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Mayweather-Pacquiao: Too Rich for Buffalo Wild Wings

Fight will only air in 9 corporate locations, dozens of franchise restaurants.

Mayweather-Pacquiao: Too Rich for Buffalo Wild Wings
TV sets tuned to sporting events are like wallpaper in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants everywhere. But on Saturday night, only a small percentage of “B-Dubs” locations will air the much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. 
 
Heather Leiferman, spokeswoman for Buffalo Wild Wings, says that nine company-owned locations will air the fight and that “more than 70” franchise restaurants are also slated to carry the fight. The company currently has a total of 1,086 Buffalo Wild Wings locations: 497 corporately owned restaurants and 589 franchise locations.
 
Corporate locations will levy a $20 cover charge for patrons to see the fight. Franchise operators will each determine if they will have a cover charge or a minimum food order. As of early Thursday afternoon, no Minnesota locations of Buffalo Wild Wings were slated to air the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
 
But why is the sports-driven chain largely steering clear of airing the highly publicized fight?
 
“Our decision was based on a few factors. One, was a cost benefit analysis. This is going to be one of the biggest sports weekends of the year (Kentucky Derby, NBA/NHL Playoffs, NFL Draft, etc.) and we already expect to have high traffic in locations throughout the weekend,” Leiferman wrote in an email to Twin Cities Business.
 
It would cost Buffalo Wild Wings $5,100 per location to air the fight, a steep price compared other events.
 
“Other major sporting events air on network and cable channels and are already included in our TV packages for restaurants. And, given the anticipation and excitement around this fight, the cost is significantly higher for our restaurants than other pay-per-view events,” notes Leiferman.
 
The pay-per-view price for the fight is $89.95 for people who want to watch the contest in the comfort of their living rooms. There could also be additional HD surcharges of up to $10 for viewers.
 
The nine corporate Buffalo Wild Wings locations slated to air the fight are: downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee; Clarksville, Tennessee; Green River, Indiana; Stafford, Virginia; Skibo Road, North Carolina; Warrenville, Illinois; London, Ontario; Vaughn, Ontario; and Windsor, Ontario.
 
Leiferman adds that the number of franchise locations airing the fight could still increase: “Currently, more than 70 different franchise locations are scheduled to air the fight (in the United States). All five of our locations in Mexico and our restaurant in the Philippines will also show the fight. We do expect additional franchises to sign up to show the fight in the coming days as well.”
 
The company has set up a web site to allow customers to find the closest Buffalo Wild Wings location that will be airing the fight.
 
Buffalo Wild Wings reported revenue of $1.52 billion and net income of $94.1 million for the year ending on December 28, 2014.
 
On Tuesday, Buffalo Wild Wings reported first quarter results with revenue of $440.6 million, an increase of 19.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. Net earnings were up 2.6 percent to $29.1 million for the quarter.
 
But despite the gains, the numbers were short of Wall Street’s expectations for the quarter. The stock plummeted 12.8 percent in Wednesday trading to close at $160.25 per share.
 
Among the factors that weighed on the company during the first quarter was the price of chicken wings. In the company’s earnings statement, president and CEO Sally Smith noted: “The price per pound for traditional chicken wings increased 41% versus the prior year's unusually low price.”
 
Meanwhile, the company is trying to draw more customers to its restaurants for lunch. On April 20, the company announced the launch of its “B-Dubs Fast Break” lunch menu in an effort to entice more midday business. 
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