UFC on FOX Network Debut: Payout Perspective

November 18, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective! This week we’ll be taking a look at the UFC on FOX network debut headlined by the UFC Heavyweight Title bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.

The event took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and featured the HW title fight between Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos. This was the only fight scheduled to air on the FOX network (60 minute time slot reserved from 9:00 pm-10:00 pm ET). The prelims portion was headlined by Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida, which aired on Facebook, FOXSports.com, and on Fox Deportes in the USA.  FOX Deportes aired Velasquez vs Dos Santos, Guida vs Henderson, and Garza vs Dustin Poirier. Facebook.com and FOXSports.com aired the rest of the prelims.

Fighter Disclosed Payouts

Note: that the money reported below is only the money required to be reported by the commission, which does not take into account undisclosed bonuses or “locker room” bonuses, as they are referred to in MMA.

Courtesy of MMAJunkie:

The total disclosed payroll for the event was $666,000.

Junior Dos Santos: $220,000 (includes $110,000 win bonus)
def. Cain Velasquez: $100,000

Ben Henderson: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Clay Guida: $40,000

Dustin Poirier: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Pablo Garza: $8,000

Ricardo Lamas: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Cub Swanson: $15,000

DaMarques Johnson: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Clay Harvison: $8,000

Darren Uyenoyama: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto: $15,000

Robert Peralta: $16,000 (includes $ win bonus)
def. Mackens Semerzier: $8,000

Alex Caceres: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Cole Escovedo: $6,000

Mike Pierce: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Paul Bradley: $18,000

Aaron Rosa: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Lucas: $6,000

 

Attendance and Gate

MMAJunkie reports that UFC on FOX held at the Honda Center in  Anaheim officially drew 11,607 in attendance for a $1.07 million gate. 1,700 tickets were unsold and 1,743 were comps. The average paid ticket price was $108.70.

It was not a great event in terms of gate and attendance, but that was to be expected as the UFC purposely lowered the ticket prices to try and pack the event as much as they could to give the UFC on FOX event a great atmosphere. In terms of gate and average paid ticket price, it will probably be one of their lowest numbers for a domestic event with the caliber of fighters on the card.  These numbers reflect what typical Ultimate Fight Night or UFC on Versus events would do, though those have a considerably lower payroll and don’t typically have title fights with much smaller venues.  This event also had the benefit of being held in Southern California where Cain Velasquez won the HW title against Brock Lesnar and had the novelty of being the UFC’s first network TV event, so by those standards, not selling out has to be a bit of a disappointment.  On the other hand, the main event was going to be televised for free on Network TV and all prelims were streaming for free on Facebook, so it may not be as bad of a number as it seems.

 

Ratings

MMAPayout reported this weekend that the UFC on FOX event on Saturday night averaged 5.7 million viewers (3.1 rating) and peaked at 8.8 million viewers. The demos were: M18-34: 4.3 (peak rating 7.19) and M18-49: 4.0.  This was the largest audience ever to watch an MMA event in the United States, breaking the record of 5.3 million (3.7 rating) by The Ultimate Fighter episode on Spike TV which featured Kimbo Slice vs Roy Nelson back in 2009.

Other notable high rating MMA shows include Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz on Spike TV in 2006 which averaged 4.3 million viewers (3.1 rating) and UFC 75: Henderson vs Rampage in 2007 on Spike TV did 4.7 million viewers (3.1 rating).  The reason why the rating numbers don’t match the viewers is due to the increase of reach Spike TV has increased in the past few years.

On Network TV, the previous rating champ was the EliteXC Primetime event which featured Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson, which avaged 4.85 million viewers (3.0 rating).

