Will Mayweather-Pacquiao hurt UFC 187 PPV buys?

May 19, 2015

MMA Fighting posed the question as to how well will UFC 187 do this weekend in light of the big Mayweather-Pacquiao fight earlier this month.  Despite the steep PPV price of $90-$100, an estimated 4.4 million people paid to see the fight.  Now, will combat sports fans turn around and pay another $60 this weekend?

The question infers something about combat sports fans — they don’t have the money to buy both PPVs.  Granted, paying an extra $160 on your monthly cable bill does dent in a household’s leisure budget.  While many on social media like to trash the Mayweather-Pacquiao event for their own self-indulgence, it still did astronomical financial business.  And, based on the financial numbers, it was an event that many did not want to miss regardless of how much the PPV cost.

Although there is no precedent for a boxing event affecting a UFC PPV, the article uses the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight in September 2013 as an example in how UFC PPVs were affected.  The price point for the “The One” was $75 HD which was the most for a boxing PPV until this May.  The next three UFC PPVs did alright business but could have done better.

Via MMA Payout Blue Book:

UFC 165 – 09/21/13 Jones vs. Gustafsson – 310K PPV buys

UFC 166 – 10/19/13 Velasquez vs. JDS III – 330K PPV buys

UFC 167 – 11/16/13 GSP vs. Hendricks – 630K PPV buys

It was not until December 2013’s big card at UFC 168 (Rousey-Tate, Silva-Weidman II) that the UFC bounced back.  The end of year card drew over 1 million PPV buys.  Notably, it was the last time a UFC hit 1 million buys and it was the first PPV increase in some time ($55 to $60).

Still, the question is whether boxing will hurt the UFC.  There are various factors which may be contributing, or independent of the buy rate for this weekend’s UFC.  Boxing does skew an older audience and it does perform well along ethnic lines.  Also, do not discount the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight as a “once in a lifetime” thing even if it may have occurred too late for fight purists.  Frankly, the fight was for the casual fight fan because they know the two fighters and have been waiting to see the fight for so long.  In addition, the unique partnership between HBO/Showtime to drive the event helped.  It initiated its satellite and cable distributors to actively solicit those subscribers into purchasing the event (i.e., it offered assistance to subscribers to order the event prior to the day of it.).

Payout Perspective:

So does the big numbers for Mayweather-Pacquiao mean the casual combat sports fan will be checking out of UFC 187?

Regardless of what we may think of the UFC fan, it does skew younger than the boxing audience and based on surveys, within the demo, these fans have money to spend.  Will it hurt the PPV buy rate for this weekend?  I would suggest that you might look at the last trends for Memorial Day weekend.

What used to be a big weekend for the UFC has turned into a mediocre one.   In the past 4 years, only 2012’s JDS-Mir garnered over 500K PPV buys.

2015 – UFC 187 – Johnson-Cormier ?

2014 – UFC 173 – Barao-Dillashaw 215,000

2013 – UFC 160 – Velasquez-Bigfoot II 380,000

2012 – UFC 146 – JDS-Mir 560,000

2011 – UFC 130 – Rampage-Hamill 325,000

The double main event should help sell this weekend’s PPV.  Johnson-Cormier and Weidman-Belfort are both title matches that should bring some interest.  While it’s hard to gage whether Chris Weidman is a PPV draw, he has made enough appearances on FOX/FS1 for people to know him.  The absence of Jon Jones may have hurt PPV sales but taking him off the card was likely best for long-term business.  The two title fights and the lack of boxing this weekend should help get this PPV up to over 500,000 PPV buys.  We shall see.

Report: Buy rates for UFC 185 and UFC 186

May 14, 2015

The Wrestling Observer (subscription recommended) reports the PPV estimated buy rates for the last two UFC events.  UFC 185 drew 275,000 while the much-maligned UFC 186 garnered somewhere between 100,000-125,000 buys.  It also updates the estimate for UFC 184.

The PPV estimates are based on information obtained from Dave Meltzer.  UFC 185 featured two title fights with Rafael dos Anjos winning the lightweight title from Anthony Pettis and Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s victory over Carla Esparza for the women’s strawweight title.  Yet, it failed to break 300,000 PPV buys.

