May 28, 2014
MMA Fighting reports that Bellator 120’s PPV has surpassed 100,000 buys. Despite losing its main event, Bellator exceeded most expectations with the amount of buys.
Greg Savage of Sherdog first reported the buy rate. The initial buy rate floated out there was 65,000 buys according to Dave Meltzer on his Wrestling Observer podcast with Bryan Alvarez on Tuesday. According to the Sherdog article, the buy rate will be available in Viacom’s SEC filings later this year.
Bjorn Rebney told MMA Fighting:
I won’t be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it’s just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th.
The news of a 100K plus PPV buy rate after Eddie Alvarez had to pull out is a great achievement by Bellator. It is really good considering it competed with HBO Boxing that night with Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado.
What propelled the 100K plus buys? Rampage Jackson-King Mo? Tito Ortiz? Whatever it was, the buy rate means that Bellator will definitely plan additional PPVs in the future. Certainly, Rampage-Tito, Alvarez-Chandler or Brooks would be good choices to headline the next Bellator PPV.
The UFC is the standard for MMA PPV with few others attempting it. As MMA Fighting notes, only Affliction’s PPV in July 2008 (Fedor v. Sylvia – 100K buys) has put on a PPV with a buy rate hitting 100K. WEC also had a PPV (Aldo v. Faber) in April 2010 which did 175K PPV buys. However, the UFC owned WEC at the time.
May 26, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time around we take a look at UFC 173 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada where T.J. Dillashaw pulled off the upset of Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao.
Dillashaw upsets Barao
Renan Barao was thought of as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the UFC. He had his way in the Bantamweight division and going through Dillashaw seemed like a sure thing especially with most odds having the former TUF cast member as an 8 to 1 underdog. However, Dillashaw controlled the whole fight from the first round and left no doubt by finishing Barao in the fifth.
I would say Serra-GSP still is the top upset in the UFC simply because Serra had to win a reality show to get the title shot. Dillashaw was an injury replacement but was still on the radar in the division.
The good news here is that the UFC now has a marketable U.S. Champion. No offense to Barao, but one of the unfortunate knocks on him was that he was from Brazil and his lack of English limited his ability to reach out to the U.S. fans. Now, the UFC can rally around the underdog story of Dillashaw and maybe revive the division.
Cormier dominates Hendo
Daniel Cormier served notice that he will be a formidable opponent for Jon Jones when and if Bones gets past his rematch with Alexander Gustaffson. Henderson fought without TRT but that would not have mattered as Cormier totally dominated Henderson. After winning, Cormier called out Jon Jones in a tasteful, pro-wrestling style way.
Attendance and gate
At the post-fight press conference it was announced that the attendance at the MGM Grand was at 11,036 for a gate of $1.7 million (via MMA Junkie). The number will be confirmed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission later in the week.
As we reported on Saturday, ticket demand on the secondary market was sparse. Since 2011, it was the second least expensive ticket ($239) for a UFC event at the MGM Grand Arena. Thus, not much demand from people that couldn’t buy (or did not want to buy) a ticket through the box office or Ticketmaster. For those wondering, the least expensive ticket ($168) since 2011 was UFC 141 which featured Brock Lesnar versus Alistair Overeem. You may recall that it was on a Friday due to New Year’s Eve.
The bonuses were $50,000 each and Dillashaw received two for Fight of the Night with (Barao) and Performance Bonus of the Night. Mitch Clarke won the other bonus with his submission over Al Iaquinta.
The UFC started new shoulder programming taking viewers behind the scenes with a series called, “Embedded.” The series is in the same vein as HBO’s 24/7 or ESPN’s “The Life” for those that remember that show in the 2000s. I am a fan of these behind the scene shows so I thought they were interesting although I can understand folks that think them a little tedious.
In addition, FS1 aired its usual “UFC Countdown” show along with “UFC All Angles” which was another behind-the-scenes show featuring Daniel Cormier.
Dana White was a recipient of a UFC friendly feature in the Washington Post.
The octagon sponsors included MusclePharm, Alienware, MetroPCS, Ultimate Poker, Air Force Reserve, Toyo Tires, EA Sports’ UFC video game (which comes out in June), Harley Davidson, the video game by Ubisoft, “Watch Dogs,” and Bud Light had the center.
Ultimate Poker had the fighter prep point.
People Finder and The Memory Tag were notable sponsors for T.J. Dillashaw as he won the Bantamweight Championship.
