April 30, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the second episode of The Ultimate Fighter 19 scored a DVR +3 rating of 628,000 viewers. This is almost doubles the overnight rating of 320,000 viewers.
Episode 1: 595,000, overnight; 861,000 DVR +3
Episode 2: 320,000, overnight; 628,000 DVR +3
It’s clear from the DVR +3 ratings is that most people are recording the show for later. The takeaway is to not freak out when the overnight number comes out because it’s likely that the number will move up considerably.
April 30, 2014
The MMA Report reports on a proposed bill that would amend boxing and MMA regulations in the state of Florida so that promoters would not need to disclose the number of tickets sold for an event, the gross receipts among other things. Zuffa has contributed $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in support of lobbying efforts to pass this measure.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Zuffa’s contribution to the RGA.
The proposed measure would exempt the disclosure of “proprietary confidential business information” in a public records request. This would include information on the number of tickets sold, gross receipts of an event, trade secrets and “business plans.”
The proposed text of the bill which rationalizes the reason for the nondisclosure of the information is interesting:
Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public necessity that proprietary confidential business information be protected from disclosure. The disclosure of proprietary confidential business information could injure a promoter in the marketplace by giving the promoter’s competitors insights into the promoter’s financial status and business plan, thereby putting the promoter at a competitive disadvantage. The Legislature also finds that the harm to a promoter in disclosing proprietary confidential business information significantly outweighs any public benefit derived from the disclosure of such information….
A notable change of the proposed amendment to the current rules would allow the promoter to apply to the Commission for authorization to issue more than five percent of seats in the house as complimentary tickets and not be included in gross receipts for post-event taxation purposes.
Thus, the promoter could comp more than five percent of the seats in a venue and would not have to disclose the amount of comps it issued per the proposed amended law.
An analysis of the bill cites that certain terms are not defined and are overly broad (or will be interpreted as such). Unless the bill is amended to define certain terms, the effect of the proposed law could mean that the promoter could exclude a broad amount of information from public records.
It will be interesting to see if this law is eventually passed. It appears that it the Florida House agrees with the bill voting in its favor. Coming off of a successful event in Orlando, the UFC intimated that it would be back soon. Based on the public records and proposed legislation, one may assume that the UFC is willing to come back to Florida and would not mind that this particular law is in place. The broad scope of this law as it presently is written could mean that the UFC would not have to disclose attendance, gate and/or salaries to the public. Other commissions do not officially release this information but this is a unique amendment to Florida’s existing law.
The proposed legislation may run contrary to the requirements of the Muhammad Ali Act which require the promoter to disclose certain expenditures to a boxer. However, the proposed law has language that would seem to allow such disclosure. Also, the promoter could disclose such required information without it being a public record.
The key issue is that the public would not be able to see information such as tickets sold and gross receipts. MMA Payout will keep you posted.
April 29, 2014
Boxer Mikey Garcia has sued Top Rank Boxing for violations of the terms of its promotional agreement under the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act and laws in the state of California. Garcia’s lawyers characterize the promotional agreement as making the boxer an “indentured servant.”
The lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Riverside County Superior Court in Riverside, California.
According to the lawsuit, “Garcia will demonstrate that Top Rank’s Promotional Rights Agreement violates numerous provisions of both California law and California’s strong public policy to protect California-based boxers from unscrupulous promoters and managers and from entering into improvident arrangement and is therefore unenforceable.” As for the violations of the Ali Act, Garcia’s attorneys state that Top Rank did not provide the required disclosures under the act which requires that Top Rank let Garcia know the amount of money it would make from each of Garcia’s bouts.
Garcia is a Super Featherweight out of Riverside, California. He is currently the World Boxing Organization’s champion. He signed a Promotional Rights Agreement before Top Rank represented him which Garcia’s lawyers contends it grants Top Rank the ability to extend the agreement indefinitely.
The promotional contract was entered on April 13, 2006 which gave Top Rank the exclusive right to promote Garcia’s services as a boxer. The terms of the Contract, which ran for 5 years, gave Top Rank the right to renew the terms of the agreement.
Garcia’s lawyers argue that Top Rank acted as Garcia’s manager which would be a violation of California law since it did not fill out the requisite forms to manage a boxer in California. This was similar to the problems faced in the Ronda Rousey-Fight Tribe arbitration.
The Complaint also alleges that Top Rank did not disclose the payments it received from Garcia’s fights which would be a violation of the Muhammad Ali Act. Specifically sec 6307e(b)(1)-(3).
Lawyers for Top Rank have downplayed the lawsuit calling it “baseless” and we will likely see them seek a dismissal of Garcia’s claims.
