Bellator 100: 700,000 viewer average

September 23, 2013

Bellator 100 which took place this past Friday scored an average of 700,000 viewers.  The rating is shows a slight increase from the 660,000 viewers posted last Friday.

Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers

Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers

Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers

This past Friday had a 0.51 rating in the male 18-49 demo which was a 50 percent increase from last week. (H/t:  The MMA Report).  Season 9 represents an average of 599,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

WWE’s Smackdown scored 2.6 million viewers on SyFy while reruns of Cops lead-ins on SpikeTV did much better than Bellator 100.  We shall see if Bellator can continue with an uptick in ratings.

UFC 165: Payout Perspective

September 22, 2013

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at the thrilling main event title defense of Jon Jones against Alexsander Gustafsson from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Jones wins unanimous decision over game Gus

Jon Jones’ face told the story as he was battered but was able to do enough to defeat Alexander Gustafsson.  Despite being able to stifle most of Jones’ takedowns throughout the fight, in the end, Gus just ran out of gas in the 5th.

Jones connected on a spinning back elbow in the 4th which seemed to turn the match around.  The judge’s scorecards reflected a 3-2 split with Jones on top although one judge had 4-1 in favor of Jones.  However, most media scorecards had Jones winning with several outlets scoring it 4-1 for Jones.

For Jones, a Glover Texeira fight was set to be next however with such an exciting fight by Gustaffson, we may see a rematch before Texeira’s shot.  Much banter is going back and forth about putting the fight on Super Bowl weekend in New Jersey.

UFC_165_poster

Barao solidifies spot at 135

Despite a slow start, Renan Barao used a spin kick to derail Eddie Wineland in defense of the interim Bantamweight title.  Barao has his eyes set on a date with Dominick Cruz to unify the titles.  Cruz will have his work cut out for him.  First, when will he be back?  Not only will he be coming back from a 2 year absence, he will be going up against one of the hottest fighters in the UFC.

Attendance and gate

In its third time to the Air Canada Center, attendance was down but the gate revenue remained steady from its last visit. UFC 165 did 15,504 with a gate of $1.9 million. At UFC 152, it did more attendance (16,800) but same gate of $1.9 million.

Going into the event, there were concerns of dwindling gate revenue in the Toronto market but it appears that Saturday’s gate was on par with its last visit.  However, the attendance was definitely smaller.

Bonuses

Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were as follows:

Fight of the Night:  Jones-Gus

KO of the Night: Barao

Sub of the Night: Mitch Gagnon

Brendan Schaub could have received a sub of the night vote for his D’arce choke of Matt Mitrione.  I guess coffee will not be on him in Venice as he had exclaimed during the post-fight octagon interview.  Also, Stephen Thompson could have received a KO of the night for his work.

Promotion of the Fight

One of the more peculiar promos leading into a fight was the fact that the UFC highlighted the reach of Gus versus Jones.  While we’ve seen the UFC highlight size (e.g., Lesnar v. Overeem at UFC 141), I cannot think of a time when reach has been a selling point.  Obviously, the underlying point is that perhaps Gus could do something against Jones whereas others have not.

Jon Jones threw out the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game.  This would have drew more press and fans if the Blue Jays had held up its end of the bargain by contending for a pennant as was predicted at the beginning of this season. The Jays did play the Yankees and of course Jones is seen talking with Alex Rodriguez.

Sponsors

The Octagon sponsors included Assassin’s Creed IV (the presenting sponsor), Alienware, Tapout, AXS TV, UFC Gym, MusclePharm, , Ultimate Poker, Dodge, Xyience and Bud Light in the center.

Xyience had the fighter prep point for tonight. SafeAuto Insurance sponsored the Tale of the Tape. And, Harley Davidson ran commercials during the PPV for UFC 166 which promoted Project Rushmore.

The big news was the addition of Gatorade as a sponsor for Jon Jones.  This, and Nike were, Jones’ only sponsors. ESPN’s Darren Rovell cast doubt on Gatorade’s sponsorship of Jones but later recanted citing that the sponsorship was a “one off” and unusual for the brand.

Jones was featured in more Nike Pro Training Ads (h/t FighterxFashion) and had a brief cameo in the latest Nike commercial.  He also had more shirts added to his Nike Collection including a “Not Quite Human” t-shirt he wore during the walkout.  Again, Jones threw out his Nike shoes to the crowd at the weigh-ins.