Odds and Ends
Popeyes Chicken crept into UFC 173 talk with the light-hearted dig at DC’s favorite fast food stop. One of the behind-the-scenes UFC spots had Hendo delivering Popeyes to DC during a training session. DC took it as a joke and did not seem to take real offense to Hendo’s “gesture.” For his part, Hendo seemed to do it as a joke and less of an insult on DC’s chicken habit. There was debate as to whether the subtle undertones of racism could be scene (and used) by opponents of MMA (i.e., Culinary Union). This seems unlikely as Cormier did not seem offended and he had admitted to liking Popeyes.
KFC, a UFC sponsor on TUF, cannot be happy with Popeyes being talked about without even having to pay.
Chico Camos sported Nike Foamposites at the weigh-ins. It’s the second PPV in a row someone has sported the sneaks at weigh-ins.
Dana White had the most unfortunate auto-correct in a twitter debate when trying to explain that Renan Barao finishes people. His tweet read “fishes” people. Of course, this was picked up on quickly.
It looked like slicker inset promos during the PPV hyping future events especially UFC 175.
According to Google Trends, Canada, Brazil and the United States were the top regions (in that order) searching for UFC 173. On another note, TI-Mayweather was generating more hits than any UFC search term on Sunday.
Great scene after with Duane Ludwig and T.J. Dillashaw embracing after Dillashaw ended Barao.
The Memorial Day Weekend show for the UFC had been one of the company’s bigger shows of the year. Even with last year’s big Heavyweight fights, it did not live up to expectations. In fact, last year was down in attendance and PPV buys. One might expect the same here. Barao-Dillashaw was not a marquee fight going in despite the great action that occurred and Cormier-Hendo is not a main draw. So what for the PPV buys? It’s hard to say but 200,000 buys would be a good estimation here.
May 18, 2014
ESPN’s Dan Rafael indicated in a Sportsnation Chat with fans that the PPV buy rates from the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight sold between 800,000 to 900,000 PPVs. Golden Boy and Showtime have yet to make an official announcement.
The news of the buy rate based on Rafael’s sources are disappointing considering it’s a Mayweather fight. It is also a departure from the 2.2 million buys this past September.
While no official announcement on the PPV has been made, Rafael’s comments during the fan chat make sense. If the buy rate news was good, Golden Boy and Showtime would have made an immediate announcement. However, with no information given since the May 3rd fight, one might assume that Rafael’s estimation would be correct.
The 800K-900K is still an impressive number but not the 1 million PPV buys that Golden Boy/Showtime and Mayweather had hoped. If there’s any positive from the promoters’ perspective, the figure shows that Canelo Alvarez is a legitimate PPV draw. The 2.2 million buys was due to a huge contingent of Mexican fans cheering Alvarez. Marcos Maidana is an entertaining fighter but does not have the broad appeal of Canelo Alvarez. Then, there’s the fact that there was less marketing push behind this fight in comparison to the Alvarez fight.
With Manny Pacquiao producing another Pacquiao PPV “disappointment,” we may have to start to re-calibrate what a successful big event boxing PPV draws.
May 12, 2014
ESPN reports the PPV rate for the rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley received between 750,000 and 800,000 buys. The estimated buy rate was a “disappointment” according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
The ESPN article noted that HBO did not produce a formal release but did confirm that the event generated $49 million in gross PPV revenue. Arum cited the “absence of [a] Mexican or Hispanic opponent” and the lack of support for Timothy Bradley from the African American community as contributing reasons for the porous PPV numbers.
Although the PPV buy rate would be good for a big UFC event, it’s the second disappointing outing for one of boxing’s biggest PPV draws. Pacquiao’s November fight with Brandon Rios drew just 475,000 buys. Even in a rematch with some interesting storylines, the fight failed to outdraw their initial fight in June 201. PacBradley I received 890,000 PPV buys.
Arum indicated a return to Macau, China for Pacquiao’s next fight due in part to “huge site fees” and the potential to launch PPV in China which would bolster the sagging domestic PPV revenue.
Could this be the last even Pacquiao fights in the U.S.? With the second consecutive disappointing PPV buy rate from Pacquiao, it appears that Top Rank will focus on the international market and other revenue streams rather than depend on domestic PPV. Last November’s Macau event faced many logistical issues including the fight taking place Sunday morning due to the time difference and did not draw well here in America. If Top Rank focuses on the international market, would it still cater to America with its start time? We will see if this is just talk or if Top Rank will really follow through with having Pacquiao fight outside the U.S.
