UFC 117: ~600,000 PPV Buys

August 17, 2010

The Figure Four Weekly is reporting that trending numbers for UFC 117 were off and the early estimates coming in from cable companies now peg the event closer to 600,000 PPV buys.

UFC staff was told early last week that the UFC 117 numbers were looking to be just under 600,000 buys, significantly down from fight night expectations. I had actually predicted 550,000, though when the show was over the feeling I had was that it was an easy 1 million buys show. It should be noted that our trending numbers plus sources outside UFC are tracking it closer to 1 million. Part of the issue is that there are wide variations throughout the country with some systems showing huge numbers and other systems showing much smaller numbers. It’ll be several weeks before we get what we can really call a solid number.

Payout Perspective:

I get the sense that there’s some confusion between trending numbers and estimates numbers, so allow me to explain the difference:

Trending numbers are based upon pre-fight indicators (e.g., live gate, television ratings, or Google search frequency) that are known to have a significant correlation with PPV buy rate numbers. When a fight is said to be “trending” towards a particular number the analyst is essentially saying that the pre-fight indicators are currently at levels that would suggest the PPV buyrate will be X. Trending numbers do not incorporate any sort of actual number received from a cable company.

Estimate numbers are based upon actual reports from cable companies. These typically take a little longer to report, because the cable companies need time to gather the purchase data from their systems. Then, once reliable base numbers have been gathered, the company will extrapolate those initial figures to give an estimate of what the overall card has likely produced from a buyrate perspective.

You may have noticed that we’ve stopped using trending numbers here at MMAPayout. Despite the regression analysis employed, the pre-fight indicators we use have simply become too unpredictable. The fight game is changing too rapidly: new sets of fans are entering the marketplace, and their purchase behavior patterns are increasing the complexity of this giant puzzle. It’s going to take some time before things settle down to the point where we can once again establish reliable indicators based upon publicly available information.

In the mean time, I’ll continue to go with my gut; 500,000-600,000 is more or less what I expected once this fight had ended. The early trending reports of 1 million were a pleasant shock, but seemed almost too good to be true.

Regardless of the actual number, I think we can all agree that this has been an unbelievable stretch of business for the UFC (something we were talking about at MMAPayout.com in March!).

UFC 111: 770,000
UFC 112: 525,000
UFC 113:  520,000
UFC 114: 1,050,000
UFC 115: 520,000
UFC 116: 1,200,000
UFC 117: ~600,000
UFC 118: …

8 Responses to “UFC 117: ~600,000 PPV Buys”

  1. Jose Mendoza on August 17th, 2010 12:05 PM

    Yup, you absolutely nailed that prediction in March Kelsey. The key now is whether they can maintain it during the last quarter of the year. It appears that most injuries from fighters run around the end of the year until the beginning-middle of the following year i.e. Werdum, Anderson Silva, Shogun, etc.

  2. Stan Kosek on August 17th, 2010 12:23 PM

    OK, that sounds around where I thought it would be. Still sounds like Chael bumped Anderson’s numbers a little. I imagine if they rematch it might be the biggest buy increase between rematches, because I think they could do around 900k with the rematch.

  3. Matt C. on August 17th, 2010 7:21 PM

    So since UFC 111 there hasn’t been a below average number of PPV buys. Basically every event has been meeting their average or pushing the average up for PPV buys per event for the year.

  4. Stan Kosek on August 18th, 2010 7:00 AM

    It will be interesting to see how much mainstream Toney vs. Randy gets. It’s in a decent space for ESPN, etc. to cover it since NFL will be in the middle of the ever so exciting NFL preseason and MLB will have pennant races going on, but not down to the wire yet.

    I’m really not sure what that buy-rate is going to look like, it does have a championship fight with Edgar/Penn, but the focus will likely be Toney/Randy. I would guess around 800k would be good.

  5. Diego on August 18th, 2010 1:59 PM

    That’s a lot more than I thought it would do based on the main event. Kudos to Sonnen for hyping up the fight (and then delivering) and to the UFC for pushing the countdown show as hard as they could to give fans a chance to get to know Sonnen’s smack talking.

  6. Jeremy on August 18th, 2010 9:19 PM

    Meltzer is saying it could be anywhere between 600,000 and 850,000.

  7. Dana "The Bully" White - Page 7 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on September 27th, 2010 11:59 PM

    […] 500k-700k buys. There is absolutely no way in hell that half of those buys are hardcore fans. Source Regardless, the UFC is going to cater to the people who are going to give them the most buys […]

  8. Why do the UFC never follow up counting PPV buys? - Page 2 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums on March 10th, 2011 8:07 PM

    […] even though they dropped the number from 1 mill to 600k they still never gave us a final number. UFC 117: ~600,000 PPV Buys : MMAPayout.com: The Business of MMA "Part of the issue is that there are wide variations throughout the country with some systems […]

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