April 30, 2010
Yesterday, THQ has announced the full fight roster for UFC Undisputed 2010 in conjunction with the early access release of the demo version of the game. The demo features four playable fighters (Machida, Rua, Evans, and Jackson) in the exhibition and offline tournament modes.
April 30, 2010
MMAPayout.com has learned that the fifth episode of The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 drew a 1.3 HH rating on the strength of an average audience of 1.8 million viewers. The show fared well in the M18-34 and M18-49 demographics with a 2.6 and 1.92, respectively.
Interestingly, the 2.6 in the M18-34 was not only the highest rating the show has received all season, but it also beat out the NBA’s Hawks/Bucks playoff game on TNT (2.4).
The quarter hour progression was as follows: 1.13, 1.25, 1.34, 1.38
We’re starting to notice some interesting trends where this season is concerned.
- The show has yet to drop to the typical 1.0 HH mark, which is unusual considering this is now the 5th episode. However, this week’s episode might have turned a few people off given the nature of the contest itself (two gassed opponents resting on each other for much of the fight).
- The ratings in the M18-34 are well above the average (2.1 > 1.6), which is obviously great news for the UFC, Spike, advertisers, and sponsors.
Here are the ratings on the season thus far:
April 29, 2010
Damon Martin of MMAWeekly has the latest scoop on yet another significant corporate sponsor entering the MMA fold. Dell Computers subsidiary Alienware will sponsor fighters managed by Suckerpunch Entertainment including Matt Mitrione (UFC 113), Amir Sadollah, Pat Berry, and others.
The deal with Alienware, a subsidiary of Dell Computers, will begin immediately. It will feature sponsorship of upcoming UFC 113 fighter Matt Mitrione, who will face Kimbo Slice on the main card of the show in Montreal on May 8.
In 2006, Dell Computers was recognized as the 25th largest corporation by Fortune 500. They’ve continued to grow in the computer industry every year since that time. Alienware, which was purchased by Dell in 2006, features components used in Dell Computers for high tech gaming.
The deal will coincide with Suckerpunch’s roster of fighters, which includes UFC stars like Amir Sadollah and Pat Barry as well as WEC fighter and legendary computer gamer Jens Pulver.
Brian Butler, president of Suckerpunch Entertainment, says the deal to get Alienware on board was a long process, but the expansion of major corporate sponsors into MMA is worth the work.
It’s not Dell, but it is something. And certainly, in terms of fit between the brand and property, Alienware aligns pretty well with the sport of MMA. Each caters to the 18-34 demographic and the sport of MMA is making substantial in-roads with the gaming community (which is obviously Alienware’s core target market).
It’ll be interesting to see what Alienware does to further activate around these sponsorships; or whether they’re simply testing the waters from an awareness generation standpoint and learning more about the industry as they go.
Keep your eye on this one.
April 29, 2010
Yesterday, MMAPayout.com sat down with Reverend Turk and Gary Friedman of MMA Gospel Radio to discuss a variety of topics related to the business of MMA:
- The top earners in the sport
- Fighter compensation as a whole
- The economics of regional MMA promotions
- What the fans can do to give back to MMA
Be sure to check it out while you’re in the car or at work.
April 29, 2010
The California State Athletic Commission has released the fighter payouts for Aldo vs. Faber. The WEC paid out a total of $336,500 in disclosed purses and another $280,000 in disclosed fight bonuses.
Courtesy of MMAWeekly:
MAIN EVENT FIGHTERS
-Jose Aldo $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus) def. Urijah Faber $28,000
-Ben Henderson $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus) def. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone $14,000
MAIN CARD FIGHTERS
-Manny Gamburyan $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus) def. Mike Brown $21,000
-Shane Roller $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus) def. Anthony Njokuani $7,000
-Scott Jorgensen $21,000 (includes $10,500 win bonus) def. Antonio Banuelos $7,000
PRELIMINARY CARD FIGHTERS
-Leonard Garcia $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus) def. Chang Sung Jung $5,000
-Anthony Pettis $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus) def. Alex Karalexis $10,000
-Brad Pickett $8,000 (includes $4,000 win bonus) def. Demetrious Johnson $3,000
-Chad Mendes $8,500 (includes $4,000 win bonus) def. Anthony Morrison $4,000
-Takeya Mizugaki $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus) def. Rani Yahya $9,000
-Tyler Toner $5,000 (includes $2,000 win bonus) def. Brandon Visher $4,000
Disclosed Fighter Bonuses as follows:
- Fight of the Night: Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jun ($65,000 each)
- KO of the Night: Manny Gamburyan ($65,000)
- Submission of the Night: Ben Henderson ($65,000)
Dana White assured the media and the fans prior to the event that the fighters would be compensated accordingly for participating on a PPV, but those cuts from the PPV won’t be disclosed.
