WSOF 25 draws 148,000 viewers

November 23, 2015

World Series of Fighting drew an average viewership of 148,000 viewers Friday night on NBC Sports Network per Sports TV Ratings.

The event aired from 11:00pm-1:00am ET Friday night on NBC Sports Network.  An immediate replay of the event garnered another 65,000 viewers from 1:00am-3:00am per Sports TV Ratings.  The event featured the WSOF lightweight tournament.

WSOF Ratings through 24

World Series of Fighting
WSOF 1 198,000
WSOF 2 210,000
WSOF 3 201,000
WSOF 4 264,000
WSOF 5 227,000
WSOF 6 161,000
WSOF 7 94,000
WSOF 8 212,000
WSOF 9 242,000
WSOF 10 365,000
WSOF 11 781,000
WSOF 12 206,000
WSOF 13 246,000
WSOF 14 229,000
WSOF 15 179,000
WSOF 16 181,000
WSOF 17 222,000
WSOF 18 209,000
WSOF 19 216,000
WSOF 20 128,000
WSOF 21 203,000
WSOF 22 254,000
WSOF 23 184,000
WSOF 24 167,000
WSOF 25 148,000

WSOF Ratings 2015 through 25

Payout Perspective:

In defense of WSOF, it was an entertaining night of fights as the organization held a tournament.  The late Friday night start may have contributed to the lower ratings.  The 2015 average for WSOF sits at 192,000 viewers while the overall viewership on NBC Sports Network is 206,000 (excluding the one event on NBC).

Bellator 146 draws 650,000 viewers

November 23, 2015

Bellator 146 drew an average viewership of 650,000 viewers Friday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.  The ratings reflect an increase from its last non-tentpole event.

UPDATED 11/24/2015: per Nielsen sources, the peak for the event on Friday was 867,000.

Bellator 144 drew an average viewership of 555,000 viewers.  Friday’s event which featured Melvin Manhoef taking care of Hisaki Kato in the first round, was an increase of 15%.  Bellator 145 was one of the company’s tentpole events.  It drew 814,000 viewers.

Bellator 146

Overnight Peak
Bellator 132 767,000 1,200,000
Bellator 133 565,000 967,000
Bellator 134 872,000 1,200,000
Bellator 135 607,000 922,000
Bellator 136 655,000 900,000
Bellator 137 594,000 768,000
Bellator 138 1,580,000 2,100,000
Bellator 139 764,000 988,000
Bellator 140 722,000 977,000
Bellator 141 666,000 929,000
Bellator 142 800,000 930,000
Bellator 143 669,000 885,000
Belaltor 144 555,000 823,000
Bellator 145 814,000 1,048,000
Bellator 146 650,000  867,000

Payout Perspective:

The NBA on ESPN featuring Golden State and the Chicago Bulls drew the most in cable ratings for sports programs with 2.853 million viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  The Bellator ratings bring the average viewership for the year to 752,000 viewers.  Notably, World Series of Fighting held an event the same night on NBC Sports Network so you could have watched both events.

UFC evolves as media company

November 23, 2015

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports on the UFC and its operations as a media organization.  The write-up reflects the evolution of the UFC’s production to promote itself.

The article indicates that the company has 85 full-time employees including 15 at offices overseas that are dedicated to in-house production operations.

The UFC saves 35 percent of the costs as opposed to hiring an outside production company.  Even if they were to hire someone, the UFC believed that no one understood its branding and advertising.

It also talks about the “Embedded” episodes which were geared toward the 18-25 demo.  Notably, it reports that the Embedded series drew 38 million viewers during fight week for UFC 193.

The Rousey-Holm video which gained wide acclaim is an example of the UFC thinking of promoting itself outside of the box.  With its digital consultant, the promo was produced and the company developed a strategy for its release.  Four versions of the video were made.  Ellen DeGeneres released the video featuring Rousey, while Golden Boy’s Oscar de la Hoya (focusing on Holm’s boxing bacground) released the Holm version.

UFC Fight Pass is also an example of the building out of the company’s media capabilities.  Recently, an original show on Fight Pass featuring Dana White debuted on the online platform.  It drew 1.1 million views.

Payout Perspective:

The article captures the organization’s dedication to original content and controlling its own message.  The UFC’s model for promotion is similar to that of the WWE in that it controls its product closely.  Thus, even though it has the ability to hire outside companies to produce content, it does it themselves.  It’s also interesting note that it is becoming more creative in how it disseminates its content.  Notably, the Rousey-Holm trailers were exclusively provided to Ellen (the Rousey-focused promo) and Oscar De La Hoya (Holm-focused promo).  As the UFC continues to evolve its media arm, we should see more targeted promotional campaigns for its product.

UFC Fight Night 78 attendance and bonuses

November 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses from Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 78 on FS1.

