1.5M viewers watch Bader-Fedor on Paramount last Saturday

February 2, 2019

Last Saturday, 1.5 million viewers saw the main event of Bellator 214 with Ryan Bader taking care of Fedor in the very first round.  According to Nielsen via Bellator, the entire telecast drew 784,000 viewers in its 2 hour and 44-minute airing on the Paramount Network including the DVR +3 ratings

Bader won the Heavyweight title becoming a Bellator double champ with the win over Emelianenko.

In addition, the Aaron Pico-Henry Corrales fight drew 1 million viewers and Jake Hager-J.W. Kizer fight drew 1 million viewers.  Both of these fights ended in the first round.

In addition, Bellator outlined several other highlights from its broadcast last Saturday.

  • The most-watched Bellator event since Bellator 192on January 20, 2018.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with adults 18-49 (.6) since Bellator 175on March 31, 2017.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with men 18-49 (.73) since Bellator 192.
  • The second most-streamed Bellator event ever (on various Bellator/Paramount mobile platforms).
  • The most-streamed Bellator prelimany card ever.
  • The Ryan Bader knockout was among the most engaged posts in Bellator social media history with over 4 millionviews on various social platforms including a record number of video views on      Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • The week leading into Bellator 214delivered the second most growth for new followers to Bellator’s social platforms in franchise history.

Payout Perspective:

The numbers should please Bellator execs as the company has seen a decline in their ratings on Paramount in 2018.  The ratings, even though they include DVR ratings should show promise.  But the strong ratings are based on several minutes of viewership as the three featured fights lasted less than a round.  Yet, you could argue that there was strong interest based on the numbers. It also should be noted that the ratings do not include the number of those watching on DAZN.

Canelo-Jacobs set for DAZN on May 4th

January 17, 2019

Canelo Alvarez will be fighting Daniel Jacobs on May 4, 2019.  The event will be streamed on DAZN.

The fight will unify the WBA, IBF, and WBC middleweight titles.

The Jacobs fight is one that boxing fans wanted despite it not being the sexiest of picks.  Yet, the 35-2 Jacobs should have won a decision over Gennady Golovkin when the two met in March 2017.  GGG won the fight, which aired on PPV, via unanimous decision.

Alvarez defeated GGG this past September in the second matchup.  Although it’s inevitable that the two complete the trilogy, GGG is currently a free agent looking for a broadcast partner.  While he may sign with DAZN, it has not come to fruition.  Meanwhile, Alvarez has aligned himself with the streaming service and appeared late last year in an easy victory over Rocky Felding.

Payout Perspective:

There will not be any pressure for PPV buys here since it will be streaming on DAZN.  But, the pressure to sell sponsorships and subscriptions for the event will be magnified as the Cinco de Mayo weekend fight is the biggest weekend of the boxing calendar.  How Golden Boy will come up with the additional revenue to make up for the PPV losses will be interesting to see.

MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 7 – DAZN enters sports streaming market

December 28, 2018

This past June, Bellator MMA announced a deal with sport streaming service DAZN.  The late September 2018 launch in the U.S. of the $9.99 per month service was another challenge on the traditional way we watch sports.

Perhaps bigger than the Bellator deal, and securing another deal with Combates America, it signed Canelo Alvarez to an exclusive deal which began in December.  Alvarez pummeled an overmatched Fielding.

Bellator MMA aired several events which were exclusive to DAZN but also some events were also airing on the Paramount Network.  But the streaming on the digital platform allowed subscribers to see the Bellator product where the promotion did not have media deals.

DAZN is spending a lot of money for media rights and we’ll see if it pays off in the end.  For Bellator, it’s hard to decipher whether the deal will help recruit new fans to its product, but it gets it more exposure in previously untapped markets.

The question for Bellator will be whether it decides to abandon the notion of PPV and air exclusive events on DAZN.

Tape-delayed Bellator 209 on Paramount draws 381,000 viewers

November 19, 2018

Bellator MMA Live 209 drew 381,000 viewers on the Paramount Network according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast was also available via digital streaming service DAZN.

