The PPV Gap: Title vs. Non-Title

July 15, 2010

MMAPayout.com has updated its latest numbers on PPV trends, and there remains a significant gap of just over 200,000 buys between PPVs with title events and those without.

I’m not sure this comes as a surprise to anyone; it’s pretty intuitive and it’s something we’ve commented on numerous times before. However, you may be interested to know that the gap has closed slightly. Again these are rough estimates that we’ve tabulated through the help of Dave Meltzer and various cable company sources.

UFC 57-UFC 100

Title events: 596,000
Non-title events: 347,000
Difference: 249,000

UFC 57-UFC 115

Title events: 603,000
Non-title events: 395,000
Difference: 208,000

Payout Perspective:

I’ve got a few thoughts regarding the above numbers:

1.) I think these numbers stress the importance of asset management for the UFC and Joe Silva. There’s always going to be a temptation to load up fight cards, but it’s always prudent to be conservative. I also tend to think this provides an opportunity for Joe to do what he did with UFC 116: make some great match-ups, showcase some of the younger, less-heralded fighters in the company, and wow the audience.

2.) I suspect the gap decreased, because of the series of events that unfolded last summer. The UFC had a tremendous first two quarters and built a great deal of momentum which it then used with some of the leaner cards in the Fall to draw a better result than it maybe should have. In January and February we saw a return to a more realistic series of results in the consecutive absence of title belts on the line.

3.) I expect this gap to widen once again. If you include the expected buyrate from UFC 116 (1.0-1.2 million) the title event average goes up immediately. Then consider the next few months: UFC 117 has a title fight (Silva vs. Sonnen) and a great main card; UFC 118 has a title fight (Edgar vs. Penn) plus Couture vs. Toney and is the UFC’s debut in one of the nation’s biggest media hubs; UFC 119 does not have a title, but should still fare decently with Mir-Nog II; and, then UFC 121 will feature Brock defending his title again.

4.) In my estimation, we’re probably headed for a gap of 300,000 buys in the next year: a 700k average for title fights and 400k for non-title bouts.

4 Responses to “The PPV Gap: Title vs. Non-Title”

  1. JJ on July 15th, 2010 3:43 PM

    All the more reason to fold the WEC belts into the UFC. There could be a title defense in nearly every event and it would allow them to finally share the spotlight on the lighter guys, who really don’t get the viewers and respect they deserve.

  2. Brain Smasher on July 15th, 2010 5:15 PM

    The UFC has always give their belts a lot of support. Brock is from memory the lone exception of them letting a belt stand on its own. Something i dont believe they should do with anyone else. They UFC has always pretty much stack cards with title fights. When there is a title up for grabs they UFC wants as many eyes on the title fight(giving it more meaning and respect) At the same time getting lots of eyes on people who will be fighting for the belt in their next fight. Giving that title fight a shot in the arm. Both match ups feed off each other. When the UFC is forced to put on a less stellar event they tend to fill it with good fighters who dont draw fans. During Franklins run you saw this and the same with Silva until they realized he was going to be around for a while and started pushing him more.

    I dont think there are a lot of fans out there who follow the belt and just watch any title fight. I think these numbers speak volumes of how effective the UFC promotes their champions and their opponents. Its to ironic to assume people follow the belts or the best personalities just happen to be the champs in the UFC.

    Also, is it possible that the decrease of buys between title and non title is due to the expansion of the UFC hardcore fanbase? More people buying ALL PPVs who used to be mainstream who only bought the big PPVs? Since the title PPVs dont seem to change much and the non title jumps dramatically. I would assume the UFC has converted many of the mainstream people who buy the Brock Lesnar/Chuck Liddel fights into UFC fans.

  3. Steve W. on July 15th, 2010 7:46 PM

    I’m curious how UFC 67 was classified. It was built up as having a title fight, meaning that the all but the buys made within the last 24 hours were made under the pretense that there was going to be a title fight.

  4. Where is it? on July 30th, 2010 9:12 AM

    Nothing at all on MMA Payout about the Pavia lawsuit?

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