UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates

December 3, 2009

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer  passes along the latest trending estimates from the cable companies:

The first week cable estimate on UFC 106 was 330,000, which is even lower than earliest projections we had. UFC 104 with Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua came in at 450,000 in a cable estimate and 460,000 in a trending estimate. Keep in mind the general rule of thumb by nature of how numbers are reported in the U.S. is that the final number since most UFC buys are in the U.S. will wind up 10-15% above these original numbers, so it’s likely Machida-Rua ends up at 500,000, which isn’t bad, and UFC 106 winds up 360,000 to 375,000, which for that fight is a gigantic disappointment. Trending numbers right now are indicating about a 27% drop from 104. The top per capita markets were Burlington, VT, Las Vegas, Halifax, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Honolulu, Oklahoma City, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Phoenix.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 104 looks to have outperformed most expectations, which is potentially a good sign for the Machida-Shogun rematch that’s being targeted for May. However, the results of Ortiz-Griffin have to be considered a disappointment.

Meltzer brought up an interesting point the other day in mentioning that it had been over 18 months since Ortiz last fought in the octagon, but Dana White spent the better part of the first 12 months trying to bury him in the media. It’s a tactic that’s now coming back to bite him.

It also leads me to believe that the days of the classic promoter are slowly coming to an end. The people that support MMA do so, in part, because they have a thirst for instant gratification. However, that thirst also applies to information – they want everything at their fingertips this very second. So, what can a promoter tell them that they can’t find out on their own?

This is not a stupid or gullible consumer that we’re talking about; and, the results for Forrest-Tito support that.

The role of the new-age promoter isn’t necessarily going to change a great deal. These individuals will still be the informational figureheads for their respective organizations, but the story telling is going to shift toward corollary or third-party content.

MMA traditionalists may scoff at the idea of comparing the sport to football, but MMA could learn a lot of things from America’s most popular and socially accepted sport. Who pushes the story lines and game themes that drive the NFL on a weekly basis? It’s certainly not Roger Goodell, and to a large extent it’s really not even the NFL itself. It’s ESPN, CBS, Fox, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, Rotowire, etc.

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Personally, I’ve been waiting for these numbers for a while, because it gives me a chance to compare them with the regression. Overall, I’m somewhat satisfied.

Here’s a comparison:

UFC 104: 500,000
MMAPayout.com: 398,000 (366,000-437,000)

UFC 106: 360,000
MMAPayout.com: 447,000 (330,000-555,000)

I noted in the UFC 106 Payout Perspective that a great deal of that discrepancy was due to the gate revenue being based partially on the sales for an anticipated heavyweight title fight featuring Brock Lesnar. A weighted average more heavily skewed to the countdown figure would have been more accurate in this case.

It’s a continual adjustment – especially with the weighted average - but it’s a numbers-based analysis that’s decent at predicting a solid ballpark range.

16 Responses to “UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates”

  1. Stan Kosek on December 3rd, 2009 7:45 AM

    Definitely some good news/bad news from those two buy rates. The Machida/Shogun rematch has a chance to be a huge buy rate for the UFC now, especially if hyped correctly, i.e. showing the match on Spike and really promoting the questionable decision angle. However, Forrest and Tito had to be a letdown. I imagine they will either coach the next TUF or they will accelerate both of their levels of competition.

  2. BrainSmasher on December 3rd, 2009 8:46 AM

    106 is a big surprise. Tito really has noone to blame but himself. Starting with the Chuck ducking period. Tito has a half dozen very long lay offs. 12 months here, 8 months there, now 18 months. Each time he comes back and looks like crap. His latest effort looking so bad i felt sorry for him. His speed and reflexes are completely gone. All of these lay offs are due to Tito looking for a way out of fighting rather than being a fighter.

    I am suprised Tito’s appearance on The Apprentice didnt help him any. He come off of that show looking very good with high praise from Trump. But that was probably over a year ago. He blew the chance to capitalize on that success.

  3. mma guru on December 3rd, 2009 9:33 AM

    wow, what a bomb that PPV was. figured tito could have brought in 450K in his sleep. guess not. not good news for the UFC or tito.

  4. Ed on December 3rd, 2009 9:52 AM

    Looks like Strikeforce dodged a a bullet when, after months of courtship, Tito spurned their offer and re-upped with the UFC instead.. He’s clearly not a draw anymore, and while the UFC can afford to overpay, Strikeforce cannot. If they had signed Tito, would they have been able to sign Fedor?

  5. UFc 104 does 500,000 buys, 330,000 for UFC 106 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on December 3rd, 2009 12:03 PM

    [...] 104 does 500,000 buys, 330,000 for UFC 106 UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA If Lesnar had made the card you probably could replace the first 3 with an 8 for 106 but 330,000 [...]

  6. G dawg on December 3rd, 2009 12:13 PM

    5 of the top 7 PPV buys are from Canadian cities (per capita), that speaks VOLUMES on how big MMA is in Canada. Overall, MMA is much much bigger in Canada than the US and the numbers prove it. UFC in Montreal sells out faster than any other before, throw in Vancouver for June 2010 and that’ll be sold out within the hour, whereas Philly, LA all take a lot longer and are bigger cities.

