PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 291K viewers

February 28, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night drew 291,000 viewers.  The event featured Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim with Dirrell pulling out the technical decision.

The event took place at the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The event peaked with 366,000 viewers during the co-feature of Jamal James and Janel Gonzales.

The telecast took place late on Saturday night on the east coast 10:30pm and ran over 3 hours which may have attributed to the decrease in ratings.  At this point, its hard to keep up with all of the MMA and boxing occurring each weekend.  There start at different times and different networks.  With such a late start time for a bulk of their audience, it’s easy to see why this telecast experienced a slight downturn in ratings.

Bellator 217 draws 349,000 on Paramount

February 28, 2019

Bellator 217 took place this past Saturday night and drew 349,000 viewers via Nielson per ShowBuzz Daily.  The card took place in Ireland and featured James Gallagher as he defeated Steven Graham.

The event took place at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland and drew 13,150 for a gate of $1.2 million.

The event aired on the Paramount Network and DAZN.

Saturday’s event was the lowest-rated of the three this year.  The 2019 average is down to 470,000 viewers.

The show on Saturday seemed to get overlooked due in part to the UFC event.  One would hope that Bellator would be able to turn the ratings around lest we see another decline in ratings this year.

UFC announces “Official Frozen Meal of UFC”

February 28, 2019

The UFC has announced an “Official Frozen Meal of UFC” with Devour joining the company’s stable of sponsors. The press release included the official announcement that Oscar Mayer P3 Portable Protein Pack as “Official Protein Snack” of UFC.
Both sponsorships are new and mark exclusive sponsorship categories for the UFC.

P3 made its debut as a UFC sponsor in 2018 and has since been in signage during UFC events as well as on fighter kits.

Via UFC press release:

DEVOUR™ launched in 2016 with the mission to shake up the frozen aisle by taking an unapologetic stand for mouthwatering, craveable frozen foods. Over the past 3 years, DEVOUR™ has successfully built awareness with its bold and disruptive approach to communications, which has fueled its rapid growth in popularity with consumers. The brand offers frozen meals, frozen sandwiches, and instant bowls, which are widely distributed in retail grocery and convenience stores across the country. Similar to Oscar Mayer P3’s strategic partnership with UFC, DEVOUR’s™ collaboration with UFC will focus on reaching the loyal MMA fan base that comprises key demographics, including millennials, early adopters, and trendsetters.

Under the terms of the expanded partnership, both Oscar Mayer P3 and DEVOUR™ will be integrated extensively into select UFC live events, highlighted by a branded presence inside the world-famous Octagon®; custom integrations throughout UFC’s telecasts; in-venue activations; unique social media campaigns; custom content pieces, and Fight Week and Fight Night integrations.

In 2019, both Oscar Mayer P3 and DEVOUR™ will launch dedicated UFC products at select participating retail locations across the country. An exclusive Oscar Mayer P3 product line will feature co-developed product nutritionals focused on workout performance, certified by the UFC Performance Institute®, along with the integration of UFC-themed packaging. DEVOUR™ will also leverage UFC marks on various product offerings.

In addition, the Oscar Mayer P3 and DEVOUR™ brands will be further integrated with UFC through dedicated custom content pieces. Oscar Mayer P3 will leverage UFC fighter talent within an original series produced at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, highlighting the importance of protein in an athlete’s preparation and daily routine. DEVOUR™ will integrate into Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight program, featuring unique DEVOUR™ marketing placements and mentions.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC is making a big push in populating categories of sponsorship that never existed. We will certainly see Devour this Saturday at UFC 235 as the brand makes its debut. P3 has been a part of UFC events as well including on the Reebok fighter kits. One can expect more activation from sponsors as the UFC events continue throughout this year.

Modelo chooses Brian Ortega for “Fighting Spirit” commercial campaign

February 28, 2019

Brian Ortega will be the featured UFC athlete in Modelo’s “Fighting Spirit” commercial campaign.  Despite coming off a loss to Max Holloway this past December, the official beer of the UFC chose T-City to be a part of their latest marketing drive.

