Report: UFC 214 draws 850,000 PPV buys

August 7, 2017

ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that the UFC 214 held July 29th featuring Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier drew 850,000 PPV buys per sources.  The number includes US, Canada, Australia and digital platforms like UFC.TV.

The 850,000 PPV buys bests Jones-Cormier I at UFC 182 in January 2015.  UFC 182 drew 800,000 on PPV.

UFC 214 is the best buy rate since Ronda Rousey’s return against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016.  The first round stoppage of Rousey by Nunes drew 1.1 million buys.

UFC 214 also featured Tyron Woodley defending his welterweight title against Demian Maia and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino winning the Women’s Featherweight title from Tonya Evinger.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the fact that Dana White indicated that the PPV was tracking 1 million PPV buys, 850,000 is a very good number.  While the cynic may claim that it took 3 title fights and a very good Lawler-Cerrone fight to reel in 850,000 buys, the event has to be considered a positive for the new owners.  The first half of 2017 has been sluggish in PPV sales and this event helped create some momentum for the rest of the year.  It also brings up a question as to whether Jon Jones is a major draw or was it the rivalry that stoked fans to purchase the PPV.

UFC 213 and Bellator NYC underwhelm in PPV returns

July 20, 2017

MMA Fighting reports the estimated buy rates for UFC 213 and Bellator NYC.  Both shows did not do well with each not getting close to 200,000 PPV buys.

UFC 213 earlier this month drew in the range between 125-150,000 PPV buys.  Due to a late scratch by Amanda Nunes, the main event was Robert Whittaker taking on Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title.  Initially, the hope was that this show would be headlined by Georges St. Pierre-Michael Bisping and Cody Garbrandt defending his bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw.  Both fights were scratched leaving Nunes to defend against Valentina Shevchenko.

Bellator NYC, which took place late last month and featured Chael Sonnen taking on Wanderlei Silva drew in the 90-130,000 PPV buy range.  Bellator’s previous PPV in 2014 drew 100,000 buys.

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, according to sources that I have been in touch with UFC 212 (Aldo-Holloway) did better than UFC 213 but only slightly.  The buy rate for UFC 213 is not surprising after the card fell apart although I would have expected it to hit 200,000 PPV buys.  Based on the number of google searches and the ratings from Bellator 180 which preceded the event, the buy rate was expected.  However, it sounds that Bellator is looking to continue to explore more PPV shows.

Mayweather-McGregor Press Conference in LA draws 124,000 viewers on FS2

July 12, 2017

Tuesday’s Mayweather-McGregor Press Conference on FS2 drew 124,000 live viewers according to Nielsen.  A re-air of the World Tour on FS1 drew 133,000 viewers.

The launch of the World Tour at the Staples Center in Los Angeles aired live on FS2 at 2:30pm.  It peaked with 176,000 viewers.  The re-air on FS1 at 8:00pm peaked with 166,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Getting 124,000 viewers to tune in live, not to mention those watching online via Showtime, is extraordinary considering a large portion of the time was spent waiting for the two to get on stage.  The viewership is a sign that people are engaged with this tour and know that McGregor is a showman that can promote.  Will this translate into PPV buys?  We shall see.

$99.95 HD price tag for Mayweather-McGregor

July 10, 2017

$99.95.  That will be the HD cost for purchasing the April 26th Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor.

In SD, the price of the Showtime PPV will be $89.95.  Showtime spokesperson Madelyn Flax told USA Today Sports on Monday.

It will be the second time that a combat sports PPV will cost $99.95.  We all know that the May 2015 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather cost $99.95 HD.

Payout Perspective:

The $100 (we’re rounding up by 5 cents) PPV was almost expected.  I opined about the possibility of this fight exceeding over $100 for the event in Jason Nawara’s Uproxx article this past April.  Although there might be some concern that $100 is too much for the casual fan and based on the poor in-ring entertainment from Pacquiao-Mayweather, it may scare away some from buying it.  But, with the amount of press and hype centered around this spectacle, it most certainly will draw huge PPV numbers.  While White has stated it could do 5 million PPV buys, I don’t think it comes near that amount.  But if it does over 2-2.5 million buys, the $100 price tag will be one of the biggest revenue drivers for this event.

