Pascal vs. Hopkins score 1.8 million viewers on HBO

May 25, 2011

Dan Rafael via twitter reports that Saturday night’s HBO fight between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins received 1.8 million viewers making it the most watched HBO fight since 2009.

Payout Perspective:

Very good ratings for this fight. Of course, there was bad blood between the two and BHop, despite his fighting style, can sell fights. So, the high ratings may have been expected. Yet, with the recent uptick in fights on HBO and Showtime, we could see a resurgence in boxing on television.  Also, for HBO, its a good sign since it lost Pacquiao.

Its also interesting that the same night Bellator scored the second highest ratings of its season. This seems to indicate that Bellator can co-exist (or should we say compete) with other programming. Might be different if it came up against a UFC PPV or Fight Night.

Affliction opens up largest store in Seal Beach

May 25, 2011

MMA lifestyle apparel brand Affliction Clothing is set to open a 5,000 square foot retail location at its world headquarters in Seal Beach, California. According to a press release, the SoCal location is holding a grand opening June 4th.

This will be the 10th Affliction Clothing store.

Via Affliction’s press release:

Consistent with Affliction’s attention to quality and design, the store will exemplify the Affliction esthetic, offering custom made fixtures with signature rivet detail, unique display pieces, such as a custom Rat Rod car and memorabilia autographed by Affliction’s loyal celebrity following.

Payout Perspective:

The opening of Affliction’s largest store indicates that the MMA apparel industry is growing. In this week’s Sports Business Journal (subscription required but more on this later) there is a featured article about the growth and expansion of the UFC. One of the areas that was cited as needing work was the lifestyle component of the UFC brand. While there can be a debate as to where the design and concepts for clothing should go, Affliction has defined its style and based on its growth, it is hitting the mark with its demographic.

NY senate passes bill to legalize MMA

May 24, 2011

On Monday, legislators in the New York state senate passed a bill (42-18) which would legalize MMA in New York. The bill must get through a final Assembly floor vote for the proposed legislation to become law according to a UFC press release.

The release provided by the UFC’s public affairs firm stressed the economic impact the passage would have on the state:

A recent study estimated that holding two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events in the state (one at Madison Square Garden and one in Buffalo) will create roughly $16 million in new spending. Additionally, the study found smaller MMA operators will likely hold around 70 events that would bring an additional $4 million. In total, $23 million of annual new spending and hundreds of new jobs will be created in the local economy by regulating MMA. The full economic impact study is available at

Currently 45 other U.S. states regulate MMA, and Alaska and Wyoming lack athletic commissions, which regulate the sport. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and neighboring states consistently attract fans and bring economic benefits through multiple MMA events in front of sold out arenas.

MMA Fighting sobers NY fans with the fact that there is one hurdle left:

It will now move on to the State Assembly, considered a much tougher audience for MMA. In 2010, the same bill passed the Senate but never made it to the floor for an Assembly vote after the state’s legislators were bogged down in budget problems and other issues.

Payout Perspective:

If the legislation passes, it would mean that the UFC, and other MMA organizations, would finally be able to promote in New York. It would also mean a dramatic, positive economic impact for the state according the the UFC study. According to MMA Fighting, MSG has reserved dates for the UFC if (and when) the legislation is signed into law. There is still opposition to the bill and the vote will be close so the UFC may have to sweat it out until the vote occurs.

Bellator 45: 264,000 viewers

May 24, 2011

Coming off of last week’s highest rated showing on MTV2, Bellator 45 scored a strong 264,000 viewers this past Saturday. The show received season-high ratings in Men 18-34 (0.4) and Men 18-49 (0.33) according to an email received by MMA Payout from MTV2.

According to the email from MTV2, the telecast peaked at 360,000 viewers at 9:30 p.m.

Payout Perspective:

A nice ratings roll for Bellator as the season ends. This past weekend saw  Christian M’Pumbu KO Richard Hale to win the inaugural Light Heavyweight Championship and Patrick Freire win the Featherweight tournament and earn a shot at Joe Warren.

