UFC sets PPV record in 2016, but where are big cards in 2017?
January 23, 2017
Despite the downgrade of PPV buys for the July event, the UFC set a PPV record with 5 events in a calendar year going over 1 million PPV buys. Boxing had two years (1996 and 2011) where 3 PPVs topped 1 million buys.
UFC 196, UFC 200, UFC 202, UFC 205 and UFC 207 all went over the 1 million mark. Conversely, three shows (UFC 198, UFC 201 and UFC 206) drew less than 250,000 (see MMA Payout Blue Book).
The obvious concern for 2017 is without McGregor (for a portion of the year) or Rousey, where will the UFC find a PPV that could draw over 1 million PPV buys. Certainly, July’s International Fight Week should bring a show close to 1 million with the return of Jon Jones and perhaps a couple title fights. But, there does not seem to be another big card on the horizon. With the new owners having an earnings mandate of $275 million in EBITDA by June 30th to receive a contingency payment of $175 million. It will be hard to do this without any big events in the first quarter of 2017.