Fight Master Episode 9: 539,000 viewers

August 23, 2013

The Fight Master overnight ratings this week were down slightly to 539,000 average viewers.  Last week its DVR +3 ratings were at 648,000 which was an increase of 9% from the previous week.

Episode 1: 432,000 viewers

Episode 2: 545,000 viewers

Episode 3: 676,000 viewersDVR + 3; 810,000 viewers

Episode 4:  505,000 viewers – DVR + 3; 607,000 viewers

Episode 5: 441,000 viewers – DVR +3; 498,000 viewers

Episode 6:  629,000 viewers – DVR +3; 745,000 viewers

Episode 7:  398,000 viewers – DVR +3; 505,000 viewers

Episode 8:  595,000 viewers – DVR +3; 648,000 viewers

Episode 9:  539,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

It appears that the move to Thursday night has helped the ratings.With the DVR +3 ratings, this week’s episode should clear 600K viewers for the second straight week.  It was a good week for the show considering it went up against the NFL on ESPN.

UFC 161 and 163 PPV estimates low

August 22, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that early estimates of UFC 163 featuring the Korean Zombie fighting Jose Aldo are between 170K to 190K buys.  UFC 161 has been estimated at 135K to 155K PPV buys.

According to Dave Meltzer, both of the estimates are from individuals within the cable and MMA industry.  They indicated the estimated PPV buy range for KZ-Aldo had bested Hendo-Evans on PPV “by about 35,000 buys.”

The last time UFC PPVs dipped below 200K PPV buys was last June and August when UFC 147 (W. Silva-Franklin II) received 140K and UFC 150 (Bendo-Edgar II) received 190K PPV buys. It will be interesting to see what Henderson will draw next week when he defends his title against Showtime Pettis.

Payout Perspective:

The fact that UFC 163 was a card full of mainly Brazilian fighters made this less of an attraction despite Aldo’s title defense.  Also, UFC 161 was a definite low point in the PPV history of both Henderson and Evans.  Besides the main events, there were not many compelling matchups on either card unless you were a hardcore UFC fan.   The consensus is that with the UFC-Fox agreement and that there are more fights on free television, fans are more willing to skip PPVs.  It will be interesting to see how the UFC addresses this issue in the future especially with the new FS1 and 2.

Will the UFC decide to curtail the number of PPVs in order to stack cards for bigger PPV draws?  Or, will it be content to eat poor ratings for 1 or 2 PPV events each year?

Jones appears in latest Nike commercial

August 22, 2013

UFC Champ Jon Jones has a small part in Nike’s new “Just Do It” commercial which is narrated by Bradley Cooper and directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. LeBron James and Serena Williams top the list of athletes in the commercial.

In addition to Jones, boxer Andre Ward makes a cameo right after Jones.

Payout Perspective:

If you were wondering when Nike was going to utilize Jones, there he is in the latest commercial. Of course, you have to look fast because you wouldn’t recognize him if you weren’t watching closely. With Reebok and Adidas dipping its toe into MMA sponsorship, we will see what Nike does with Jones.

Bellator passes on Ben Askren

August 21, 2013

ESPN’s Josh Gross reports that Bellator will let Ben Askren leave for the UFC if Dana White wants the welterweight standout. Bellator head Bjorn Rebney told ESPN that it would not make an offer to Askren.

Askren’s last contracted fight was this past July. Similar to Alvarez, its believed that Bellator has the right to match any contract offered to Askren. However, it appears that it is passing. The news was surprising considering Askren’s record and perhaps not surprising considering Askren’s wrestling-heavy, grinding style which is not exciting. After a bitter legal battle with Eddie Alvarez,which ended in a settlement and Alvarez coming back to Bellator, the company has made a decision on Askren.

When asked about whether Askren would be on Bellator’s first PPV in November he indicated that there would be “no chance.” Thus, it was likely that the parting was mutual.

