UFC median TV audience age is 49 compared to 34 in 2006 according to SBJ study

June 6, 2017

The Sports Business Journal reports that television viewer data for 25 sports, including the UFC, boxing and pro wrestling, reflect that the median age of TV viewers have increased from 2006 to 2016.

The commissioned study by Magna Global, shows that pro wrestling, the UFC and action sports have shown the most dramatic increase in median age from 2006 to 2016.  The UFC’s median age is now 49, which reflects an increase of 15 years which means that the median age in 2006 was 34.  For pro wrestling, the median age is 54 which reflects a 21-year increase which makes the 2006 median age for pro wrestling 33 years old.

Of the 25 sports reviewed, only WTA Tennis, decreased in age demo with it going down from 63 years of age to 58.

There’s been no big change to boxing’s demo as its median age has gone up just 4 years since 2000.  It is 49 in 2016 and was 45 16 years previous.

Notably, the youngest viewing audience according to the study was the Mexican football (soccer) league system, Liga BBVA Bancomer (MX), which has a median age of 32 years old in 2006 and 39 years old in 2016.  Second was International soccer, 35 in 2006 and 39 in 2016.  MLS was third youngest audience with the median age being 39 in 2006 and 40 in 2016.

Payout Perspective:

There were several takeaways from the study.  First, soccer seems to have the youngest audience.  I am not a big soccer fan so I do not really understand the fascination with the sport from a younger demo.

Next, the sports properties with which we think are competing demos have shown the aging in their sports.  The aforementioned pro wrestling, UFC and action sports (median age in 2016:  47, median age in 2006: 34).  Also, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series increased by 9 years in the 2006 to 2016 span (49 years old to 48 years old).  This means that the fans (most likely) have been loyal throughout the years which is a positive.

But, one may argue that this means that the sports are not doing a good job in cultivating a younger demo.  Traditionally, the younger demo, which is attractive to advertisers, has more spending power as they aren’t tied down with kids, mortgages, etc.  There are mitigating factors here.  For the younger demo, there are the cord-cutters and cord-nevers (those that never paid for TV) which would not be captured in this study.  Also, the birth of over the top platforms has happened in the past couple years which would not be registered in the study as well.  Finally, the changing landscape of TV viewership has changed over 10 years which may skew the demos.

In the end, the study may mean that the likes of the UFC and pro wrestling may shift its focus on advertising sales to an older demo.  Or, make a stronger pitch to the younger demo to attract those advertisers.

13 Responses to “UFC median TV audience age is 49 compared to 34 in 2006 according to SBJ study”

  1. James on June 6th, 2017 2:59 PM

    Kids play soccer… lots of kids do. Not difficult to comprehend why the demo is younger.

  2. Marco Contreras on June 6th, 2017 8:35 PM

    That’s interesting, as cable dies and cord cutters are the majority , there has to be a way to track this demo it’s very important as an advertiser plus social media has become way more dominant

    The age increase shocked me to be honest

    Jason do you ever sleep lol you pump a lot of content

  3. Jason Cruz on June 6th, 2017 8:46 PM

    @Marco Thanks. I have young kids so no I do not sleep. 🙂

  4. TopsE on June 7th, 2017 12:08 PM

    Hahaha….so they cant use 18 to 34 demo ….fox would point that out hahaha…bad news for negotiation leverage for the ufc….hahaha

  5. Jason Cruz on June 7th, 2017 2:59 PM

    @James Really? Do old people pro wrassle?

  6. Caramel City on June 7th, 2017 5:10 PM

    Where’s D and all of his demographic non sense that young people watch mma.
    Apparently not.

  7. BrainSmasher on June 7th, 2017 5:45 PM

    I think the study really shows the effect of chord cutters. I mean how can ever sports age older especially that drastically? Are we to assume no young people are following sports anymore to offset those fans who age over the time of the last study? The only thing that makes sense is so many young people finding alternate ways to follow the sports across the board. The older the age demo the more impact the chord cutters have. If 20% of a sports fan base is 20 year old chord cutters. That doesn’t have much of an impact on 32 year old soccer. But it would make a large
    Difference in balancing out a 49 year old demo. I would guess the truth is the sports that went up in age really only went up half of what is reported. Going back 11 years to mama peak is of course going to be hard to match the aging fans with new young fans. But I doubt it increased 16 years like the study suggest.

  8. d on June 7th, 2017 6:27 PM

    Based on Nielsen’s ratings, there is no way this is accurate. We see the 18-49 demo numbers for boxing and mma and they aren’t even close. The boxing numbers within the demo, even when getting similar overall ratings are always less in the key demo than mma. This makes no sense and doesn’t add up.

  9. TopsE on June 7th, 2017 6:52 PM

    Hahahahaha…b.s. And d up in arms….no more leverage in 18 to 34 demo for the ufc hahahahahaha

  10. Fight Fan on June 7th, 2017 7:08 PM

    Lol here comes d, “fake news”!

  11. d on June 7th, 2017 7:10 PM

    Fight Fan hates facts.

  12. Etops on June 7th, 2017 7:32 PM

    This study don’t break down numbers in each age group. It’s just an average. I am willing to bet a large portion of ufc audience is under 40.

    This study is irrelevant. Young people still watching tv in large numbers. Nobody is watching big sporting events on a tablet or phone, sorry Jason but I just don’t buy that.

  13. Teep on June 7th, 2017 9:25 PM

    Just change the sponsors, there sorted.

    Brought to you by Viagra. “Getting old? Can’t get it up? Rise up like a champ, with Viagra, one who does not fall does not “get it up”.

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