UFC 226 draws near 300K PPV buys according to report

August 15, 2018

MMA Fighting reports that UFC 227 is estimated to have done 300,000 PPV buys.  The event was headline by two title fights in the Flyweight and Bantamweight divisions.

According to the report by Dave Meltzer, the PPV buys are in the same range as the April 7th PPV featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta.

The event was headlined by Cody Garbrandt gaining a rematch against T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight title.  Dillahsaw stopped Garbrandt in the first round.  The co-main saw Demetrious Johnson fall to Henry Cejudo ending the long title reign of Mighty Mouse and flyweight.

Payout Perspective:

The indicators for the event did not really point to this card doing 300,000 buys.  The Prelims airing on FX drew 717,000 viewers although it was the third highest on cable.  The google searches for Saturday drew over 1 Million for “UFC 227.”  But, what may have sold the PPV was the bad blood between Dillashaw and Garbrand as it’s a foregone conclusion that Johnson is not a PPV draw.  With Cejudo as champion, we will see how the UFC packages him.

 

Early reports for UFC 226 for PPV slightly under 400K

July 11, 2018

Dave Meltzer reports that early estimates of this past Saturday’s UFC 226 are slightly under 400,000 PPV buys.  Unless this number makes a drastic rise, the numbers reflect the lack of drawing power for the heavyweight main event.

Despite the fact that UFC 226 lost the Max Holloway-Brian Ortega fight, it’s hard to think that the fight for the lightweight title would have increased these prognostications much more.  Based on the mediocre prelims ratings of 668,000, it appears that despite a very good gate, the PPV viewership did not feel compelled to watch.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect an uncomfortable trend of big fights not turning up PPV numbers.  Cormier has not proven to be a draw on his own.  The only times he’s produced numbers was fights against Jon Jones.  Similarly, Stipe Miocic has not produced as a PPV star and the only time one of his PPVs did well (450K buys), it was mainly due in part to the curiosity of CM Punk.  The good news is that the rumors of Conor McGregor returning later this year and Brock Lesnar’s return in early 2019 should help build for at least two big PPVs.  But, the promotion of the “Superfight” between two champs did not seem to work from a PPV standpoint this time around.

Holloway told UFC 223 trending over 1M PPV buys by White

June 27, 2018

Would UFC 223 have scored over 1 million PPV buys if Max Holloway remained in the main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov?  Dana White told the Featherweight champ this prior to his removal from the main event in Brooklyn.

Al Iaquinta filled in at last minute to face Khabib.  The event reported between 250,000 to 310,000 PPV buys.  Nurmagomedov easily handled Iaquinta to win the interim Featherweight title.

MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn reports that Holloway told him that prior to his removal, White indicated that it was trending to over 1 million PPV buys.

Payout Perspective:

Do we believe White?  Probably not, since White is promoting not giving accurate estimates.  There are a lot of measures used to estimate PPV buy rate and its difficult to give a precise number since there are many variables leading up to an event.  So while most would not have agreed with White’s assessment, he may have had the data to suggest it was “trending” over a million.  More likely, it was a motivational tool for Holloway to keep working.  Yet, these types of tactics do not seem fair to athletes.

Report: UFC 225 drew 250,000 PPV buys factoring in TV and streaming purchases

June 19, 2018

Dave Meltzer reports that UFC 225 drew 250,000 PPV buys.  The PPV buys was the subject of scrutiny when an LA Times report noted that UFC 225 drew “less than 150,000 buys” per an industry source.

A UFC attorney came out to call it a “material misrepresentation” indicating it was short by “something in excess of six figures,” but did not provide a correct number.

But the key paragraph on Meltzer’s report on MMA Fighting notes:

Industry sources with knowledge of the number pegged that as of the end of last week, it was estimated at doing about 250,000 buys, a number that would combine both the traditional television purchases and the streaming purchases. That would be lower to what would be expected for the show.

One might suggest that the LA Times report could have factored in traditional TV purchases and not the streaming purchases which could make all parties correct.

UFC 225 was headlined by Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero in what was to be a bout for the middleweight title.  But, Romero failed to make weight and the fight was declared a non-title bout.  The semi-main event saw Colby Covington win the UFC interim welterweight title with a victory over Rafael dos Anjos.

CM Punk made his second appearance in the UFC with a loss in the first fight of the PPV against Mike Jackson.

Payout Perspective:

 From a tech perspective, one might suggest we see more people buying online rather through their TV distributor.  This could be a result of people cutting the cord.  The 250,000 PPV buy report reflects the lack of drawing power on the card.  Despite the fact that Punk’s last appearance on PPV drew 450,000 buys, it was clear that the draw was just a one-time curiosity.  Arguably, with this being the strongest card put together this year, the PPV buy rate has to be fairly disappointing.

Canelo-GGG set for rematch September 15th

June 14, 2018

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are set for their rematch September 15th in Las Vegas according to the LA Times.  The deal was made shortly after a self-imposed deadline made by Alvarez’s camp.

GGG did not obtain a 50-50 split as he originally requested.  But, he likely did better than the 42.5% of the fight purse offered by Alvarez.  Official terms were not revealed.

Alvarez and GGG fought to a draw in the last fight in September 2017 and look to rematch a year later.  A May 2018 fight was thrown off course after Alvarez tested positive for Clenbuterol which he stated was related to contaminated meat. The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended Alvarez 6 months.  His suspension ends in August.

