September 1, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective This time we take a look at UFC 177 which took place at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California where T.J. Dillashaw defeated his bantamweight title against Joe Soto.
Dillashaw KO’s Soto in 5th round
It was not Renan Barao, but T.J. Dillashaw was able to end the fight in the 5th round again as he disposed of a game Joe Soto. Dillashaw described himself as a “company man” and there was no issue about whether he’d take the new opponent on a day’s notice. For Soto, it was a solid effort in his debut fight in the UFC. Both fighters are likely in the good graces of the UFC. Who is not on the UFC’s good side? Renan Barao for not making weight. The former champ, who just this past May was praised by Dana White, is now on the outs with the organization for not making the 135 pound limit. White’s distaste toward Barao may be fueled by the already anticipated lack of buzz in this event.
Attendance and gate
Although the initial thought was that this event would pull a small attendance and gate, it actually exceeded the amount of fans that saw Dillashaw-Barao this past Memorial Day weekend. The secondary market reflected the fact that demand was low. But, the amount off walkups and discounted tickets helped with the attendance and gate figure.
As reported, bonuses of $50K each went to Dillashaw, Yancy Medeiros, Carlos Diego Fierra and Ramsey Nijem with the last two awarded Fight of the Night. Despite a slick first round sub on the first fight of the UFC Prelims on FS1, Chris Wade was shut out from reported bonuses.
Sponsors in the Octagon tonight were Las Vegas.com, video game Assassin’s Creed Unity, Fram, Musclepharm, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Corn Nuts, Alienware, MetroPCS, Xyience and Bud Light had the center.
MetroPCS and Harley Davidson were the most notable sponsors with activation surrounding the event. MetroPCS did its usual social media promotion including its “Tale of the Tweet” app. Harley Davidson launched the Hometown Throwdown III promotion in which fans could win the opportunity to have the UFC come to their town as well as throw a tailgate party before the event. The fighters that won their fights on the main card of 177 received a Harley Davidson.
Promotion of T.J. DIllashaw
While many have criticized the card, the one thing that may be overlooked is the great job the UFC did in building the T.J. Dillashaw brand. It’s understandable for the cynical UFC fan to say if the UFC was doing such a great job, this would not be “overlooked.” But, regardless of the fights on the card, the UFC’s shoulder programming has done a great job in building Dillashaw.
In watching the Countdown show and the Embedded vlogs the UFC has introduced people to Dillashaw and you get to see someone deal with all of the responsibilities of being champion. The one plus from my perspective is that Urijah Faber was not used as the bridge to introduce Dillashaw. This may seem absurd, but since Faber is a name and trains with Dillashaw it would make sense for Faber to be the one to introduce him.
Can Dillashaw be a draw? As it currently stands, fans are underwhelmed with the lighter weight divisions. Despite being one of the best in the business, Demetrious Johnson has not sparked the interests of the UFC universe. Jose Aldo has not been healthy enough for anyone to remember how vicious he once was and despite banking blue chip sponsors; Anthony Pettis has not been in the Octagon in ages. If Dillashaw can string some wins together and defeat a guy like Dominick Cruz, I could envision the UFC marketing him much more.
Odds and ends
While I just praised the shoulder programming in the previous section, one of the scenes in the Embedded vlogs was Team Alpha Male doing a ticket giveaway for UFC 177 which foreshadowed the issues with selling this event.
If you were watching the Embedded episodes, Dillashaw did a lot of post-workout work in a hyperbaric chamber and dreamed of having one in his home. I’m sure Dillashaw got his Hyperbaric chamber in his home after this event.
Barao and Cejudo were not paid per Heidi Fang’s tweet and Jorgenson and Anthony Birchak (who was scheduled to face Joe Soto) were given show and win purses despite not fighting per MMA Junkie. Tough time for Birchak who found his home robbed after coming back from Sacramento.
Bethe Corriea’s quest to run through the Horsewomen continues. Really, if the four ladies are going to go through with this gimmick, someone else has to be good in the group aside from Flair. The good news for Corriea, this “Horsewomen” thing has Rousey wanting to fight her. So, yes, pro wrestling is seeping into your pure MMA sport.
Bellator decided to release Soto’s fight against Joe Warren prior to Saturday night.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) August 30, 2014
Just a thought, but as a way to entice or say thank you to those that ordered UFC 177, it could offer them a month’s free use of UFC Fight Pass. I understand that it tacitly admits that the card was not PPV-worthy but if you were to offer something like that, it would build a lot of good will with a loyal fan base. If they have Fight Pass, they tack an extra month for free and if you don’t it gives them a chance to try it for free. I know, probably a lot of administrative headaches with deciphering who ordered the PPV, but it still seems like a good PR move.
