UFC 111 Buyrate Prediction: 700,000

March 30, 2010

MMAPayout.com uses statistical regression analysis to match both the viewership numbers from Spike TV’s Countdown to UFC and the live gate figures reported by athletic commissions against the PPV buyrate numbers for each UFC event. The analysis produces a linear equation, which can then be used to take new Countdown or gate information and predict a PPV outcome.

The Data

We’ll only be using UFC 111’s live gate figure in our regression analysis, because the Countdown show was cut down to just 30 minutes on account of the 90 minutes used over three consecutive weeks to air UFC Primetime: GSP vs. Hardy.

Dana White reported that gate figure to be just over $4 million.

The Prediction: 700,000

The prediction process starts with the data set below; each symbol represents the PPV figure (vertical axis) and live gate figure (horizontal axis) for an event in the last five years.

Then the numbers are plugged into a regression analysis formula to derive a linear line through the data set, which allows us to pick a certain live gate value (on the horizontal axis) and find the corresponding PPV prediction value (on the vertical axis):

When we plug in $4 million into the linear equation – represented by the red line above – and we’re given a value of 709,000 PPV buys.

The Argument for 700,000:

The live gate for this event was very strong. Only eight UFC events have ever eclipsed $4 million in gate revenue; and, the lowest buyrate of any of those events was 530,000 (UFC 83 in Montreal) with the average being 775,000 buys. I expect the final gate figure to be in the low $4 million range, thus 700,000 seems to fit.

UFC Primetime: GSP vs. Hardy started out extremely well by drawing an average viewership of 1,000,000 in its debut episode; a rating higher than what any of the three previous GSP vs. Penn episodes had managed to draw. But the second episode dipped by nearly 50% (506,000) to the disappointment of many people who believed it was perhaps a sign of disinterest in the fight.

However, in the end, the three episode total drew 2,119,000 viewers, which is only ~250,000 shy of the 2,367,000 that GSP vs. Penn managed to generate. It’s probably unfair to say that GSP vs. Hardy will do close to the 920,000 that UFC 94 did, but the proximity of the total interest between the two tells me that 700k is reasonable.

Moreover, the UFC really put a lot of marketing muscle behind this event than say UFC 107 which did 650,000 buys. In addition to Primetime, the company spent a ton of money on advertising, cranked up its use of social media, and really went on a PR blitz during fight week (UFC on Versus, UFC Unleashed, numerous Q&A sessions, ESPN interviews, etc.).

The Argument Against 700,000:

The flip side to the 700k argument is that UFC 111 was not the beneficiary of any sort of feel-good UFC momentum: the last two or three fight cards have been duds where the PPV buyrates are concerned. This is something that can go both ways: either the UFC benefits because people are starved for a good show, or the UFC is hurt because people have tuned out and lost interest over the last three months.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the UFC may have lost some business to the WWE on Sunday with Wrestlemania – perhaps the only event of the year that’s capable of upstaging the UFC.

Tapology Predicts 650,000:

Greg Saks over at Tapology uses a different system – one based on interest or buzz on the internet – to predict the buyrate figure for each UFC event. Be sure to check out his great and detailed work!

MMAterial Facts (03/29/10): UFC 115 Moving, Strikeforce Partners Up With Canadian Promotion

March 29, 2010

  • UFC 115 Will Not Happen in Vancouver, Cincinnati Possible
  • New Canadian promotion “Lets Get It On MMA” Partners With Strikeforce
  • UFC president Dana White expects Web to serve as global UFC television channel
  • MTV could launch show on local MMA fighters
  • Martial arts expo losing fight in Metro Vancouver

UFC 115 Will Not Happen in Vancouver, Cincinnati Possible

A planned UFC show in Vancouver in June is on the ropes, apparently due to insurance and other issues.

