October 21, 2015
Early estimates of the Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux PPV this past Saturday drew approximately 150,000 buys. Sports Illustrated boxing writer Chris Mannix stated that the 150,000 estimated was “in the ballpark” of the estimated buys.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) October 20, 2015
That's a good number. Not the spectacular number promoters were looking for (200K-plus), but a good one for GGG's pay per view debut.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) October 20, 2015
Pay per view is a rapidly declining market. Mayweather just did around 400K. Cotto-Martinez was around 250K. 150K is a solid debut.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) October 20, 2015
Despite the fact that the fight sold out Madison Square Garden with 20,568 in attendance, the fight did not sell as promoters had hoped. GGG’s promoter indicated that 200,000 buys would make it a financial success. It appeared that promoters had modest expectations for GGG’s debut as the top of the card on a PPV.
In comparison, Canelo Alvarez’s first time headlining a PPV against Alfredo Angulo in March 2014 drew 350,000 PPV buys. A PPV featuring Timothy Bradley against Juan Manuel Marquez drew 375,000 PPV buys in October 2013. Last June, a clash between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez drew 250,000 PPV buys.
Fighthype.com initially reported the 150,000 PPV buy rate.
Was this a success or disappointment? GGG is the next logical fighter to step in to the PPV shoes for Manny Pacquiao as his popularity begins to wane. Roman Gonzalez, who many believe is one of the best (if not the best) pound for pound fighters was the co-main on the card. Thus, two of the top stars in boxing were featured on a PPV but just 150K purchased it. We’ll see how the replay viewership does this Saturday as perhaps we’re seeing boxing skeptics concerned about overpaying “once again” for a boxing PPV. In my opinion, the 150,000 is a little low, but once more fans get exposed to GGG (and Chocolatito), we’ll see more casual boxing fans gravitating toward them and eventually the PPV numbers may increase.
September 16, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto PPV drew between 500-600K PPV buys according to industry sources contacted by Rafael. It is the lowest PPV output by Mayweather under his contract with Showtime.
UPDATED: Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that his source says it did “roughly” 400K PPV buys. 145,000 buys come from DirecTV which is always one of the first to report its buys.
PPV industry source on #MayweatherBerto numbers tells me they’re very poor relatively speaking. ‘Being generous is might hit 550,000 buys.’
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) September 16, 2015
The first disclaimer is that these are estimates from industry sources. Showtime’s Steven Espinoza proclaimed that it would never reveal actual PPV numbers after Maidana I. Of course, Espinoza added the proviso that it would reveal the PPV numbers if it set a record. For instance, Mayweather-Pacquiao.
550,000 PPV buys is not bad….for a UFC PPV but when it comes to Floyd Mayweather, it is a disappointment. It’s the last fight on his Showtime contract and we’ll see if he will actual retire.
With the start of college football season and five boxing events on various networks starting the Sunday prior to the PPV fight, one might see why the PPV buy rate was so low. Moreover, many casual fans were not impressed with Mayweather’s last fight against Manny Pacquiao – a fight that cost many $100 to watch. The casual viewer probably did not want to spend another $75 to watch it again. With no real ethnic audience to draw upon and Mayweather’s fighting style, the buy rate (if accurate) seems about right.
August 27, 2015
Dave Meltzer writing for MMA Fighting reports that UFC 190 featuring Ronda Rousey and Beth Correia drew an estimated 900,000 PPV buys. The number would make it the third PPV event this year to draw 800,000 buys.
UFC 189 featuring Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes drew 1 million buys according to UFC.com. Other estimates have the July 11 PPV less than 1 million. Regardless, it’s the second straight PPV that has done well based on just 1 fighter. UFC 189 it was all Conor McGregor and UFC 190 was all Ronda Rousey.
Perhaps supporting the contention that Ronda Rousey’s star is brighter than ever is that there were no noteworthy fights on the UFC 190 main card. Despite the fact the show went over 3 hours, there was nothing great on the card besides Rousey. There were two TUF Brazil final fights and Shogun Rua-Little Nog. In comparison, UFC 189 did have another title fight between Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler to entice fans to buy the PPV.
UFC 190 joins 189 and 182 as top events that have drawn 800,000 PPV buys or more. No PPV event went over 600,000 in 2014. In 2013, only 2 events (UFC 158 and UFC 168) went over 800,000 PPV buys.