 

FOX TV Rating Breakdown (Quarterly):

- UFC on FOX (9:00 pm-9:15 pm): 5.25 million viewers

-UFC on FOX (9:15 pm-9:30 pm): 5.48 million viewers

-UFC on FOX (9:30 pm-9:45 pm): 7.09 million viewers

-UFC on FOX (9:45 pm-10:00 pm): 4.88 million viewers

- Overall: Average of 5.7M viewers watched the fight live or via DVR playback within the same day. (Nielsen)

 

FOX TV Rating Notes:

- If you combine the FOX and FOX Deportes telecasts (one in Spanish, one in English), it would have received close to a 3.5 rating with 6.2 million viewers and a peak of 8.8 million and a M18-34 rating of 4.7. It is believed a peak close to 9 million was achieved combining both.

- The 4.3 rating in Males 18-34 beat every college football game this season except the LSU vs Alabama game on CBS.

- The 4.3 rating in Males 18-34 beat 65% of the playoff and World Series baseball games this season on FOX.

- The 4.3 rating in Males 18-34 was the third highest rated television show of the year for FOX Deportes.

- The show drew 1.7 million women over the age of 18.

- The median age of viewers for the telecast was 35 years old.

- The 5.7 million viewers was the most watched fight in broadcast on US television since HBO’s Lennox Lewis vs Vitali Klitschko back in 2003

- UFC programming delivered a total of 6.7 million impressions across all FSMG television networks.

- The peak of 8.8 million lasted as long as the fight did, which was 1 minute (fight started at 9:40 pm).

- By 9:45 pm, the viewership had dropped to 5.9 million. Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson peaked at 6.51 million and lasted for 10 minutes and 38 seconds. (Sports Illustrated) … about 25% of the audience had left at the end of the main event.

- UFC on FOX began with 5.2 million viewers and dipped as low as 4.4 million before viewership started to climb around 9:36 pm, as the fighters were starting to make their way to the Octogon. (Sports Illustrated)

 

Fuel TV Ratings:

- Two Hour UFC Pre-Fight Show (4:00 pm-6:00 pm ET) averaged 77,000 viewers (0.21 rating) making it Fuel TV’s highest rated program of the year. The prefight show also drew an average of 58,000 viewers in the M18-49 demo, the largest since the network become nationally rated.

-The UFC prefight show ranked as a top 20 show in the time period for Men 18-34 (.29), performing about as well or better than widely distributed networks like History Channel (.31), USA (.25), SyFy (.19) and AMC (.13).  FUEL TV also performed well in the Men 18-49 demo (.31), close to or matching ubiquitous networks like Discovery (.36), Comedy Central (.35) and MTV (.31).

- The One-Hour UFC postfight show (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET) drew 37,000 viewers.

 

FOX Deportes Ratings:

- Nearly 500,000 average viewers watched the event on FOX Deportes.

- The quarter-hour from 9:30 to 9:45 did about 900,000 viewers on Fox Deportes in Spanish.

- The Velasquez-dos Santos fight delivered a 3.9 coverage area HH rating, 487,000 viewers, and 352,000 A18-49 making it the highest-rated fight of any kind in Spanish language cable history.

- Saturday’s undercard coverage ranks as the second highest-rated fight-event in FOX Deportes history with a 3.4 HH rating, 365,000 viewers, and 237,000 A18-49 viewers.

- Saturday’s fight ranks as FOX Deportes’ highest-rated program since the Manchester United vs. Chelsea Premier League soccer match (5.0) on Sept. 18.

 

Spike TV Counter Programming Ratings:

- Spike TV’s Saturday night telecast of “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: Unleashed for the Heavyweight Title” between 9:00-10:00 pm ET drew 719,000 viewers and a 0.6 rating with Men 18-34. List of ratings for “Unleashed” episodes pre and post UFC on FOX are listed below:

- At 8:00 pm: Before UFC on FOX went live, “Unleashed” drew 923,000 viewers .

- At 10:00 pm:  After the UFC on FOX had gone off air, “Unleashed” drew 787,000.

 

Brazil Ratings on TV Globo:

- The event peaked at 22M viewers in Brazil, and during the fight (1 minute), it reached a 20 rating and a 52% share (percentage of homes with TV’s). The ratings were above average for a Sunday morning. (Globo)

 

FOXSports.com:

- Tallied 257,000 total live streams for the nine undercard matches, while all the UFC content during and around the event generated over 1 million streams.