A source told The Canadian Press that the show has been called off and the mixed martial arts promoter is looking at Cincinnati as a possible replacement city.  (The Canadian Press)

New Canadian promotion “Lets Get It On MMA” Partners With Strikeforce

LET’S GET IT ON MMA (LGIO) Monday announced that it has struck a major deal with STRIKEFORCE, one of the leading promotions in the MMA industry. In addition to the $25,000 prize money awarded to both the Canadian 155-pound and 170-pound LGIO tournament winners, STRIKEFORCE will award both champions fight contracts in its Challenger Series.

The first round of the LGIO 170-pound WEST tournament will kick off on April 23, 2010 at the River Cree Resort and Casino, on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Through an exclusive deal with Scott Coker, CEO of STRIKEFORCE, LET’S GET IT ON MMA’S promoter Elaine McCarthy has gone where few promoters fear to tread — embracing another promotion.

“I know that some Canadian promotions consider other promoters threats and rivals, and they circle their wagons to defend their territory. I believe that promotions can work together to create a win-win scenario for everyone. Scott Coker is giving our winning athletes a chance in a bigger show with bigger competition which is great for the sport,” says McCarthy.

“With the contracts STRIKEFORCE awards, we hope to further the careers of two young fighters who have the potential for a bright future in the sport,” said STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO Scott Coker.

STRIKEFORCE boasts an impressive array of fight talent including Gegard Mousasi, Andrei Arlovski, Gilbert Melendez, and Brett Rogers, amongst others. Dan Henderson, who recently signed with STRIKEFORCE, will be making a special guest appearance at McCarthy’s April 23rd show one week after he takes on STRIKEFORCE Middleweight Champion Jake Shields live on the CBS Television Network on Saturday, April 17.   (PRESS RELEASE)

UFC president Dana White expects Web to serve as global UFC television channel

Over the weekend, White said the UFC could soon offer country-specific versions of its reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” and even full event series in new markets.

But American and other fans need not worry; White expects to make the offerings available to a worldwide audience with the World Wide Web serving as a sort of global television channel for all things UFC.

“As technology keeps growing, what I believe is going to happen – and I better be right, or we’re [expletive] – is all the world is eventually going to be watching television through the Internet,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “And once that happens, the whole world will be watching.  (MMAJunkie)

MTV could launch show on local MMA fighters

MTV is taking a local radio show focused on mixed martial arts, putting its own spin on it, and is hoping to make a cable TV hit out of it.

For the past year and a half, the MMA Rap Up Show has been airing on Power 106 FM on Sundays, but starting in May, a TV version of the show will be airing on MTV 3 in Dallas — a test market for MTV shows.

Co-Host Crisco Kid said Thursday, “Well, the show is so great, I have a feeling it’s going right to the top immediately, man.”  (KOB, Channel 4)

Martial arts expo losing fight in Metro Vancouver

For the second time in a week, a mixed martial arts expo planned in Metro Vancouver is without a venue.

Organizers initially planned to hold the event at Abbotsford’s TRADEX arena on April 10 and 11, but city officials cancelled the show last Tuesday amid concerns that rival gang members would clash inside.

Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition stepped in to salvage the expo, but refused to allow exhibition fights – even two-man grappling demonstrations – at the event.   (CTV News)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Let

