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.

Johnson wants Dillashaw on big card to maximize PPV bonus

January 25, 2018

Demetrious Johnson told ESPN that he wants a big PPV with T.J. Dillashaw on a “stacked card.”  In the interview, he inadvertently revealed his PPV points bonus with the UFC.

Via ESPN:

“I’ve seen guys jump on [stacked] PPV cards and make $1.5 million, fighting an inferior opponent than who I’m about to fight. Me and TJ could fight on a smaller card and pull 275,000 buys, get an extra check for $75,000. My management told me, ‘You know what, we’ll hold out for a big event.’

Based on the quote, it would appear that Johnson would be making $1.00 for every buy above 200,000.  This is a common scenario as revealed when Eddie Alvarez’s initial UFC contract was held up in litigation with Bellator.

Eddie Alvarez Contract re PPV upside by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd


Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that Johnson understands his drawing power (which is marginal) and being on a card with other top fighters would maximize his potential for a good buy rate so that he could earn extra PPV money.  He was the co-main event with Jon Jones for UFC 197 and on a card with Conor McGregor at UFC 178.  197 drew 322,000 buys while UFC 178 drew just 205,000 buys as the event was before all of the McGregor started.   The balancing act for the UFC is to build cards to compensate 12 PPVs as well as the Fox events.  Johnson-Dillashaw sounds like it would be built as the main event and not one of several.  With the lack of premier fighters that can move the needle, this fight would seemingly be a stand-alone and not on a stacked card.

Report: UFC 219 draws in the range of 340,000 to 380,000 PPV buys

January 13, 2018

UFC 219 is estimated at doing between 340,000 to 380,000 buys according to Dave Meltzer writing for MMA Fighting.  It would make it the third-highest selling PPV of 2017.

The event featured Cris Cyborg taking on Holly Holm.  It’s the first event featuring a women’s bout not including Ronda Rousey that has eclipsed 200,000 buys.  Last February, Holm and Germaine de Randamie drew 200,000 buys and Amanda Nunes-Valentina Schevchenko drew 100,000 buys.  Technically, UFC 200 featured Miesha Tate and Nunes, which drew over 1 million buys, but the real draw was Brock Lesnar’s return against Mark Hunt and a match between Daniel Cormier and Anderson Silva.

Cyborg sent a tweet hinting at the event’s success.

The UFC 219 Prelims drew 949,000 viewers on FS1 and had over 1 million google searches for UFC 219 on the Saturday of the event.  These indicators were signs that the event would do well.

Payout Perspective:

While 340-380K PPV buys does not seem like a success, it is if you consider that those fighters that receive PPV upside kick in starting at 200K PPV buys.  So, if fighters did have points above 200K buys, this would be a great result for them.  The mid-300s is not what you would think of a successful PPV but if you were to compare it over the years to other cards without GSP, McGregor, Lesnar, Rousey or Jones-Cormier, it has to be a positive.

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