Alexsander Gustaffson thanked his sponsors in his post-octagon interview including Bad Boy. The clothing brand also showed training video of Gus before his fight.

A sponsor that has been around but has yet to be recognized here: Chegg.  An online student textbook store.  The logo is clear and easy to see and comes at a time when some students are heading back to school.  Just needed to know what it was.

Post-UFC 165 headlines

Who does Jones fight next? Glover Texeira was next in line and was even interviewed on the PPV after the fight.  But, how can the UFC not capitalize on the 165 momentum. Jones has been steamrolling over fighters in the division without much damage except for a broken big toe.  At UFC 165, his face was busted and his takedowns were stuffed all night long.  Doesn’t Gus deserve a rematch? Then again, Texeira could be a tougher opponent for Jones and with a game plan to attack the champ, Texeira might be the guy to finally topple Jones.

When will Cruz be ready?  Dominick Cruz has been out of action for the past 2 years.  If he cannot face Renan Barao in the first quarter of 2014, Barao should have the interim tag removed from the title.  Cruz has been a great commentator for the UFC, but if he cannot go, he should retire and allow the UFC to crown Barao the champion.  A Barao-Cruz fight would be interesting but how much has Cruz lost in the two years away?

Odds and ends

–  Not spoken by many, the actual PPV went approximately 3:40.  It hasn’t gone over 3 hours since its return to Japan at UFC 144.

– Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors were at UFC 165.  Gay was shown during the PPV broadcast.  Ross tweeted he was there supporting Jon Jones.

–  Something that the Prelims is doing is having the live camera in the corner of the fighters in between rounds while showing commercials in multi-split screen.  Its an interesting way to keep the cameras going while getting the ads in.

– We found out that the thing Khabib wears on his head is a traditional Russian headdress.

–  The event saw two fighters go unconscious from submissions.

–  Maybe Schaub redeemed himself with his BJJ skills from his grappling match this summer at Metamoris.

Conclusion

On Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer podcast, he predicted that the buy rate may be around 380,000 PPV buys.  A part of the explanation has to do with the fact that fans see that October, November and December have great PPV cards and 165 was a little less.  Moreover, many fight fans just spent $75 on Mayweather-Canelo.  Another $55 would put a hefty dent in PPVs for the month.  Thus, a consumer’s choice not to purchase this PPV.  Realistically, aside from Jones, there were no other big names to promote.  The UFC did not highlight the Bantamweight title matchup and Gustafsson going into the fight.  A PPV number around 300-350K is likely here.

UFC 165 attendance, gate and bonuses

September 21, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 165 from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  Bonuses were given to Alexander Gustaffson-Jon Jones, Renan Barao and Mitch Gagnon.

Attendance for Saturday’s show was 15,504 for a gate of $1.9 million.  The numbers fall in line with UFC 152 but fall behind Jones-Machida in 2011.

UFC 152 – 16,800 for $1.9 million

UFC 140 – 18,303 for $3.9 million

Bonuses were $50,000 each and were as follows:

FOTN: Gus-Jones

KO: Barao

Sub: Gagnon

Stephen Thompson deserves a runner-up for his KO on the UFC Prelims.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance was lower than the first two times at the Air Canada Center although Saturday’s gate was comparable to UFC 152.  The bonuses were as expected with the two top fights getting bonuses.  MMA Payout will have more in its Payout Perspective.

Looking at the PPV History of UFC 165’s main eventers

September 21, 2013

Welcome to another edition of PPV History.  This time we take a look at the main eventers for UFC 165.

Jon Jones

Event Opponent Date Buy Rate Rating
UFC 159 Chael Sonnen (TKO-1)) April 27, 2013 550,000
UFC 152 Vitor Belfort (Submission- 4) September 22, 2012 450,000
UFC 145 Rashad Evans (UD) April 21, 2012 700,000
UFC 140 Lyoto Machida (Technical Submission – 2) December 10, 2011 485,000
UFC 135 Quinton Jackson (Submission – 4) September 24, 2011 520,000

As one of the top fighters in the company, Jones has decent name cache and it’s reflected in the buy rates over the past couple years.  His two biggest PPV fight buys involve Sonnen, who sold the fight after their coaching stints on TUF and the heated rivalry with Rashad Evans.  UFC 145 grabbed some buys as the company did a good job in selling the bad blood between the two fighters.  Its not clear whether his lack of charisma to sell a fight is a detriment to selling a PPV.