May 10, 2014
One week away from their PPV debut, Bellator announced today that Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez suffered an injury while training which will force him out of next week’s PPV main-event.
Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez has suffered a head injury before his scheduled May 17th Lightweight Title fight with Michael Chandler and has been removed from the fight card. In his place, Lightweight Tournament winner Will Brooks will now face Chandler for the Interim Lightweight World Title. The nights headlined by the Light Heavyweight Tournament Final between MMA icon Rampage Jackson and King Mo, along with Tito Ortiz battling Middleweight World Champion Alexander Shlemenko, all on Pay-Per-View.
“Injuries are part of MMA, but so are great opportunities, as we move forward with an incredible, must see night of fights this Saturday on Pay-Per-View,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “This is a great card for MMA fans with huge value highlighted as Rampage Jackson is finally getting the opportunity to battle King Mo for a shot at the World Title, one of the most exciting young phenoms in MMA, Will Brooks getting a title shot against Michael Chandler, and of course Tito Ortiz in a crazy fight against Alexander Shlemenko. I can’t wait for this night of fights on May 17th.”
“This has been a crazy few days with a wide range of emotion, but with Will now in the picture, I know we are going to have fireworks on May 17th,” Chandler said. “I wish Eddie the best, and I’m looking forward to finishing our trilogy, but now I’m focused on the task at hand.”
“I’ve always said I’m ready to fight anyone with hesitation, and now this is my chance to back that up,” Brooks said. “I want that belt around my waist more than anyone, and I’m ready. This is just a great opportunity that I’m ready for. I’m ready to jump into the fire.”
The full fight card for the Bellator Pay-Per-View on May 17th is below:
Bellator Pay-Per-View Fight Card:
Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Final: Rampage Jackson (34-11) vs. King Mo (12-3)
Bellator Interim Lightweight World Title Fight: Michael Chandler (12-1) vs. Will Brooks (13-1)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Fight: Alexander Shlemenko (50-7) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-11-1)
Bellator Heavyweight Tournament Final: Blagoi Ivanov (11-0) vs. Alexander Volkov (20-4)
Bellator Welterweight Fight: Rickey Rainey (7-2) vs. Michael Page (5-0)
Bellator Spike TV Fight Card:
Bellator Heavyweight Fight: Cheick Kongo (20-9) vs. Eric Smith (6-1-1)
Bellator Featherweight Fight: Shahbulat Shamhalaev (12-2) vs. Fabricio Guerreiro (19-3)
Bellator Featherweight Fight: Goiti Yamauchi (16-2) vs. Mike Richman (16-4)
Bellator Spike.com Fight Card:
Bellator Featherweight Fight: Zach Underwood (12-5) vs. Austin Lyons (10-3)
Bellator Heavyweight Fight: Justin Frazier (6-1) vs. Mike Wessel (13-7)
Bellator Welterweight Fight: Ben Brewer (6-1) vs. Andy Uhrich (8-4)
Bellator Welterweight Fight: Anthony Lemon (2-3) vs. Codie Shuffield (4-0)
Bellator Bantamweight Fight: Cortez Phelia (2-0) vs. Brain Hall (7-2)
This has to feel like deja vu for Bellator, as an injury to Tito Ortiz forced Bellator to move their first attempt at running a PPV event to Spike TV last November. Although this time around, Bellator has chosen to keep the event as a PPV instead of moving it to Spike TV. Rampage Jackson vs King Mo will be the new main event while Michael Chandler will stay on the card in the co-main event as he takes on Alvarez’s replacement, Will Brooks. The third bout of the PPV event has Bellator Middleweight champion Shlemenko versus ex UFC pioneer Tito Ortiz.
One has to wonder why Bellator is keeping this card as a PPV this time around, but you have to think that cancelling two PPV events in a row would not be very good business for anyone involved in this matter. In fact, it appears that it’s not really an option for Bellator this time around. Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz ore two big free agents signed recently by Bellator and both have PPV revenue tied to their contract, which may in fact be a prominent reason why the event will go on.
Either way, PPV has seen a huge drop for MMA in 2014 without it’s two biggest draws from last year, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. Even if Alvarez would have stayed in the main-event, most MMA insiders predicted a rough road for Bellator’s PPV debut. The Alvarez injury one week away from the event just makes it that much more difficult to convince MMA fans to spend $50 in a market that has been saturated by the UFC over the past several years.