- Other than Super Bowl related content, this was the biggest video event in FOXSports.com history.


Top Rated MMA Shows (Average Viewers):

- 5.7M viewers (8.8M peak), “UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs Dos Santos”, FOX (11/12/2011)
- 5.3M viewers (6.1M peak), “The Ultimate Fighter: Kimbo Slive vs Roy Nelson”, SPIKE TV (09/30/2009)
- 4.9M viewers (6.5M peak), “EliteXC Primetime: Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson”, CBS (05/31/2008)
- 4.7M viewers (5.9M peak), “UFC 75: Dan Henderson vs Rampage Jackson”, SPIKE TV (09/08/2007)
- 4.2M viewers (5.7M peak), “UFC: Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz 3″, SPIKE TV (10/10/2006)

Top Rated MMA Shows (Ratings):

- 3.7 Rating, M18-34: 6.9, “The Ultimate Fighter: Kimbo Slive vs Roy Nelson”, SPIKE TV (09/30/2009)
- 3.1 Rating, M18-34: 6.0, “UFC: Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz 3″, SPIKE TV (10/10/2006)
- 3.1 Rating, M18-34: 5.7, “UFC 75: Dan Henderson vs Rampage Jackson”, SPIKE TV (09/08/2007)
- 3.1 Rating, M18-34: 4.3, “UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs Dos Santos”, FOX (11/12/2011)
- 3.0 Rating, M18-34: 3.2, “EliteXC Primetime: Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson”, CBS (05/31/2008)

- What we can take from these numbers is how impressive Spike TV has performed over the last several years with UFC content.  The 3.7 rating with a 6.9 M18-34 rating is almost unheard of at the moment, and even the UFC on FOX couldn’t top that, although FOX has a bigger reach than Spike TV, which is the reason why viewership is higher for FOX with the same or lesser ratings.

 

General Rating Notes:

- FOX scheduled the Velasquez vs Dos Santos bout to start at 9:40 PM, which was exactly when Stanford vs Oregon – a top 10 college football game – was going into halftime in order to acquire some extra viewers who may have been flipping channels.

- By starting at 9:40 p.m., if the fight went passed 3 rounds, it would go well past 10 p.m., when the local news was scheduled to start for FOX affiliate stations. At that point, a ton of new viewers would be watching the final rounds of what on paper expected to be an exciting fight a bump the ratings. A five round fight would have ended past 10:10, not accounting for reading the decision, nterviews, and wrap up, which would take you closer to 10:20.

- FOX was selling ads based on predictions of 4.5 million viewers, which means they easily met their goal (5.7 million). (Yahoo Sports)

- The strongest markets for the show were Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio, Tulsa, San Diego, Greensboro, New Orleans and Los Angeles. It aired in Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles out of prime time.

 

Storylines

- FOX Flexes Promotional Muscle for UFC

Sports Business Daily did a great story on the FOX’s promotional efforts heading into the UFC on FOX event.

The early returns have been strong, Fertitta said. The “UFC Primetime” preview show that Fox aired after its NFL telecasts two Sundays ago drew a 1.3 rating, which equates to about 2 million viewers. That about doubled the audience for similar UFC preview shows on Spike. Saturday night’s prime-time debut was close to sold out shortly after it hit the street, Fertitta said. Fox typically gets about $50,000 for a 30-second spot during its Saturday night programming, according to survey results published by Ad Age. ABC gets about $85,000 for spots on Saturday night college football.

While Fox Sports co-President Eric Shanks would not discuss specific rates for the one-hour, one-fight show, he said they exceeded expectations.

“The first fight out of the gate, there is tremendous interest,” Shanks said. “We had no problem selling at a good rate. And we haven’t even started the seven-year clock yet.”

Not Airing Guida vs Henderson Proves Costly for the UFC. Did they Have A Choice?