QUICK HITS

  • GSP Shuts Out Hardy; Carwin KOs Mir (Sherdog)
  • NJSACB: Review of Palhares’ Past Bouts Contributed to Disciplinary Decision (Sherdog)
  • Five fights added to April’s “Strikeforce: Nashville” non-televised lineup (MMAJunkie)
  • Report: Vancouver no longer hosting UFC 115, Cincinnati under consideration (MMAJunkie)
  • “The Ultimate Fighter 11’s” Chuck Liddell says third fight with Tito Ortiz is still on (MMAJunkie)
  • April’s DREAM.14 event in South Korea scratched, could be rebooked in fall (MMAJunkie)
  • Alves Will Return to UFC After Minor Procedure (MMAFighting)
  • Velasquez Waiting on Lesnar-Carwin (MMAFighting)
  • Weekend Rundown: ATT Prospect Snaps Lopez Streak at 16 (Sherdog)
  • OVEREEM VS. ROGERS OFFICIALLY FOR THE TITLE  (MMAWeekly)
  • WEC PLANS “BEST KNOCKOUTS” DVD (MMAWeekly)
  • Hardy tattoo-gate finally explained by White (Cage Writer)
  • Worsham set for “Strikeforce: Nashville” bout with Zach Underwood (FiveOuncesOfPain)
  • Evans, Alexander Set For Big Screen Debuts (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)
  • InsideMMA (Bjorn Rebney, John Howard, C.B. Dollaway) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (04/02/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World MAX 2010 Japan GP at 11:30 PM ET on HDNet (04/02/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World GP 2010 at 4 AM ET on HDNet (04/03/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World MAX 2010 Japan GP at 11:30 PM ET on HDNet (04/02/10)
  • HDNet Fights: K-1 World GP 2010 at 4 AM ET on HDNet (04/03/10)
  • UFC 112 : Silva vs Maia at 10 PM ET on PPV (04/10/10)
  • HDNet Fights: KOTC Bad Boys Too at 10 PM ET on HDNet (04/16/10)
  • Strikeforce Nashville: Henderson vs Shields at 11 PM ET/PT on CBS (04/17/10)
  • WEC 48: Aldo vs Faber at 10 PM ET on PPV (04/24/10)
  • HDNet Fights: MFC Vindication at 10 PM ET on HDNet (05/07/10)
  • UFC 113 : Machida vs Shogun 2 at 10 PM ET on PPV (05/08/10)
  • Strikeforce St. Louis: Overeem vs Rogers at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (05/15/10)
  • UFC 114 : Rampage vs Evans at 10 PM ET on PPV (05/29/10)

UFC 115 in Vancouver a No-Go

March 29, 2010

Joe Ferraro of Sportsnet.ca is reporting that UFC 115 in Vancouver is looking like less and less of a possibility due to insurance and other issues brought up by the Vancouver City Council and its conditional license.

A planned UFC show in Vancouver in June is on the ropes, apparently due to insurance and other issues.

 

A source told The Canadian Press that the show has been called off and the mixed martial arts promoter is looking at Cincinnati as a possible replacement city.

 

The UFC has not officially announced the Vancouver card, other than to say that it planned to go there in June. The show had been pegged for June 15 at GM Place.

 

UFC president Dana White said he could not comment on any issues affecting Vancouver. But a second source said the two sides had yet to resolve insurance and other indemnification matters.

Payout Perspective:

This is just the latest twist in the see-saw battle to get the UFC into a Canadian city other than Montreal. Despite the news last week that the UFC had been given a conditional license to host the show in June, more recent reports indicated the UFC was considering the idea of scrapping its Vancouver plans in favor of less complex event preparation in the neighboring province of Alberta.

It’s known that the WEC has booked several June dates at Calgary’s Saddledome in anticipation of its Canadian debut. If Cincinnati doesn’t work, it’s possible Calgary could be a back-up for the UFC.

Stay tuned.

Singapore's Martial Combat Debuts in May

March 29, 2010

ESPN Star Sports has officially announced the debut of MARTIAL COMBAT  for May 12th and 13th, to be held at the brand new Resorts World Sentosa on the island of Sentosa in Singapore.

ESPN STAR Sports Announces May Fight Card for Resorts World™ Sentosa Martial Combat
– World Champions Ole Laursen and Leandro Issa Confirmed To Fight -

 

29 March 2010, Singapore: Asia’s top sports content provider, ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), today announced the official May 12-13, 2010 Fight Card for Resorts World™ Sentosa Martial Combat – Asia’s Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Fight Championship.