UFC_165_poster

Alexander Gustafsson

Event Opponent Date Buy Rate Rating
UFC on Fox: Henderson v. Diaz Mauricio Rua (UD) December 8, 2012 4.4M
UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson v. Silva Thiago Silva (UD) April 14, 2012 197,000
UFC 141 Vladimir Matyushenko (TKO – 2) December 30, 2011 535,000
UFC 133 Matt Hammill (TKO – 2) August 6, 2011 310,000

“The Mauler’s” last two fights have been a coming out party for Gustafsson.   The Fuel TV spot was in Sweden in front of his hometown fans.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 165’s main promo has been the reach of Jones versus Gustafsson’s.  Not really exciting stuff.  It’s a little surprising that they didn’t try to promote the fact that there are two title bouts on this card.  Although Barao-Wineland is not a household fight, it’s still for a UFC title.

TUF 18 Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

September 20, 2013

The third episode of TUF 18: Team Rousey v. Team Tate averaged only 639,000 viewers for the latest episode Wednesday.  It received a 0.3 rating in the key demo of adults 18-49.

Episode 1: 762,000 viewers

Episode 2: 870,000 viewers

Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

TUF went up against Duck Dynasty, which led the night in cable ratings with 9.4 million viewers for a 4.3 rating in the 18-49 demo.  This week featured the men in the octagon.  It also featured another verbal exchange between Rousey and Tate. With next week’s fight being the women, we will see if the ratings will fluctuate.

Controversy arises over Gatorade sponsorship

September 20, 2013

Yesterday, MMA Payout reported that Jon Jones had secured a sponsorship with Gatorade.  Today, the actual terms of the sponsorship became muddy as ESPN’s Darren Rovell indicated that no deal was made and then later clarified that its actually is a “one-off” deal.

 

Rovell initially tweeted:

He then clarified that the company would be sending product to Jones and allow him to wear the logo but no compensation.

 

 

Rovell later tweeted that he is receiving “compensation” although its not clear whether that compensation is the product or actual money.

 

Payout Perspective:

An interesting turn of events. Rovell is not the biggest fan of the UFC, and he usually is the proverbial wet blanket when it comes to good news. Today at the weigh-ins Jones tossed Gatorade bottles to the crowd as a symbolic gesture perhaps.  Let’s hope that it was not part of the product he was given by the company.  But, while the sponsorship might have been overblown in its announcement, it’s an opportunity for Jones and another hope that blue chip sponsors invest in the Octagon.

Mayweather-Canelo fight hits 2.2M PPV buys according to Showtime

September 19, 2013

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that “The One,” the fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr and Canelo Alvarez will do about 2.2 million PPV units in the U.S. for $150 million making it the highest grossing boxing PPV ever.  As a result, its believed that Floyd Mayweather could make $70-80 million while Alvarez will make well over $10 million.

Another 26,000 fans watched the fight on closed circuit for a gate of $2.62 million.

According to the Iole article, in Mexico the fight airing on Televisa received a 41.1 rating and 71 share equating to 22.1 million viewers.

While Showtime believes that Mayweather will pocket almost double his guaranteed $41.5 million, Leonard Ellerbee believes Mayweather could make $100 million.

Payout Perspective:

The price of the PPV and the added ways to watch were likely culprits of why it was not going to surpass the PPV buy record.  Still, 2.2 million PPV buys is an incredible number considering the hefty $75 HD price.  The strong numbers from Mexican fans means that Canelo Alvarez has arrived.  While we reported that he was guaranteed $12 million (he actually was guaranteed $5 million), it now looks like he will probably surpass that $12 million figure.

Gatorade to sponsor Jon Jones

September 19, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Jon Jones will be the first UFC star to sport the Gatorade logo in the Octagon when he defends his Light Heavyweight title this Saturday.  Notably, Jones now has deals with Nike and Gatorade.

Via MMA Fighting:

“It’s great that a company like Gatorade sees the value that their products bring to MMA athletes,” Jones said in a statement. “They’re one of the biggest brands in sports worldwide, and I am honored to have their support moving forward.”

Payout Perspective:

No details on the terms of the deal but regardless of how much the deal is worth, its likely that it will include Jones in Gatorade marketing and promotions.  Moreover, it gets Jones’ foot (and face) in the door to mainstream sponsors.  Nike has grown its product line for Jones and with a Gatorade sponsorship we could see Jones get more involved with the brand.  Of course, if you are an MMA fan, you would hope that Jones does more than a one second appearance in a commercial.