Ronda Rousey PPVs (via MMA Payout Bluebook)
UFC 157 – vs. Liz Carmouche: 450,000
UFC 168 – vs. Miesha Tate (co-main): 1,025,000
UFC 170 – vs. Sara McMann: 350,000
UFC 175 – vs. Alexis Davis (co-main): 545,000
UFC 184 – vs. Cat Zingano: 600,000
UFC 190 – vs. Beth Correia: 900,000
Early indicators from most outlets reflected the fact that UFC 190 did well on PPV. The prelims drew 1.3M viewers and google searches topped 6 million. All of these indicators would point to the fact that Ronda Rousey is, arguably, the top draw in the UFC. The card had little to support her and she was able to garner 900,000 fans. The PPV buy rate also reflects the fact that her star is gaining steam. One might expect her to draw similar numbers when she faces Holly Holm at UFC 195.
August 3, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 190 taking place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Rousey ends Corriea in 34 seconds
Ronda Rousey showed her dominance once again by knocking out Bethe Corriea in just 34 seconds. It was not the most technical of fights, but Rousey showed power in her hands by flattening Corriea. While many are calling for Cyborg, it looks to be the trilogy with Miesha Tate this December.
It was billed as a rematch of one of the best fights in Pride that occurred 10 years ago. The 10 years took a lot out of each as the first round had a lot of action and slowed considerably over the next two rounds. Many fans thought that a failed guillotine attempt would have won the fight for Little ‘Nog but Rua pulled out the unanimous decision once again. Both will continue to fight but I am not sure if that is the best idea for each.
Although announced as a sellout, UFC 190 at the HSBC Arena drew 14,723. As seems to be a constant with Brazilian cards, a gate was not announced.
Prior PPV events at HSBC Arena
UFC 142 – 10,605 (Aldo v. Mendes)
UFC 153 – 16,844 (A. Silva v. Bonnar)
UFC 163 – 13,873 (Aldo v. Korean Zombie)
Demian Maia, Shogun Rua, Antonio Rogierio Nogueria and Ronda Rousey. Maia and Rouse yearend Performances of the Night while Rua and Little Nog earned Fight of the Night. Each earned $50,000
Promotion of the Fight
The UFC Countdown show offered a little more than usual as Ronda Rousey talked about her father after Bethe Corriea’s comments regarding Ronda committing suicide when she beat her.
Rousey also gave an insightful interview during an Embedded feature.
There had to be some concern about the promotion of this fight since it would be in Brazil. Rousey still did Jim Rome and some other U.S. outlets but not as many as if she were here in the states. Yet, it appears to have done well.
The Octagon sponsors included Budweiser, Fram, Sports Authority, Reebok, the movie, “Straight Outta Compton,” Tai-Chi Panda, Brazilian outlet Combate and TNT Energy Drink (like most Brazilian events) had the center of the Octgaon.
Tai-Chi Panda is a video game. A commercial and its web site featured Ronda Rousey. The UFC women’s bantamweight champion also wore a Monster Energy logo on her Reebok kit. Rousey also had a new MetroPCS commercial which featured her mother and the horsewomen.
“Straight Outta Compton” had the fighter prep point and the trailer was shown prior to the Rousey fight.
Odds and ends
Placing the TUF Brazil Finals on the main card was not the best idea. A lot of discontent from fans and people tuned out. People seemed mad that the Ronda fight did not start until past 10pm PT.
The TUF Brazil contestants wore generic UFC shorts except for a panel which included sponsor TNT Energy Drink. One might assume that this was a deal brokered by TNT and/or TNT paid for the spot on the shorts.
The UFC Fan Voting was shown after each fight as it is another way that the UFC can engage fans during the PPVs.
A lot of tweets from mainstream stars in support of Rousey displayed throughout the night and on Dana White’s twitter feed.
The WWE sent a thank you to Ronda Rousey after she dedicated her fight to Roddy Piper.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) August 2, 2015
Corriea had a good gimmick with stating that she wanted to beat all of the Four Horsewomen including Ronda. But, we all know that Rousey is so much better than her other stablemates. The award for the worst tweet of the night goes to Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza for continuing a trend of leaders of an organization badmouthing another promotion’s event.
Great matchmaking, UFC. Four main event fights, two minutes total. Can’t wait to buy the next one.
— Stephen Espinoza (@StephenEspinoza) August 2, 2015
The award for best tweet of the night goes to the WWE’s Seth Rollins for responding to a tweet from Dana White who was badmouthing (or perceived to be) another promotion’s product.