Expect a low number for the prelims on FS1. There was one fight in the first hour and lots of filler due to a first round sub. Also, with Henry Cejudo pulling out of his fight with Scotty Jorgensen, there were only three fights set for the two hour time block.
With the first full weekend of college football coupled with the multiple problems with the card, it was the perfect storm for folks to actually “boycott” this card.
Earlier in the week, Dana White landed on a list by GQ naming him one of the sleaziest people in sports. Let’s be honest, any combat sports promoter could be found on this list.
It was likely that if UFC 176 was not cancelled, this event would not have gone forward. But, the UFC could not take the PR hit of cancelling two events in a row. Most importantly, the UFC does not want to confirm what most fans and pundits know; there are too many events. Also, at such a late time for Barao pulling out, it was too late to pull out of the PPV and/or cancel the event. This buy rate will rival that of UFC 174 and maybe even do worse. As an interesting and random note, the first UFC did slightly over 86,000 PPV buys. It would not be surprising that the actual buy rate would rival this number. My take is that we’ll never receive an official number for this event although a range will be given around 90-110K PPV buys.
August 30, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 177. Despite the last-minute main event change and the lack of star power, UFC fans came out to see their hometown fighter, T.J. Dillashaw as it drew 11,1000 for a gate of $700,000.
The attendance and gate were announced at the post-fight press conference. In addition to the attendance and gate, bonuses were awarded to T.J. Dillashaw, Yancy Medeiros, Carlos Diego Fierra and Ramsey Nijem. All were awarded $50,000.
Dillashaw and Medeiros were awarded Permances of the Night and Fierra-Nijem received Fight of the Night.
The attendance and gate figures infer that there was a good amount of people walking up to buy tickets today based on previous projections. Notably, more people attendanded this fight, than the Memorial Day event in which Dillashaw won the title. Bonuses seemed appropriate although Chris Wade could have won a Performance Bonus for his first round sub in his prelim bout.
August 29, 2014
MMA Payout has learned that UFC 177 is one of the weakest markets for ticket in he UFC in some time. Even before the announcement that Renan Barao would not be in the main event, the average ticket price on the secondary market according to SeatGeek is just $136. It’s worth noting that the event is not sold out as of Friday afternoon.
The average ticket price is down 66% from the $410 average of UFC 175 in Las Vegas. It’s also the second lowest average ticket price and the lowest since August 2012 for UFC 150 (Edgar-Henderson II) . Due to the fact that tickets are still available at the box office, fewer than 400 tickets have been sold on the resale market. According to SeatGeek, it’s the least activity on the secondary market for a UFC fight in the United States.
SeatGeek points out tickets are still available to purchase on the primary market and are listed for as low as $65.40 in the upper level and as of noon today, the best available from Ticketmaster is $314.25. But, tickets on the resale market in the lower bowl are going for as low as $104 which is less than half of face value. So, if you want to sit close, the secondary market may be where to go but if you just want to get in, you might be able to walk up to the box office tomorrow night.
For those wondering, UFC 174’s resale tickets averaged $175.
Since tickets are not selling, it’s evident that the secondary market would not have much action. We should point out that UFC 175 was the big July show that was centered around top stars (i.e. Weidman, Rousey) whereas this show has suffered setbacks with the latest being the loss of Barao. If UFC 176 had not been cancelled, we might have seen this show being axed. But, if you do watch the prelims or purchase the PPV, you may see a lot of open seats due to the lack of demand.
August 23, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, Oklahoma drew 7,119 and a live gate of $452,075. The figures were announced at the post-event press conference. In addition, Rafael dos Anjos heads the list of bonus winners for UFC Fight Night 49 on Saturday night from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Dos Anjos scored the bonus with an upset victory via first round KO of Benson Henderson. In addition, Jordan Mein, Thales Leites and Ben Saunders scored “Performance of the Night” bonuses. For the second time today, no “Fight of the Night” award was given out.
(H/t: MMA Junkie).
The attendance and gate did not reveal the number of comps. The Bok Center, where the event was held, holds up to 19,199 although the configuration for the UFC event was not revealed. The event outdrew UFC Fight Night 48 by 97.
The returning Saunders showed us that the Eddie Bravo “mission control” technique works with the first ever oomaplata submission as he subbed Chris Heatherly. The attendance for both events fared better than last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 47. UFC FN 49’s attendance and gate is lower than June’s regional fight nights in New Mexico and San Antonio but appears to be par for the course with these events.
August 23, 2014
There was no Fight of the Night bonuses although 4 fighters received the $50,000 Performance bonuses: Michael Bisping, Tyron Woodley, Alberto Mina and Yuta Sasaki.
In addition, attendance was announced at the post-fight press conference although no gate was revealed. UFC officials declared the event at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena a sellout with 7,022 in attendance.