Ward-Kovalev II disappoints with gate, PPV

July 7, 2017

The rematch for the Andre Ward/Sergey Kovalev fight last month proved to be a financial bust according to the reported gate and PPV buys.

Ward received $6.5M for the fight while Kovalev’s pay was tied to the percentage of tickets and PPV revenue.  I’m not sure who decided this for Kovalev, but based on the low financial numbers, he will not be compensated commensurate to Ward’s guarantee.

Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports first reported that the rematch did only 130,000 PPV buys (other sources had it at 135,000 buys) which is less than the 160,000 to 165,000 estimated that the two drew in November.

According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael there were only 6,366 tickets sold for the rematch at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.  Roc Nation, the promoter of the fight, announced a crowd of 10,592 on fight night.  There were 2,113 complimentary tickets given out from 10,748 available per the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Payout Perspective:

The under-performance has to be a disappointment when you consider that the anticipation for the first fight and the fact the two came through with a great performance.  Yet, there was no appetite for this fight at the gate and with the number of PPV buys.  A less-than stellar Jessie Vargas-Manny Pacquiao in early November 2016 drew around 300,00 buys which more than doubles last month rematch.  This goes to show you that a fighter’s brand means more than matchups as one has to consider that the Ward/Kovalev rematch had to be much more competitive than Vargas-Pacquiao.

Report: Mayweather-McGregor set for August 26th at T-Mobile

June 14, 2017

Kevin Iole reports that the long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is set to happen on August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena MGM Grand Garden Arena T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  The Las Vegas Review Journal has also confirmed the fight.  An official announcement may come as soon as Wednesday.

SECOND UPDATE:  Sorry folks, I was right the first time, it’s the T-Mobile Arena.  Possibly a Mayweather concession since the UFC is one of T-Mobile Arena’s anchor tenants while Mayweather usually fights at the MGM Grand.  TMZ has more of the details including both Mayweather and McGregor likely making over $100M each.  No news on what weight they have agreed upon.

UPDATED:  I guess it is official via Mayweather social media.  Note the “It’s Showtime” reference which means that Mayweather gets his way with the PPV provider.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission approved a date reserved by Mayweather Promotions for Saturday, August 26, 2017.  The news had Mayweather cancelling the commission review of the date, but that never happened as the commission approved the reservation Wednesday.

With that news, in all likelihood we now have a fight between Mayweather and McGregor.

Payout Perspective:

We will have more news on this as it comes.  But, I am impressed that the sides came to an agreement.  Recall, the prolonged negotiations for Mayweather-Pacquiao.  This happened sort of quickly.  No word on how much PPV will be but expect it to be $100 as both will likely be making over $100 million from the fight.

Report: initial estimate for Canelo-GGG is at least 1M PPV buys

May 9, 2017

ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted that this past Saturday’s fight between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. did “at least 1 million buys.”

The report, if verified, is better than most expectations and is the best boxing PPV since the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight back in May 2015.

Payout Perspective:

1 million PPV buys might be in the ballpark as all indications had this as a big event.  All closed-circuit venues at Las Vegas hotels carrying the fight were sold out.  The over 20,000 in attendance was the biggest in Vegas boxing history.  Canelo and the Chavez name carried the PPV buys for the fight as the actual main event was easy to predict.  The good news is that this September’s fight between Canelo and GGG should grab bigger PPV buys.

GGG-Canelo set for September 16th

May 8, 2017

Immediately after the Canelo-Chavez fight Saturday night, it was announced that Alvarez would face Gennady Golovkin in September.  Obviously, what looked like an impromptu faceoff was planned well-ahead of time with the belief Canelo would win.