Guys, cut @danawhite some slack. I mean he’s had a million matches, so his opinion is super valid and should be taken as gospel.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) August 2, 2015
The tweet from Rollins is in response to White telling a twitter follower that WWE is fake. Rousey had 6 million google searches over the weekend. YouTube highlights also did well:
Revised Google search total for Rousey on Saturday is 6M, so gigantic and unprecedented for MMA but not unbelievably epic.
— Adam Swift (@AdamMSwift) August 3, 2015
As far as extrapolating PPV business, 1M of the searches were “Ronda Rousey fight” which looks a lot like pirates trolling for the fight.
— Adam Swift (@AdamMSwift) August 3, 2015
— Carleton Curtis (@carletoncurtis) August 3, 2015
UFC 190 will tell us whether Ronda Rousey can carry a PPV. Rousey has not done as much media as she would have if the fight was in the U.S. But, it still received a ton of searches over the course of the weekend. It was the number one trending topic overall in the U.S. during the PPV. Certainly, the casual fan was searching the internet for the 34 second clip of Rousey winning. This may be a problem when it comes to future Rousey PPVs as fans might just wait to see the fight on Vine…or ESPN.
Notwithstanding the future ways of purchasing (or not purchasing) a Rousey PPV, Saturday’s event will be telling as to whether UFC 184 was just one good night. Corriea was not a strong opponent for Rousey despite the trash talk. The question is whether that even matters. It didn’t seem to matter for Conor McGregor at UFC 189.
Dana White indicated that UFC 190 was trending better than UFC 189. It’s hard to say what numbers he might be looking at although one might think pre-buys for the PPV might be one. Couple that with the perceived correlation that google searches equate to PPV success and UFC 190 might be a PPV hit. I was originally thinking that this PPV would do 400K-500K PPV buys. However, it appears that it may well have exceeded this. Anything above 700K would be outstanding considering there was virtually nothing else supporting Rousey’s fight.
July 24, 2015
The fight attracted a record 16,019 fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena, plus a $7.2-million live gate and 1 million pay per view buys, proving McGregor’s sizable drawing power. Some 3,000 Irish fans converged on Las Vegas and left deliriously happy.
UFC 189 would be the first PPV hitting 1 million PPV buys since UFC 168 which featured Silva-Weidman II and Tate-Rousey in December 2013. Prior to that, you’d have to look to July 2010 and UFC 116 (Lesnar-Carwin) for a PPV to strike 1 million PPV buys.
If the PPV number is correct, it shows that the ratings from the UFC 189 Prelims were an inconsistent indicator of PPV success. UFC 189 Prelims on FS1 drew only 847,000 viewers. The televised Prelims usually entice “on the fence” fans to purchase the PPV. Here, one might conclude that people already were set to buy the PPV because of McGregor. This would be great for the UFC as it has a confirmed PPV star in the new interim Featherweight champion.
It’s interesting that the information on PPV buys was somewhat buried in the bio of McGregor and not officially announced by the UFC. Usually, when organizations do well business-wise there is some release about the information. For instance, Bellator’s tentpole events 131 and 138 ratings were announced immediately when received as the company was happy with the great ratings. Here, no official announcement. We shall see if we get an official announcement soon.
July 16, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take you to UFC 189 which was the biggest event in years for the company taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
McGregor wins interim Featherweight title
The gamble for the UFC paid off. Conor McGregor stopped Chad Mendes with just seconds remaining in the second round to win the interim Featherweight title. McGregor was in trouble early as he could not stop takedowns and was being held down by Mendes. But, McGregor was able to escape a guillotine attempt and used his power to KO Mendes.
McGregor actually has a coaching spot on TUF this fall and then it’s likely Jose Aldo. Mendes showed well for himself considering he did not have a full camp. He is still at the top of the list of challengers for the Featherweight title.
Lawler outlasts MacDonald in bloody war
It was the best fight in some time and likely a prime example of why this sport can never gain mainstream acceptance. Robbie Lawler’s lip and Rory MacDonald’s nose exemplified the dedication, discipline, heart and fearlessness it takes to make it to the top of this sport. Although MacDonald was ahead on the judge’s cards, he succumbed to the pain and crumpled to the mat in the fifth round after another shot from Lawler.