 

Organised by ESS, the MARTIAL COMBAT May fight card will showcase a total of ten thrilling matches with two fights each month from May through October at the Compass Ballroom of Singapore’s first integrated resort, Resorts World Sentosa. Each night will feature a SuperFight Championship Belt fight as the main event.

 

Headlining the May 12 fight card will be former World Kickboxing Champion, Muay Thai Kings World Cup Champion, and one of the most respected fighters in Asia – Ole “Iron Fist” Laursen. “Iron Fist” will wage battle against the Brazilian sensation Eduardo “The EduCator” Pachu.

 

Also confirmed is 11-year fight veteran and Brazillian Ju Jitsu Mundial World Champion Leandro Issa. Issa currently calls Singapore home and is training out of the prestigious Evolve Mixed Martial Arts Gym under the legendary instructor and Mundials BJJ Black Belt World Champion Rafael “Gordinho” Lima. Issa will face China’s top-ranked MMA fighter Yun Jiang Long.

 

The May 13th main event and SuperFight Championship will showcase Singapore’s very own MMA sensation – Mitch “The Dragon” Chilson. “The Dragon” brings a string of 16 international wins and has earned a reputation at a talented fight tactician. He will be facing Taiwanese undisputed and reigning three-year Sanda Champion (since 2008) Zhang Jing Xong.

 

Resorts World™ Sentosa Martial Combat is the largest and most prestigious MMA series in the region. It will receive an unprecedented amount of television coverage from ESS in excess of 60 hours, making it the largest MMA broadcast in Asia. This will be the first-ever MMA event to date to receive television coverage in 24 different countries in Asia, extensive online support through www.espnstar.com and mobile initiatives through mobileESPN. The competition is held in a custom built, safety reinforced, round shaped cage similar to other MMA events held around the world. Over the last 15 years, the cage competition arena has proven to be one of the safest and most exciting ways to showcase this action-packed sport.

Payout Perspective:

You may remember our previous coverage of Martial Combat. Essentially ESPN Star Sports is one of Asia’s top sports networks and Resorts World Sentosa is a $6 billion resort project being built on the island of Sentosa (just off of mainland Singapore). The partnership was formed to develop Martial Combat as an attraction for the resort, as well as a source of television content for ESPN.

The event is a two-day affair, which features mostly Asian fighters. Plans are currently in the works to hold further weekend events, once per month, from June through to October.

…..

It’s really tough to say what this event is going to turn into.

At the very least, Martial Combat is a live MMA event being held in a wealthy country with a strong marital arts background; it’s thought of as an attraction, not a side show. Moreover, it’s additional MMA television content for the region; a market which many are hoping will blossom, based upon its steeped tradition in  martial arts, into an MMA hotbed.

However, given the sheer size of resources behind the venture, it’s possible Martial Combat could develop into a regional player of sorts over the next couple of years. We’ll reserve judgement until the promotion actually holds its first event and we get an indication of the attendance, gate, television response, and other indicators of success/failure.

UFC 111: Gate and Attendance

March 29, 2010

Dana White re-affirmed at UFC 111’s post-fight press conference that the attendance for Saturday’s show at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey was over 17,000 and considered to be a sell-out. The event produced a gate of over $4 million, which would make it the UFC’s highest grossing gate event since UFC 100 last July and good for a spot on the UFC’s top-10 highest grossing events of all-time.

We should have official figures within the next two weeks as promotions typically have 7-10 working days to report an official number to athletic commission.

UFC 111: Payout Perspective

March 28, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we take a look at the UFC’s return to New Jersy with UFC 111. The sold-out held at Newark’s Prudential Center featured a welterweight title bout between Georges St-Pierre and Dan Hardy, as well as an interim heavyweight title bout between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir.

GSP defends, but fails to finish

Georges St-Pierre out-classed Dan Hardy by a country mile on Saturday night. He put on an absolute grappling clinic: taking Hardy down at will with hardly any set-ups, passing Hardy’s guard with ease, and moving from submission attempt to ground and pound to submission attempt again.