Most expected the poor PPV buys for UFC 186 so the 100,000-125,000 PPV buy rate estimate seems appropriate and might even be better than anticipated.  It’s the second time that Demetrious Johnson has main evented a PPV with such low PPV buy rates.  His fight at UFC 174 against Ali Bagauitinov mustered just 115,000 PPV buys.  UFC 186, taking place in Montreal, was hindered by the cancellations of the rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renao Barao and then the Rory MacDonald-Hector Lombard fight was called off.  On top of that, there was the removal of Rampage Jackson from the card only to be added back onto the card after a trial court’s injunction was overturned by a New Jersey appellate court during fight week.   UFC 185 featured Demetrious Johnson taking on Kyoji Horiguchi.

On the bright side, UFC 184 PPV featuring Ronda Rousey’s quick tapout of Cat Zingano is up to 590,000 buys.

Below are the PPV buy rate estimates this year so far:

UFC 185

Payout Perspective:

While the UFC had a great first quarter of PPVs, it has produced two shows that many believe underperformed and/or underwhelmed.  Even with two title fights and hometown favorite Johny Hendricks on the UFC 184 card, it still did not produce on PPV.  UFC 185 was expected to draw low PPV numbers based on the constant shuffling on the card and the stark reality that Johnson just does not draw PPV buys.  We should see a bounce back with next week’s UFC 187.  Even without Jon Jones, we should see a decent buy rate with Weidman-Belfort and Cormier-Johnson heading the card.

Mayweather-Pacquiao destroys PPV, gate records

May 12, 2015

Yahoo! Sports reports that the official PPV buys for the May 2nd fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao drew an astronomical 4.4 million PPV buys that equates to more than $400 million in revenue.  The numbers shatter the old PPV buy rate record set by Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 and the revenue record set by Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez in 2013.

The live gate for the event also drew more than $72 million which also did better than the previous record set by Mayweather-Alvarez.  According to the NSAC, Mayweather-Pacquiao drew 16,219 for a gate of $72,198,500.  May-Alvarez drew 16,146 for a little over $20 million.

The PPV outdid the 2.2 million PPV buys set by Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007.

Kevin Iole’s Yahoo! article also indicates that May-Pac sold more than 46,000 closed-circuit seats in Clark County, Nevada which pushed total revenue to more than $500 million.

Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe attributed Mayweather’s star power as well as social media as well as the mainstream media push.  Of course, Pacquiao’s presence probably assisted in the interest in the fight too.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that despite some negativity surrounding the fight did not diminish any of those wanting to purchase the PPV or watch the fight in person or closed-circuit.  Social and mainstream media probably helped with the promotion of the fight but the pro-active nature of the cable and satellite distributors to push subscribers to purchase the PPV ahead of time also helped with the buy rate.  The revenue records were likely considering the $100 PPV price point for HD or $90 for SD.  Also, the high ticket prices and lack of comps were also factors for the record-setting gate.

Dish Network ditches UFC 186

April 23, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that satellite provider Dish Network will not be offering UFC 186 this Saturday and thus prohibiting its approximately 14 million subscribers from ordering the pay per view.

The UFC issued a statement regarding the situation.  The statement in part reads:

Due to contractual issues, DISH Network will not be offering UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi on Pay-Per-View this Saturday.  While all other providers in the U.S. have come to an agreement on renewal terms, DISH Network has elected not to renew its distribution agreement with UFC.

Via MMA Junkie:

The industry leader signed a multi-year deal with Dish that ended on Jan. 31, though an extension was inked for March’s UFC 185, according to a person familiar with the UFC’s agreement. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

A Dish Network rep confirmed the impasse with the UFC and that it would not offer the pay per view to its subscribers.  It did indicate that the two sides were in negotiations for further events.