  7. The UFC , Fertittas , and the corrupt athletic commissions - Page 48 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on December 3rd, 2009 12:59 PM

    [...] UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA so the past few ppv numbers are in , and since there isn't much buzz surrounding them because they didn't do as well considering they had their stars Tito , Forrest, and Machida on them, I will just point out that if these were great numbers we would see a couple dozen threads praising zuffa. Well , not being one to let the opportunity to slip by to say I told you so, this just reinforces the Downward decline and momentum shift that the ufc is facing due to it's own bad decisions that are alienating fans both casual and hardcore . Especially if you put this in context comparing it to strikeforce's 25 million viewers, you can start to see where this tren is headed. __________________ "Big brother (UFC),mainstream media (ESPN), Athletic commission coverups, YOU want answers? well so does HE. HE is Alex Jones, on the sherdog forums,live from the Newb World Order, here's Alex Jones" [...]

  8. The UFC , Fertittas , and the corrupt athletic commissions - Page 48 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on December 3rd, 2009 1:55 PM

    [...] UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA So, the past few ufc ppv numbers are in , and since there isn't much buzz surrounding them because they didn't do as well considering they had their stars Tito , Forrest, and Machida on them, I will just point out that if these were great numbers we would see a couple dozen threads praising zuffa. Well , not being one to let the opportunity to slip by to say I told you so, this just reinforces what I've been saying about the Downward decline and momentum shift that the ufc is facing due to it's own bad decisions that are alienating fans both casual and hardcore . Especially if you put this in context comparing it to strikeforce's 25 million viewers, you can start to see where this trend is headed. __________________ "Big brother (UFC),mainstream media (ESPN), Athletic commission coverups, YOU want answers? well so does HE. HE is Alex Jones, on the sherdog forums,live from the Newb World Order, here's Alex Jones" [...]

  9. BrainSmasher on December 3rd, 2009 2:35 PM

    ED

    Good point. Tito would have put SF out of the game. As much money as Affliction was throwing around. Even they said Tito’s demands were insane. That speaks volumes.

    G Dawg

    You cant put to much weight into the speed of ticket sales in the examples you gave. The Canadian cities are getting the UFC for the first time. The UFC always does well with their first venture in a city. UFC 68 in Columbus OH sold out very fasy and set the MMA attendance record in North America at 19,000. THe later shows were succuessful but not so much.

    Also the PPV sales for the cities are per capita. Not total buys. Also we are looking at a UFC that did very poorly. I believe a PPV that got more interest and higher sales would change the per capita list. That is not to say that Canada isnt becoming a MMA hot bed for fans. Breaking down all the local barriers in each city and providence is very important to the UFC and its future.

  10. mmaguru on December 3rd, 2009 6:07 PM

    yeah, Canadian’s like their fighting. But if you put it in perspective it’s not that big of a market save for Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (maybe Calgary). The population of the Country is roughly 10% of the US, so I would say at best the UFC gets about 30K buys from Canada on any given PPV accept when GSP is fighting and then probably around 60K.

  11. uberVU - social comments on December 3rd, 2009 6:24 PM

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by FreeFighting: MMAPayout: UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates http://bit.ly/4xdKee Full http://bit.ly/75QdaC

  12. eJiuJitsu » UFC 106’s Disappointing Pay-Per-View Buys on December 4th, 2009 2:41 AM

    [...] Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin — tanked, only selling an estimated 330-370k pay-per-view buys.Via MMA Payout: The first week cable estimate on UFC 106 was 330,000, which is even lower than earliest [...]

  13. MMA Pound 4 Pound Champ » UFC 106’s Disappointing Pay-Per-View Buys on December 4th, 2009 6:11 AM

    [...] Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin — tanked, only selling an estimated 330-370k pay-per-view buys.Via MMA Payout: The first week cable estimate on UFC 106 was 330,000, which is even lower than earliest [...]

  14. joey on December 5th, 2009 11:25 AM

    nobodys gonna pay to see guys rolling around wraslin. ufc needs to go back to the old days when guys would come to the ring wearing a karate suit, guys lookin like sumo wrestlers.
    now these days everybodys a wannabe hoyce gracie, “i cant take a shot to the chin, so i better get to the ground asap” ah whatever.
    i watch mma to see a bare knuckle boxing match. ufc needs to get more guys like kimbo, guys with no skill but with heart. if im dana white, im bailing out “Bird” the guy kimbo beat up in his back yard and puttin those two together in a cage. cause dana dont fight, but hes the most famous person when people talk about the ufc…

  15. "Main events lately are terrible!" Well... what would you do? - Page 2 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on December 7th, 2009 8:33 AM

    [...] Don't try to rationalize those numbers to try to make them look good because they're not. Source: UFC 104, 106 PPV Buyrate Updates : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA [...]

  16. Will UFC 109 PPV numbers really suck? on February 7th, 2010 3:09 PM

    [...] and less accurate than an educated guess from an informed individual. Sure, they’re usually within 100,000 buys of the actual number. But when you’re dealing with a PPV number spread that usually sits [...]

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