Wanderlei shoots wrestling-inspired promo

September 30, 2013

Wanderlei Silva confronted Chael Sonnen in a pro wrestling-type promotional video which is posted on his YouTube channel.  Silva confronted Sonnen at the Mr. Olympia exhibition held this past weekend in Las Vegas.

The video has over 548,000 views on Silva’s YouTube channel.

Payout Perspective:

Is this something that MMA fans want to see? Its a classic pro-wrestling promo held outside the UFC so as to prove how real the hate is between Silva and Sonnen. Obviously we think about pro wrestling because Chael Sonnen is involved. Silva is a master at self-promotion.  Many will remember his April Fool’s Day joke this year in which he tweeted that he was going to take on Gegard Mousasi.  He’s cut two promos in his “feud” with Sonnen but this video actually involves Sonnen.  Can these videos actually add fans for Silva? The bigger question is does something like this motivate a fan to actually pay to see this fight?

Bellator releases first promo for PPV

September 29, 2013

Bellator has released its first promotional video for its first PPV scheduled for Saturday, November 2nd. In the promotion, it features Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz, Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez.

Payout Perspective:

Interesting move for Bellator to feature Rampage and Tito without real mention of the Bellator promotion. Obviously, its the hope that fans will want to purchase the PPV based on the history of the two fighters. It is good that the promo includes Chandler-Alvarez which most “in-the-know” MMA fans believe is the real reason to purchase this PPV.

Bellator 100 DVR numbers grow to 736,000 viewers

September 27, 2013

MMA Payout has received the DVR +3 numbers from last Friday’s Bellator (100) MMA Live from September 20th.  The adjusted numbers reveal an extra 36,000 viewers from the original overnight report of 700,000.

The adjusted numbers show a slight bump from the overnight numbers but it still doesn’t represent a significant increase.

Payout Perspective:

As Bellator continues with its live shows on Friday, we will see if it can gain any traction.  The DVR numbers increased last week’s numbers but in comparison to DVR numbers from Fight Master which averaged over 93,000 more viewers, Bellator isn’t getting many more eyes on its live product at this point.

IMG Media to represent WSOF in seeking media rights deals

September 27, 2013

Sports media company, IMG Media, has signed a three year agreement to represent and distribute all media rights for MMA events put on by World Series of Fighting.  WSOF plans on expanding the number of events as well as holding events outside the U.S.

Via press release:

Plans are in place to expand the number of WSOF events to 8-10 for 2014/15 and for the shows to be staged internationally in venues such as Vancouver, Brazil, the UK, and Eastern Europe.

NBC, who has shown the first five WSOF events live on NBC Sports Network in primetime, have a multi-year deal for exclusive coverage in the US.

Hillary Mandel, IMG Media’s SVP, Head of Media North America, said: “MMA continues to be a highly sought after and highly-rated sport with very attractive male demographics. Even though WSOF is less than a year old, it has been exceptionally well-received and has attracted top quality fighters, both experienced and up and coming.”

She added: “We see great potential for ‘blue chip’ fight programming and the value of distributing a series with high-level production values that has a strong foundation through its management, broadcast partners and investors.


Payout Perspective:

Is this an aggressive business move on the part of WSOF?  Too soon for a company that is only going into its 5th event? Certainly the expansion of number of events and holding them outside of the U.S. is a sign of its plan for global expansion.  With IMG on board, WSOF can ensure itself that it will have every opportunity to see whether expanding into different markets will pay off.

According to its web site, IMG “is the world’s largest independent distributor of sports programming, distributing over 20,000 hours of content to major global broadcasters annually. “ It boasts of over 40 years of advising its clients on how to maximize the value of their assets.  We shall see if it can do this for WSOF.

TUF 18 Episode 4: 778,000 viewers

September 26, 2013

Television By Numbers reports that the 4th episode of The Ultimate Fighter 18 scored a viewer average of 778,000 for a 0.5 share in the 18-49 demo.  The rating is the second highest of the season and is up from last week.

Episode 1: 762,000 viewers

Episode 2: 870,000 viewers

Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

Episode 4: 778,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

As some have pointed out, Wednesday’s episode epitomizes what the TUF franchise should be.  It was good storytelling in getting to know the fighters so that when it was time for the fight you feel compelled to side with Jessica or Roxanne or both.  Based on the numbers, either viewers are getting tired of this or the storytelling has not been there.  Certainly there is the built in “start up” network theory of why the numbers are down from previous seasons.

South Park ruled the night in its return with the highest ratings in 4 years for the show with 2.88 million average viewers and a 1.8 share in the 18-49 demo.  South Park, in its 17th season, was direct competition for the 18th edition of TUF in the 10pm slot.

Jon Jones to face Glover Texeira Super Bowl Weekend

September 26, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Jon Jones’ next opponent will be  Glover Texeira.  The two will likely meet Super Bowl weekend in February.

The news is somewhat surprising considering the impressive performance put on by Alexander Gustaffson last week.  However, Gustaffson will get a fight in Sweden instead of another shot at the title.

Notably, Dana White told ESPN that Jones requested the Texeira fight.

Payout Perspective:

Does the Jones-Texeira match-up make the most sense for UFC business?  The Super Bowl weekend show will enhance Fox’s lineup during that weekend but what type of coverage will it get in the area?  There is some thought that the UFC should have capitalized on the Jones-Gus fight in an immediate rematch.  Gustaffson made a name for himself despite losing and would thus gain some notoriety in promoting their next fight.  With Texeira, you get another unknown that the UFC will have to build hype from scratch.  For Gus, he gets rewarded (in a way) by getting a fight before his adoring fans.  Likely, he wins that fight he would get another shot at the Light Heavyweight title.