Askren has already been in contact with Dana White via twitter:

Payout Perspective:

Askren is a dominant wrestler and a personality but his style may have been a reason Bellator has decided to give up on re-signing him. However, Bellator needs top level talent for the company and the PPV. Askren is dominating and Bellator could have utilized this. Perhaps Bellator saw another Alvarez situation on the horizon and thought best to let him go rather than get embroiled in another costly lawsuit. We will see if Askren does end up in the UFC and how his talent does in the UFC’s welterweight division.

UFC Fight Night 26: Payout Perspective

August 21, 2013

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at last Saturday’s Fox Sports 1 taking place at the TD Garden in Boston.

Sonnen subs Shogun

Chalk another one up for the bad guy.  Chael Sonnen looked good.  Or, Shogun Rua looked bad. Sonnen scored a first round guillotine choke of the former UFC champ.  After the fight, he proceeded with a pro wrestling promo in which he challenged “middle age comedian” Joe Rogan and then Wanderlei Silva.

Good win for Sonnen and calling out Silva means another entertaining promotion and fight down the road.  Does that mean that Sonnen has given up on a title run?  Calling out the “Axe Murderer” isn’t climbing the ladder.  But, Sonnen was soundly defeated by Jon Jones this year and a run at Middleweight seems unlikely with Anderson Silva in the way. Even if Sonnen sticks to entertaining fights, he serves a purpose for the company.

Browne KOs Overeem

Deja Vu all over again.  Alistair Overeem looked impressive in the first round and then proceeded to stand in front of his opponent which was his eventual demise.  Despite Overeem’s gaffe, Browne showed great resilience to come back to win as it looked like the “Demolition Man” was going to stop him.

For Browne, its another step up the ladder in the Heavyweight division.  Could he be in the waiting room for a title shot in 2014 or does he need several more fights to prove he’s championship caliber.  Stipe Miocic, the winner of Barnett-Mir, Roy Nelson are all good possibilities for Browne.

For Overeem, who knows what happens next.  Its likely he gets another shot in the UFC but is he past his prime?  The loser of Barnett-Mir or Mark Hunt could be an interesting matchup for him.

Attendance and gate

MMA Junkie reports attendance for UFC Fight Night 26 was 12,539 for a gate of $1.53 million.  On Tuesday of fight week, 10,600 tickets had been sold.  The number of comps have yet to be released so we may have had a nice last minute purchase of tickets.

The UFC’s last visit to Boston drew 14,168 fans for a total gate of $2.8 million.  You may recall that event featured BJ Penn’s rematch with Frankie Edgar and James Toney succumbing to Randy Couture.

Bonuses

Bonuses were the standard $50,000 but the UFC gave an extra KO and submission bonus:

Fight of the Night:  Michael McDonald-Brad Pickett

Submission of the Night:  Michael McDonald, Chael Sonnen

KO of the Night:  Matt Brown, Travis Browne

Ratings

The story of Saturday’s event had to do with the ratings it pulled for the main card on Fox Sports 1.  New channel, new network and the UFC pulled a 1.78M viewer average from 8:00-10:45 p.m. according to The Wrestling Observer. John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that the 8:00-11:00 p.m. pulled a 1.7M viewer average which accounts for the last quarter hour.

The ratings outdid all others for the prime time spot in the 18-49 demo.  Only Gymnastics (another sport) on NBC had more overall viewers for the time period.

The ratings are surprising considering that there was concern that subscribers would not know where the channel was and/or whether it was on their current tier of programming.

It also did much better than the UFC’s stint on FX.

Via Television By Numbers:

FOX Sports 1’s first ever primetime event, UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN, averaged a 1.38 and beat the average of the eight UFC on FX Fight Nights by +49% in rating (1.38 vs. 0.93) and +38% in viewership (1.78 million vs. 1.29 million).  FOX Sports 1’s first UFC FIGHT NIGHT also beat seven of those eight FX Fight Nights individually.  Among younger demographics, last night’s FOX Sports 1 card easily beat the average of FX’s primetime UFC cards by +50% in viewership among Men 18-49 (994K vs. 663K) and +44% higher among Men 18-34 (492K vs. 342K).