May 8, 2014
Dave Meltzer, from MMAFighting.com, reports the latest estimated PPV numbers from the last two events, UFC 170: Hendricks vs Lawler and UFC 171: Jones vs Teixeira.
According to Meltzer, UFC 171 drew an estimated 300K pay-per-view buys while UFC 172, which featured arguably UFC’s second biggest active star in Jon Jones, did an estimated 350,000 buys. Meltzer talks about some of the issues the UFC is now encountering with their current crop of stars
With Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva out of action, it figured to be a lean pay-per-view year, a business with results that vary wildly based largely on the main event attraction.
For example, in 2013, a successful year which topped 6 million buys according to industry estimates, UFC had two shows that did less than 200,000, and two others that topped 900,000. One was headlined by St-Pierre, and the other by Silva.
The problem is, unless you are St-Pierre, or someone like Brock Lesnar or Chuck Liddell in their primes, the other part of the rule is that it takes two to tango.
Still, after four events this year, UFC is at an estimated 1.23 million buys, which isn’t that much more than UFC 168, the last monster show, did on its own.
The MMAPayout Blue Book has now been updated with the latest numbers.
The PPV numbers have to be a bit sobering for the UFC and the new crop of MMA stars. Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, who are both currently the UFC’s biggest stars but are not as likable as GSP and Anderson Silva, failed to draw more than 350K PPV buys in their latest efforts. Another UFC emerging star, Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, only drew 300K buys against Robbie Lawler. All three numbers hover around what the UFC once called their PPV low-end baseline. Times have changed quite bit since the new low-end baseline lies at around 140K-150K PPV buys.
Relief won’t be coming anytime soon either, as UFC 173 and UFC 174 will most likely hover around the 200K buy range. It won’t be until UFC 175, when the UFC stacks their card with Weidman vs Machida, Rousey vs Davis, and Sonnen vs Wandy, until they have their next shot at finally overtaking the now elusive 400K PPV buy line. Just last year, the UFC average PPV buyrate per event was 467K.
The UFC is trying to mitigate this problem hoping to finish 2014 on a positive and carry some momentum into 2015. At the moment, they are working diligently on signing Gina Carano, Holly Holm, and keeping Cyborg as an option for Ronda Rousey. They are also trying to push Anderson Silva for a miraculous return by the end of the year. Cain Velasquez should also be back to headline a big Mexico debut but Cain has never done great in the PPV department.
After four PPV events in 2014, the UFC has an estimated 1.22M PPV’s sold, which is only slightly ahead of what UFC 168 did last year on it’s own or what Lesnar used to average in his UFC prime. At this pace, 2014 is on track to finish with the least number of PPV buys since 2007, or the Early TUF years.
May 5, 2014
MMA Junkie reports on the price point for the Bellator PPV on May 17th. Prices range from $30 to $45 and were entirely dependent on the distributors for the final pricing according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.
As an example, DirecTV has it $44.95 for HD and $10 less, $34.95 for SD. Jason Floyd of The MMA Report indicated a much lower price point for Verizon customers. Whatever the price point, its lower than the UFC’s offering of $54.95 HD and $44.95 SD.
Rebney explained to MMA Junkie:
“So some will be $30, some are going to be $35, and some will be $39.99. It’s all dependent on what the cable operators want to do. We felt like they knew their individual markets better than we did. So rather than dictating to them, we said, ‘Price it as you see fit and we’ll roll with it.’”
This approach seems to ensure that the distributors carry Bellator’s PPV which is extremely important considering 1) It’s the first one and 2) It had to adjust its November PPV to a SpikeTV event due to Tito Ortiz’s injury. The news that the price point was based on the distributors deflects criticism from Bellator on the price. Is $45 too much for this card? Do you think that if Bellator set a lower price it would help the buys?
April 28, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 172 taking place at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland where Jon Jones successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Glover Texeira.
Jones wears out Glover
Jon Jones fought Glover Texeira’s type of fight but still overwhelmed the challenger. Jones used his reach and generally out struck Texeira causing his mouthpiece to be dislodged on a couple occasions. It definitely looked like Jones was going 100%.
With the impressive win, Jones moves on to a likely rematch with Alexander Gustaffson with Sweden discussed as a possible place for the fight. After that, it’s possible he takes on the winner of Daniel Cormier (assuming he beats Hendo) versus Anthony Johnson.
