UFC 113: 520,000 Buys (Early Reports)

May 24, 2010

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported last week that he’s getting early reports of 520,000 buys for UFC 113, but that he’s also seeing numbers which could point towards a number even higher.

Early reports on UFC 113 on 5/8 in Montreal have the show doing 520,000 buys, slightly above the 450,000 that the first Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua fight did. We should note that there were cable reports as high as 687,000 for the show, and trending patterns were only slightly behind GSP vs. Dan Hardy and the highest besides that show since August, which would also indicate something closer to the latter than the former. There are a lot of other measures that also indicate the higher number, but as far as the number of buys from people who would have the numbers and that can be confirmed, the lower number is the best number we’ve got.

Payout Perspective:

The website issues that have plagued MMAPayout.com in the last few weeks prevented me from devoting any time towards putting together a PPV prediction for UFC 113, but the gate and countdown data pointed to 491k (I believe my personal guess was 550k in the comments section of a related post). It was always a pretty good bet that the bout would do over 500k, even if Machida nor Rua were genuine stars, considering that it was a rematch of a highly controversial fight, featured a co-main war of words, and also had Kimbo Slice.

Here’s where things get interesting. I’ve been harping on how PPV buyrates go in cycles and that we were coming up on a big cycle in March. If UFC 114 performs as we all expect it will, the string of events from UFC 111-114 will be the first four-event string in UFC history to sell more than 500k at each event. It won’t be the most lucrative series in UFC history (that still belongs to UFC 97-UFC 101), but it’s still a feather in the UFC’s cap, especially in light of all the people that said the UFC had peaked.

I don’t expect the UFC will make it five in a row with UFC 115, but the UFC is rolling out the movie theaters for the event which suggests they’re looking to give 115 a little extra support (fight week promotion could push that event over the top). However, if the UFC can push 115 above the 500k mark, it should be good to establish a record string of events with 116, 117, and 118 this summer (Lesnar-Carwin, Silva-Sonnen, Edgar-Penn/Couture-Toney).

In fact, the way things are shaping up right now, the UFC could end up beating its mark for PPV buys from last year – something that’s pretty impressive considering they had a very bad start to the year.

15 Responses to “UFC 113: 520,000 Buys (Early Reports)”

  1. Stan Kosek on May 24th, 2010 12:38 PM

    all things consider sounds like a good number, especially considering they really started to promote Rashad vs. Rampage the week of 113 instead of focusing on 113. I agree with you that 115 will probably stop the good buyrate streak, I imagine 114 is going to do a crazy number (I believe I saw Meltzer say he thinks it will be the highest non-title buyrate ever for the UFC), but Rich/Chuck and an OK undercard in the middle of summer doesn’t sound like a great forumula

  2. UFC 113: Early reports suggest Montreal event garnered 520,000 PPV buys | UFC Insider on May 24th, 2010 1:30 PM

    […] to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), courtesy of MMA Payout, the event did just over 500,000 pay-per-view buys. Meltzer does note however, that these numbers […]

  3. UFC 113: Early reports suggest Montreal event garnered 520,000 PPV buys | UFC Insider on May 24th, 2010 1:30 PM

    […] to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), courtesy of MMA Payout, the event did just over 500,000 pay-per-view buys. Meltzer does note however, that these numbers […]

  4. Diego on May 24th, 2010 1:31 PM

    It doesn’t seem like Kimbo’s presence helped much. I thought the card might get a little more of a boost from Kimbo being on it, but 520k is what you would expect just for a rematch of that caliber. Even without a the full hype-machine behind the card, the first fight was very good, the decision very controversial and it’s a title fight in a very competitive division. You have to figure that would sell even with two fighters who don’t have the charisma or chemistry of GSP-Dan Hardy or Jackson-Evans.

  5. Jose Mendoza on May 24th, 2010 1:43 PM

    Diego:

    Kimbo has always drawn eyeballs to TV, but was never a proven draw for PPV. It was most likely a factor in letting him go.

  6. JJ on May 24th, 2010 2:35 PM

    UFC 114: 600 – 800k
    UFC 115: 350k – 450k
    UFC 116: 1 million plus
    UFC 117: 350k – 450k. Anderson might hurt the buys.
    UFC 118: 800k. BJ Penn is a big draw. Add the Couture/Toney freakshow fight and you have a great card.