Guida vs Henderson was exactly the type of fight that would have drawn plenty of viewers for the UFC before the big HW Title matchup.  It had all the ingredients needed to build up a viewing fanbase and could have possibly served as their new version of Griffin vs Bonner, which propelled their popularity over on Spike TV.  It was an exciting and technical fight, which breath-taking back and forth between the two which resulted in a Fight of the Year candidate. It also lasted 3 rounds, which is exactly what was the dynamic needed to show to the new MMA spectators tuning in: a fight can last all 3 rounds or 1 minute, but it will be exciting either way.

The question is who’s call was this and did they have a choice? According to Ben Grossman from Broadcasting and Cable, “For those wondering, Fox did not have the rights to show the rest of the fights Saturday night on air, as Spike TV technically still owns those rights until the end of the year, so what turned out to be the best fight of the night – the one before the main event — was only available online.” I believe this is the reason why prelims, including the Guida vs Henderson fights were only shown to international viewers and on FOX Deportes, a Spanish broadcast.

Culinary Workers Union Picketing UFC Headquarters During Weekend

Over the weekend, the Culinary Workers Union was picketing UFC headquarters in Las Vegas and trying to mobilize people to send messages to FOX to cancel its TV contract with the UFC.  They have already made their voice clear sending a letter to the FTC regarding the UFC’s practices and also creating multiple websites highlighting Dan White’s past rants and vulgar language as well as “Unfit for Children” propaganda. The has also been activity by the union to back the anti-MMA legislators in New York as well as sending letters to major UFC sponsors encouraging them to drop the MMA promotion.

- Critiquing UFC on FOX Broadcast

Luke Thomas of MMA Nation had a great article on some of the things UFC and FOX can tweak in order to improve future broadcasts (10 Steps To Improving UFC On Fox Broadcasts) … Loretta Hunt gives her own opinions and suggestions on SI.com (Three thoughts on UFC on Fox 1). Having Dana White as an analyst in the post-fight wrap-up provided some cringe-worthy moments for fans, as both Thomas and Hunt mentioned. It has been a common complain heard from within the MMA media circle, how Dana White criticized Valasquez plan and questioned Dos Santos stamina, as he appeared nervous and angry at the outcome.

- Social Media Activity Backfires on the UFC

FightOpinion has done a great job documenting the Penn State sex scandal and how Forrest Griffin’s jokes on Twitter were not taken very kindly by various media outlets and anti- sex and child abuse organizations.  The Culinary Workers Union was also quick to point the controversy out on their anti-UFC website. Loretta Hunt was invited to NPR to talk about the matter. The segment’s title was “Misogyny in the UFC” (45 minute mark).

 

Odds and Ends

- The UFC painted over the blood on the Octogon before going live on FOX, per FOX’s request.  Dana White said they wanted to go on air with a nice clean presentation package and that it had nothing to do with FOX reacting negatively towards blood on the mat.

- For a brief moment at the beginning of the UFC on FOX broadcast, FOX flashed the following message: “The following might be the most exciting live sporting event in the history of television, and it’s our duty to say: VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED”

- Bellator purchased some ad spots during the UFC on FOX broadcast in the Florida market in order to promote an upcoming event.

- The next UFC on FOX event has been scheduled for January 28th, 2012 being held in the United Center in Chicago.

- The first UFC on FX event will take place on January 20th and will be headlined by Jim Miller vs Melvin Guillard. Sydney, Australia and Nashville Tennessee have both been rumored as potential sites to host the event.

- FOX Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill stated that FOX specials would be 90 minutes, airing from 8:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday nights with two or three fights. The UFC on FX live cards will take place on Fridays and would be 2 hour shows. Fuel TV events will be 3 hours in length and will also air all prelims.

- UFC 2012 Target Schedule:  14 PPV events, 4 UFC on FOX events, 6 UFC on FX events, and a minimum of 6 UFC on FUEL TV events. The Ultimate Fighter will also have around 24 live events on FX, Friday nights.

