UFC 110 International Ratings

February 24, 2010

As reported in yesterday’s edition of MMAterial Facts, Australian media news website, Throng, brings us the national ratings for UFC 110 on One:

Australia Free to Air TV Ratings:

Top shows for the night:
1 Seven News – Sun Seven 1,292,000
2 Border Security – Australia’s Front Line Seven 1,276,000
3 Air Ways Seven 1,267,000
4 The Good Wife Ten 1,256,000
5 Twenty/20 – Australia V West Indies Nine 1,247,000
6 Nine News Sunday Nine 1,237,000
7 Bones Seven 1,156,000
8 Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation Ten 1,091,000
9 Sunday Night Seven 1,027,000
10 House Ten 958,000
11 Vancouver Gold 2010 Winter Olympics: Day 8 Nine 916,000

43 Bewitched GO 187,000
44 The Great South East Seven 177,000 B only
45 Gardening Australia Rpt ABC1 165,000
46 The Big Bang Theory GO 162,000
47 The Love of Money SBS ONE 162,000
48 Dateline SBS ONE 159,000
49 Born to Be King: Prince Charles at 60 Rpt. ABC1 150,000
50 Wipeout GO 147,000

(Outside of Top 50) UFC 110 Main Card Live One  123,000


Top Programs Across Sports Channels
Rank     Program     Channel     Average     Peak
1    Live: AFL: NAB Cup Geelong v North Melb    Fox Sports 2    130,000    201,000
2    UFC 110 Main Card Live    ONE    123,000    189,000

MMATorch has an inclusive on the ratings situation for UFC 110 in Abu Dhabi:

– UFC110 was a huge success over here being the highest rated program of the week (beating 24 Day 8 by over 30 percent). The most watched fight was Wanderlei Silva vs. Michael Bisping which was watched on around 40 percent of televisions in the country (according to Mobily who are the main TV/Phone/internet providers). I have no idea if that is an accurate figure as I have no idea if the company are trustworthy; that said, the verbal feedback I have received certainly point at it being the top end of the expected viewership.

– UFC 112 is now a nightly news story on the main news network over here (unfortunately, my Arabic isn’t good enough to understand what is being said, but each night they flash up a graphic of the arena and a graphic of the three main events).

– The word out of Abu Dhabi is that people are speculating that UFC will come to Abu Dhabi once a year and also to Dubai once a year. In terms of making money, I’m not sure how much business sense this makes as the time difference may effect PPV buyrates in the U.S. I guess that we will find out in April if a loaded card overcomes the possibility of ESPN and webite spoilers. I would have to assume that the deciding factor will be how much money the Arabs are putting into the company vs. the money that can be made on PPV.

Payout Perspective:

Let’s put these ratings in perspective: Australia is a country with a population of 21+ million people; and has approximately 7.6 million television households. Thus, the reports of the UFC scoring anywhere between 122,000 – 250,000 viewers must not be compared to what the UFC might normally draw in North America. It should largely be considered a good result for a debut event operating in a somewhat hostile media environment.

The Abu Dhabi ratings are superb – if true – and bode well for the UFC’s future expansion into the Middle East. While North American PPV has been the UFC’s meal ticket thus far, there may very well come a time when the organization can afford to lessen its dependence on that market – the UAE my provide one such opportunity.

It’s important to keep an eye on the bigger picture, here. None of these moves should be judged alone; the long term growth of the sport dictates that short term sacrifices will need to be made. If that means the UFC has to sacrifice a few 600k-800k buyrates so that it can embed the sport in a couple of new markets – because we all know how powerful a marketing tool a live event really is – then so be it.

The ratings aren’t stellar, but they’ll grow. The initial PPVs in some of these new markets may also prove to be less than ideal, but the next time the UFC returns to these markets, you should be able to see a difference.