For those that watched the event, Canelo easily handled Chavez and won by unanimous decision.  GGG was in attendance and in the post-fight interview included the “call out” for GGG.  Golovkin even had an entrance to announce the fight.

The fight is scheduled for Mexican Independence Day, September 16, 2017.  The venue has not been announced.

Notably, Dana White claims that September 16th was the targeted date for the anticipated Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match.

Payout Perspective:

The post-fight announcement helped build on the momentum of Canelo and had people looking forward to September.  It was a very good strategy to build on the star power.  Oftentimes, fans are left wondering what’s next for the fight and whether, or if, a fight can be brokered between promoters and fighters (e.g. Mayweather-McGregor).  Here, the sides were able to come together to an agreement prior to the Canelo-Chavez fight.  Obviously, a gamble if Chavez would have put together some sort of interesting fight, or even won.  GGG and Canelo’s sides had been eyeing a fight for some time so this likely took some time to put together.

We discussed whether there was another big boxing PPV star last week, and this fall’s fight could elevate both GGG and Canelo.  This fight is likely to draw the benchmark 1 million PPV buys based on the star power and amount of fans that have longed for this bout.

UFC 210: Payout Perspective

April 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time around we take a look at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York

Cormier “makes” weight, retires Johnson

Daniel Cormier lost 1.2 pounds in less than 5 minutes at the weigh-ins and made weight after missing on the first attempt.  Despite no one really addressing this marvel, Cormier making weight ensured a championship match in which he dispatched Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2 rounds.

Instead of using his strength of stand-up and striking, Johnson attempted to take down and grapple the far superior wrestler in Cormier.  He was not listening to his corner and when Johnson was faced with some adversity, he tapped out.

Johnson promptly retired after the match stating that he had made a commitment to another job.  At 33, Johnson leaves the sport at the peak of his MMA career.  But, one has to wonder how invested he was in this fight if he knew that he was going to retire no matter what after it.

For Cormier, he went professional wrestler-mode in his post-fight interview in the Octagon as he went after Jimi Manuwa and Jon Jones.  While it appears, he is embracing the booing that is happening, he still has Jon Jones in his head.

With Cormier having to nurse a broken nose and getting married in May, it appears that a showdown with Jones will not happen in July at International Fight Week but maybe August at its earliest.

Mousasi defeats Weidman on Knee

Someone needs to explain the rules to me again.  Gegard Mousasi defeated Chris Weidman after it was determined that a knee was legal despite the former UFC middleweight’s attempt to put both hands down to become a grounded opponent.  If you are a grounded opponent, you cannot be kneed.  The doctor at ringside determined that Weidman could not continue.  Weidman is appealing the decision, but if it stands this makes 3 losses in a row for Weidman as it seems the once next big thing is at a crossroads in his career.

Weidman is still a name and you can envision him headlining the UFC card in Long Island this July but you have to wonder where will he be in the UFC middleweight hierarchy.  He’s not going to be released.  But, will he be a name for a card or an actual contender for the middleweight title.

Mousasi has another impressive name on his win resume and should be moving toward a title shot against Michael Bisping.

Attendance

UFC 210 was announced as a sellout at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York.  The event set a sporting event record for the venue with 17,110 for a gate or $2 million.  Certainly, the economic impact to the area is one of the reasons why businesses wanted to legalize MMA in the state.

Bonuses

Bonuses went to Gregor Gillespie, Charles Oliveira, Shane Burgos and Charles Rosa.  Gillepsie and Oliveira drew Performance bonuses while Burgos and Rosa drew the Fight of the Night.  All received $50,000 bonuses.

Certainly, Cormier or Cynthia Calvillo could have earned the Performance bonus too.

Promotion of the Fight

It was the first major PPV in upstate New York since UFC 7 and the city of Buffalo honored the UFC for coming.  Despite being a New England Patriots fan Dana White posed with some Buffalo BillsThe Bills were all over UFC 210.

The local news did a writeup on White.

