UFC sets PPV record in 2016, but where are big cards in 2017?

January 23, 2017

In the latest Wrestling Observer (subscription recommended), the PPV buys have been recalibrated to 1,009,000 buys.  The original estimate had the July event at 1.1 to 1.2M PPV buys.

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).

Payout Perspective:

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.

19 Responses to “UFC sets PPV record in 2016, but where are big cards in 2017?”

  1. TOPS E on January 23rd, 2017 4:53 PM

    Hahahahaha…the fertita heist

  2. Fight Fan on January 23rd, 2017 8:17 PM

    Not one big ppv in sight, boxing still holds the records for most buys for an event. New owners got robbed by overpaying.

  3. TOPS E on January 23rd, 2017 11:14 PM

    http://www.mmamania.com/2017/1/23/14361704/ufc-tyron-woodley-not-race-baiting-im-simply-bold-enough-speak-truth-mma. The truth shall set you free hahahaha..racism a touchy subject now being discussed

  4. TOPS E on January 23rd, 2017 11:16 PM

    They need floyd vs connor to satisfy the feds hahaha

  5. Wil on January 24th, 2017 4:49 AM

    TOPS E, yep, Woodley is saying what I have said for a while, and he is catching absolute hell from the “fans” while the actual UFC execs are talking to him about it. That’s no secret, the UFC markets to a particular demographic much the same way that boxing in the USA is marketed to Latino fans.
    In any event, the UFC will be fine, just because PPVs are not over 1m buys doesn’t mean its still not being successful. Without superstars, the PPV model sports will just have to be used to less than 1m buys. Not a fan of the PPV model anyway

  6. Fight Fan on January 24th, 2017 6:33 AM

    Wil they need those huge buys though to pay that 4 billion$ mortgage

  7. Cutch on January 24th, 2017 1:22 PM

    You want racism, go read Golden Boys emails from their lawsuit with Al Haymon

    Sweep, sweep, sweep.

  8. d on January 24th, 2017 9:14 PM

    All the boxing fanboys have come to trol(l) apparently.

    Boxing wishes they could do 1 fight over 400k buys right now, let alone 5 over 1m in one year which was insane. The UFC holds all of the ppv records annually and boxing’s never close and hasn’t been for basically a decade now. Boxing is literally dead in the US while mma is at an all time high.

    Still big fights in 2017. McGregor will fight at least 1x. Jones- DC should get another 800k buys. GSP could fight and then there are always surprising ones that pop up. Probably not going to eclipse 2016’s numbers which are nearly impossible to exceed.

  9. d on January 24th, 2017 9:16 PM

    Great point Wil, because Jon Jones, Quinton Jackson, Anderson Silva, Kimbo Slice, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Cain Velasquez, etc were all white when the UFC was giving them a big push.

    Woodley is a whining crybaby who people do not like because he is an arrogant, and overrated fighter who is a coward.

  10. d on January 24th, 2017 9:17 PM

    “Not one big ppv in sight”

    …for boxing. Hahaha.

  11. turd on January 25th, 2017 4:19 AM

    d as a huge mma fan and someone that knows boxing is dying in the states

    i really do think the ufc could have some problems, just because of the sheer amount of debt they have . i believe there ineterest payments alone are 175 million per year.

    i am not sure these new owners knew what they were getting into. i honestly think this year will be a down year, unless another big draw emerges . which is a shame because they still have good buys and ratings but there debt is enormous

  12. Wil on January 25th, 2017 7:05 AM

    Fight Fan and Turd, you guys do have a point regarding debt. Thats the problem with building a brand largely on the ppv model though, the UFC is now dependent on it. If the debt payments are really that high then you are going to see the UFC become even more campy than it is, move closer to the WWE, and use more gimmicks like pro wrestlers, etc. Something tells me the UFC is going to end up cutting a deal with either Mayweather or some other big time boxer for Conor or promote a Diaz boxing match…something. Mayweather doesnt need anyone, he is speeding on his way to being worth a billion dollars, while the UFC is sweating, McGregor is their only superstar….a big boxing match with him will shoot up the PPV numbers….if he loses or leaves, it doesnt look good then.

  13. Wil on January 25th, 2017 7:08 AM

    And by the way, absolutely Golden Boy needs to be taken to task for the emails with Balderas. Al Haymon is definitely a target for that, absolutely. Have those emails been deemed admissible in the trial as evidence?

  14. TOPS E on January 25th, 2017 11:21 AM

    Reading mma websites no news at all hahahaha….writers inventing nonsense stories….seems dw placed all the hype before the sale and right after…no long term plan just the heist

  15. d on January 25th, 2017 11:44 AM

    Turd, if their interest payments were 175m per year, they would have never purchased the company considering the bigger year the UFC ever had profitability wise, they netted around 160m.

    It will still be a good year, just difficult to match last year’s insane record numbers.

  16. d on January 25th, 2017 11:48 AM

    Wil, horrible point.

    The UFC can generate big numbers with a number of fighters: Jones, GSP, McGregor, etc. Mayweather needs it more than they do. He is so desperate for attention and he has no active income. He probably lost a ton of money in 2016 seeing how he had no fights and we all know his promotional company loses money annually.

    There’s no way McGregor will ever fight Mayweather any time soon. Maybe when he is done with the UFC, but no way its going to happen now. Way too many hurdles. The UFC also would tarnish their brand name by doing so. It would not be worth the now money.

    Also, Mayweather isn’t worth anywhere near a billion dollars and spends money like a drunken sailor.

  17. turd on January 25th, 2017 1:49 PM

    btw no way floyd will ever be a billionaire,

  18. Fight Fan on January 25th, 2017 5:48 PM

    Lol jones is always locked up, GSP hasn’t fought in years and McTapper is the only one that can sell a PPV when he’s not getting tapped out lol.

  19. d on January 25th, 2017 11:34 PM

    Jones isn’t locked up. GSP has already gone through USADA and has been negotiating for a fight and McGregor alone will outdraw boxing again this year. Haha.

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