Rebney rings NASDAQ “closing bell”

October 31, 2013

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney rang the “closing bell” today at the NASDAQ MarketSite in New York’s Time Square. The PR photo op comes two days before Bellator’s biggest event across the country in Long Beach, California.

In addition to Rebney’s appearance at the NASDAQ, Bellator plastered Times Square with the Chandler-Alvarez promotion today.

Payout Perspective:

The “closing bell” of the stock market or NASDAQ has always been a good PR opportunity and this was a great opportunity for Bellator. We note that Viacom is on the NASDAQ (if you were wondering ended down $0.20 for the day). Does this elevate Bellator’s status and gain viewers to tune in Saturday night?

TUF 18 Episode 9: 452,000 viewers

October 31, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that Episode 9 of TUF 18 received a viewer average of only 452,000 viewers. It is the lowest output for this season.

TUF 18 Episodes

Episode 1: 762,000 viewers

Episode 2: 870,000 viewers

Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

Episode 4: 778,000 viewers

Episode 5:  640,000 viewers

Episode 6:  725,000 viewers

Episode 7:  672,000 viewers

Episode 8:  476,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

Last week’s TUF had low ratings but could be reconciled by the fact it was a “recap” show which featured highlights of the first 7 episodes.  This first run episode featuring a woman’s fight is a change from previous weeks as there was no bump in viewership.  This could have been hurt by the recap show which was the preceding episode and people may have forgotten that women were fighting this time around.  Or, it could be the fact that it was Game 6 of the World Series which drew 18 million viewers in the 18-49 demo.  It was also the second night of the NBA.  In cable, American Horror Story on FX won the night with 3.7 million viewers in the 10pm slot.

As an aside, for those DVR’ing TUF, are you having issues recording the correct TUF?  For the second week I’ve recorded the previous week’s TUF and missed the new show.  With this season receiving much more of a bump from DVR viewership, I wonder if this is an issue.

UFC 165 and 166 PPV buys disappoint

October 30, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that UFC 165 and UFC 166 PPV buys are lower than expected.  The poor showings are disappointing as the UFC expected to finish strong to end the year.

According to Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, UFC 165 did somewhere between 300,000 and 325,000 PPV buys. Numbers have not been released for UFC 166 but indications according to MMA Fighting are slightly higher than UFC 165.  This would mean that two (Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez) of the company’s biggest stars presumably failed to draw at least 400,000 PPV buys.

UFC 166 went up against an HBO Boxing event which featured a replay of the Marquez-Bradley PPV, MLB Playoffs and college football.  The prelims ratings scored only 628,000 viewers which did not bode well for the main card.

The MMA Fighting article indicates that a possible reason for UFC 165’s buy rate is due to the Mayweather-Canelo fight the week before.  That PPV was priced at $75 and was heavily, heavily promoted.  For the casual PPV buyer, paying another $45-$55 on top of the $75 is pretty steep for a month on a cable bill.  Realistically, if there was a choice, many would go with the Mayweather fight.

Payout Perspective:

Is it a trend or bad luck that two of the biggest draws for the UFC did their lowest PPV number as a headliner in consecutive months?

The UFC had hoped to close out 2013 with four consecutive strong PPVs  with its biggest stars starting with UFC 165 (Jones), UFC 166 (Cain-JDS), UFC 167 (GSP) and UFC 168 (Silva-Weidman, Rousey-Tate).  It had hyped these PPVs with a worldwide tour but based on the first two PPVs, the UFC may have to rethink its expectations on buy rates.  Certainly, the tickets are moving for the last two events and 167 and 168 will end in sellouts.  But this does not necessarily equate to buys.

There is an argument that the promotional vehicles (or lack thereof) for these PPVs have contributed to the low PPV buy rates.  It’s a plausible argument.  FS1 is still in its infancy stages.  This can be reflected by the low ratings for the UFC 165 Primetime shows which had its highest viewer output at 158K viewers.  But that does not address the fact that the UFC is still getting a lot of time on Fox’s NFL broadcasts.  The question is whether there should be more done to promote these events through Fox and/or elsewhere.

Bellator 105: 520,000 viewers

October 30, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that Bellator MMA Live on Friday received an average viewership of 520,000 viewers.  The show peaked at 723,000 viewers.

Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers

Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers, 704,000 DVR+3

Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers, 736,000 DVR+3

Bellator 101 – 649,000 viewers, 710,000 DVR +3

Bellator 102 – 675,000 viewers. 774,000 DVR +3

Bellator 103 – 539,000 viewers, 638,000 DVR +3

Bellator 104 – 615,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3

Bellator 105 – 520,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

Without the DVR+3 numbers, the rating gives Bellator 105 the distinction of being the second worst of the current season.  The main event last Friday featured Will Brooks defeating Saad Awad in the lightweight tournament semifinal.  In cable ratings, “Gold Rush” on Discovery Channel ruled the night.  It ran during the same time slot as the first hour of Bellator and received over 2.85 million viewers on Friday night according to Television By Numbers.

WSOF: 161,000 viewers

October 29, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that World Series of Fighting 6 received an average viewership of 161,000 viewers.  It was the lowest rating for the series despite doing better than the UFC live event on Saturday.