Good scenario?  Should the UFC have gone with Jones-Gus, or should it have kept with Texeira?  And, is planning Jones’ next title defense Super Bowl weekend the smart move especially with the concern that the fight might be overshadowed by the Super Bowl coverage.

Cigano signs with 9ine

September 25, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that UFC Heavyweight Junior dos Santos has signed on with 9ine.  The Brazilian sports and entertainment company is headed by former soccer star Ronaldo and is backed by worldwide marketing communications firm WPP.

You may recall that Anderson Silva signed on with 9ine in 2011.  It also represents several soccer stars as well.

Via MMA Fighting:

According to 9ine’s CEO Marcus Buaiz, the company will take care of dos Santos’ image, social media and contracts with sponsors. “Cigano” is currently sponsored by Nike, TNT and Corinthians.

“Cigano is a great champion with an image that lots of companies want to work with, and he has a good relationship with the media,” Buaiz said. “9ine’s goal is to increase what has already been done with our excellence of working athlete’s image.”

Payout Perspective:

You may recall that JDS suddenly left long time manager Ed Soares in June 2011 for the Guedes Group.  That occurred months before his KO of Cain Velasquez on the first Fox show.  The latest development is an interesting move by JDS since he has already secured top sponsors.  We will see what his new agency can do for him.

After a month, Fox pleased with FS1 performance

September 25, 2013

Sports Business Daily reports that a review of the first month of FS1 has shown that its doing well among the second-tier sports networks.  Overall, the network ratings are up 29% as compared to a year ago and viewership for males 18-49 is up 49 percent.

The article, which was originally in AdWeek, shows that nightly ratings have improved 102 percent from a year ago on Speed.  In the key 18-49 demo it is up 180 percent.

FS1 is doing well against secondary sport networks such as the MLB Network, NBC Sports Network and the Golf Channel, but its too early for it to compete with ESPN as it averaged 4.26 million viewers in prime time.  In comparison, FS1 averaged 302,000 viewers in prime time.

With the change from Speed to FS1, the audience profile has shifted for the better.  Its median age is now 45, down from 52 years of age.  Also, household income is up 12 percent to $60,400. What this means is that the audience is becoming more attractive for advertisers.

Notably, Regis Philbin’s show, Crowd Goes Wild, has been a disappointment in the ratings and does not show signs of rising from its tailspin.

Payout Perspective:

The AdWeek article focuses on the positive of the FS1 launch as it compares it to what the network was as Speed just a year ago.  Obviously, Speed was much more of a niche network catering to a narrow demographic. Thus, the better numbers should be expected.  With the expansion of FS1 and its broader base of sports including the UFC, the audience has opened up.  Still, Fox is putting a positive spin on the “babysteps” achieved by FS1.

What is interesting is that the article notes that its portfolio of the aforementioned sports (i.e., UFC, NCAA Football, NASCAR, soccer) should give Fox the leverage to boost the affiliate fee in the near future and bring in huge revenues for News Corp.

UFC 165 Prelims: 722,000 viewers

September 24, 2013

John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports that the UFC 165 Prelims on FS1 scored only 722,000 viewers. This is a decrease from UFC 164 fo 809,000.

UFC PPV Prelims on FS1

UFC 164 Prelims 809,000 viewers

UFC 165 Prelims 722,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night Prelims on Fox Sports

UFC Fight Night 27 Prelims 109,000 viewers – FS2

UFC Fight Night 26 Prelims 1.78 million viewers – FS1

Payout Perspective:

The prelims went up against college football but not a lot of marquee games.  However, there weren’t fights on the prelims which would peak one’s interest.  The last two fights of the prelims, Reis/Menjivar and Jury/Ricci, were not the best.

Bellator signs partnership deal with Fox Sports Latin America

September 24, 2013

MMA Junkie reports that Bellator has brokered a deal with Fox Sports Latin America.  The international deal grants the promotion access to 50 million homes in 19 Latin American countries including Brazil.

The partnership will begin with Bellator’s first PPV broadcast November 2nd: “Bellator MMA: Rampage vs. Ortiz.”  The deal includes 15 live events in 20115 and “in-territory live events on Fox Sport and the online authenticated platform FoxSportsPlay.com.”

Via MMA Junkie:

“FOX Sports Latin America has been looking for the premier mixed martial arts organization to partner with, and Bellator is the perfect fit,” Carlos Martinez, president of FOX International Channels Latin America stated. “We are thrilled to make Bellator the widest distributed MMA promotion in Latin America and Brazil, reaching more than 50 million homes from day one.

“We are also very excited to be able to work as partners with Bellator to produce large scale Bellator events throughout Latin America and to produce reality shows in key territories. This partnership is a long term relationship that has virtually unlimited potential.”

Payout Perspective:

This is a good move by Bellator and shows that the promotion is thinking of global expansion as it is attempting to make inroads into the important Latin American market.  You can say that it is following the UFC road map although this deal is smaller in scale than the one brokered by Zuffa in Latin America earlier this year.  What will be interesting is to see if Bellator will try to use the reality show model of getting exposure for its promotion in the new market.  How receptive will audiences be to “Fight Master”?  In addition to the Fox Sports Latin America deal, it recently added the Armed Forces Network as a distributor.  We shall see with this growth how receptive MMA fans will be for its product.

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