Johnson upsets Davis
Phil Davis used most of the pre-fight publicity to antagonize Jon Jones. It could be that he did not focus on his opponent or it could be that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was hungry for a win. Johnson may have been hungrier due to the decree that if Johnson did not make weight he would receive a lifetime ban. But Johnson looked comfortable at 205. He had crisp striking and constantly stuffed Davis’ takedown attempts.
The win propelled Johnson back to the top of the light heavyweight title picture while Davis is knocked down a few rungs on the ladder to become top contender.
Attendance and Gate
It was a near sellout at the Baltimore Arena as attendance and gate for UFC 172 was 13,485 for a live gate of $2.3 million. Capacity at the Baltimore Arena is 14,000. There was no info on the comps for the event.
The gate of $2.3 million was second best to UFC 171 this year.
The bonuses went to Takanori Gomi, Issac Valle-Flaag, Joseph Benavidez and Chris Beal. All received $50,000 bonuses.
Max Holloway, Jim Miller, Danny Castillo and Luke Rockhold all could have argued for the bonus.
On Monday, Joseph Benavidez won a Harley Davidson as a result of a fan vote of the four bonus winners.
Promotion of the Fight
Unlike past events, Jones was mostly cheered by the Baltimore crowd. This was due in part to Arthur and Chandler Jones being by his side. Arthur played for the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl. USA Today wrote an article on Arthur Jones and his relationship with his brother. Ray Lewis also was in the crowd at UFC 172 and the LHW paid homage during his walkout.
Ronda Rousey threw out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game.
Chuck Liddell interjected himself into the pre-fight hype as he took the side of Glover Texeira. This grabbed some headlines as the Iceman boasted that he could beat Jones in his day.
Dana White did his usual rounds in the media including the ESPN “car wash” where he was on several of the network’s shows.
The New York Times wrote a piece about Jon Jones being the “face” of the UFC.
The usual suspects were in the Octagon: Xyience, Harley Davidson, MusclePharm, Alienware, MetroPCS and Bud Light in the center. AxsTV, Fram Auto Filters and the Air Force Reserve also had a presence in the Octagon. Toyo Tires also sponsored certain portions of the broadcast. Xyience had the fighter prep point.
USA Wrestling sponsored the “Tale of the Tape” for UFC 172.
Glover Texeira was sponsored by MMA brand, Red Nose.
Several fighters were sponsored by “The Memory Tag.” The company, according to its web site, allows customers “to put your videos on greeting cards, stickers, and postcards.”
Curious sponsor of the night was Tim Boetsch and his PS I Love You Books walkout shirt. The company offers wedding picture books. It’s not the first time that Boetsch has been sponsored by this company.
The Jones brothers walked out with their brother at the UFC weigh-ins. Noticeably, the Jones brothers wore Nike shirts with the swoosh taped over as it was apparent the UFC is not allowing Nike logos without it paying the sponsor fee. But, Jones wore Nike products without the iconic swoosh. Here is an example of the Jones shirt with and without the swoosh logo. Jones was sponsored by the new EA UFC game on fight night. Still, it was clear that the apparel (fight shorts and shirts) were Nike made despite the lack of a swoosh.
So, the question is, does it hurt Nike not to pay the UFC sponsor fee? One might argue it does not since we all know Jones wears Nike. He was in another Nike commercial and has been in recent Nike ads. Even though there was no swoosh, fans associate Jones with the Nike brand. While the lack of a swoosh may have casted doubt on whether Jones was still sponsored by the swoosh, the t-shirts would have told the smart fight fan that those were Nike made. In the end, even though Nike did not pay the sponsor fee to the UFC, it did not hurt the company presence.
Even though Nike was not an official approved sponsor, it did not go unnoticed.
— SoleCollector.com (@SoleCollector) April 25, 2014
Odds and Ends
-On the Steve Austin Podcast, Paul Heyman revealed that WWE talent receives a free pass to the WWE Network. Based on Jon Jones’ tweet, UFC fighters do not get a Fight Pass account for free.
-Did they institute a dress coat for Joe Rogan?
-Jon Jones did the “Ray Lewis dance” pre-walkout.
-Ticket demand was up from UFC 171 as the average ticket on the secondary market was $290.