The UFC anticipated a spectacular finish of one kind or another when it made this title match. Most thought that either GSP would stop Hardy on the ground or that Hardy would land that miracle shot. But the fight failed to deliver in that sense. Some are even questioning whether the fight delivered at all. The answer is that it depends, as always.

I’m inclined to think the fight was a disappointment on some levels, but far from the catastrophe that others are claiming it to be. Yes, GSP failed to meet the general expectation that he’d stop Hardy; and disappointment is often defined as the failure to meet expectations. However, GSP did thoroughly dominate Hardy and put him in serious danger, which is certainly what everyone expected.

Will the performance impact GSP or the UFC in the future? I’m not overly convinced. The fight probably didn’t win them any new fans, but it didn’t send people running for the hills, either. GSP’s popularity is remarkable in the sense that he’s just about the only fighter in the UFC that can get away with relentless take downs and have people cheer just as ferociously as if he were kicking someone upside the head. GSP did nearly broke Hardy’s arm on two separate occasions and beat him thoroughly – the GSP fans aren’t going anywhere.

Moreover, I think an advantage the UFC has over boxing – if we’re looking to compare the latest Pacquiao main event to GSP-Hardy – is that the shortcomings of a main event can be off-set by the main card. The Pellegrino, Carwin, and Hamman fights were excellent – Miller was good, too.

Still, I do think there’s something to be said for the impact of the recency effect. The last impression most viewers had of this card was a one-sided drubbing that, at best, could be described as a clinic (and at worst, the “Jersey Snore” by ESPN…er Sherdog). Rightly or wrongly, fight cards are ultimately  judged by their main events.

Carwin obliterates Mir, sinks buyrate of Lesnar’s next fight?

Shane Carwin displayed impressive power in his knockout victory over Frank Mir, which now sets up a like July 3rd date with Brock Lesnar to unify the belts. It’s no secret that a Lesnar-Carwin bout is less attractive than Lesnar-Mir III, but one of the greatest challenges in sports business is dealing with the issue of control, or lack thereof.

Lesnar needs no introduction: he’s the most polarizing force in the sport and people will tune in as long as they know he’s fighting. Carwin, on the other hand, is still a relative unknown. It won’t be a struggle to prove his legitimacy, but the UFC will be tested to push his profile in a rather short period of time.

Another UFC Primetime might be the strongest play. The UFC has a legitimate story angle to push with Lesnar’s comeback, in addition to the previous tension between he and Carwin. It would also present the perfect opportunity to shed some light on Carwin who’s somewhat reluctant to engage the media. The cost of the Primetime show (estimated to be around $1.7 million for the GSP-Penn version) is certainl material, but the cost-benefit ratio is pretty favorable in this case. Also don’t forget that come July 3rd, the UFC should be riding a decent tailwind on account of the previous 3 months of title fights and UFC Undisputed being released in late May.

The UFC 111 full-court marketing press

The UFC put a lot of marketing muscle behind this fight, which is why I’m inclined to believe it’ll like do somewhere in the range of 700k buys on PPV.

The UFC supported the event with television content like UFC Primetime, UFC on Versus, and UFC Unleased in the weeks leading up to the fight, but also did its best to negotiate good promotional clips on ESPN’s SportsCenter and a detailed pull-out in USA Today. Dana White did what he does best and spent the majority of fight week travelling between Toronto and New York host fan and media sessions for the UFC and the event in general, including the pre-fight press conference at New York’s Radio City Music Hall (the same location as the UFC’s official NYC viewing party for 111). The company was also pretty sharp in its advertising on billboards and print magazines: prominent ads in Times Square and SI Swimsuit being most notable. Finally, the use of social media was characteristically strong: the UFC kicked up its YouTube coverage with a series of ads and continues to use Twitter more and more effectively as the days pass.