Payout Perspective:

According to this Broadcasting & Cable article in which Dish inked a deal to carry the Weather Channel, Dish Network is a notoriously difficult negotiator.  Of course, the UFC probably is seeking a bigger percentage of the PPV revenue.  At this point, it has some leverage in a new deal since it had a big first quarter of 2015 with its PPVs and Dish has lost PPV revenue due to the WWE Network.  You may also argue that due to the bigger cut HBO/Showtime is taking from PPV revenues from distributors, Dish is not seeing returns via PPVs.   Thus, the UFC is seeking a better contract.  Of course, UFC 186 is one of the weakest cards (on paper) despite the return of Rampage Jackson to the card.  We will see if the two sides will be able to come to an agreement by UFC 187 which looks to be a big show.

System set in payouts for Mayweather-Pacquiao

April 18, 2015

The New York Times reported on the unusual need for a central system to be used for the logistical payouts for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather with respect to the long-awaited fight coming May 2nd.

The article primarily relies on quotes from Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum with respect to how the gross revenues will be divided between the two fighters and other ancillary entities.

For Pacquiao, he is on the wrong-end of a 60-40 revenue split but should clear over $100 million when all is said and done. Of course, the IRS will take its share from Pacquiao (and Mayweather we assume) right off the top.

Rival networks, HBO and Showtime are co-producing and co-distributing the PPV event. They have dueling shoulder programs on its respective networks and in a unique production agreement, each of the networks’ broadcast teams will participate in the event (including dueling ring announcers). The two sides have created a central accounting system to ensure what one might believe is “integrity” in splitting the revenues from what should be the biggest event in boxing history (at least from a gross profits standpoint).

The central system will distribute the revenue in accordance with the contracts of the two fighters.

All revenue from the fight would be put into the central accounting system. This would include foreign broadcast rights, closed-circuit income, ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc. The estimate of these monies per the NYT is at $130 million. In addition, PPV revenue which could gross $300 million also goes into this pot.

Most of the PPV revenue will go to the fighters minus 15% (7.5% each for HBO and Showtime). You may recall that HBO and Showtime were in vigorous negotiations with the satellite and cable companies regarding the PPV distribution for the event.

A “wrinkle” pointed out by Arum is that the winner of the fight will receive a 51-49 percent split for revenue between $160 million and $180 million. Thus, ideally the winner will receive $10.2 million while the loser gets $9.8 million. The amount over $180 million reverts to the 60-40 split in favor of Mayweather.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the lofty price point for this PPV, it is believed it should break the PPV record. Similarly, the $72 million gate at the MGM will break a record as well. One might assume the same for international rights, closed-circuit money, sponsorships and merchandise. It’s clear that the logistics for splitting up the revenues required a central system (we assume with necessary checks, balances and protocols).

Court opinion in Bellator-Rampage lawsuit made available

April 9, 2015

A copy of the court opinion by Judge Karen Suter which granted Bellator MMA’s injunction in its lawsuit against Rampage Jackson was made public.

After oral argument on April 2nd, the Court issued its opinion on April 7th.  MMA Fighting provides a copy of the lawsuit here.

The court made it abundantly clear that it was not deciding the merits of the case and specifically that it was not deciding whether the contract between Bellator and Rampage was breached.  However, it made clear that Bellator had proved its case

Although the Court referred to several cases involving boxers that sign promotional agreements and then seek additional help from other promoters, the Court distinguished this case based on the exclusivity of Bellator’s agreement with Rampage.  It sided with Bellator in its argument that it was likely that Rampage breached its contract despite the arguments raised.

As previously stated, the Court found “clear and convincing” of the following on behalf of Bellator.  The four factors in determining a preliminary injunction are as follows:

  1. A substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case;
  2. There is a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted;
  3. The “balance of harms” (threatened injury) weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction;
  4. Granting an injunction would serve the public interest.

Some interesting points from the 25 page ruling.