The promotional contract indicates that the jurisdiction is Nevada which may cause some procedural backlash by Top Rank. In addition, Garcia is suing based on the Ali Act, a federal law, which may cause another procedural issue related to removing the case to federal court.
It’s interesting to note that on HBO’s The Fight Game, the belief was that no one close to Garcia knew he was unhappy and that he was going to file the lawsuit. The inference is that there were no issues between Garcia and Top Rank.
I have not seen a fighter prevail in a case under the Muhammad Ali Act. While Garcia may have a valid claim, it’s likely that the lawsuit will precipitate a settlement with Top Rank or to sever ties with it.
MMA Payout will keep you posted.
April 29, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that the UFC 172 Prelims held on Saturday scored an average viewership of 750,000 viewers which is 2% off the average 765,000 of PPV prelims on FS1.
The UFC 172 Prelims which featured Joseph Benavidez versus Tim Elliott in the “main event” of the Prelim card received a 0.53 rating for adults 18-49, 0.79 for males 18-49 and a 0.57 for males 18-34.
UFC PPV Prelims on FS1 or FS2
UFC 164 809,000
UFC 165 722,000
UFC 166 628,000
UFC 167 998,000
UFC 168 1,554,000
UFC 169 933,000
UFC 170 936,000
UFC 171 305,000 (FS2)
UFC 172 750,000
The UFC 172 Prelims went up against the NBA and NHL Playoffs but the viewership has not been this low on FS1 since UFC 166. The fights on FS1 were entertaining as they featured the Fight of the Night and two stoppages.
April 28, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 172 taking place at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland where Jon Jones successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Glover Texeira.
Jones wears out Glover
Jon Jones fought Glover Texeira’s type of fight but still overwhelmed the challenger. Jones used his reach and generally out struck Texeira causing his mouthpiece to be dislodged on a couple occasions. It definitely looked like Jones was going 100%.
With the impressive win, Jones moves on to a likely rematch with Alexander Gustaffson with Sweden discussed as a possible place for the fight. After that, it’s possible he takes on the winner of Daniel Cormier (assuming he beats Hendo) versus Anthony Johnson.
Johnson upsets Davis
Phil Davis used most of the pre-fight publicity to antagonize Jon Jones. It could be that he did not focus on his opponent or it could be that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was hungry for a win. Johnson may have been hungrier due to the decree that if Johnson did not make weight he would receive a lifetime ban. But Johnson looked comfortable at 205. He had crisp striking and constantly stuffed Davis’ takedown attempts.
The win propelled Johnson back to the top of the light heavyweight title picture while Davis is knocked down a few rungs on the ladder to become top contender.
Attendance and Gate
It was a near sellout at the Baltimore Arena as attendance and gate for UFC 172 was 13,485 for a live gate of $2.3 million. Capacity at the Baltimore Arena is 14,000. There was no info on the comps for the event.
The gate of $2.3 million was second best to UFC 171 this year.
The bonuses went to Takanori Gomi, Issac Valle-Flaag, Joseph Benavidez and Chris Beal. All received $50,000 bonuses.
Max Holloway, Jim Miller, Danny Castillo and Luke Rockhold all could have argued for the bonus.
On Monday, Joseph Benavidez won a Harley Davidson as a result of a fan vote of the four bonus winners.
Promotion of the Fight
Unlike past events, Jones was mostly cheered by the Baltimore crowd. This was due in part to Arthur and Chandler Jones being by his side. Arthur played for the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. USA Today wrote an article on Arthur Jones and his relationship with his brother. Ray Lewis also was in the crowd at UFC 172 and the LHW paid homage during his walkout.
Ronda Rousey threw out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.
Chuck Liddell interjected himself into the pre-fight hype as he took the side of Glover Texeira. This grabbed some headlines as the Iceman boasted that he could beat Jones in his day.
Dana White did his usual rounds in the media including the ESPN “car wash” where he was on several of the network’s shows.
The New York Times wrote a piece about Jon Jones being the “face” of the UFC.
The usual suspects were in the Octagon: Xyience, Harley Davidson, MusclePharm, Alienware, MetroPCS and Bud Light in the center. AxsTV, Fram Auto Filters and the Air Force Reserve also had a presence in the Octagon. Toyo Tires also sponsored certain portions of the broadcast. Xyience had the fighter prep point.
USA Wrestling sponsored the “Tale of the Tape” for UFC 172.
Glover Texeira was sponsored by MMA brand, Red Nose.
Several fighters were sponsored by “The Memory Tag.” The company, according to its web site, allows customers “to put your videos on greeting cards, stickers, and postcards.”
Curious sponsor of the night was Tim Boetsch and his PS I Love You Books walkout shirt. The company offers wedding picture books. It’s not the first time that Boetsch has been sponsored by this company.