The event drew 10,410 fans at the Monterrey Arena in Monterrey, Mexico.  No live gate was announced.  The event was lower than the two other events the company held in UFC.  Both UFC 180 (21,000) and UFC 188 (21,036) were held in Mexico City and PPVs.

Bonuses were given to the main event, Neil Magny and Kelvin Gastelum, for Fight of the Night.  Also Andre Fili and Polo Reyes earned Performances of the Night.

Payout Perspective:

Diego Sanchez/Ricardo Lamas were shut out for the $50,000 bonuses but Magny/Gastelum was a very good fight on a night of not memorable fights.  Fili and Reyes were not on the 3 hour main card.  The attendance at the is said to be around 17,599 so the 10,410 is low for the arena but still very good for this type of card.

Canelo-Cotto payouts and update on tickets

November 20, 2015

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fights Miguel Cotto on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Nevada State Athletic Commission has divulged the purses for Saturday’s event.

Cotto will make at least $15 million while Alvarez will make $ 5 million.

Alvarez will also benefit from PPV upside from Mexico.  No word if Cotto will receive a part of the PPV cut.

There are a few tickets left on Ticketmaster as of Friday night.  However, those tickets start at $2,000.  On the secondary market, you can find tickets for $615.

Payout Perspective:                   

This fight will be one of the bigger fights of the year.  As with boxing, nation pride comes into play when factoring in the popularity of the fight.  Cotto, who is from Puerto Rico, and Alavarez, who is from Mexico, should draw huge followings both in person and on PPV.  While I do not think that this fight will climb to Ronda Rousey levels, Alvarez is a major draw.  Cotto is an older fighter but is competitive and it should be a good fight.

UFC 193 estimated at over 1M PPV buys, second best ever per Fertitta

November 20, 2015

UFC 193 is on track to be the second-largest PPV in company history according to Lorenzo Fertitta.  In speaking with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports Fertitta indicated that it was currently tracking third but would finish behind only UFC 100.

UFC 100 drew 1.6 million viewers in July 2009.  Fertitta confirmed that UFC 193 sold in “excess of one million on pay-per-view.”  It appears that early PPV estimates have it around 1M-1.2M buys per Dave Meltzer.

UFC 189 was originally reported at hitting 1 million PPV buys but that estimate was scaled back to 825,000.  The last time that a UFC PPV hit 1 million PPV buys was UFC 168 which featured Weidman-Silva II and Tate-Rousey II (via MMA Payout Blue Book).

Ronda Rousey’s last PPV fight at UFC 190 drew 900,000 viewers.

Notably, UFC 193 Google related searches hit 9 million and was the most search topic on Saturday and Sunday.  It should be noted that the search experienced a slight dip on Friday but obviously surged ahead for Saturday.

In comparison, Mayweather-Pacquiao hit about 12 million google searches the weekend of their fight this past May.

Also to consider, UFC 193 Prelims on FS1 drew 1,394,000 viewers.  It was the most-watched Prelim event on FS1 with Ronda Rousey on the PPV main event.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that if these indicators are correct, UFC will have its best PPV year to date with UFC 194 probably adding to a huge year of PPV business for the company.  It shows the attraction of Ronda Rousey.  One should expect that a rematch will garner big PPV numbers again.  The question will be whether Holly Holm can maintain the PPV momentum of Rousey.

TUF 22 Episode 9 draws 495,000 viewers

November 20, 2015

The 9th episode of TUF 22 drew an average viewership rating of 495,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night.  It was the highest rated 9th episode ever on FS1 per Fox Sports.

According to Fox Sports, it beat spring’s 9th episode by 38%, last fall by 19%, spring 2014 by 3% and fall of 2013 by 2%.

In addition, TUF 22 Episode 8 drew 742,000 in DVR+3 ratings which was up 38% from Live+SD and up 31% from spring episode 8.

The 9th episode was the coach’s challenge.  This year it featured McGregor and Faber dropping watermelons out of helicopters onto targets.  Faber came out victorious for his team and coaches.  In the fight of the show, Abner Lloveras of Team McGregor defeated Jason Gonzalez of Team Faber.

UFC TUF 22 through ep 9

Payout Perspective:

Having near 500K viewers as the best for a 9th episode of this series on FS1 reflects the change in viewership habits of fans since coming to FS1. Whether you think it is good or bad, the series still draws a steady audience.  Moreover, the amount of viewers watching the show this far into the season is a good sign that McGregror/Faber are retaining an audience.  The good news is that it is steady this year with an average at around 516,000 viewers.

S&P upgrades business outlook for Zuffa

November 19, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that Zuffa’s Standard and Poor’s business outlook has been elevated from “negative” to “stable” based on its success in its Pay Per View business in 2015.  The company’s corporate credit rating remains the same at BB negative which is below investment grade.