  • The Court emphasized the exclusivity of the contract between Bellator and Jackson. It also stressed the fame and notoriety of Jackson as evidence that Bellator would suffer injury if Jackson were allowed to participate at UFC 186.
  • The Court did not buy the argument that Bellator breached its contract since it did not provide Rampage or his management with PPV summary report. The Court indicated Bellator had substantially complied with the information and that not providing the PPV summary was not a material breach of the contract.
  • Rampage’s claim that his fights were not adequately promoted by Bellator and the need to obtain the PPV summary was necessary fell flat. The Court ruled that there was no marketing provision setting a certain amount of money that was required to promote his fights.  Even without producing the summary report for PPV, there would be no breach since the actual compensation Rampage received was not in dispute.  Furthermore, the Court opined that Rampage offered no rationale for why Bellator would not want to market and promote one of the company’s top stars.
  • The Court sided with Bellator with its argument that if Rampage were allowed to fight at UFC 186, it would harm Bellator more than just monetarily, but from a reputation and brand standpoint. Bellator argued that the “MMA community” would denigrate Bellator if Rampage were allowed to leave for the UFC.  Moreover, Bellator argued that denying the injunction would be a sign to other fighters and their managers that they could just “ignore their contracts” and leave for perceived better opportunities.  Bellator also argued that if Rampage were to leave, Bellator would have lost out on the time and money it had invested in promoting him.
  • The opinion also notes that on December 4, 2014 Scott Coker claims to have notified the UFC that Rampage was still under contract while negotiations by Rampage to the UFC were ongoing. This seems to call into question how much the UFC knew about the Bellator-Rampage contract dispute.  It also calls into question the UFC’s decision to sign him and then put him on a card prior to a legal determination.

Payout Perspective:

In the end, Rampage and his legal team may win this court battle, but the first big decision out of this case falls in Bellator’s favor.  The Court opinion preventing him to fight at UFC 186 is not a good indicator of things to come.  Certainly, the Court made it clear it was not ruling on whether a breach occurred, but the threshold for proving a preliminary injunction is warranted is high (“clear and convincing” as opposed to “more likely than not”).  We will see what Rampage’s legal team decides on whether it will appeal the decision.

Another issue that was raised in passing was the knowledge that the UFC may have known about the contract issues with Bellator.  There could have been potential legal action between Bellator and UFC regarding interference with a contract but it seems as though Bellator did not want to pick that fight just yet.

MMA Payout will keep you posted on this.

May-Pac PPV will cost $99

April 1, 2015

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that May 2nd’s long-awaited PPV fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will have a price point of $99 HD and $89 SD.  It will be the highest priced PPV ever.

The previous high for a sport PPV was “The One” which featured Mayweather fighting Canelo Alvarez.  The event which drew a record $152 million in PPV also had the highest price point, $74.95 HD ($64.95 SD) for a PPV prior to next month’s event.

HBO and Showtime are handling the negotiations with pay-TV distributors and had sought an advantageous split on behalf of Mayweather and Pacquiao.  With a normal split of 50/50 for PPVs, HBO and Showtime were looking for a 70/30 split of the PPV revenue.  Of course, pay-TV distributors balked at the proposal.

The key distributors involved are iN Demand and DirecTV. The other distributors that the networks must reach agreements with are Dish Network and Vubiquity, the entity that handles negotiations for AT&T and others.

The WSJ report indicates that distributors will concede a split in the favor of the networks but not as much as the 70% proposal.

Estimates claim that the PPV could garner 3 million PPV buys which may almost double the previous PPV record.

Payout Perspective:

It’s unlikely that $100 will deter many wanting to see this fight.  Although the price is steep for a fight that many believe should have happened years ago, it is still an attraction that is unique and features the best known boxers in the sport.  It was no surprise that HBO and Showtime sought a bigger piece of the pie in these negotiations as both are trying to maximize the revenues as they have agreed to partner in this event.

UFC 185: Payout Perspective

March 17, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 185 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas where two UFC titles were on the line.

RDA wins Lightweight Title

Rafael dos Anjos earned his unanimous decision against Anthony Pettis.  It was total domination by the challenger as he topped Pettis with his striking and grappling.  It was an impressive win considering the complete manhandling of Pettis and the post-fight news that he had a knee injury coming into the fight.

Up next for RDA is the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Donald Cerrone this May.  But with RDA’s knee injury, we may not see this fight until December.