The Jones brothers walked out with their brother at the UFC weigh-ins. Noticeably, the Jones brothers wore Nike shirts with the swoosh taped over as it was apparent the UFC is not allowing Nike logos without it paying the sponsor fee. But, Jones wore Nike products without the iconic swoosh. Here is an example of the Jones shirt with and without the swoosh logo. Jones was sponsored by the new EA UFC game on fight night. Still, it was clear that the apparel (fight shorts and shirts) were Nike made despite the lack of a swoosh.
So, the question is, does it hurt Nike not to pay the UFC sponsor fee? One might argue it does not since we all know Jones wears Nike. He was in another Nike commercial and has been in recent Nike ads. Even though there was no swoosh, fans associate Jones with the Nike brand. While the lack of a swoosh may have casted doubt on whether Jones was still sponsored by the swoosh, the t-shirts would have told the smart fight fan that those were Nike made. In the end, even though Nike did not pay the sponsor fee to the UFC, it did not hurt the company presence.
Even though Nike was not an official approved sponsor, it did not go unnoticed.
— SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) April 25, 2014
Odds and Ends
-On the Steve Austin Podcast, Paul Heyman revealed that WWE talent receives a free pass to the WWE Network. Based on Jon Jones’ tweet, UFC fighters do not get a Fight Pass account for free.
-Did they institute a dress coat for Joe Rogan?
-Jon Jones did the “Ray Lewis dance” pre-walkout.
–Ticket demand was up from UFC 171 as the average ticket on the secondary market was $290.
-According to Google Trends, the most searches per country for “Jon Jones” on Saturday were 1) Brazil, 2) Philippines and 3) US. Sweden ranked seventh.
-An ominous sign for the PPV buys for UFC 172 was that the number of Google searches for Jones was down from his fight with Gus at UFC 165. You may recall that Jones-Gus did 310,000 PPV buys. While we recognize Google Trends may not be conclusive evidence, the less interest in Jones in lead-up to 172 may be cause for concern for PPV buys.
The local buzz appeared good for the UFC 172 and the UFC did its rounds with the national media to get the word out for the event. But, did all the hype help sell the PPV? While looking at what’s trending on Google or Twitter may not equate to how many people buy a PPV, it has been a helpful indicator. Based on this information, its likely we see a buy rate of less than Jones’ last PPV which would be something less than 310,000 buys.
April 26, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the gate, attendance and bonuses for UFC 172 from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. As announced at the post-fight press conference, the event drew 13,485 for a live gate of $2.3 million.
With its gate, UFC 172 is second to UFC 171 ($2.6M) in terms of biggest gates of 2014. It was the first time the UFC made it to Baltimore.
The performance bonuses announced at the post-fight press conference were:
Fight of the Night: Takanori Gomi-Isaac Valle-Flaag
Performance Bonuses: Joseph Benavidez and Chris Beal
Each received $50,000 bonuses.
Certainly Danny Castillo, Luke Rockhold and Max Holloway could have been contenders for a Performance Bonus tonight. The attendance and gate are impressive numbers for the UFC and the demand for the event seemed to be supported by the average ticket price of $290 per seat on the secondary market.
April 26, 2014
The New York Times‘ William Rhoden penned a piece for the paper in lieu of the UFC event in Baltimore which deems Jones a face of the UFC. Rhoden writes, “Jones is the perfect ambassador for a polarizing sport.” Rhoden could have used polarizing to describe Jones as well.
Obviously, Rhoden is not a full-time MMA fan. If he were, he would know that Jones is passionately loved and hated by fans. Jones has had his fair share of PR troubles stemming back to his DWI in May 2012 to being blamed for the cancellation of UFC 151 later that year to the latest issues with his Instagram account. This does not include some of the off-putting comments he makes which seem to annoy the average MMA fan. With all of this negativity that is drudged up, it’s hard to recall that this was the same guy that helped stopped a robber the same day he had a title fight.
Throughout these problems, it has not hurt him from obtaining blue chip sponsors. Nike is the biggest sponsor for Jones (based on the weigh-ins on Fridays, it appears that Nike does not want to pay the UFC sponsor fee). At UFC 165, he also wore a Gatorade logo on his trunks. Few UFC fighters could obtain these sponsors.
When you look at the PPV numbers, Jon Jones is the top active UFC fighter in terms of overall PPV buys. Certainly, the numbers are skewed (i.e., UFC 94, 100) with some PPVs since he was riding the coattails of a main event. Still, the numbers are the numbers.
Jon Jones UFC PPV appearances
The PPV numbers reflect that Jones averages 610,455 buys in his PPV appearances. If you want to be more specific, in those PPV events where he has been in the main event (essentially UFC 128 – UFC 165), Jones has averaged 500,000 PPV buys. For those wondering, Ronda Rousey averages approximately 597,000 PPV buys in her three appearances.