WSOF 1 – 198,000 viewers

WSOF 2 – 210,000 viewers

WSOF 3 – 201,000 viewers

WSOF 4 – 264,000 viewers

WSOF 5 – 227,000 viewers

WSOF 6 – 161,000 viewers

The WSOF’s poor showing Saturday lowered its overall event average to around 210,166 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A lot of competing sports on Saturday night including another boxing event on Showtime featuring Bernard Hopkins hurt WSOF’s chances of a good number.  It also didn’t help that the event was not well promoted.  But then again, it did not feature anyone of significance.  This is sad to say considering former-UFC contender Jon Fitch was on this card.

UFC Fight Night 30 on FS2: 122,000 viewers

October 29, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that UFC Fight Night 30 airing on Fox Sports 2 received a viewer average of 122,000 viewers. The show aired live from Manchester, England and aired in the states in the afternoon.

UFC Fight Nights on FS1

UFC Fight Night 26:  1.78 million viewers

UFC Fight Night 27:  824,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 28:  539,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 29:  638,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

This was the first UFC Fight Night on FS2.  It’s obvious that the switch to FS2 hurt the ratings and coupled with the mid-day start a low rating was bound to happen.  UFC/Fox was likely hoping for a better return on the rerun later in the day (we are working on obtaining that number).  As it is, the WSOF event on NBC Sports actually had more viewers than the UFC with an average of 161,000 viewers on Saturday night.

Second episode of Rampage4Real: 559,000 viewers

October 28, 2013

MMA Payout has learned that the second episode of the three part #Rampage4Real documentary received a 559,000 viewer average which is up from its first episode.  The episode came a day before the big news that Tito Ortiz was injured and could not fight Rampage on November 2nd.

#Rampage4Real Episode 1:  404,000 viewers, 473,000 viewers DVR +3

#Rampage4Real Episode 2:  559,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

It will be interesting to see what Spike does with the third episode considering it means nothing. If it airs the third episode, it runs the risk of confusing viewers that Rampage is still fighting Saturday. Spike has swiftly put together a Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez episode entitled, “Chandler-Alvarez: Unfinished Business” which aired Monday night.  With the news of Rampage taken off of Saturday’s card and the promotion steering its efforts into Chandler-Alvarez, we shall see if the network does with this three-part documentary.

Broner-Maidana off of PPV

October 28, 2013

It was announced on Saturday that Golden Boy and Showtime will be taking its December 14th Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana off of PPV and move it to the Showtime.  The Broner-Maidana fight occurs one week before another Showtime event featuring Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.

As the December 14th event will be taken off PPV, it will no longer take place in Las Vegas and moves to San Antonio, Texas.  The move should help with the live gate. Even though Maidana is from Argentina, the undercard features Mexican American fighter Victor Ortiz returning to the ring against Mexican fighter Alfonso Gomez.  The last big event in San Antonio received over 39,000 fans as Canelo Alvarez defeated Austin Trout.

Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza cited that the fight was happening during the holidays likely would not pull a sufficient amount of PPV buys.

Via Bad Left Hook:

“The real hesitation with the pay-per-view to the extent that we had hesitation was just the time of the year. We ran out of time on the calendar. Any other time of the year, this does 250-300,000 pay-per-views, easily,” said Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the second time in recent days that a combat sports organization decides to pull a PPV to put it on network television.  Here, there was no injury but the move to Showtime made sense.  While its Showtime’s desire to push Broner as a PPV draw, he isn’t right now and it saw ahead of time that it was running its shows on top of one another.  Moreover, with the fight during the Holiday season, casual fight fans would probably not want to shell out $65 for Broner-Maidana.

WSOF to hold Japan event in 2014

October 27, 2013

It was announced during the World Series of Fighting event on Saturday that the organization would co-promote with the Pancrase organization in Japan and bring WSOF to Japan sometime in 2014.

WSOF President Ray Sefo mentioned that the event would be dubbed, the “World Series of Fighting Japan.”

Payout Perspective:

The news of further expansion into Japan is an interesting growth strategy for WSOF.  You may recall that it hired IMG Media in an effort to solicit its media rights.  It also stated that it would hold 8-10 events in 2014-2015 and would expand to Vancouver, Brazil, the UK and Eastern Europe.  It recently purchased Canadian promotion Aggression Fighting Championship and will hold an event in Canada in December.  The news of the Japanese partnership reflects an ambitious method of expansion and we will see how well it is received outside the United States.

UFC Fight Night 30 attendance, gate and bonuses

October 27, 2013

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 30.   Lyoto Machida heads the list of bonus winners receiving $50,000 each.

The event from Phone4u Arena in Manchester, England had 10,355 fans for a gate of $1.5 million.  The arena’s capacity is 21,000 although we do not know the actual arena configuration and capacity yesterday.

Bonuses were the standard $50,000 and were as follows (via MMA Junkie):

Fight of the Night: Luke Barnatt vs. Andrew Craig

KO of the Night:  Lyoto Machida

Sub of the Night: Nicholas Musoke

Payout Perspective:

With Michael Bisping having to pull out of his fight with Mark Munoz, it’s likely that ticket sales/local interest suffered. Still, the attendance was the second highest for a UFC Fight Night since the events were moved to Fox Sports 1.  Machida made quick work of Munoz and it would be hard to say how he will do in the middleweight division simply because the fight ended without much occurring.

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