MTV2 indicated that Bellator’s debut season on the network averaged 215,000 viewers, a 16-percent increase for the timeslot. The last two weeks definitely helped boost the average. Also, the fact that there were no UFC events helped. While ratings for Bellator were up and down, the end of season four shows promise for the future of Bellator on MTV2.

Edge Shaving Gel becomes UFC sponsor in July

May 23, 2011

The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reports that Edge Shaving Gel will become a sponsor of the UFC starting in July. The sponsorship includes endorsement deals for five UFC fighters.

The Journal writes that financial terms were not announced. Edge is familiar with the UFC as it is a sponsor of The Ultimate Fighter although Spike TV controls sponsorships and advertising for the show. The signing will give the UFC visibility at national retail outlets where Edge products are sold. The sponsorship begins with an in store promotion featuring the UFC on Edge packaging and fighters on promotional items in the store. It will also include BJ Penn offering training tips in an online component of the promotion.

Payout Perspective:

The signing of Edge gets the UFC in front of a broader audience as it will be in many retail stores. It also is a product used by many young males so the sponsorship makes sense for both parties. The brand activation will help the UFC introduce itself to consumers by the online and in-store promos. BJ Penn is a good pick for one of the UFC faces for this sponsorship as he is a very popular figure in the UFC and has crossover appeal. The sponsorship is another sign that the UFC is establishing itself as a valuable sports property.

Judges have monitor option at UFC 130

May 22, 2011

UFC judges will have a little more help this Saturday when it comes to scoring UFC 130. ESPN reports that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has granted the UFC’s request to have montiors at ringside for each judge.

The judge will have the option to use the monitors to witness action that may not be readily in their sightline. The monitors will not have an audio feed and will go dark between rounds. Also, no replays will be shown.

Payout Perspective:

A good step into improving the quality of its judging, the UFC hopes that the monitors will give the judges another way to evaluate the fight. The one drawback is that it may take some time for the judges to adapt to the new piece of technology at their disposal. The other problem is that it does not necessarily mean the judges will still use their judgment in scoring fights. But, from a public relations standpoint, it shows that the UFC is being proactive in trying to make sure that fights are judged correctly and that there is no backlash from fans when a judge (or judges) make a mistake.

Ratings Recap (5/14/2011) – Bellator, Boxing, & NHL

May 22, 2011

MMA, Boxing, and the NHL went head-to-head last weekend, in what turned out to be a successful night for all parties involved, specifically Bellator, who drew it’s best rating on MTV2 all season long.

Bellator 44, which was headlined by Hector Lombard vs Falaniko Vitale, drew 325,000 viewers. That number was just about double their season average.  The immediate replay of the event drew 145,000 viewers, compared to the 182,000 viewers Bellator 43 drew for the live airing the week before.  The event was so successful, that it set MTV 2’s Saturday night record in the Male 18-49 demographic.

The Bellator show went head-to-head with Showtime boxing that night, which featured Andre Ward vs Arthur Abraham and the replay of Manny Pacquiao vs Shane Mosley, which aired the previous week on Showtime PPV.  The event ended up doing a 1.6 rating, drawing 522,000 viewers according to (subscription). The Ward vs Abraham main event did a 1.82 rating drawing 610,000 viewers while Pacquiao vs Mosley did a 1.58.  The 522,000 viewers for one of Showtime’s biggest fights this year is significant to those who had wondered how MMA’s Strikeforce viewership compares to boxing on Showtime.  Strikeforce events in 2011 have done the following viewership numbers:

– 561,000 viewers (853,000 peak), for “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Cyborg” (January, 2011)
– 741,000 viewers (1.1 million peak), “Strikeforce: Fedor vs Silva” (February, 2011)
– 412,000 viewers (520,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Feijao vs Henderson” (March, 2011)
– 528,000 viewers (806,000 peak), “Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley” (April, 2011)

The NHL was also on display that night as Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins aired on Versus during primetime, which drew 1.54 million viewers.  That number was good enough to place it as the third best viewership number for the hockey playoffs this year on the Versus network.