Sponsorship Watch

It was an interesting evening on the SpikeTV side. DirecTV, seemingly back in the Zuffa’s good graces, signed on as the title sponsor of UFC 111: The Prelims. Also, the five minute teaser trailer for TUF 11 showed Miller Lite as a sponsor of the series; something that seemingly conflicts with the idea that Bud Light is the UFC’s biggest sponsor (not value, but sheer size of the sponsor company).

In other news, MusclePharm continues to be every where. I’m hearing that the company may be looking to go public, in which case all this added sponsorship has an evident purpose – increasing brand exposure to the benefit of the IPO. However, I still think the company has an issue in the use of its MP logo; I’d like to see it better activate around the individual fighter deals in order to draw a clearer link between brand, logo, and product. The WEC arrangement is a start, but if the company is targeting the MMA demographic, it could do a heck of a lot more to reach that audience (internet, print, contests, etc.).

Note: MMAPayout.com unveiled its MMA Sponsorship Blue Book this week. We’ll be doing our best to make it as comprehensive as possible, which means we’ll have updates with every MMA event.

Miller Lite to Sponsor TUF 11

March 27, 2010

SpikeTV and the UFC have released a five minute teaser for the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter 11 that gives us an indication of which brands will be sponsoring the season; most notable among them is Miller Lite.

Payout Perspective:

Everyone is aware that Bud Light is the UFC’s most prominent sponsor: the brand has a dominant market share and shells out more money in sports sponsorships than any other company in the US. However, Bud Light’s rights to exclusivity only pertain to beer (not all alcohol) and PPV events. We should be careful not to read too much into the Miller Lite sponsorship; after all it may be no different than last season’s Mickey’s Malt Liquor sponsorship.

Then again, there’s been some lingering question as to whether Bud Light would renew its sponsorship contract with the UFC (consummated in April 2008). Brock Lesnar’s post-fight rant at UFC 100 didn’t do much to help, and bringing in another light (or lite) beer as a sponsor associated with any part of the UFC brand likely won’t either.

There’s a certain amount of credibility that comes with a Bud Light sponsorship, which the UFC may not want to lose. But I’m also inclined to think there are a host of other competitors out there that would love to land the UFC beer sponsorship; competitors that might be more willing to spend additional money to activate around the sponsorship and raise the interest of both brands in the process. Something that, in my opinion, Bud Light has failed to do in the last two years.

MMAterial Facts (03/26/10): Alves Update, Details on UltimateFighter Website

March 26, 2010

  • Athletic commission gives UFC conditional approval for event
  • Alves off UFC 111, expects to return soon after minor procedure
  • Station breakup proposed,  Fertitta brothers would acquire stake in four casinos
  • Spike Launching UFC Destination Site
  • Bellator Signs International Distribution Deal

Athletic commission gives UFC conditional approval for event

The Vancouver Athletic Commission gave conditional approval Wednesday for an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at GM Place on June 12.

The mixed martial arts event at the 19,000-seat venue would be the UFC’s first in B.C.

Commission chairman Mirko Mladenovic said the approval is contingent on insurance and indemnity issues with the city being resolved. Those issues are expected to be addressed at a city council meeting April 6.

The commission also tentatively approved a promoter’s licence for UFC.  (Vancouver Sun)

Alves off UFC 111, expects to return soon after minor procedure

Alves announced that he is having an Angiogram, a non-invasive exploratory procedure on Wedneaday. The procedure will be performed at Hyman-Newman Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery located at Roosevelt Hospital.

Alves has malformation of the left side of his brain. After a few days of anguish, they found that whatever it is, it should not be career ending- not an aneurysm. He should be back to training full speed in three weeks.  (Cage Writer), (Tracy Lee)

Station breakup proposed,  Fertitta brothers would acquire stake in four casinos

The Fertitta brothers would acquire a minority stake in four casinos but the bulk of Station Casinos’ 18 properties would be put up for court-supervised sale under a reorganization plan to be filed this morning with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Reno.