 

Mainstream Thoughts on UFC on FOX

- Notes And Thoughts About UFC On Fox (Broadcasting & Cable)

UFC on Fox could have gone better but it definitely could have gone much worse.  The fact of the matter is Saturday night showed that Fox is exactly what UFC needed, and UFC can be a major player for Fox, FX and whatever Fuel ends up being down the road, for a long, long time.

- Quick KO good or bad for UFC on Fox? (ESPN)

Fox Sports chief executive David Hill admitted he and president Dana White discussed the “tactics” of booking a single, heavyweight fight in hindsight, but added he was overwhelmingly satisfied with the product.

“It absolutely delivered everything I hoped it would,” Hill told ESPN.com. “I spoke to Dana and maybe, tactically, Dana didn’t play it the right way. But this is what you get in this sport. This is world heavyweight champion action.”

- UFC’s Fox debut neither home run nor strikeout (Yahoo)

Saturday night was a similar step, just on a larger scale. Instead of Spike TV, it was the Fox network. Instead of two unknown scrappers, it was the two best heavyweights in the sport..

Unfortunately, MMA is unpredictable. As president Dana White said over-and-over in promoting the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos heavyweight title match, the company’s live network TV debut on Fox, it could end in 30 seconds, or it could go five rounds.

- UFC’s network TV debut a success, despite lasting all of 64 seconds (Sports Illustrated)

That doesn’t go just for the Fox telecast, either. While the early undercard was playing out to a smallish crowd of diehards inside the arena, there was a brightly lit red carpet set up outside, where celebrities from MMA to the TV B-list — most from Fox programs, naturally — passed through a gauntlet of cameras, asked the same questions by every microphone wielder, smiling the same smiles for every lens. Inside, once the preliminaries were out of the way, the building had filled with a deafening roar, the octagon mat was cleaned of undercard blood stains. Don’t want to make a bad first impression with squeamish new viewers.

- UFC on Fox: What the Media Is Saying (Hollywood Reporter)

The bout lasted a little over a minute, with Dos Santos knocking Velasquez to the ground with a punch to the temple and a beat down that followed until the referee stopped the fight.

Reaction to the broadcast ranged from the humorous to the general consensus that Fox has a winner with the franchise.

- A few thoughts about tonight’s UFC fight … (San Francisco Chronicle)

No mercy, indeed. The heavyweight Junior Dos Santos/Cain Velasquez fight ends with Dos Santos knocking out Velasquez after just over a minute in the first round. I would say that was the second-worst case scenario with UFC’s historic first fight on network TV. (Worst case scenario by far was a gruesome injury.)

- Fight Night in America (Esquire)

The hype on Fox was nothing short of lunatic. Dana White, the bald genius UFC president and probably the smartest sports executive in the country, wore a black suit. So did Brock Lesner, and so did Alistair Overeem when they cut to him octagon-side, which doesn’t sound so good, as if we were going to look back in thirty years on them as the new Ali and Frazier, which doesn’t either. Junior Dos Santos made his ring walk to “Gonna Fly Now,” which is the theme from Rocky. Cain Velasquez walked into the cage, petrified, and they stared at each other and they kicked some little kicks and then, a minute into the kicking and the staring, Dos Santos sent a loopy and rather laughably slow right hook to Velasquez’s left ear. Velasquez dropped to the canvas and then Dos Santos went and hit the shit out of him eleven times. The referee took his sweet time to stop it. It was over. There was no blood. It wasn’t very exciting.

- Ultimate fighting is too brutal to be considered a sport, even if it’s on TV (Washington Post)

Excuse me, but ultimate fighting is not safer than cheerleading. I’ve watched some ultimate fighting. It’s a brutal sport. In fact, I don’t think ultimate fighting is a sport at all. It’s violence presented as entertainment..

By showing fights on Fox, UFC is trying to turn ultimate fighting into a regular sport and to make kicking someone in the face as normal as shooting a free throw. Close to 6 million people watched the Saturday night fight. Fox plans to show more ultimate fighting in the next few months.