Fox Sports apologizes for Sonnen’s comments

September 18, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Fox Sports apologized for remarks Sonnen made during his Fox Sports Live “crossover” appearance with the Fox crew on Monday.  Sonnen attempted to make a pop cultural reference using Rihanna which has gotten him in trouble.

In Fox’s “roundtable” talk with a bunch of random talking heads and Gary Payton, the topic of Floyd Mayweather came up.  Sonnen attempted to bury Mayweather in a humorous way by saying he fights a bunch of tomato cans.

And then his go home line:

“I’ve never seen anybody in the history of America get so rich and so famous off of having complete wimps throwing punch at their faces. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, ‘Well, it’s happened before, what about Rihanna?'”

It was followed by nervous laughter and most people wondering how that line made sense.  The Rihanna reference was made with respect to the public domestic violence dispute with Chris Brown.  Sonnen’s point, which was lost after the “joke,” was that he should fight Manny Pacquiao.

Fox Sports issued a statement and sent it to Deadspin (which did its usual write-up for its fave fight org).

FOX Sports regrets the comments Chael Sonnen made during last night’s edition of FOX Sports Live. They were an inappropriate attempt at humor that Sonnen acknowledges shouldn’t have been made and he apologizes to anyone who may have been offended by his remarks.

No word on if the UFC will do anything about Sonnen’s comments and I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Payout Perspective:

It was an attempt at humor but even Sonnen should have known that this would not be good.  Moreover, in looking at what he said, it doesn’t make sense.  Chris Brown got rich and famous over beating Rihanna? Or Rihanna threw punches at Chris Brown?  How about “I don’t like Floyd Mayweather, he’s worse than that Chris Brown.” Yes, its not that funny and neither was his on air joke.

Making a funny about domestic violence is probably not the way you want your new network to be getting headlines.  With FS1 struggling with its ratings and not getting off as good as many expected, things like this are more of a detriment than a reason to tune in.  FS1 has been mixing Sonnen in with the main crew and its worked at times but this episode might just keep Sonnen back on UFC-only shows.

Certainly this off color joke might come under the UFC Code of Conduct Policy under fighter behavior but I don’t expect anything to come of it.  In addition, it wasn’t done over twitter.

Mitrione atones for Fox comments in article

September 18, 2013

Outsports.com (via Bloody Elbow) ran an article on Matt Mitrione in which he regrets the comments he made about transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox.  The interview covers several topics and is a form of atonement in which the UFC suspended and then fined the Heavyweight.

Mitrione stated to Outsports that he “made a fool of himself” when he spoke about Fallon Fox on The MMA Hour.

In addition to expressing regret for his poor comments, he also talked about having a gay cousin.  Mitrione has volunteered with his cousin at a Fort Lauderdale LBGTQ community center.  The Former TUF star also teamed with bisexual UFC fighter Jessica Aguilar to speak at the center about belonging. The community service is likely a part of the UFC Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process.

Mitrione also stated that he would support an openly gay UFC fighter (we assume that he meant a male athlete since Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade are on the roster)

Via Outsports:

“I would fight somebody who’s gay, I would be teammates and partners, I would [work their] corner, I couldn’t care less. And the fact that it still affects people blows my mind. It would be rather naive to say that homophobia is gone in a hyper-masculine environment like a UFC gym, but to be totally legit with you, I don’t think most anybody would care.”

Then of course, he reminded us that he is Matt Mitrione:

“I probably shouldn’t say this because it could probably come across wrong, but if you’re gay and we’re wrestling, you’re not gonna grab my balls and molest me while we’re wrestling. It’s not gonna happen. So the people who think that’s what’s going to happen have lost their minds or they don’t think rationally as it is. It’s silly. It’s antiquated and it’s out of place.”

After reading the Outsports article, Fallon Fox sent the site a message in which she accepted Mitrone’s apology.

Payout Perspective:

Mitrione is fighting this Saturday and thus we get this article.  It may be a part of his mea culpa suspension from the UFC that he submit to an article for Outsports.  Putting aside the reason for the article, Mitrione’s comments seemed like he learned something from the sensitivity training that he was required to go through by the UFC.  Did it change Mitrione’s perceptions on the world? Only Mitrione really knows but at least the UFC can (perhaps) trust him when he’s being interviewed.

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