Sponsorships

The usual sponsors were in the octagon for the event: TapouT Corn Nuts, Dodge, Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, UltimatePoker.com,

Modell’s Sporting Goods, EA Sports UFC game was also advertised in the Octagon.

One notable sponsorship from Saturday was that Travis Browne was sponsored by Salt Lake City Personal Injury Attorney 1Law.

Boston issues

Although its his hometown, Dana White encountered hurdles to putting on the event.  First, there was a licensing issue which was rectified.

Then, the Culinary Union attempted to put a halt to the event in Boston by requesting that the Massachusetts Athletic Commission prohibit Chael Sonnen from fighting due to his prior real estate fraud conviction.

There was also an attempt to ban fans under 18 years of age from attending the event.  In fact, an ordinance was passed after today banning minors from attending an MMA event without an adult.

Then, there is what is becoming the usual Deadspin piece taking a shot at the company.

Odds and ends

The new camera angles and slow mo replays were interesting although gratuitous at times.

Stephen Siler looked impressive in his quick work on the prelims.

Conor McGregor-Max Holloway prelim received main card treatment as Dana White indicated via twitter that he would show the walkouts for both.  This was mainly to show the response Boston gave McGregor.

Oscar de la Hoya made an appearance during the broadcast to promote Golden Boy’s Monday night boxing event.  The working relationship between Golden Boy and the UFC can only help with crossover viewership.

More disappointing night:  Uriah Hall, Joe Lauzon or Alistair Overeem.

Conclusion

Overall, a great start for the network and a nice debut for the UFC.  As ratings start to trickle in for FS1, we are learning that the UFC may be an important part of the new network.  Certainly, Fox is happy with the early returns and if the UFC maintains a healthy rating for its live events, it will be the anchor programming for the channel.

Fight Master Episode 8 bounces back: 595,000 viewers

August 20, 2013

Ratings for the 8th episode of Fight Master are back up to 595,00 viewers according to Spike TV.  The show debuted in its new timeslot and night.

Episode 1: 432,000 viewers

Episode 2: 545,000 viewers

Episode 3: 676,000 viewersDVR + 3; 810,000 viewers

Episode 4:  505,000 viewers – DVR + 3; 607,000 viewers

Episode 5: 441,000 viewers – DVR +3; 498,000 viewers

Episode 6:  629,000 viewers – DVR +3; 745,000 viewers.

Episode 7:  398,000 viewers – DVR +3; 505,000 vieweres

Episode 8:  595,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

A good week for Fight Master after it changed times and nights.  After a disappointing low point last Wednesday, moving the show with TNA Impact Wrestling as its lead-in helped boost the ratings. Certainly, the angle with Tito-Rampage at the end on TNA was a subtle nudge that Bellator’s reality show was next.  We will see if the viewership remains steady and up at its new location.

UFC delivers on night of Fox Sports 1 debut

August 18, 2013

Figure Four Online (subscription required) reports that the UFC main card on Fox Sports 1 scored an impressive average of 1.78 million viewers.  The card featuring Chael Sonnen-Shogun Rua in the main event received a 1.4 rating and defeated all 4 networks in the key demos

The Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand tweeted that FS1 prime time scored an average of 1.71 million in the 8:00-11:00pm prime time space.  F4W Online reported the average from 8:00 to 10:45pm, the approximate end after Sonnen’s first round submission and post-fight interview.

The numbers are impressive as the card started in the early evening on the West Coast (5:00pm) and there is always confusion in finding a new channel.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings show that viewers can find a channel if they really want to.  The fact that the UFC did so well on the opening night of a new channel is a big win for the UFC and FS1.  The numbers and the wins in its key demo (males, 18-49) is a big positive for the UFC.  Not sure if Sonnen was the reason for the draw or the fact that people were curious about the new channel.  Regardless, the ratings are better than the UFC’s live event debut on FX (1.3M) and series average (1.29M).