Under the proposed joint plan of reorganization, the ownership of Red Rock Resort, Palace Station, Boulder Station and Sunset Station would be taken over by a creditors group controlled primarily by investment bankers Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan. The four casinos have been given a value of $1.8 billion.

The newly formed company would sell 46 percent of the equity in the four casinos to Station Casinos founders Frank Fertitta III, the company’s current chairman and chief executive officer, and Lorenzo Fertitta, the company’s vice chairman.

The brothers will make an $85.6 million investment in the new company. (MMAJunkie)

Spike Launching UFC Destination Site

MTV Networks Entertainment Group Executive VP of Digital Media Erik Flannigan says the decision to create the site was spurred on when Spike and UFC looked at where people searching on the web for info about fighter names and video ended up. More often then not, third party sites such as YouTube were at the top of the search results. The new site is designed to capture some of those searches.

“While the business model for UltimateFighter.com will yield material direct revenue to both parties through ad sales, sponsorship and other distribution opportunities, the value of the property is equally tied to converting more of those casual fans to paying customers of the UFC, as well as converting a massive group of people scouring the web to see footage of fights into viewers of The Ultimate Fighter and other UFC programming on Spike TV,” Flannigan said at a press event in New York Thursday (March 25).  (Broadcasting Cable) … (MMAPayout Perspective)

Bellator Signs International Distribution Deal

The international production and distribution company Engine Entertainment  has completed an agreement with Bellator Fighting Championships to handle the exclusive worldwide distribution (excluding US and Canada) for this first-of-its-kind mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.

With its unique tournament format, Bellator allows fighters to control their own destiny by eliminating the subjectivity of matchmaking and replicating the objectivity of virtually every other professional sport. Guided by this concept, Bellator produces a unique, exciting, competitive and entertaining brand of MMA programming that is based on the most successful real-sports, objective competition format.

Bellator has taken the U.S. by storm since it debuted in April 2009 on ESPN Deportes. Due to the success of its first season, Bellator returns for its second and third seasons with one of the largest domestic television distribution alliances in fighting sports history, including 24 live events on Fox Sports Net (reaching 92 Million homes), with weekly highlight shows on both NBC (112 million homes) and Telemundo (62 Million homes) – bringing Bellator to virtually every home in the U.S.

In addition, Bellator will be broadcast across Canada through an alliance with The Score sports network.

Engine Entertainment is exclusively distributing the twenty-four 2010 season live events, plus all additional premium pay-per-view events that Bellator  produces, worldwide (outside of the US and Canada) as well as the twelve previously aired 2009 Bellator Season 1 shows.

“With fighters from across the globe, Bellator has produced some of the most electrifying moments in MMA history,” said Chris Philp, Chief Executive, Engine Entertainment. “Bellator will thrill audiences in every country and we are excited to be distributing this successful nationally televised sports franchise worldwide.”

Said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney: “Bellator is very pleased to be working with Engine Entertainment—a dynamic and accomplished player in the highly competitive international programming sales industry. With some of the best fighters from every corner of the globe and a unique format that allows fighters to truly control their own destiny, we are confident that our real-sport format will enjoy success internationally that equals or exceeds the success we have had to date here in the U.S.”  (PRESS RELEASE)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