- Ultimate fighting is too brutal to be considered a sport, even if it’s on TV (Deadspin)

I’d planned to write something about the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos fight today. But the fight lasted all of 64 seconds. Gotta feel for anyone who sat through eons of buildup only to make for the suds and miss the action. The UFC’s debut on Fox was a flop. A disappointment on a grand scale. A few leg kicks from Velasquez, one overhand right from Dos Santos and that was the end of it. Dunzo. The card in its entirety.

- UFC proves it’s here to stay (The Globe and Mail – Canada)

Rarely sticklers for journalistic purity, Fox used White himself as an analyst (Imagine Gary Bettman as the star of Coach’s Corner). Even as the main card tanked with headliner Cain Velasquez succumbing in just 64 seconds to challenger Junior Dos Santos, White and co-analyst Brock Lesnar kept pitching the gospel. White savaged Velasquez’s passivity. “I don’t understand why Cain wouldn’t go in for the shot, pressure him and not stay in his range. But what the hell am I? I’m not anybody’s coach or trainer.”

Right. Resistance is futile. UFC is here to stay. Or, as our mother used to say, until somebody loses an eye.

- UFC Was Never Meant For Network Television (IBTimes – New York)

It’s not the management of the UFC that will prohibit the sport from moving forward. The UFC will continue to expand its brand name recognition, and people will continue to tune in and watch the big fights. Mixed-martial arts isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and, therefore, UFC won’t be going anywhere either. But as for UFC being part of a dinner conversation in most American homes, that will never, ever happen. The sport is too volatile on too many levels.

- Dos Santos claims Velasquez’s UFC belt in Fox show (Chron)

The brief fight was the only event on a one-hour broadcast on Fox, which signed the UFC to a seven-year broadcast deal earlier this year. Any newcomers to the sport who tuned in got a taste of MMA’s violence, but not much else — particularly if they returned late from a commercial break.

Or even if they blinked.

- All Up in the Videos (The Classical)

And that’s how a typical display of MMA’s chaotic nature and dos Santos’ signature power were recast as a bad, stupid thing—the natural result of Velasquez fighting foolishly against a one-dimensional foe—which in turn recast a heavyweight title fight as an anti-climactic scuffle pitting an idiot against some non-athlete. At the risk of belaboring things, the person doing this was the president of the UFC, whose job is supposed to be spinning any result into a story that makes the viewers care. I’ve followed the sport for over a decade, and even I was starting to wonder if I should keep caring.

 

Social Media – Sports Business Circle Reactions After KO

- Michele Steele: “Huge night for UFC debut on Fox — hard to believe that UFC started w $2M investment 10 years ago, now $2 BILLION brand”

- John Ourand: “Wow. A knockout in the first minute?? Bad news for Fox. … What’s Fox’s filler programming now?”

- Bill Simmons: “UFC loses its network virginity to Fox and it’s over in under 90 seconds. Just like real life!”

- Darren Rovell: “UFC had the same problem years ago when ESPN put Chuck Liddell on SportsCenter & ESPN Mag. Then he lost in minutes.” … “If you’re a UFC newcomer, how do you feel after tonight? 46.2% less likely to watch, 32.4% more likely to watch, 21.4% have to see more.”

 

Twitter and Google Trends

Social Media on that Saturday was quite peculiar. There were literally no sporting events trending on that day (usually some of the hottest trends occur during sporting events). “Bendo” and “Clay Guida” were all trend topics for the night.  In fact, airing all of the prelims on Facebook seemed to have hurt the buzz for the show as these were the only two topics to trend before the UFC on FOX broadcast.  During the event, #UFCONFOX, “Cain Velasquez“, and “Dos Santos” were all trending along with “Pacquiao” and “Marquez“.