Standard & Poor’s Financial Services publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds as well as being one of the Big Three credit-rating agencies.  It issues credit ratings for the debt of public and private companies.  S&P serves as a resource to investors for a key measure of its success.

In October 2014, S&P downgraded Zuffa, LLC from BB to BB-as a result of “greater EBITDA volatility.”  It had maintained a “BB rating” since December 2010.  It was previously downgraded in November 2007 from BB to BB-.  A couple weeks later, it downgraded the business outlook from “stable” to “negative.”

In October 2014, it identified Zuffa as having $535 million in credit with $60 million in “senior secured revolving credit facility due in 2018 and a $475 million senior secured term loan due 2020” per that S&P report.

Payout Perspective:

Monday’s news is a good sign that the company is recovering from its dip in 2014.  While a lot of the numbers are kept under wraps and we’re forced to cobble together how much the company makes, the PPV buys have rebounded from the past couple years on the strength of the first three PPVs of 2015 as well as July’s UFC 189 and Ronda Rousey’s fights at UFC 190 and 193.  Also, the international expansion and the assumed proliferation of UFC Fight Pass have provided additional revenue streams for the company.  Obviously, you have to offset these gains with its expenses which include the new anti-doping policy implemented with the help of USADA and three big legal battles it is currently involved in (the UFC antitrust lawsuit in Nevada, the appeal of the November 2011 lawsuit against New York and the new lawsuit against the state of New York filed this past September seeking a preliminary injunction to hold an event in New York in April).

Also, on the same day that this news came out, Bloody Elbow unveiled its third installment of its deep dive into UFC finances.

Holly Holm’s sponsor questioned

November 19, 2015

In light of the Holly Holm victory over Ronda Rousey on Saturday, one of Holm’s sponsors, Intel Pharma wished her congratulations. The company sells supplements containing substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and federal law.

According to MMA Junkie, the company has offered products it claims contain prohormones and a steroid alternative known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMS).  It appears on the WADA banned substance list.Anti-doping experts have sounded off against this business relationship as not looking good for the new champion.  Holm’s manager, Lenny Fresquez, indicated that they were aware that the company sold products containing banned substance prior to signing the sponsorship deal.  “Holly didn’t really use them so it’s not a big deal,” Fresquez told USA Today, “I’m sure she didn’t use any of them. She might have taken a picture with one.”

Fresquez indicated that the sponsorship deal was for just one-fight and they have not decided whether to extend the deal.

Intel Pharma CEO, Landon Suggs, stated that his company stopped producing and selling products with SARMs “no later than June” before the sponsorship deal with Holm.  Suggs stated that it issued a recall for the products as well.

The company also updated its Facebook page on November 17th congratulating Holm.  It had not updated the page since October 9th.

We, at Intel-Pharma, wanted to create an innovative supplement company that customers could trust to provide the best products and personal service in the industry. As a new company we have learned hard lessons along the way, but those same lessons have reinforced our initial stated mission, which is to be the most innovative sports supplement brand on the market. Long before UFC 193 was announced we were interested in partnering with Holly Holm’s to be one of our featured athletes because she shares our values of faith, family and hard work. That hard work is what was on display Saturday in Melbourne, Australia. There is no other “secret” to Holly’s success other than that hard work, along with an incredible team of coaches, sparring partners, family support, and just plain crazy athleticism. As unbelievable as it may have seemed to the greater population at large, Holly’s success was not a shock to those of us who knew of her talent long before Saturday. And we couldn’t be more thrilled for her that the world now knows what we always believed.

Holly Holm

Payout Perspective:

One would think that Holm will not continue the relationship with Intel Pharma since winning the women’s title from Rousey.  Certainly, her win should open up more doors for sponsor opportunities.  Also, the price for her name probably went up with the win.  Her accomplishment should not be sullied by this association despite how innocuous it might be.  The fact is that the company is associated with banned substances that Holm, as champion, should not be associated with even if Holm never took the product.

PBC on Spike TV draws 466,000 for November event

November 17, 2015

PBC on Boxing on Spike TV Friday night drew 466,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  The viewership is up almost 33% from October’s dismal performance.

The event aired from 9:00-10:47pm ET.  In the main event of the night, Edwin Rodriguez defeated Michael Seals by KO.

PBC on Spike
3/13/2015 869,000
4/24/2015 569,000
5/22/2015 772,000
6/12/2015 446,000
8/14/2015 679,000
9/11/2015 581,000
10/16/2015 315,000
11/13/2015 466,000

The average for PBC on Spike TV events is 587,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A Pac 12 Football game between USC and Colorado on ESPN was the highest-rated sports event on cable TV Friday night drawing 1.3M viewers.  It aired at the same time as PBC on Spike TV which may have detoured some viewers from boxing.  Realistically, these events are for the hardcore boxing fans as many of these fighters are not known to the casual viewer.

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