Heavyweight Stipe Miocic was featured in the first “Fighting Spirit” campaign this past summer.  It was the first activation by Modelo with a UFC athlete.

And if you follow social media, you can see UFC fan Halle Barry likes Ortega too.  She has asked him to train her for an upcoming movie role according to the actress’ twitter.

Payout Perspective:

The featherweight is said to be eyeing a matchup with Jose Aldo later this year which would be a really exciting matchup.  The new activation spot reflects how the UFC is seeking more of an active role with its sponsors and contracted athletes.  Notwithstanding his loss, Ortega’s backstory which was outlined extensively by ESPN (another UFC partner) likely helped secure the spot for T-City.  You might describe this as corporate synergy.  Or…something else.

UFC Fight Night on ESPN + 3 prelims draws 271,000 Saturday morning

February 26, 2019

The UFC Fight Night on ESPN + 3 prelims drew 271,000 viewers on ESPN2.  The event aired at 11:00 am ET on Saturday morning.

The prelims were on ESPN2 while the main card aired on ESPN’s digital platform, ESPN+.  The feature bout of the prelims saw welterweight Dwight Grant defeat Carlo Pedersoli, Jr in the first round of their fight.

The rating is the lowest thus far for a live televised UFC event since it started with the network this past January.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings should not deter you from believing that the UFC-ESPN relationship has been fruitful for the fight promotion.  A combat sports card on a Saturday morning is a bad spot for the telecast and with an overseas card with relatively unknown fighters, this was a card that may have been overlooked.

Ticket demand strong for UFC 235

February 26, 2019

With UFC 235 happening this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, MMA Payout takes a look at ticket demand for the event.  The main event features Jon Jones as he takes on Anthony Smith for Bones’ Light Heavyweight title.

As of Monday, the average resale price for UFC 235 is $409 which makes it one of the hottest tickets in recent UFC history.  As pointed out by secondary market ticket seller, SeatGeek, only UFC 229 (Khabib-Conor) and UFC 226 (Int’l Fight Week) had stronger ticket demand.  The cheapest ticket ‘get-in’ ticket as of Monday afternoon was $137.  Second row seats near the Octagon are going for $2,240 per. SeatGeek has done an analysis of the UFC tickets and how 235 matches up.

The tickets for this event represent a roughly 50 percent increase in ticket demand to the average UFC ticket.  For more information on the ticket breakdown, go here.

Payout Perspective:

The ticket demand is strong for this event and one might attribute this to the return of Jon Jones.  Not to be discounted, Tyron Woodley is taking on Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight title. In addition, Ben Askren makes his long-awaited debut against Robbie Lawler.  UFC 235 looks to shape up as a great card on paper.  With March Madness beginning with conference tournaments, one may think that the influx of people flocking to Vegas might be helping this strong ticket push.  It also reflects in part fans’ willingness to forget about Jones’ past USADA issues.

The Interview: Miesha Tate, Rich Franklin and Demetrious Johnson

February 25, 2019

I had the chance to attend the first of three ONE Championship media events here in the United States.  This ‘meet and greet’ took place at the Southwest Boys & Girls Club in Seattle, Washington.  Prior to the event I had the opportunity to talk with Demetrious Johnson, Rich Franklin and Miesha Tate.

One point of clarification from the DJ portion of the interview, Johnson states that ONE Championship is seen by 200 million viewers.  The actual number is 20 million as pointed out by ONE Championship PR staff.

Also, I end the interview with Miesha Tate by saying we look forward to ONE Championship in the U.S.  Of course, I mean watching it on B/R App and/or Turner Sports as there is no scheduled ONE Championship events in the U.S.

Johnson takes on Yuya Wakamatsu in the opening round of the ONE Championship Flyweight World Grand Prix tournament on March 31st.  Also on the card, Eddie Alvarez debuts taking on Timofey Natsyukhin.  The event takes place at Ryogoku Kokugikan near Tokyo, Japan.