UFC 112 Venue in Abu Dhabi

QUICK HITS

  • Fistic Medicine: Alves and ‘Brain Irregularity’ (Sherdog)
  • “MMA Live” debuts May 6 on ESPN2, future placement could depend on May ratings (MMAJunkie)
  • Gatorade Canada re-signs UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre (MMAJunkie)
  • Strikeforce Challengers VII official weigh-in results and photo gallery (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen staying busy on campaign trail, title path (MMAJunkie)
  • Featherweight champ Joe Soto meets Diego Saraiva in Bellator 19 non-title fight (MMAJunkie)
  • Alves Will Return to UFC After Minor Procedure (MMAFighting)
  • Lesnar: Mir, Carwin Vying for ‘Make-Believe’ Belt (MMAFighting)
  • St. Pierre-Hardy, Carwin-Mir Official for UFC 111 (Sherdog)
  • STRIKEFORCE CHALLENGERS 7 WEIGH-IN RESULTS (MMAWeekly)
  • The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 Video Preview: Chuck vs. Tito (MMAWeekly)
  • UFC 111 weigh-in: Mir and Carwin bring the beef, Hardy is the devil (Cage Writer)
  • “Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs. Mahe” weigh-in results and quotes (FiveOuncesOfPain)
  • Gatorade Announces New Deal with St. Pierre (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault (Eddie Alvarez) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • InsideMMA (Wanderlei Silva, Joe Soto, Shane Carwin) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage “Legacy” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents DREAM.13 at 11 PM ET on HDNet (03/27/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Legacy at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)

UFC Primetime Episode 3: 613,000 Viewers

March 26, 2010

MMAPayout.com has learned that the third episode of UFC Primtime: GSP vs. Hardy drew an average audience of 613,000 viewers on Wednesday night.

Payout Perspective:

Episode 1: 1,000,000
Episode 2: 506,000 (-50%)
Episode 3: 613,000 (+22%)

There are many theories as to why there was a 50% drop in viewership between 1 and 2. Some panicked because they thought it was a sign of disinterest in the fight, others were more reserved in thinking it was likely just a result of tough competition due to March Madness and St. Paddy’s Day.

Why did the ratings increase? It’s possible that some of those lost to MM or St. Paddy’s during episode two, returned for episode three. However, I’m also inclined to think that the third episode benefited from a host of media coverage during fight week. Jon Jones and UFC on Versus, GSP and his endorsements, Dana White with Q&As, ESPN and MMA Live, THQ’s video game parties, etc.

Those looking to compare GSP vs. Hardy to GSP vs. Penn will be interested to know that, in terms of total viewership, there isn’t a lot of difference: GSP vs. Hardy scored a total of 2,119,000 viewers over three episodes, while GSP vs. Penn scored 2,367,000.

Pressure for Legalization Rising in Ontario

March 26, 2010

The pressure to legalize the sport of mixed martial arts in Ontario is at an all-time high this week as the entire country of Canada prepares to watch one of its own, Georges St-Pierre, defend his UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 111 on Saturday.

The fight is the most significant sporting event of interest in the country since Canada won The Gold in Men’s Ice Hockey at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in late February, and the savvy media and fans of Ontario have used that attention to draw awareness to their local plight on a national scale.

Everyone in the country is talking about MMA in Ontario. The local media are writing articles daily on the hypocrisy of the provincial government, the merits of the sport, and the excitement of the impending fight on Saturday. MMA is a hot topic of conversation around the water cooler, and the fans also did their part by turning out in droves to support the UFC’s 111 Q&A this week.

Even the national media got in on the act. First, was that TSN – the Canadian equivalent of ESPN - will also pick up MMA Live for airing. Then came the string of polls on nearly every traditional news website like CBC, CTV, and CanadaAM, all posing a single question: should MMA be legalized?

What do you think the answer was?

Premier McGuinty might argue that MMA isn’t on the top-three wish list of every household in the province, but if he doesn’t do something quickly, MMA may very well find itself on that list. Why? Simply for no other reason than the lay people are sick of hearing about it and want the issue resolved.

It bears mentioning that this pressure isn’t likely to go away any time soon, either. The UFC’s next show in Canada is only seven weeks away (UFC 113 in Montreal), and the thousands of already vocal MMA fans are bound to hit a fever pitch by May 8th. A date when it’s expected that 40% of the 20,000 in attendance (that’s 8,000, Premier McGuinty…) will be residents of Ontario, spend their hard-earned, oft-taxed cash on hotels, food, transportation, and alcohol in another province.

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