencio said. "But we had a pretty standard - we actually may have done better than that. We don't go into anything completely blind, and we had a general idea of what we were looking for, and we did a good job."

Still, Atencio said the 40 percent figure was "within that area," and the resulting $2.4 million in gross revenue was "within the ballpark."

In California, there is no independent method of verifying a private company's pay-per-buy rates. To a large extent, Atencio is asking fans to take his word. But as a new promoter, it's a role he's getting used to.

"I also have to run a viable business," he said. "If I don't, I'm not going to be around, and people aren't going to have a choice."

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