UFC 185

Joanna J destroys Cookie Monster

It was a mismatch. And the Champion looked to be in trouble from the start.  Joanna Jedrzejcyzk controlled Carla Esparza and the “Cookie Monster” did not look like a Champion defending her title. Jedrzejcyk’s Muay Thai background defeated Esparza’s wrestling and it was an easy win for the fighter from Poland.

In the end, the referee was looking for a way to stop the fight in the 2nd round.  Jedrzejczyk has the personality to promote fights in her division.  But, will there be anyone in her division that can match her?

Attendance and Gate

Attendance at the America Airlines Center drew a reported 17,160 fans for a gate of $2.155 million as announced at the post-fight press conference.  Despite the good number, it was still the lowest of the three PPVs held at the venue.

Previous Attendance for UFC PPVs at American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX (via MMA Payout Blue Book)

UFC 103 – September 9, 2009 – Rich Franklin-Vitor Belfort Attendance 17,428, Gate: $2.4M

UFC 171 – March 15, 2014 – Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler Attendance 19,324, Gate: $2.6M

Bonuses

For the second PPV in a row, there was no Fight of the Nights.  The four Performances of the Night went to RDA, Jedrzejcyk, Ross Pearson and Beneil Darush.  Each received $50,000 bonuses.  There were a lot of stoppages to choose from but one would have to concur that these four stood out.

Sponsorships

For the second straight PPV in a row Monster Energy Drink had the center of the Octagon moving Bud Light to the Octagon bumpers.  In addition, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Corn Nuts, DraftKings, Fram, MusclePharm and Toyo Tires.

Fram also had the fighter checkpoint.

Notably, Pettis was sponsored by Reebok, Corn Nuts, Monster Headphones and Monster Energy Drinks.  Interesting enough, no Wheaties logo worn by Pettis or in the Octagon.

Reebok sold Showtime’s gear prior to the event at UFC 185.  Wonder how sales are post-fight.

Monster Headphones also had a campaign centered on Pettis.

Post-Fight Headlines:

-The UFC saw the crowning of two new champions. Who will have the longest title run? Moreover, who will the UFC be able to sell to fans?

-Does Hendricks get another shot at the title? With the win over Matt Brown, should Hendricks get the winner of Lawler-MacDonald?

-Henry Cejudo made weight and won a unanimous decision over Chris Cariaso. Could he be on the fast track to a 125 pound title shot?

Odds and ends

-Ben Askren and CM Punk were in the corner for Anthony Pettis.

-Interesting enough, Erik Koch made a cameo during the first UFC Embedded which one might think unusual if you read “Thrown.”

-Carla Esparza wore a wrestling singlet which was a nice touch. Both Esparza and Jedrzejcyzk were sponsored by Alienware.

-Alienware, a UFC sponsor, has been active of late with its activation with the UFC.  There is a lot more visibility in sponsoring fighters as well as sponsoring the UFC Embedded online episodes.

-For the first time that I recall, the Embedded episodes had a sponsor, Alienware (“Powered by Alienware”). It was the umpteenth time we saw an Embedded episode where someone was at a barbershop getting their hair cut. This time it was Showtime at his barber shop.

-With Monster Energy as a new UFC sponsor, it appears we will see the return of awkwardly holding a soda can in the Octagon after a fight.

-UFC Prelims was on FX due to college basketball. We shall see whether the network change will affect ratings.

-There were over 100,000 Google searches for the UFC on Saturday which was far less than UFC 184 and Ronda Rousey during the same time frame.

-Texas did not do any “out of competition” drug testing for this event.

Conclusion

Prior to the PPV, we wrote whether Anthony Pettis could be the next big PPV draw for the UFC. If he does, it will be in pursuit of the belt he just lost. The card seemed like one more for the solid base of UFC fans that usually purchase PPVs. Yet, with the solid success of UFC PPVs this year, could we see another good PPV buy rate from the company. There was less buzz for this event than the previous three this year. This could reflect in PPV buys as I would assume that we get a PPV buy rate of around 325,000-350,000.