The UFC sent direct messages (DMs) on twitter to those that follow its twitter feed about UFC 210.  To some, it also asked for people to RTs.

The Embedded series followed Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Johnson for most of the series.  It also briefly looked at Cynthia Calvillo and Pearl Gonzalez.  Notably, there was no looks at Cormier’s weight-cut and his issues.  MMA Fighting did memorialize the weight-cut for Weidman.

Also of interest, that Daniel Cormier was wearing a pair of Air Jordans on an episode of Embedded this time around.  As we know, the UFC is sponsored by Reebok.

Sponsorships

The usual sponsors were in the octagon including Harley Davidson, Reebok, Budweiser, 7-11, Toyo Tires, Metro PCS, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy had the center of the octagon.  There were no other

Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier both had Monster Energy patches on their fight kits.

Odds and ends

The Pearl Gonzalez story drew over 100,000 google searches on Friday after she was initially told she could not fight due to her breast implants.  However, after the UFC spoke with the athletic commission and got in contact with her doctor, she was given the go ahead to fight.  Thus, for White to chastise media on FS1 mischaracterizes the black letter rule which was due to her breast implants, Gonzalez could not fight.  His lashing out at the media seems to be a reflection of how sensitive he is about criticism.

Maybe this is too much conspiracy theory but I wonder if the reason NASCAR denied having a partnership with Bellator was due to the fact it was featured on the UFC 210 Countdown this past week.  The episode shows Anthony Johnson attending a NASCAR event.  At the same event, we also see Donald Cerrone.

Patrick Cote’s retirement was touching.  Unfortunately, it did not end in a win like Mark Munoz or Urijah Faber but I thought the taking off the gloves and the UFC allowing him to talk despite being the loser was nice.  Certainly, Cote’s retirement was not too surprising.

On the other end, everyone was stunned with Anthony Johnson’s retirement.  It’s better to leave early than to stick around too long so I think this may be best for Johnson if he no longer has his heart in the game.  Perhaps that explains why Johnson seemed to give up in the second round.

Urijah Faber into the UFC Hall of Fame this year was a no-brainer.

UFC 210 Countdown on FS1 Sunday night drew 99,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.

The Prelims on Saturday started on FS2 due to the Yankees-Indians game going long on Fs1.

Try leaning over on something while weighing yourself on a scale and you will have performed the “towel trick.”

There were over 500,000 google searches for UFC 210 on Saturday night.

Conclusion

I would not expect this PPV to draw more than 300,000 buys.  Daniel Cormier-Anthony Johnson is not a fight that would draw a casual viewer despite being for a title.  Although, Mousasi-Weidman is a nice co-main for hardcore fans, it would not draw someone either.  We did have lull of weekends without UFC action so some might be wanting to see some fights.  Thus, the PPV buy rate probably falls into the realm of the hardcore base plus some other scattered fans hungry for MMA action.

Bellator: NYC to have suggested price tag of $49.99

March 28, 2017

Scott Coker revealed on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that Bellator:NYC, the company’s second PPV will be priced at $49.99 HD.

It is the company’s second stab at having its product on PPV and is headlined by a grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva.  Also, Fedor Emelianenko will face Matt Mitrione in the co-main event of the show.  Bellator 120, the company’s first PPV, had a price point of $30-$45 depending on the satellite or cable company.

Similarly, despite the announcement of the suggested retail price of $49.99, a provider may raise the price.

For those wondering, the UFC will have a PPV on June 3rd, UFC 212 featuring Jose Aldo taking on Max Holloway.  The day after Bellator:NYC on June 24th, the UFC is having a Fight Night the day after on FS1.

Payout Perspective:

With the UFC PPV’s priced at $59.99 HD, having its PPV $10 less is advantageous for those that are not huge followers of the Bellator product.  While there are hardcore MMA fans that would purchase the event no matter what the cost, the $49.99 price point is something of a price break for those on the fence about spending more money on PPV.

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