Top 10 of 12: No. 5 GSP returns

December 29, 2012

MMA Payout’s No. 5 story of 2012 is the return of Georges St. Pierre.  After an 18 month absence, GSP returned to the UFC and defeated Carlos Condit to unify the UFC welterweight title.

After receiving news of the PPV buys, Dana White indicated at the UFC on Fox 5 press conference that GSP “delivered” and that “the king of PPV” was back.

GSP broke a string of sub-500K buy PPVs in 2012.  The much-anticipated Silva-Sonnen II was the only card that had more PPV buys (925K) this year.

Below is a list of GSP PPVs since 2010.

UFC 111 vs. Dan Hardy – 770K PPV Buys
UFC 124 vs. Josh Koscheck – 800K
UFC 129 vs. Jake Shields – 800K
UFC 154 vs. Condit – 680K

GSP draws consistent buys averaging over 750K buys.  With him on the shelf for 18 months, it left the UFC without a known main eventer guaranteed to hit 750,000 PPV buys at least twice a year.

Despite a lower gate and attendance for UFC 154 than 124 (UFC 124 was in the same venue in Montreal) the PPV buys were in line with his usual buy rate.  In 2013, GSP’s average is likely to increase considering a spring date to defend his title against Nick Diaz and the possibility of Anderson Silva later in the year.

Its also worth noting that GSP’s brand has been very successful despite the injury layoff.  With the assistance of his marketing agents, he’s secured blue chip sponsors including Google, Coca Cola and Bacardi.

3 Responses to “Top 10 of 12: No. 5 GSP returns”

  1. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 11:00 AM

    It should be pointed out that the UFC knows GSP is a big draw, and they usually do not stack any card he is on. The exceptions are UFC 100 and UFC 129.

    What this means is that GSP’s PPV numbers are almost totally reliant upon the main event. I think GSP’s numbers also suffer a bit because few contenders are considered credible threats to the champ.

    GSP has proven that a clean-cut mainstream image when coupled with success is money in the bank. Of course having CAA to manage his brand doesn’t hurt–but CAA probably wouldn’t have touched GSP without the prerequisite saleable image.

    I believe the business of MMA ‘breathes’. It has just had a ten-year or so sprint, making ever-increasing numbers each year–but in 2012, there was a drop in PPV and gate revenues–and the UFC and MMA is catching its breath. A bad economy is probably the greatest contributing factor when matched with high ticket prices for UFC events.

    As I have mentioned previously, the brand of the UFC is important, but even more important are the UFC stars–those who can carry a main event, and attract harcore and casual fans to the events. GSP remains a stalwart regarding PPV revenues–and though Meltzer’s estimates for UFC 154 appear lower than previous PPV’s–given all the factors of bad economy, relatively unknown opponent (to casual fans) in Carlos Condit, a fairly weak card besides the main event–GSP and his brand did pretty damn well.

    The business of ‘star-making’ in the UFC is fraught with peril. The promotion could invest large dollars building a budding star–only to have him lose 3 in a row and nullify all the promotional dollars spent. However, this business of star-making is crucial to the future success of the UFC–especially while it still relies upon the PPV model.

  2. codemaster on December 31st, 2012 12:21 PM

    I left out one fairly major point regarding GSP.

    GSP makes the UFC look good. Because of his mainstream appeal, and classy demeanor and behavior–he reinforces and adds lustre to the UFC brand itself. His personal integrity, honesty, and likeability help the UFC and Fox bring in sponsors (and fans) who might have reservations about the sport.

  3. codemaster on January 27th, 2013 1:21 PM

    One more point.

    I think the UFC should put GSP vs. Hendricks on a Fox broadcast.

    This would have marketing benefits which out-weigh the value of it if it were PPV.

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