  7. mmaguru on May 24th, 2010 5:53 PM

    What are the numbers year to date compared to 2009?

  8. UFC 113: Early reports suggest Montreal event garnered 520,000 PPV buys | MMA England on May 24th, 2010 6:04 PM

    […] Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), courtesy of MMA Payout, the event did just over 500,000 pay-per-view […]

  9. Stan Kosek on May 24th, 2010 7:22 PM

    Guru, would be interested to see that, I would have to imagine they are lagging a decent amount due to the injury plagued cards that began the year, they’ll need some big buys in the summer and fall, but, barring injury they have the talent to do it. Brock/Carwin should be a huge buy, Rashad/Rampage should be big and the late Aug with Toney/Randy and BJ on it should be another big one.

    I think the early Aug card will do OK, I know Anderson might potentially turn people off, but I think they’ll get Dana and Chael out in the press slamming him to try and hype the fight and it will be a decent buy

  10. Joegym on May 24th, 2010 8:19 PM

    The movie theatres are gonna hurt the ppv buys I don’t know why any promoter would sellout to the theatres. When instead of making everyone pay 40-50 to buy the show you sell it fir 10 or 20.

  11. Kelsey Philpott on May 24th, 2010 9:23 PM

    Guru,

    2009, January – May: 2.9 million, 5 events
    2010, January – May: 2.6 million, 6 events

    The UFC will pass their 2009 mark with this weekend’s event, but will have done so only on the basis of two extra events.

    As far as how the rest of the summer looks, I anticipate the following:

    115: 400k
    116: 1.4m
    117: 450k
    118: 850k
    Total = 3.1m

    The UFC through the same period last year did:

    99: 350k
    100: 1.6m
    101: 1.0m
    102: 400k
    Total = 3.35m

    It’s hard to say how it will all play out at this point, because no one anticipated the string of injuries that happened last year. However, if people can stay healthy, you’ll have three to four cards on the back end that can do 600+ each (all the champions, basically) and that should put the UFC into the 8.5 million buy territory by year’s end.

    The one gap that I see forthcoming is September through November. Rua should be ready to go by September, but the heavyweights won’t be ready until November, you never know with Anderson, GSP is booked for December, and the LW belt will fight late August (meaning probably a December date).

    It’s times like this where the organization will have to lean on some of its non-title fighters like BJ Penn and Jon Jones (who fights beginning of August) or potential new stars like Todd Duffee (fighting this weekend) to carry a few cards. If Chuck or Franklin come out of this next fight unscathed, they could be options for that gap as well.

  12. Kelsey Philpott on May 24th, 2010 9:28 PM

    Joegym,

    I wrote something about the theater relationship a couple months ago that you can find here: http://mmapayout.com/2010/04/ufc-theater-partnership-pays-dividends/

    Essentially, the UFC does this for promotion: they generated something like 31 million impressions for UFC 111 alone and that’s tremendously valuable for any fight.

    Moreover, they’re charging $20-25 for a seat and not forfeiting that much to the theaters in return (compared to giving 50% of that $44.95 on a PPV to the provider).

  13. Stan Kosek on May 25th, 2010 7:19 AM

    In regards to the theaters, yeah, I would imagine that the UFC keeps a majority of the $20-25 ticket price. Theaters make money on their food and beverages, not very much on the movie tickets. For a major first run money the studio is taking the vast majority of the ticket money and it often scales back week to week. I could see a theater chain giving the UFC one of their theaters, especially in the mega 20+ screen buildings, at a very fair price to Zuffa if they think it’s going to attract a good crowd… it’s better than showing a movie on it that’s been out for 3+ weeks.

  14. Brain Smasher on May 25th, 2010 4:11 PM

    Keep in mind the UFC cant charge per person on PPV. If you have a couple going to the theatres and paying $25 each. The UFC would make more than they would if they couple bought the PPV. Now if there is a group larger than 2 going the UFC makes even more compared to that same group buying the PPV. Its a GREAT tool for the UFC for diversified revenue but also the advertising on other movies and events at theatres leading up.

  15. UFC 113: Early reports suggest Montreal event garnered 520,000 PPV buys | MMA Fight News - MMA News, MMA Gear, MMA Training on May 26th, 2010 8:15 AM

    […] to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (subscription required), courtesy of MMA Payout, the event did just over 500,000 pay-per-view buys. Meltzer does note however, that these numbers […]

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