Lorenzo: Double Digit PPV Increases In 08

September 29, 2008

Lorenzo Fertitta spoke with Multichannel News, stating PPV buys are up in 08:

By 2007, UFC was, according to Forbes, generating about $250 million and about 90 percent of all mixed-martial-arts revenue. In that year, it had 5.1 million pay-per-view buys in 11 fights, essentially matching 5.2 million in 15 for the WWE. And Fertitta says the picture remains rosy: “We had double-digit growth this year in a terrible economy.”

As always, looking at the data helps give us perspective to judge such statements. Let us take a look inside the numbers, comparing month-over-month results to this point:

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2007 2008

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January

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February 440,000 650,000

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March 540,000 325,000

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April 440,000 525,000

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May 675,000 475,000

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June

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July 425,000 520,000

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August 500,000 625,000

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Total Domestic Buys 3,020,000 3,120,000 3.3 % Growth

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UFC UK PPV Buys in US (1 event in 07, 2 in 08) 200,000 450,000

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Total Buys 3,220,000 3,570,000 10.8 % Growth

Numbers courtesy of MMA Live and The Wrestling Observer.

The main difference in the PPV numbers to this point in the year stem from them holding two UK PPVs in 08 opposed to one in 07. While saying they have had a double digit increase in buys is technically true, that wouldn’t tell the whole story up to this point. Factor out the UK shows and we see modest but positive growth so far this year.

Where the UFC will increase their overall PPV numbers for the year will be their performance with the shows for September was well as the 4th Qtr of the year. For September, Chuck vs Rashad should do slightly better numbers (probably in the 525 to 550k range, I would estimate) than a comparable Chuck vs Jardine in 07, (which did 475k buys). Anderson Silva has received a bigger marketing push recently but the lack of a marquee opponent and a generally weak undercard means when he headlines the October card for a second straight year we will probably see his usual 325 to 335k buys. The November card featuring Randy vs Brock will far outstrip last November’s main event of Evans Vs Bisping, looking to beat the UFC 78 number by anywhere from 500k to 700k buys. The New Year’s card should do slightly lower to even numbers with last year’s card, in the 600k range.

When you add it all up they should do a net of plus 600,000 to 700,000 buys on the last four ppv’s of the year. In essence, the Brock vs Randy card will be the PPV that separates this year’s performance from 07, as it will account for the biggest part of whatever percentage gains they have between 07 and 08. If they hit the benchmarks listed above they should be looking at just over a 20% increase in PPV buys in 08 over 07.

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