As indicated by Junkie, there were two other events held at the CotaiArena. Notably, the last 2 were this year and no gate was reported.
UFC on Fuel TV 6 – November 2012 8,415/$1.4 million gate
UFC Fight Night 48 – August 2014 7,022
TUF China Finale – March 2014 6,000
It’s interesting that the trend is that gate tallies are not being announced for international shows. Although considered a sellout, UFC Fight Night did not have as many in attendance as it did in November 2012. This could be a seat configuration issue. There were some good individual efforts on the card but nothing FOTN worthy.
August 17, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday’s Fight Night event from Maine. Dana White announced the information during the post-fight press conference.
For its first trip to Maine, the UFC drew 5,329 for a gate of $321, 470. No comps were mentioned. The event took place at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. According to its web site, the venue can hold up to 8,000.
Bonuses went to Tim Boetsch, Thiago Tavares, Alan Jouban and Seth Baczynski. Each earned $50,000 each.
Boetsch and Thiago Tavares earned the Performance of the Night honors with the former defeating Brad Tavares with a third round KO. Jouban and Baczynski won Fight of the Night despite it lasting only 1 round.
The event attendance was comparable to UFC FN 45 in Atlantic City (4,115/no gate announced). Based on the attendance and gate alone, this may be seen as a disappointment if you compare it to how UFC FN 44 in San Antonio (9,227/$728K gate) and UFC FN 42 in Albuquerque (8,775/$697K). The UFC is trying to expand its market to regions it has yet to visit and it is discovering where not to return. One might argue that ratings on FS1 will matter more than the gate but its still something to take note.
July 26, 2014
Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler won for Fight of the Night while Dennis Bermudez and Anthony Johnson won performance bonuses. Bermudez submitted Clay Guida and Johnson KO’d Lil’ Nog. All of the fighters received the standard $50,000 each.
Attendance at the SAP Center in San Jose, California drew 11,482 fans for a live gate of $735,317. The attendance and gate were announced at the post-fight press conference.
While the attendance and gate did not match up to UFC on Fox 11 in Orlando, it still was a respectable figure which fell in line with the UFC on Fox 9 and 10. The UFC couldn’t ask for more with the Fight of the Night being the main event and getting a submission and a quick KO on the main card. It was a good variety of everything for the show. We will see if this equates to ratings. The last two summer cards have averaged 2.3 million viewers.
July 20, 2014
MMA Junkie reports that UFC Fight Night 46 was a sellout with an attendance of 9,500 for a gate of $1.4 million. The event took place at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland and featured Conor McGregor.
With the attendance and gate figures, it comes in second to UFC Fight Night 37 in London in terms of non-PPV events for 2014. The last time the UFC came to Dublin, UFC 93 drew 9,369 for a gate of $1.3 million. That card was headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson.
The attendance and gate is good news for the UFC as it seeks to expand its global footprint. Now, the UFC has a bona fide star it can market to the region in McGregor. It should be able to build on this when it returns. There was debate as to whether this card should have been on FOX versus Fight Pass. Certainly, when you think of the domestic impact of putting it on network TV, McGregor would help with the marketing for the UFC. Then again, if the UFC is seeking to build its digital network with Fight Pass and expand internationally, this card definitely helps.
July 17, 2014
It was announced at the post-fight press conference that attendance at UFC Fight Night 45 was 4,115. No gate was available at the time. The event took place at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
The $50,000 bonuses were as follows:
Fight of the Night: John Lineker-Alptekin Ozkilic
Performance bonuses: Donald Cerrone, Lucas Martins
The last Wednesday show was from Duluth, Georgia at UFC Fight Night 35 in January. It drew 5,822 for a gate of $231,951. Although no gate was announced we may assume that it was comparable, if not lower than UFC FN 35. It was an entertaining night of fights with Cerrone scoring another bonus check with a headkick on Jim Miller. It’s his fourth straight bonus check and 10th overall in the UFC (including Fight of the Night, Performance, KO and Sub).
July 7, 2014
The TUF 19 Finale drew 6,500 for a gate of $835,000. The gate doubled that of the TUF 18 Finale which was held at the same venue. As is custom now, no comps were revealed.
Bonuses were $50,000 each and were as follows:
Fight of the Night: Leandro Issa – Jumabieke Tuerxun
Performances of the Night: Adriano Martins and Issa
Issa doubles up for his performance against Tuerxun. Martins scored a KO over Juan Manuel Puig to earn his bonus.
The TUF 19 Finale was aided by the fact that it was International Fight Week and there were ticket discounts for those that bought tickets to the UFC Fan Expo. It also helped that BJ Penn was on the card. The bonuses could have been given to the TUF winners Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson. It’s ironic that the last two fights for TUF 19 were the two most exciting the whole season.