-According to Google Trends, the most searches per country for “Jon Jones” on Saturday were 1) Brazil, 2) Philippines and 3) US. Sweden ranked seventh.
-An ominous sign for the PPV buys for UFC 172 was that the number of Google searches for Jones was down from his fight with Gus at UFC 165. You may recall that Jones-Gus did 310,000 PPV buys. While we recognize Google Trends may not be conclusive evidence, the less interest in Jones in lead-up to 172 may be cause for concern for PPV buys.
The local buzz appeared good for the UFC 172 and the UFC did its rounds with the national media to get the word out for the event. But, did all the hype help sell the PPV? While looking at what’s trending on Google or Twitter may not equate to how many people buy a PPV, it has been a helpful indicator. Based on this information, its likely we see a buy rate of less than Jones’ last PPV which would be something less than 310,000 buys.
April 20, 2014
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the initial reports for Pacquiao-Bradley II received between 800,000 to 825,000 PPV buys.
Although the PPV numbers have not been finalized, the estimates are below the Pacquiao boon period between his coming out fight against Oscar de la Hoya in December 2008 and his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in November 2011. In the seven fight span over the three years his PPVs averaged over 1 million PPV buys. Last November’s return against Brandon Rios received a pedestrian 475,000 PPV buys.
Industry experts believed the rematch with Bradley would do 700,000 PPV buys while Bob Arum thought the fight would exceed 1 million PPV buys. If the 800K-825K PPV buys holds up, it lands in the middle of the estimates. Iole cites Pacquiao’s inability to put away an opponent in recent memory as reason for the less than terrific numbers. He also cites a sub-par 24/7 HBO series which curiously did not focus much on Pacquiao.
The 800-825K PPV buys is on Pacquiao. You may recall last year’s Bradley-Marquez fight was considered a success having drawn 375,000 PPV buys. One might conclude Bradley was not the major draw here even though he was the one that defeated Pacquiao in their first fight.
800-825K PPV buys still garners this fight somewhere in the neighborhood of $56M-$58M in PPV revenue alone. But the fissures in the Pacquiao domination on the boxing world are starting to show. The gate for this fight was lower than most Pacquiao fights and there was less sponsorship activation around the fight. Noticably, Telecommunications Company Smart Communications, Sony (Playstation 4) and Tecate were the only major sponsors for the fight. Pacquiao will continue to box, but we are beginning to see the down side of one of the greatest draws in boxing.
April 15, 2014
After the successful debut of Wrestlemania 30 on WWE’s Digital Network last week, WWE announced today taht the event did a record 1 million U.S. household reach along with PPV buys for the event.
STAMFORD, Conn., April 15, 2014 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WrestleMania 30 reached a record 1 million households in the U.S. alone on WWE Network and pay-per-view combined, the first time WrestleMania has eclipsed this mark domestically. With more than 667,000 WWE Network subscribers in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 domestic pay-per-view buying homes for WrestleMania 30, WWE is confident that it will reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014.
WWE Network launched on February 24 in the U.S. and successfully streamed six hours of live coverage of WrestleMania 30 on Sunday, April 6. Additionally, more than 7.1 million hours of video content was viewed on WWE Network during WrestleMania Week from Tuesday, April 1 through Tuesday, April 8.
WWE Network will be rolled out in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics in late 2014/early 2015.
If you add up the WWE Network subscribers (667,000) plus the number of Wrestlemania PPV buys (400,000), the total reach for the event results in 1.067M domestic households that purchased the event. The PPV price for a Wrestlemania event is $59.95. It’s no coincidence that the 6-month WWE Network subscription price is $9.99 with a 6 month commitment, which is $59.94, or roughly the exact same price as the Wrestlemania PPV. By doing so, the WWE can announce that they domestically sold 1.067M PPV buys for the event, which is an impressive number. Once you add up international PPV buys, and in the future, international WWE Network subscribers, the number could substantially grow.
All the work that the WWE is doing in terms of their digital network co-inciding with the PPV model is interesting to watch. Dish and a few other cable/dish PPV carriers have not been too thrilled about the WWE’s decision to start their own digital network and offer their PPV’s as well. At this point in time, it was a big win for the WWE to keep the cable and satellite companies still offering the event as a PPV. The UFC and boxing promoters will be watching this venture closely as they observe whether WWE’s new business model is sustainable. A big part of that if WWE’s hope that they can increase their WWE Network subscription base from 667,000 to 1 million by the end of the year.