April 28, 2010
R.M. Schneiderman of Wall Street Journal reports that MMA in New York is still a possibility for 2010, but there are still a few hurdles for both the sport and its ride on the New York State Budget Proposal announced at the beginning of April.
Another, perhaps more ardent group of observers are asking a different sort of question, namely: When can we watch Georges St. Pierre put someone in a rear naked choke at Madison Square Garden?
The answer could be as soon as this fall. Yet each passing day without a budget agreement makes a mixed martial arts fight at The Garden increasingly unlikely in 2010.
Back in January, fans of mixed martial arts, aka MMA, cheered when Gov. Paterson included a provision in his budget proposal to legalize the sport, which has been banned in New York since the late 90s.
And in March, some 17,000 people showed up to an Ultimate Fighting Championship title bout in Newark. New Yorkers purchased more than 30% of the tickets, while New Jersey residents purchased just 22%, according to the UFC, the sport’s leading promoter. And roughly two thousand more New Yorkers attended a simulcast viewing party at Radio City Music Hall.
Unfortunately for MMA fans, the sport is still embroiled in the state’s budget wrangling. A provision to legalize MMA is currently in the state senate’s version of the budget bill, but not the state assembly’s, and it remains unclear how the process will unfold.
“There are lots of twists and turns left,” said Jonathan Bing, a state assemblyman from New York’s 73rd district and a strong advocate for legalizing the sport.
If you read the entire piece, those twists and turns include Bob Reilly’s attempts to thwart MMA’s legalization (not surprisingly), but also the simple fact that, even if the budget passes as is, the New York State Athletic Commission would still need a few months to establish a regulatory arm for MMA contests.
What I found most interesting about Schneiderman’s piece was the stat that nearly 30% of those that bought tickets to UFC 111 were from the state of New York. It’s not a shock by any means, but it’s some pretty real and tangible evidence that there is a substantial market for MMA in New York. In fact, it’s close to the number of Ontarians that buy tickets for UFC events in Montreal (which I believe is closer to 40%).
Some conservative envelope math on the general economic impact of an event in New York (MSG for example):
18,000 in attendance
$3.5 million gate
- $3.5 million x 8.5% gross receipts tax: $297,500
- Out-of-state spending: 30% of the 18,000 spend two nights in NYC, spending approximately $200/day for food, lodging, transportation, and miscellaneous expenditures (alcohol, shopping, etc.): $400 x 5,400 = $2,160,000
- In-state spending: 70% of 18,000 spending approximately $100 each for food, lodging, transportation, and miscellaneous expenditures (alcohol, shopping, etc.): $100 x 12,600 = $1,260,000
- The trickle down effect (economic multiplier where approximately $3 of every $10 spent is reinvested into the local economy – and for our purpose, just three times): ($1,260,000+$2,160,000) x 30% = $1, 026,000; then $1,026,000 x 30% = $307,800; and $307,800 x 30% = $92,340. All of which equals: $1,426,000
The amount of fan spending, only, that would be reinvested back into the NY economy would be over $5,000,000. That’s on the basis of a conservative gate estimate, lower than average per night spending for out-of-state and in-state fans (all of which impacts the trickle down of money re-invested by those receiving it). Also, none of the above includes what the UFC would spend on 500+ hotel rooms, local labor, commission fees, etc.
If you’re interested, here’s something more in-depth (30+ pages).
April 28, 2010
John Morgan of MMAJunkie reports that while its likely the WEC will hold another PPV at some point, there remains some uncertainty as to whether it will happen in 2010 or beyond.
As for the future of pay-per-view and the WEC, White said there was much to consider.
“We’ve got to take time and really look at it and hand-pick,” White said. “We’re doing so many pay-per-views, an boxing is going to do a few a year. You’ve got Vince (McMahon of the WWE) doing a bunch of pay-per-views a year. You have to pick and choose.
“We’ve got great partners with Versus and Comcast for the WEC. We know what we’re doing. We’ll do the right thing.”
White said there was no guarantee that the WEC would ever again host a pay-per-view event. But the executive suggested initial reports left little doubt that a second card would eventually be offered up for purchase.
“There would definitely be a number where we (wouldn’t do more pay-per-views),” White said. “But $1 million at the gate and the way it’s tracking right now, it’s not the night.”
I find myself reading this and turning back to our brand vs. product debate from last week.
Zuffa’s task of selling a WEC PPV is unenviable not only from the position of convincing fans to pay for a previously free product, but also entering a crowded PPV marketplace and trying to compete with a less-recognized brand name. The UFC can compete with boxing and the WWE regardless of its card, because its built up that equity over the last 10 years. The WEC is at an obvious disadvantage.