NOTE: The Ultimate Fighter on 5/11 did a 0.8 rating and drew 1.01 million viewers, which places it as the lowest rated episode in the history of TUF. On that same night, the NBA’s Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtic’s game 5 did a 5.0 rating, drawing 6.78 million viewers, while peaking at a 8.0 rating and drawing 10.8 million viewers on the TNT network.  TUF bounced back this week with 1.2 million viewers on Spike TV, which is about what they have averaged for the disappointing season so far.

GSP vs. Nick Diaz this year?

May 21, 2011

MMA Weekly reports that a Champion versus Champion match is in the works featuring Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz. The match-up may be announced as soon as next week.

The fight was rumored as soon as GSP dispatched Jake Shields at UFC 129. Talks likely accelerated when Jeff Lacy announced that he had signed on to fight Nick Diaz later this year. In order to appease Diaz, the UFC likely had to set up this fight so that Diaz would not go through with the boxing match.

Via MMA Weekly:

Nick Diaz is likely to face St-Pierre for his next UFC welterweight title defense in 2011, with all signs pointing towards a December showdown in Montreal.

Payout Perspective:

This potential match-up has huge implications in and out of the Octagon. Even without knowing the rest of the card, the event would do great business in Montreal. With the potential of fighting in front of his hometown crowd for the second year in a row, Diaz will be another heel to oppose GSP. Unlike Josh Koscheck, Diaz poses more of a danger with his BJJ skills. Of course, this could have been said of Jake Shields. Yet, it is still a compelling match-up.

If this fight happens, will this equate to a unification of the titles? Does a cross-promotional fight open the door for more fights featuring UFC vs. Strikeforce. Moreover, does this mean the beginning of the end for Strikeforce?

WWE Tough Enough ratings: 2.4 million viewers

May 20, 2011

This week’s episode of WWE’s Tough Enough scored 2.4 million viewers with a 1.6 rating according to Television By Numbers and the Wrestling Observer (subscription required).

Unlike TUF, TE receives consistent help from Monday Night Raw. While Raw’s ratings were down this past week, it still was this week’s highest rated cable show on Monday night. On the other hand, TUF had Coal and Repo Games as its Wednesday night partner.

For the May 10th edition of TE, it received 2.471 million viewers and similar ratings in the key demos according to Television By Numbers.

On another note, Randy “Macho Man” Savage passed away today. It was very surprising to see how many athletes on twitter (wrestlers, MMA fighters, basketball players, football players, etc.) expressed their condolences for Savage. As MMA Supremacy pointed out, Savage and Hulk Hogan had a big impact on pop culture and society in the 1980s and 1990s. It will be interesting to see if the UFC can be that sport where its fighters such as GSP and Anderson Silva will be influencers on pop culture and society.



TUF 13 Episode 8: 1.2 million viewers

May 19, 2011

According to Television By Numbers, episode 8 of The Ultimate Fighters scored an average of 1.177 million viewers. It received a 0.8 household rating and earned a 0.6 for the 18-49 adult demo.

Spike TV released numbers contrary to those from TBN: a 1.12 household rating (including a 1.1 in males 18-49 as well as a 1.14 in males 18-34) (via MMA Mania)

Payout Perspective:

Although the actual numbers state an average of 1.177 million, we’ve given TUF the benefit of the doubt and rounded up to 1.2 in the title of this post. The numbers are better than last week’s season low and this week TUF had heavy opposition from the Bulls-Heat NBA playoff game. Although TUF featured two quarterfinal elimination bouts, they were less than stellar as Ramsey Nijem squashed Clay Harvison and Chris Cope won a decision over Shamar Bailey. As the season winds down, it will be interesting how Brock Lesnar pulling out of UFC 131 will affect the rest of the season.

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