Preliminary reports indicate a strong UFC 184 buy rate

March 11, 2015

The Wrestling Observer indicates that UFC 184 drew an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 PPV buys.  The preliminary report underscores the great start the UFC has had this year as well as the drawing power of Ronda Rousey.

UPDATED:  In its 3/12 podcast, Meltzer indicated that the numbers reflect that UFC 184 will do more PPV buys than UFC 183.

Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez first discussed the initial numbers during their March 5, 2015 podcast (subscription recommended).

It appears that the estimate is based on anecdotal information from DirecTV as well Google trend searches.

If the initial buys for UFC 184 which featured Ronda Rousey versus Cat Zingano in the main event, the UFC will have one of the best starts of a year in PPV.

UFC 182:  800,000 PPV buys

UFC 183: ~600,000-700,000 PPV buys

UFC 184: ~500,000-600,000 PPV buys

The average for 2015 at this point is around 684,000 PPV buys which far exceeds what the UFC has been seeing.  Last year it averaged just 256,000 PPV buys and in 2013 it averaged 468,000.  Realistically, the UFC cannot keep producing these buys throughout the year.  But, it’s built up three good buy rates for 2015.  Added the fact it PPVs are now at $60, the UFC is making up PPV revenue from 2014’s atrocious numbers.

Whether it’s the booking or promotion, the 2015 PPV strategy for the UFC is holding up despite the drug problems.  Also, UFC 184 initially included Vitor Belfort- Chris Weidman as the co-main event.

The other part of the news is that the UFC Prelims have had much higher ratings this year in comparison to where it was last year.

UFC 182 Prelims – 1.03M viewers

UFC 183 Prelims – 1.546M viewers

UFC 184 Prelims – 1.205M viewers

Meltzer speculated that Rousey was one of the reasons why the UFC 184 Prelims drew the high ratings.  This argument may also support the fact that women’s MMA is generally accepted and may be on a roll as of late.  Note, Miesha Tate’s fight against Sarah Kaufman at the UFC 183 Prelims almost drew 2 million viewers on FS1.  This was a boon for Tate’s sponsors as she actually lobbied that she be on FS1 rather than on the PPV card.

Payout Perspective:

UFC 184 was all Ronda Rousey and it’s a good sign for the UFC ast the organization has found another PPV star.  The card under Rousey-Zingano was not strong considering that Belfort-Weidman dropped out.  Thus, the entire buzz was based on Rousey.  After her quick fight on Saturday, many mainstream sports outlets picked up on Rousey and gravitated toward the comparisons to Mike Tyson in his prime.  The potential bad news here is that there are not many interesting fights for Rousey coming up (unless Cyborg is able to make weight).  Also, Rousey’s star power outside of the Octagon is gaining momentum.  She is already taking time away from the Octagon to do a movie and the more offers she receives from Hollywood, the more we may not see her in the Octagon.

Can the UFC continue its momentum this Saturday with UFC 185?  We shall see.

UFC 184: Payout Perspective

March 4, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 184 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. In the main event, Ronda Rousey fought Cat Zingano.

Gone in 14 seconds

Zero strikes but a scramble that had Cat Zingano’s arm caught by Ronda Rousey and a straight armbar ended the night very early for the challenger.

It’s too bad considering the Zingano backstory.  Even though she was a huge underdog, you would have like to see more of a fight.

For Rousey, she has received mainstream approval and sports people asking if she’s good for the sport.  Obviously, the fact that people are talking about Rousey is good for the UFC.  The question of who should see fight next is a good question.  With Rousey taking time off to do a movie, it will be interesting to see who will be set up as her next opponent.  Beth Corriea? Jessica Eye?  One fighter not mentioned was Cris Cyborg who fought on the Invicta card the night before.

ufc 184 poster

Holm defeats Rocky

It was not the strongest of debuts for “The Preacher’s Daughter” but she sustained a very good Raquel Pennington for the decision.  Holm was one of the most talked about women’s fighters not in the UFC prior to her debut.  Now, she seems destined to challenge for Rousey’s belt.  Based on Saturday, she’s not ready yet.