Payout Perspective:

With the announcement of this and the Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder fight, boxing is set for some huge fights and PPV events.  Alvarez-GGG drew 1.3M PPV buys and a $27M live gate at the T-Mobile Arena.  Look for similar numbers for this rematch which should improve upon the first due to the longer wait for it.

Report: UFC 225 draws “less than 150,000” PPV guys

June 13, 2018

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that this past Saturday’s UFC 225 drew less than 150,000 PPV buys.

The event featured the anticipated title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.  But Romero missed weight by .2 pounds and the 5 round fight became a non-title bout.  The co-main event featured a title fight for the interim welterweight title with Colby Covington defeating Rafel Dos Anjos.  The card also featured CM Punk’s second fight in the UFC.  Punk’s last fight on PPV helped the card draw 450,000 buys.

The report, which is included on an article on Conor McGregor’s court hearing, is based on an industry source that informed the paper.

While the attendance and gate were strong from a live event perspective, it failed to yield a huge buy rate.

Payout Perspective:

The news cannot be good for the company which hoped to have a solid buy rate for this PPV.  The card was one of the best PPV cards this year, yet it still did not surpass 200,000 buys.  It’s likely the worst buy rate for this season and does not say much for the draws in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

UFC 225 Prelims draw 667,000 on FS1

June 12, 2018

The UFC 225 Prelims drew 667,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The featured prelim bout of the telecast saw Curtis Blaydes stop Alistair Overeem with a vicious elbow while in Overeem’s guard in the third round of the fight.

According to ShowBuzz Daily, the event drew 323,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a overall household rating of 0.42.  The event did better than two live telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2.  The College Track and Field Championships drew 311,000 viewers at the same time as the Prelims and a College Baseball SuperRegional between South Carolina and Arkansas drew 583,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It would have been interesting to see if CM Punk and Curtis Blaydes switched places on the card how that might affect ratings and PPV buys.  The ratings are fair but do not indicate a larger audience for its PPV.

UFC 220 buys estimated between 340K-380K

February 16, 2018

According to Dave Meltzer in a report at MMA Fighting, UFC 220 is estimated at doing 340,000 to 380,000 pay-per-view buys.  The ratings are similar to numbers in line for UFC 219 in December.

UFC 220 featured two title fights.  The main event was Stipe Miocic defending his title against Francis Ngannou.  The co-headliner was Daniel Cormier defending his light heavyweight title against Volkan Oezdemir.

There were over 1 million google searches the night of UFC 220 which is an indicator of PPV interest.  Also, the UFC 220 Prelims drew 905,000 viewers on FS1.

UFC 219 featured Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino as she earned a unanimous decision over Holly Holm.  It was previously reported doing between 340,000-380,000 buys.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 220 reflects the new normal for the company’s PPV business.  It is an achievement if the show can do over 200,000 buys notwithstanding a Conor McGregor on the card.  Of course, any buy over 200,000 garners some of its participants a PPV upside which is good for the fighters.  The UFC still made money on the PPV but not as much as it would have hoped.  UFC 221 last week will likely do much less than the past two cards.  But, the March and April events should bring back the average for the company.

UFC 221 weigh ins: Romero misses weight, Rockhold agrees to fight

February 9, 2018

Yoel Romero missed weight during the UFC 221 weigh-ins and the main event for an already thin PPV card was put in jeopardy as Luke Rockhold considered not fighting Romero tomorrow in Perth, Australia.

Romero weighed in at 188 pounds and was not able to cut down to the limit of 185 pounds within the time given him.  Rockhold was less than pleased with the outcome.  According to sources, he has agreed to fight Romero with Rockhold having the chance to win the interim middleweight belt.  Romero, if he were to win, would not be able to win the belt.

Romero was a replacement for Robert Whittaker, the interim champion that defeated Romero this past July.  Whittaker has been suffering from an illness.  Georges St Pierre, who defeated Michael Bisping to gain the middleweight championship in November, vacated the title.

Payout Perspective:

For a card that did not have a lot of mass appeal, Romero missing weight may deter even more fans from sitting out this card. The good (or bad) news is that the UFC is making its debut in Perth and the fans in a new market are generally excited to see the UFC regardless of who is fighting.  However, with prices raised to $65, the card looks, at best, like a UFC Fight Night card rather than a PPV.

UFC raises its PPV prices $5

February 8, 2018

Although most have not talked about it, you will notice that your cable and/or satellite bill might be a little more if you purchase UFC PPVs as the suggested price has been raised $5.00 to $64.99.

The last time the UFC raised its PPV prices was 2015.

UFC 220 started 2018 with two title fights.  The PPV sold for $64.95 HD and $74.95 for 4K.  There was no indication if this was just a one time price adjustment from the standard $59.95  HD price.

But, at least two carriers have priced UFC 221 this Saturday at $64.95.

Miesha Tate also unofficially confirmed the new price.

Payout Perspective:

The question is whether $5 more will detract the casual fan from purchasing PPVs like this Saturday where there is not a whole lot of big names on the card.  Similarly, UFC 222, a card which was sold for one fight, Holloway-Edgar fell through and the company scrambled to replace the main event.  It has Cyborg fighting on the card and Edgar staying on to face Brian Ortega.  Still, February and March seem like very low PPV buy rates.  One has to wonder if the new strategy is to load up on big cards and see what happens with cards without big drawing names or fights.

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