For Lawler, Johny Hendricks seems like the next opponent for Lawler. Many have said that this fight may have changed the trajectory of MacDonald’s career forever. We shall see.
Attendance and gate
It was the biggest attendance and gate for a UFC event ever since UFC 129 in Toronto. Attendance stood at 16,019 for a gate of $7.2 million. Dana White stated that ticket sales actually surged after Jose Aldo pulled out of the fight getting the gate over $7 million.
On the secondary market the “get in” price at the start of the Fight Pass Prelims was $665. According to Darren Rovell, the median price paid on Stubhub was $500 which was the highest since Silva-Sonnen II ($450).
Conor McGregor, Thomas Almeida, Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler earned the $50,000 bonuses.
McGregor and Mendes topped the salaries making $500,000 each. The full list is here.
Promotion of the Fight
The promotion of the fight started with the expensive and well-chronicled world tour with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. The Embedded episodes were entertaining as those occurred this past spring. Most of us were hoping that July would come soon. Of course, the fight did not happen and we were given Chad Mendes. More Embedded episodes occurred to promote the fight and even some controversy as it appeared that an episode featuring Conor training in wrestling was edited out. The theory was that it would give Mendes some advantage.
Dana White appeared on ESPN, the Jim Rome and other outlets. Notably, he stated in a radio interview that Aldo would have made $4 million at UFC 189. He also stated on Jim Rome that McGregor wanted to bet him $3 million that he would knock out Mendes. Apparently, he knew what he was talking about.
This was the first event where Reebok uniforms were exclusively used. Overall, it was not as bad as I had thought although I am sure there are some fight fans that will miss the aesthetic of different sponsors on the shorts as well as fight banners.
The official UFC sponsors were in the Octagon including the movie “SouthPaw,” Draft Kings, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Fram,Bud Light, Corn Nuts, Metro PCS, Musclepharm and Monster Energy Drink had the center.
Reebok presented the Embedded episodes featuring McGregor and Mendes.
In addition to announcing an individual deal with Reebok, Rory MacDonald had a Monster logo on its shorts. Same for Conor McGregor. McGregor also starred in a commercial for Game of War.
Toyo Tires also sponsored Chad Mendes and sent out an eblast about the challenger.
Although it was announced in early June, the UFC announced a partnership with Las Vegas Monorail making it the “Official Las Vegas Transportation of the UFC.” While this seems silly, the fact that so many people from out of town (especially Irish McGregor supporters) likely took it as a method of transportation probably made the sponsorship worth its while.
Odds and ends
The changes in production were subtle but great. While there might be a lot of criticism about spending 6 months and who knows how much money to change the “C” in the UFC, the presentation at the weigh-ins and the actual show were top-notch.
The live singing entrances for the main events were an interesting touch.
It was interesting that this fight was not offered in movie theatres like other events before it.
One critique about new UFC production, rounds now noted by filled in marks like balls/strikes in baseball. I like numbers to tell me rounds.
The uplighting and other stage enhancements for the weigh-ins were great. It gave UFC 189 that big fight feel. Of course, the atmosphere with so many Irish there made it feel that much more electric on television.
This was the first event with the USADA drug testing protocol.
It appears that cutmen have lost their sponsor deals when Reebok took over this month but are not a part of the Reebok deal. We will see where this goes.
Mendes has been stopped in two championship fights with seconds left in a round.
I already booked my hotel for UFC 200 which will be in the new MGM-AEG Arena July 2, 2016
1M Google searches for Conor McGregor and UFC 189 related searches. Another 100k for Robbie Lawler.
— Adam Swift (@AdamMSwift) July 13, 2015
Much has been scrutinized about what the PPV buy rate will be for UFC 189. Despite Aldo pulling out late, it appears that it did not hurt PPV sales. The pre-buys for the event appear to be strong which is based on the number of people that purchase the PPV prior to the day of the PPV. The google searches appear strong but the Prelim rating was under 1 million viewers. So, we shall see. My gut reaction is that the PPV did between 550K and 600K buys which solidifies McGregor as a legitimate PPV star.
June 17, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 188 taking place from Mexico City, Mexico.
Werdum Undisputed HW Champ
Fabricio Werdum defeated Cain Velasquez to earn the undisputed Heavyweight title. It was a submission that ended the long-running win streak of Fedor Emelianenko. It was another submission that ended the Heavyweight title reign of Cain Velasquez. Werdum’s guillotine choke ended the night for Cain who seemed gassed despite continuing to come forward during the fight. It was one final lunge at Velasquez that spelled his doom as it seemed that Werdum had a smile on his face as Cain attempted a takedown but was caught by Werdum.