In Google under the “Hot Searches” section, “Cain Velasquez vs Dos Santos” (#17) and “UFC on FOX” (#20) were the only two items in the top 20 relating to the event on November 12 while “Manny Pacquiao” and “Marquez” were 4th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and 14th on the list.  College Football’s “Oregon vs Stanford” was #16.

From looking at some of these social media trends, it can be speculated that having no fights on a TV platform in addition to the Pacquiao fight and the head-to-head college football game affected some of the UFC’s buzz going into the event.  It can also be assumed that although the ratings were good for Fuel TV’s standards, it did not help build up and carry momentum into the UFC on FOX event.  Facebook fights still appear to have very little effect on getting more viewers to order or watch the fights at this point.

Airing the fights on FX and carrying the audience over to FOX on their next event should pay dividends for them and create more social media buzz that could bring more eyeballs into their next broadcast.  Social Media was heavily underutilized for this event.

 

Sponsor, Promotion and Marketing Watch

- UFC on FOX Sponsors in the Cage: Uncharted 3 (PS3 Video Game), Muscle Pharm (Supplements), Xyience (Sports Drinks), SafeAuto (Insurance), Marines, G’zOne (Casio Phone), Bud Light (Anheuser-Busch), UFC Undisputed 3 (Video Game- THQ), and the main sponsor of the event was Dodge (US Automobile).

UFC on FOX TV Spots: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (video game), Tapout (with kids practicing MMA inside a cage, which was an interesting choice of a spot to expose to the mainstream audience considering recent debates on that subject), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (movie), UFC 139 promo, Jack in the Box,  AMPM, & a GOOD number of local spots.

Cain Velasquez Sponsors: Dethrone (apparel), Milwaukee Tools, MicroTech, Oak Grove Technologies, Lugz (footwear), BSN (supplements), California Wheels, and AKA (gym).

Junior Dos Santos Sponsors: TOTVS, Gillette, Renato Saraiva, Analise, Team Nogueira (gym), Pretorian (apparel), Siciliano, Bony Acai (sport drink), and his own brand Cigano… all were Brazilian based sponsors.

13 Responses to “UFC on FOX Network Debut: Payout Perspective”

  1. Jason Cruz on November 18th, 2011 5:55 AM

    Great Job, Jose! Very thorough.

  2. TheFightScientist on November 18th, 2011 7:40 AM

    Lots to cover, good job as always.
    THe most surprising element was the Red Carpet atmosphere for the pre-show. Though buried on FUEL TV (which some don’t have, or others like me only have in non-HD), it still presented a glamorous “prize fight” atmosphere quite well. Mandy Moore and a star from “Glee” obviously weren’t targeted at the loyal MMA fans, and everyone seemed genuinely amped up for the event. They certainly can’t do it every time, but it was a nice touch, and I hope to see it again on a better channel for a future high profile event. I’m sure I missed plenty of the celebrities that rolled through, but if they had showed a Celebrity Fan Picks list, I would have said “whoa, Brad Pitt is there tonight? And he’s picking the underdog?!” Showing celebs/athletes in the audience of UFC events has become a popular cutaway that garners applause (or boos) from the crowd, and shows the casual fan at home that yes, this fight is a big deal. If you’ve got the star power – flaunt it! That will continue to help MMA become the industry standard combat sport.

    And clearly someone at the Washington Post needs to be told that sports, like any other thing, evolve and get better (and more competitive) with time. I now look at boxing and wonder if I would watch a pianist play one handed, or an actor perform without a costume. MMA is the natural evolution of combat sports – deal with it.

  3. Machiel Van on November 18th, 2011 9:44 AM

    It’s very interesting they released the livestream numbers from FOXSports.com. 257,000 is not bad at all for streaming prelims, and makes me wonder how many viewers the UFC gets on their Facebook page (I was watching on Facebook, not FOXSports.com).

  4. Bill Jennings on November 18th, 2011 10:48 AM

    Under the heading:

    “Top Rated MMA Shows (Ratings):”

    You have the wrong rating for UFC on FOx. UFC on fox pulled a 4.3 in m18-34 (not a 3.1) and the peak is wrong as well.