8 Responses to “UFC 110 International Ratings”

  1. Jose Mendoza on February 24th, 2010 11:56 AM

    To add to these numbers:

    The Sydney Morning Herald estimated that about 250K Australian viewers watched UFC 110 on One HD. Obviously the Olympics and other local shows and sporting events did as you would expect, and as you have already said Kelsey, hard to judge the success of the event based on that. The Abu Dhabi ratings were indeed superb and there seems to be a huge buildup for UFC 112 already.

    http://mmapayout.com/2010/02/mmaterial-facts-022310/

    On a side note, Strikeforce has a TV deal with Channel 7, which is supposed to be a popular network than Channel 1 is, which is the channel UFC 110 was televised. It will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Strikeforce gets for their April show in Australia.

  2. mmaguru on February 24th, 2010 12:36 PM

    That posts doesn’t make sense, they finish outside the top 50 and it’s considered a success?

  3. jj on February 24th, 2010 12:47 PM

    UFC’s experience in UK and Canada are a good indicator of what will happen in Australia. The popularity of the UFC will only grow.

  4. Henry G Belot on February 24th, 2010 2:29 PM

    mmaguru: “That posts doesn’t make sense, they finish outside the top 50 and it’s considered a success?”

    There’s not enough context to answer the question or reach a conclusion about anything, really. The original post added:

    “Top Programs Across Sports Channels
    Rank Program Channel Average Peak
    1 Live: AFL: NAB Cup Geelong v North Melb Fox Sports 2 130,000 201,000
    2 UFC 110 Main Card Live ONE 123,000 189,000”

    So, UFC 110 was the second high draw on the “Sports Channels” that day. That seems to make some sort of sense to me. But that’s not a lot of context either. I believe 110 aired live at ten in the morning Australian time. Did the other one air at the same time, at five in the morning, three in the afternoon, or at 9:17 at night? And when is tea time down under? What are Aussies normally doing at that time of day? What were the demographic comparisons?

    My guess is that it is a good number. We’ve just not been given any reason to understand why. Without context, the whole thing is pretty meaningless up here on the top half of the earth. Maybe if we all stood on our heads it would all be perfectly clear.

  5. Jeremy on February 24th, 2010 4:38 PM

    Jose,

    The deal with Seven is for the catalog of fights as well as the Strikeforce Challenger cards, not the regular SF cards. Here is the press release. The final paragraph states what is contained in the Shine deal and thus for Australia.

    “LOS ANGELES, February 2, 2010 – Shine International has expanded the STRIKEFORCE brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of STRIKEFORCE’s mixed martial arts (MMA) programming in six markets across Europe, Australia and Latin America. Virgin Media Television’s Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased STRIKEFORCE’s library of TV programming.

    “STRIKEFORCE is the leader in mixed martial arts content as proven by the huge demand for their programming around the world. They have the world’s best fighters, the world’s best events and they know how to translate that into fast-paced programming that captures what will soon be the most popular sport in the world,” said Chris Grant, President of Shine International.

    This includes 30 episodes and 56 hours of fights that have aired on NBC and SHOWTIME®, respectively. Internationally distributed content includes upcoming live fights through February 2012 as well as STRIKEFORCE Challengers fights, pitting STRIKEFORCE up-and-comers against each other. After signing a landmark deal to air live events on SHOWTIME last year, STRIKEFORCE earned the premium network its highest MMA rating ever on August 15, 2009 with “Carano vs. Cyborg.”

  6. Jeremy on February 24th, 2010 4:39 PM

    Eh…disregard that. I misread it. It does mention live fights AND challenger cards, not live fights of CHALLENGER cards.

  7. Jose Mendoza on February 24th, 2010 5:59 PM

    Jeremy, no problem.

  8. Jose Mendoza on February 24th, 2010 6:41 PM

    More Info on Australian ratings:

    One is the digital sports channel of Ch. 10, one of the market’s three major stations which dominate the airwaves the way the big three networks did in the U.S. in the 70s. The only people who get the channel are those with HD Digital tuners, which is about 30% of the country. The show was broken up into two blocks, the 2-4 p.m. block, which did 123,000 viewers, and the 4-5 p.m. block which did 122,000 viewers. UFC Wired (the syndicated version of the show similar to Unleashed), which airs on the station every Thursday, in recent weeks has done between 95,000 and 100,000 viewers. (Dave Meltzer)

    I may have more info on MMAterial Facts soon…

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