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Fight Night Bonuses

August 18, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses for Fox Sports 1 on Saturday night.  Chael Sonnen, Travis Browne, Matt Browne, Drew Pickett and Michael McDonald brought home bonuses of $50,000 each.

Via MMA Junkie:

Fight of the Night:  Drew Pickett-Michael McDonald

Submission of the Night:  Michael McDonald and Chael Sonnen

KO of the Night:  Travis Browne and Matt Brown

Payout Perspective:

A pair of Sub and KOs of the night had the UFC payout a total of $300K in announced bonuses with McDonald receiving 2 for a total of $100K.  Browne and Brown were deserving of their respective KOs and Sonnen pulled off an impressive first round submission of Shogun Rua.

 

Pricing out PPVs for rest of 2013

August 17, 2013

As fall is right around the corner, MMA Payout takes a look at the combat sports pay per views to look forward to through 2013.  The bottom line is that fans will be digging into their pockets for some extra money this fall.

The below is a list of major PPVs occurring through 2013.  The prices are in HD, because we know you like the best, and its the only way to watch these live events.

Date Event Price (HD) Comment
August 18, 2013 WWE Summerslam $54.95 Punk v. Lesnar is the MMA tie-in here in the company’s second biggest PPV of the year.
August 31, 2013 UFC 164: Henderson v. Pettis $54.95 Will we see a redux of The Showtime Kick?
September 14, 2013 Showtime PPV: Mayweather v. Canelo $74.95 The biggest boxing PPV in years with the biggest price tag.
September 21, 2013 UFC 165: Jones v. Gustaffson $54.95 Two title defenses on this PPV featuring best P4P fighter.
October 12, 2013 HBO PPV: Marquez v. Bradley $54.95 Last two fighters to defeat Manny Pacquiao meet here.
October 19, 2013 UFC 166: Cain v. JDS III $54.95 The trilogy to decide the Heavyweight title.
November 2, 2013 Bellator PPV: Rampage v. Tito $35-$45 (est.) Alvarez-Chandler real main event here.
November 16, 2013 UFC 167: Hendricks v. GSP $54.95 Johny Hendricks latest challenger to GSP’s title.
November 23, 2013 HBO PPV: Pacquiao v. Rios $69.95 (est.) Look for this PPV to be bumped to $75.  Its Pacquiao’s attempt to stop 2 fight losing streak.
December 28, 2013 UFC 168: Weidman v. Silva $54.95 The rematch everyone is waiting for plus Rousey-Tate should bring company a show close to 1 million PPV buys. 

If you purchased all of the PPVs you will be spending approximately $575.50 (assuming Bellator PPV on high end at $45.95) in addition to your cable bill.

Even with FS1 and 2 showing free UFC fights there are lots of interesting UFC events plus some boxing PPVs to look out for this fall.  Marquez v. Bradley may be the sleeper card as it’s a PPV that will be based on Marquez as the main draw.

WSOF 4 grabs 264,000 viewers

August 16, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that last Saturday’s World Series of Fighting 4 shown on NBC Sports Network received its best rating of the 4 with an average of 264,000 viewers for a 0.23 rating.

According to MMA Fighting, it did 0.18 among viewers 18-49 and 0.30 for males 18-49.

WSOF 1 – 198,000 viewers

WSOF 2 – 210,000 viewers

WSOF 3 – 201,000 viewers

WSOF 4 – 264,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

Before we enter into the weekend and focus on the UFC’s debut on FS1, last Saturday’s WSOF event has to be considered a positive considering that the main event (Tyrong Spong-Angel DeAnda) did not include a former UFC fighter.  Thus, the show was not driven by names of guys that had been in the UFC.  Also, the ratings show a significant jump in viewership.  WSOF 5 might draw less ratings considering its on the same night as the biggest boxing match in years: Alvarez-Mayweather.

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