I’m inclined to believe that those watching the WEC are some of the more hardcore fans in MMA. If given the opportunity to watch a boxing, wrestling or WEC event, they’re likely to choose the WEC. In other words, competition isn’t much of a concern for the WEC, if it’s simply looking to break even and sustain its current audience.
However, if the WEC’s goal is to expand its audience and grow its brand into a legitimate competitor on PPV scene, it’s going to need some combination of stellar promotion and the spotlight all to itself.
Then it’s a matter of whether the brand will be able to overcome the handicap of limited exposure due to the Spike-Versus arrangement; not to mention the confusion in the marketplace due to what looks and feels like a UFC card, really not being a UFC card.
April 27, 2010
MMAPayout.com has learned that the Aldo vs. Faber Prelims on Spike TV that featured the very popular fight between Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung garned a .8HH rating on an average audience of 1 million viewers. The show drew fairly well in the M18-34 and M18-49 demos with a .91 and .92, respectively.
The quarterly ratings were as follows: .62, .62, .82, and 1.01.
The war that Garcia and Jung fought over the last 20 minutes is likely responsible for the 60+% increase in ratings the broadcast saw from start to finish. You also have to wonder how much that fight motivated fans to purchase the PPV afterward.
While the broadcast, overall, was the lowest rated prelim show that Spike has aired to date, it was for all intents and purposes a WEC event. The UFC typically draws anywhere between a .9 and 1.2 for its prelims (viewers ranging from 1.2 to 1.4 million), so it’s definitely a feather in the WEC’s cap to be in that ballpark.
April 27, 2010
THQ has announced that the highly anticipated demo – featuring Machida, Rua, Evans, and Jackson – will be released Thursday, April 29th on PSN and Xbox Live to those that are members of the UFC Undisputed Community website. The demo will then be released to the general public one week later.
The full fighter list for the game has also been released.
I like the idea of requiring fans to sign up for the website. The information they’re required to submit in order for access to the demo is valuable in the sense that it provides the company with sales leads (likely through mass e-mailing). Making site membership a requirement for early access also draws the player into the community and should foster a more immersive game experience (leading to potential word of mouth and increased product loyalty benefits).
April 27, 2010
John Morgan of MMAJunkie reports on the latest news regarding the UFC in Afghanistan. Dana White has expressed his desire to hold an event for the troops in the war-torn nation, but can the UFC pull it off?
“We actually want to go right into Afghanistan and put on an event in the middle of all the [expletive],” White said. “It’s going to happen. … Anything can happen if you want it to happen bad enough.”
Afghanistan, of course, has been a constant war zone since the U.S. military first launched Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001.
White said he can’t pinpoint exactly when the promotion would visit the country. Truthfully, it’s not completely up to him to decide.
“We’re working on it right now, and it’s so crazy,” White said. “It’s going to be so freaky that they can’t tell us exactly when and where it’s going to be. The military is going to let us know when we can do it.
“It’s going to be crazy, man. We’re going to go right into the middle of this thing and put on an event.”
Dana White’s desire to host a UFC event in Afghanistan is admirable, but is it realistic? I’m not convinced that it will happen any time soon.
Here are a few of the potential roadblocks that I have identified, whether they be legitimate or potential issues, that might prohibit the UFC from holding a fight in Afghanistan under its current security conditions:
1. Holding an event in Afghanistan would likely increase the threat level in the country, which means extensive planning would need to be done in order to conceal the date and location of the fights and reinforce the location’s security. The enormity of that task becomes more evident when you consider the sheer number of people involved in running an event and the age of communication we live in.
1A. Increased threat levels also imply increased danger to the very military personnel the UFC is trying to support.
2. Thus, how do you convince the fighters to participate?
3. How does the UFC coordinate the set-up of the venue and filming of the event? Surely, live broadcasting is out of the question given their need to “get in and get out.”
4. If an attack were to occur, it would likely delay the event by at least a few days (if not weeks or indefinitely). What would that do to the fighters in terms of their weight cuts or mental states? Would the UFC and its fighters be willing to stick around, if hostilities flared up and all hell started to break loose?
5. If an attack were to occur during an event and casualties were to occur, how would the UFC deal with it? Moreover, if it were to lose some of its own personnel (fighters or executives), what are the implications? How would the UFC deal with the families, with moving forward, etc.?
It’s probably doable, but the UFC unquestionably has a lot of work to do. Thus, while its goal is admirable, I’m not sure that the UFC wouldn’t be better served focusing its energy else where – especially on the philanthropic side – to make a bigger impact.