13 for 13: No. 7 UFC PPV Buys Actually Improving?

December 25, 2013

If I were to tell you that the UFC is having a strong year with its pay per view business you would think that someone sponsored this post.  However, the UFC is set to improve over its 2011-2012 PPV averages.

Through 12 PPVs it is averaging approximately 423K PPV buys for 2013.  Even if UFC 168 hits 1 million PPV buys, a benchmark it has not hit since 2010, it would average 467K PPV buys for 2013.  While this sounds bad for the UFC, it’s likely that the company will eclipse its 2012 PPV average of 448K PPV buys (over 13 events) and 2011 PPV buy average of 413K (over 14 events).

Expectations for these events may have overshot the actual PPV buy rates.  UFC 167’s buy rate of 625K has to be a disappointment considering GSP is a reliable PPV star for the company, there was much buildup for the event and the rumors that 167 would be GSP’s last.  Yet, the 625K PPV buys is one of GSP’s lowest since being a headliner.  The GSP-Diaz 950K PPV buys earlier this year has to be attributed to Nick Diaz and “wolf tickets”.  It also shows that UFC events sell much better when there is some animosity between the main event competitors.

Jon Jones has seemingly not produced as expected as a main eventer.  A heated rivalry between Jones and Chael Sonnen did not occur on TUF and while their fight at UFC 159 drew 550K, Jones’ follow up fight against Alexander Gustafsson only drew 325K PPV buys.

Anderson Silva, another fighter that has contributed to UFC PPV success drew 550K in his only fight of the year so far at UFC 162 against Chris Weidman.  The UFC should expect a better PPV average for this Saturday in their rematch.  But with a loss, this could be the downturn for the Spider on PPV.

Ronda Rousey should be another fighter to be on the lookout for in 2014.  She headlined (along with Liz Carmouche) UFC 157 over Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson.  In the end, UFC 157 drew a respectable 450K PPV buys and a lot of mainstream attention.  Will Rousey be a fighter that will attract the PPV crowd?

UFC PPV Buys 2013

Event

PPV Buy Rate

Main Event

UFC 168

????

Weidman-Silva II

UFC167

625,000

GSP-Hendricks

UFC 166

330,000

Velasquez-JDS III

UFC 165

325,000

Jones-Gus

UFC 164

270,000

Henderson-Pettis

UFC 163

170,000

Aldo-Zombie

UFC 162

550,000

Silva-Weidman I

UFC 161

150,000

Evans-Hendo

UFC 160

380,000

Cain-Bigfoot II

UFC 159

550,000

Jones-Sonnen

UFC 158

950,000

GSP-Diaz

UFC 157

450,000

Rousey-Carmouche

UFC 156

330,000

Aldo-Edgar

 

Some interesting notes from the PPV buys this year.  Jose Aldo headlined two PPVs.  Although Benson Henderson does well with Fox ratings, it does not translate to PPV buys.  His rematch with Anthony Pettis only drew 270K PPV buys.  UFC 161 had to revamp its main event due to an injury to Renan Barao but it definitely was a PPV event that UFC fans chose to skip.  The UFC heavyweights did not produce buy rates this year as reflected by UFC 160 and 166.  This is surprising considering that Cain Velasquez going into UFC 160 had averaged 733K PPV buys (over 3 PPV fights) since defeating Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.

All PPV buy rates from MMA Payout’s Blue Book and thanks to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer.

7 Responses to “13 for 13: No. 7 UFC PPV Buys Actually Improving?”

  1. Saldathief on December 25th, 2013 11:46 AM

    Finally 167 numbers, not good. This information is a bean counters hand job! It does not take into consideration the tremendous push that has been given to the UFC by airing and promoting its fight on Fox. The UFC should have crippled its previous years numbers with this business plan, and it sadly didn’t not. This model is working to maintain what they already have but in no means has gotten the effect that was intended. 168 should end the year with a decent number, but far from a million buys which in their minds is the number they projected, yes some accountant, bean counter, media study, rating nerd, that knows nothing about the fight game prediction. The mainstream is failing to accept the UFC unless their is a novelty fighter aka Brock ect. All the so called stars of the UFC failed to bring in popper ppv numbers making it even harder for any fighter to get a serious pay-day in the future. For all the work and exposure 2013 was a disappointment considering.

  2. Tops of on December 25th, 2013 2:39 PM

    The increased viewing numbers also are trending toward younger fans. Perhaps many mixed martial arts fans also have included boxing in their viewing habits because there were so many good, competitive fights, and, in the end, all they’re looking for is an action-packed scrap.

    “I think there’s something to that,” Taffett said of a possible MMA crossover. “We are seeing younger viewers tuning in to our boxing events, and we’re trying to come up with wider viewing platforms to promote boxing and cater to younger fans.”

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/sports/hbo-showtime-report-healthy-boosts-expect-more-14

  3. BrainSmasher on December 26th, 2013 1:06 AM

    I don’t think there is any doubt that MMA has not only forced Boxing (fighters and promoters) to start doing much better to give the fans what they want. But it has also sparked peoples interest in boxing. Anyone who gets into MMA has to train in boxing at some point to some degree. Anyone who follows MMA learns some about the technical side boxing. Many people who are not in the Boxing demo or from circles who just stopped caring about boxing and were no longer interest. Were brought back into the fight game by MMA. Just as MMA has grown the sport of BJJ, Wrestling has had new life shot into it because MMA.I myself become very away of K-1 back in the day due to MMA. Not to mention got into BJJ and followed Wrestling and Boxing casually. Before the early UFC I was just a due hard football, basketball, baseball fan.

  4. Saldathief on December 26th, 2013 1:20 AM

    Very good point BS. MMA has joined so many combat sports into one realm. It must kill Zuffa knowing they are making more boxing fans lol I really don’t think boxing promoters care one way or another about what MMA does. Boxing has always had its ups and downs just look at the heavyweight division for the past 10 years. historically the biggest money making and most sought after division in Boxing, especially in America and its a total dud!

  5. Sampson Simpson on December 26th, 2013 11:43 AM

    Boxing > MMA

  6. Chris27 on December 26th, 2013 3:47 PM

    Wow, Cain can’t draw flies.

  7. JoseK on December 26th, 2013 6:30 PM

    MMA has boosted interest in both wrestling and boxing. And BJJ, too.

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