Countdown to UFC 102 Rating, Viewership Increasing

August 28, 2009

Last night’s Countdown to UFC 102 on Spike TV did 523,000 viewers.

The UFC has averaged just over 732,000 viewers this year for it’s Countdown program on Spike, which represents a 19.53%  increase over last year’s average of 613,000. 

This year’s average doesn’t include UFC 94’s Primetime show for St-Pierre vs. Penn II, which was basically like Countdown to UFC on steroids; the three episodes cost Zuffa $1.7 million to produce and brought in total, original viewership of over 2.3 million (880k, 825k, 662k).

Payout Perspective:

This week’s result, while not spectacular, isn’t terrible. I don’t think anyone expected the interest to be as high for 102 as 101 or 100; this card comes on the heels of a long summer, it lacks a title fight, and the news of slow ticket sales have already kind of perked everyone’s ears.

Just to add a little bit of context here: Countdown to UFC 88 did 423,000 (with 480k PPV), Countdown to UFC 91 with Lesnar vs. Couture did 537,000 (with 900k PPV), and UFC 97 did 774,000 (with 650k PPV). 

What does that tell us? The correlation between Countdown’s and PPV figures isn’t exactly perfect.

What should we expect from UFC 102 then? I look at UFC 88 as an example of the type of event we might see out in Portland: a non-title event featuring a UFC legend on the back nine of his career; just an average gate of $2-2.5 million (UFC 88 did 2.6 million); and PPV buys in the range of 450-600k (UFC 88 did 480k PPV).

I’d be extremely shocked if the event was any better thank 600k, but these are unpredictable times. This is definitely an event, though, that’s going to give us more information about how many fans the UFC has managed to convert the past six months because there’s been little hype relative to the series of fights its following.

2 Responses to “Countdown to UFC 102 Rating, Viewership Increasing”

  1. Joseph on August 28th, 2009 3:56 PM

    Nice writeup Kelsey. Completely agree with your analysis here. I believe anything over 500K buys and a gate of 2 million+ would be a success for this event.

  2. Sugarloaf on August 28th, 2009 6:41 PM

    I wonder if there will ever be a saturation point where there is so much going on that people will just not have the time and money to keep paying for them. That and how many different combinations of fighters can there be? Some are just getting old. Now they’ve got a ton of new people who we don’t even know, no connections with the fighters anymore. I’ll bet this doesn’t last forever, it will probably fade, even though I’m a fan.

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