I would expect a warm reception from the Baltimore crowd on Saturday as his NFL-playing siblings will likely be a part of the entourage during his entrance to the Octagon.
Even if Jones was not the true draw in all of his PPV appearances, he has to be considered the face (or at least “co-face” with Ronda Rousey) of the UFC based on how the UFC is marketing him and the fact he is the Light Heavyweight Champion. The UFC is in need of a fighter that can generate the interest that a GSP and/or Anderson Silva can bring to a PPV. Jones has now had 7 PPVs where he has been in the main event with moderate success. The 500,000 PPV average is very good but some of that can also be attributed to his opponents (i.e., Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, Chael Sonnen).
In September 2012, we took a look at the PR predicament of Jon Jones post-UFC 151 cancellation. The takeaway was that he had yet to learn to be comfortable with his role as a UFC headliner. More than two and a half years later, how has he done?
As Jones faces another test on Saturday night, his image is polarizing. He is revered by mainstream media outlets as he is come across as a genuinely nice guy. But MMA social media, web sites and those who comment on them have a different opinion.
Certainly the perceived ego and his PR gaffes have contributed to the online hate for the champ. Many have soured on him despite his dominance in the division. If Jones gets past Texeira, he will likely have at least two big fights upcoming that could draw big PPV numbers: a rematch with Alexander Gustaffson and Daniel Cormier. If Jones were to prevail, it would solidify him as one of the greatest fighters in the Octagon. But, will fans warm up to him or continue to root for his opponents.
April 25, 2014
MMA Payout has learned form a Fox source that the DVR +3 ratings have aided UFC programming. Notably, UFC on Fox 11 and the debut of TUF have increased from its initial overnight numbers.
UFC on Fox 11 which had overnight ratings of 1.99 million were given a lift with the Same Day (SD) DVR ratings which included the almost 30 minutes in overrun time to 2.5 million. The DVR +3 rating which includes DVR viewing plus 3 days after the event gave it an endpoint of 2,681,000 average viewers. This is up 4% from the SD rating.
Meanwhile, last week’s 2 hour season debut of TUF also saw a noticeably increase of near 50% to 861,000 average viewers. The initial overnights had the episode at 595,000 viewers.
In addition, the TUF Nations Finale last Wednesday also saw an increase from 641,000 viewers to 735,000 viewers.
Finally, the UFC on Fox 11 Prelims saw a 6% increase from 521,000 to 550,000 average viewers on FS1.
What can we learn from these adjusted numbers? More people are using their DVR to view UFC programming especially The Ultimate Fighter. There are obvious convenience reasons for recording the shows and watching them later. It allows for viewers to speed through parts that they do not want to see or fights they do not care to watch. Fox Sports recognizes this and we will see if this in any way becomes a problem when it comes to advertising rates for UFC programming in the future.
April 24, 2014
According to SeatGeek, the UFC 172 average ticket price on the resale market is $290 which makes it the most expensive event recorded at the Baltimore Arena since 2009 according to the ticket search engine. The ticket prices are up 12% on average from UFC 171.
The tickets on the secondary market for UFC 171 averaged $258. UFC 172 is the most “in-demand UFC event since UFC 168 in December” according to SeatGeek. The resale value for 168 was at an astronomical $536 per ticket average.
Jon Jones’ last fight at UFC 165 in Toronto was less expensive as the resale value for those tickets were $212 per ticket.
Ticketmaster still has seats available including floor seats priced at $387 without tax and other fees. There are upper-level tickets on the secondary market at $99 per ticket (originally $91 face).
The secondary market is one of the many indicators gaging interest in an event. Does the demand show that Jones is a draw or that Baltimore fans want to see the UFC? At this point, the only tickets still available via Ticketmaster appear to those over $370. So, you will still be paying a hefty sum if you want some premium seats at UFC 172.
April 24, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the second episode of The Ultimate Fighter 19 was down substantially from its debut last week. It registered just 320,000 viewers on Wednesday night.
The second episode of TUF featuring Team Edgar vs. Team Penn received the lowest overnight rating for the TUF franchise on FS1 (excluding TUF Nations). The previous low was Episode 9 of TUF 18.
The second episode was almost down 50% from its 2 hour premiere in the Adult 18-49 demo with a 0.23 and 0.32 in the Males 18-49.
TUF 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn
Episode 1: 595,000
Episode 2: 320,000
This will be an interesting season to evaluate the overnight ratings versus DVR and ratings from reruns. Undoubtedly, 320,000 viewers is very low even if it went up against the NBA Playoffs (which ruled the cable ratings on Wednesday night).