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.
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.
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.