The event was tape-delayed from Israel and featured Patricio Freire as he defeated Emmanuel Sanchez for Friere’s Featherweight title.

The event drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

You can certainly stick the blame for the ratings on the one-day tape delay.  The ratings this year for Bellator have been disappointing.

Monster Energy renews sponsor deal with Bellator

November 16, 2018

Monster Energy will remain in the Bellator cage as the promotion announced a new three-year-deal per company release on Friday.  The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Via Bellator press release:

The partnership with Monster Energy has been an important component of our business since day one,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “They have played a factor in our success and we are thrilled to announce this new three-year extension. The hard work and passion that Hans Molenkamp and the rest of their team have for this sport is unmatched. We look forward to new and exciting opportunities for our brand, fighters and fans that this continued relationship brings to the table.”

Beginning in 2014, Bellator became the first MMA promotion to partner with Monster Energy, which paved the way in creating numerous future sponsorship opportunities throughout the combat sports landscape. Since that time, many of MMA’s most memorable events and elite athletes have been supported by the industry-leading energy drink brand.

“Bellator delivers compelling, high-action, adrenaline-pumping MMA events worldwide,” added Monster Energy Vice President of Sports Marketing Mitch Covington. “We are thrilled to continue our longtime partnership and look forward to evolving our relationship even further, allowing us to further integrate the Monster Energy and Bellator brands.”

Over the years, Monster Energy and Bellator have worked together to host unique and creative activations for fans. Previously, Monster Energy Bellator MMA fight series events have been held during Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Monster Energy Supercross races. Drawing thousands in attendance to experience live MMA bouts and fighter autograph signings, these events are expected to continue and evolve under the new partnership.

In addition to Bellator, Monster is a sponsor in the UFC octagon and has forged individual deals with several UFC athletes.

(photo via Bellator press release)

Payout Perspective:

SoCal-based Monster is a big sponsor within extreme sports and MMA as it caters to the young, active demo.  With a new digital deal on DAZN for Bellator, Monster will get another source of visibility.  Not to mention it is heavily involved the UFC which solidifies itself as the energy drink brand in MMA.

Bellator 208 draws 521,000 viewers on Paramount

October 17, 2018

Bellator 208 on Paramount Saturday night drew 521,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Fedor defeating Chael Sonnen in the last semi-final of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

It was the second of back-to-back nights for the promotion.  The event also aired on DAZN.

In addition to Fedor and Sonnen, Benson Henderson defeated Saad Awad.

Payout Perspective:

Although 521,000 viewers does not seem that impressive, it is the best viewership since Bellator 199 this past May.  One might infer that there were more viewers since DAZN was an optional way to view the event.  The viewership suggests that Fedor is still a draw for many MMA fans.

DAZN signs Canelo to richest contract in sports

October 17, 2018

Canelo Alvarez has signed a 5-year, 11 fight deal worth $365 million with new streaming service DAZN according to ESPN.  The deal begins with Alvarez’s December fight against Rocky Fieldinng.

The deal is the richest athlete contract in sports history.  According to the ESPN story, HBO had the right of first negotiation and a “last-look” provision for Alvarez’s December fight and it made an offer for an HBO PPV event but decided not to match DAZN’s offer.

Alvarez fought Gennady Golovkin this past September on PPV.  It was his last fight under his promotional agreement with Golden Boy Boxing.  The event drew 1.1 million viewers for at a suggested PPV price point of $84.95.  DAZN’s streaming service is $9.99 per month and offers boxing as well as Bellator MMA.  It started its service in North America this past September featuring an Anthony Joshua fight.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps following PBC’s strategy of paying up front in hopes of earning money in the end, DAZN has made a huge investment in Canelo Alvarez.  Arguably, he’s the only PPV draw in boxing since Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.  Signing with the streaming service marks another sign of the shift of how consumers watch sports.  The question will be how DAZN will be able to recoup on its investment and how soon.