  5. Jose Mendoza on November 18th, 2011 12:14 PM

    Thanks, Bill.

    There is no peak on Top Rated MMA Shows: Just overall event rating and M18-34 rating. I corrected the M18-34 rating.

  6. Henry on November 18th, 2011 1:09 PM

    Great break down of the UFC on Fox event.

    Anderson Silva has done ads for some great brands:-
    Honda, Burger King, Nike and now Ford.

    Not bad for an MMA fighter

  7. mossman on November 18th, 2011 5:27 PM

    As ive stated before, little disappointed in the lack of new sponsors outside of G-zone. Was hoping to see a little more with blue chippers or new partners jumping into the fold. Henry, I would definitely make sure to remember that the sponsors that Silva had were also the Brazilian equivalents of said brands… i.e. the messaging and desire to use him has been meant for the Brazilian audience. Those deals dont get made by the american company hq’s… just an FYI.

    I think Darren Rovell hit the nail on the head and as always… says it best. Almost half of the new UFC audience that was pulled in for the broadcast… will probably never come back. It was a disappointment in the way it was executed, and sadly I almost felt like it was going to happen after my buddy sent me text from the fight as Hendo/Guida was ending about how it was such an amazing fight and its too bad we didnt get to see it at home…

    Overall I’d have to say that the this was the second worst case scenario and they way Dana acted like a pissed off teenager and had that shit look on his face for the last ten minutes… D+ at best for the “biggest debut of all time”. Sad.

  8. mossman on November 18th, 2011 5:39 PM

    Oh and “22m viewers for a 52% share in Brazil…” Where the hell does dana get his “Over 60m people in Brazil are watching!”… There’s not even 60 million households with access in Brazil!

    Silly Dana and his UFC spin machine… They should probably get his facts right when hes spouting nonsense on national/global TV

  9. Jose Mendoza on November 18th, 2011 6:35 PM

    Mossman:

    Rovell actually tweeted something very interesting after the ratings came out, mentioning some of the concerns you’ve had in the past:.

    Rovell: “Networks always knew UFC could draw. They were always worried about selling commercials, which still isn’t easy.”

  10. John S. on November 19th, 2011 12:03 AM

    I think there is some confusion with regards to the Elite Primetime numbers and how they compare to the UFC on Fox show. For example:

    - the 6.51 million viewer peak wasn’t for one minute but the average number of viewers for the last half-hour of the card (actually 11:30-:11:51 PM ET) and drew a 4.1 rating with 18-31 males. The UFC on Fox apparently averaged a nudge under 6 million for its last half hour.
    - I’ve never seen the actual peak number for Kimbo vs Thompson but the fight itself averaged 7.281 million viewers for its duration from 11:27 PM to 11:40 PM.
    -The last hour (11:00 – 11:51 PM ET) of Elite XC averaged 6.12 million viewers.

    Now obviously, there is some big differences between the two shows – Elite had a three hour program with 5 fights instead of the one hour and 1 fight for the UFC – so no comparison is going to be exact, but I am surprised at how few people are putting the numbers in context.

    Besides that one complaint, another great and thorough breakdown Mr. Mendoza.

  11. 5 Oz. MMA Link Club : Five Ounces of Pain on November 19th, 2011 10:31 AM

    [...] Some Perspective Relating to UFC on FOX Finances (MMAPayout.com) [...]

  12. Jose Mendoza on November 20th, 2011 6:30 PM

    John S.,

    Thanks for the feedback. Sorting out all the ratings info has definitely not been easy considering how many folks out there mislabel the numbers. If you want to help sort it in a way that would make sense to everyone, let me know. We can do that and update.

    I tried to do some comparisons similar to what Meltzer did, but had to deviate a bit.

    Jose

  13. Mossman on November 21st, 2011 9:52 AM

    Nice Jose. That Darren Rovell… what a smart dude! ;)

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