With ONE Championship announcer Mitch Chilson (and Seattle native) as the emcee, Johnson, Franklin and Tate spoke to the kids at the Boys and Girls club on their background, overcoming obstacles growing up and fielding questions.  They also took pictures with the kids and signed autographs.

ESPN and PFL enter into multi-year deal to air on network and ESPN+

February 25, 2019

ESPN and The Professional Fighters League (PF) have reached a multi-year deal with the network making it the home of the promotion.  It will now become stablemates with the UFC on the network as it begins its second season of the PFL format in May.

ESPN and ESPN+ will become the exclusive media home for the PFL according to today’s press release.  Financial terms were not announced.  All ten PFL events will air live on ESPN platforms with “up to three hours of exclusive action” on ESPN + and two exclusive hours on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.  TSN will air all PFL events in Canada.

Via PFL Media:

In addition to the live events, ESPN platforms will bring fans pre- and post-event coverage and additional exclusive PFL content, including an inside look at the league through a ‘Road to the Playoffs,’ ‘Road to the Championship’ and the PFL ‘Best of Season.’ The agreement starts with the telecast of the 2018 PFL Season Review and 2019 Roster Selection Show this spring.

Specific details about scheduling and surround programming will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fans can look forward to some firsts this PFL season, including the debut of MMA’s first-ever 155-pound women’s division which will feature two-time American Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison, as well as SmartCage and Cagenomics, proprietary PFL features that deliver real-time data and analytics to bring fans “inside the cage.”

“We are pleased to add the PFL to our combat sports roster. This unique and innovative competition structure provides MMA fans with a great option to see some of the best fights and content in the sport,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “ESPN is the home of combat sports, and we look forward to delivering thrilling live PFL events and powerful storytelling to fans, across all platforms.”

The PFL aired on NBC Sports Network to middling ratings last year and as the World Series of Fighting had a deal with the network.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that this is a big move for PFL as its visibility will ascend tremendously.  Not only will it fill content need for ESPN+ but will air on ESPN2 and TSN in Canada.  One has to think that the new management group helped with the credibility of the promotion and its projected future.  Could the UFC and PFL work together with the PFL becoming a “feeder” league for the UFC and/or UFC fighters participating in the PFL?  We shall see.

Danis handed $7,500 fine and 6 month suspension for UFC 229 brawl

February 25, 2019

The Nevada Athletic Commission has handed down a punishment for Conor McGregor cornerman and Bellator welterweight Dillon Danis on Monday for his part in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl.

Danis was handed a $7,500 fine and six-month suspension retroactive to UFC 229 on October 6, 2018.  After Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated McGregor, the lightweight champ jumped the Octagon fence and made it to Danis and a melee ensued.  In previous commission hearings, Nurmagomedov and two of his corner: Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were handed suspensions and fines.  McGregor was also assessed a suspension and fine for his part.

NAC officials noted that the suspension and fine for Danis was the result of unsportsmanlike conduct and evidence that he had to be physically restrained by security on multiple occasions as well as inciting Khabib’s corner.

Payout Perspective:

You might assess the aftermath of the UFC 229 suspensions and fines as heavy on Khabib and his corner and lighter on McGregor.  In fact, Khabib has said as much with the news of McGregor’s suspension.  Danis’ light fine will not make the Dagestani’s camp happy either.  You may argue that despite Danis’ taunts it was Khabib who jumped the Octagon fence to incite the altercation so the stiffer penalties should go to Nurmogomedov.   But no matter the suspensions an fine it feels like this rivalry is not over.

UFC on ESPN +3 attendance, gate and bonuses

February 23, 2019

UFC on ESPN + 3 took place on Saturday mid-day in the United States as the live event took place in Prague.

The UFC announced Performance bonuses for Thiago “Marreta” Santos, Stefan Struve, Michal Oleksiejczuk and Dwight Grant.  Each received $50,000.  There was no Fight of the Night.

The event drew  16,583 fans for a live gate of $1,606,176.  The event took place at the O2 Arena in Prague in the Czech Republic.  It was the first event in Prague and based on attendance numbers, fans came out to see the UFC>

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