Attendance and Gate

According to the post-fight press conference UFC 184 at the Staples Center drew a reported 17,654 fans for a gate of $2.675 million.  Of the UFC events held at the Staples Center, only UFC 60 which featured Matt Hughes taking on Royce Gracie did better (14,802 for $2.9 million).  The Staples Center capacity ranges from 18,000-21,000 depending on the event.

Payouts

Cat Zingano ($100K) actually had a higher base salary than Ronda Rousey ($65K) although it was reported by Larry Pugmire of the LA Times that Rousey would probably clear $1 million with her cut of PPV revenues.  Also, Rousey was sponsored by Reebok, Monster and Monster Headphones.  All are UFC sponsors (presumably Monster Energy Drink has signed with the UFC).

Rousey did make $65K and $65K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $180,000.

In addition, Jake Ellenberger made $68K and $68K plus a Performance of the Night bonus to earn a total of $186,000.

Tony Ferguson and Tim Means earned the other $50K Performances of the Night.  There was no Fight of the Night.

The rest of the payouts are here.

Promotion of the Fight

The episodes of UFC Embedded were once again entertaining although I would argue that this time around the portion of the UFC Countdown show focusing on Cat Zingano had to be the best

The pre-weigh-in staredowns included the main eventers wearing evening gowns.

Rousey made the usual media rounds including an appearance on Jim Rome.  Something that people picked up on was a dispute between Rousey and Arianny Celeste.

Sponsors

Probably the biggest sponsor for Saturday was the “M” in the middle of the Octagon which replaced the usual Bud Light sponsor.  It appears that Monster Energy Drink has signed on as a sponsor for the UFC.  The former Bellator sponsor was shown prominently in the center of the Octagon as well as ring posts.

In addition, DraftKings announced a new sponsorship deal this week and was also on the Octagon mat.

Rounding out the sponsors on the Octagon mat included, Bud Light, MetroPCS, MusclePharm, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve and the movie Run All Night.  Harley Davidson had the prep point.

Holly Holm had no sponsors except UFC on her ring gear.  Raquel Pennington had a pretty nice “Colorado Rocky” shirt.

Ronda Rousey had Monster, Reebok and the UFC on her ring gear.  She also donned Monster headphones upon heading to the Octagon.  Rousey also had her jeans sponsor Buffalo on her fighter poster.  Maybe Nissan of Omaha was the best sponsor for Cat Zingano as it was clearly seen as she was being submitted.  Other notable Zingano sponsors included Sepec and Kalapaki Joe’s.

Odds and Ends

The UFC indicated that the social media campaign around Ronda Rousey did well:

Big search numbers for Ronda Rousey:

Darren Rovell took an ad hoc poll on the popularity of the UFC. The fact that Rovell is gaging his followers on its popularity shows that Rousey sparked his interest in the UFC.

Other ends…

Sponsor Mike’s Seafood on Derrick Lewis’ backside was either a good idea or a bad one.

The top three cities on Google Trends that searched for “Ronda Rousey” were Quezon City, Philippines, Los Angeles and New York in that order.

UFC 184 was in theaters once again. There were anecdotal reports of packed sports bars watching the fight.

Mark Munoz did not look good on Saturday. He failed to make weight on his first try at the weigh-ins although he subsequently made it. I would have hoped that he would make it to the Philippines card and then retire. It might be best for him to retire now.

InvictaFC had a card the night before in LA with Cyborg in the main event. Yet no real mention of her after the Rousey fight.

Essentially, the PPV ended at 9:00pm PT due to the quick main event and prelim matches were shown to fill-in time.

Conclusion

Ronda Rousey is one of the big draws of the UFC and based on searches and media coverage she is someone that casual viewers would tune into watch. The fact that ESPN talking head shows and other sports media were talking about her 14 second win on Monday reflects her popularity. But does that mean it equates to people paying $60 to watch her fight? We shall see. The last time Rousey headlined (without another co-main) was UFC 170 which drew 350,000 PPV buys. My guestimate would be somewhere around that mark and perhaps a little more 350,000-375,000 PPV buys.

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