It has been two years since Cain Velasquez had been in the Octagon. It probably was not rust from not fighting but the altitude of Mexico City that could have been the issue. He spent two weeks in Mexico City but Werdum had been there for over a month.
Werdum could face Andre Arlovski or Stipe Miocic next.
Alvarez escapes Gil
Eddie Alvarez scored a split decision over Gilbert Melendez in an exciting co-main event. Despite having his left eye almost shut after round 1 due to a Gil elbow strike, Alvarez came back in rounds 2 and 3 to eke out the win. It must have been a relief for Alvarez to finally get a W in the Octagon after his ordeal with Bellator and losing in his UFC debut last fall.
The decision could have gone either way and these two probably do not lose too much (Eddie #4, Gil #5) in the rankings after the fight.
Next up for Eddie Alvarez? Possibly Benson Henderson since they were originally scheduled to fight earlier this year. We could see this in South Korea in November.
Attendance and Gate
The event drew 21,036 which was 36 more than the UFC’s event last year in the same venue. No gate was announced so we do not know if how many comps were provided.
Fabricio Werdum, Patrick Williams, Yair Rodriguez and Charles Rosa earned the $50,000 fight bonuses. Werdum and Williams earned the Performances of the Night and Rodriguez and Rosa earned the Fight of the Night.
Promotion of the Fight
UFC Embeddeds provided some controversy as Werdum accused Cain of being a “Fake Mexican.” Essentially, Cain is American first and not from Mexico. It was an interesting accusation that reminded me of Oscar de la Hoya-Fernando Vargas from years past. Of course with recent news events about identity, it would be topical if not for the fact that no one seemed to care.
Similar to UFC 180, Doritos advertised for this fight by having the fighters’ likenesses on Doritos bags. It also offered a contest for fans to meet and greet UFC fighters.
(pic via Josh Sanchez twitter)
The Octagon sponsors included MetroPCS, the movie Self/Less, Doritos, DraftKings, Bud Light, Cinemex, BetCris, UFC Mobile from EA Sports and Monster Energy Drink in the center.
BetCris is a Mexican online gambling company. Self/Less is a movie from Universal Studios. It received a little promo featuring Forrest Griffin.
Cain added Monster Energy Drink to his list of sponsors which included Affliction, Oak Grove Technologies and American Ethanol.
Notably, Werdum was sponsored by Reddot.
Odds and Ends
Alvarez’s Underground King shirt, originally made by Jaco, is already on sale (i.e., reduced in price) at the UFC.com store.
Two fights ending in the first round on the UFC Prelims meant a very short night of fights on tv. Speaking of which, it was on FX instead of FS1 due to scheduling conflicts.
UFC 188 was shown in select theatres once again. It would be interesting to know how many people actually went to theatres to watch it.
Is Henry Cejudo ready for Demetrious Johnson yet?
In looking at the success of this event perhaps we look at how it did in comparison to past June PPVs. Traditionally, June PPVs have been terrible. The average PPVs from 2012-2014 is 132,000 buys. Google Trends for UFC 188 showed interest from Mexico by mediocre interest from the United States. Still, one would think that it had to improve on last June’s PPV of 115,000. I have an optimistic estimate of 200,000 PPV buys.
June 13, 2015
With UFC 188 set for Saturday, we shall see whether the event featuring Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum improve upon June’s usual dismal PPV buy rates.
Based on the info compiled by MMA Payout:
2011 UFC 131, Vancouver, BC – Dos Santos vs. Carwin – 330,000
2012 UFC 147, Belo Horizonte, Brazil – W. Silva vs. Franklin – 140,000
2013 UFC 161, Winnipeg, Manitoba – Evans vs. Henderson – 140,000
2014 UFC 174, Vancouver, BC – Johnson vs. Bagautinov – 115,000
This year’s June event takes place from Mexico City, Mexico. The card is stacked with Mexican and/or Mexican American fighters.
One would think that the return of Cain Velasquez as he takes on the interim Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum would draw more than the 181,000 average for June PPV buys the past 4 years. Moreover, Gilbert Melendez versus Eddie Alvarez is a real strong co-main event. Yet, there seems to be a lack of buzz for the event. Notably, despite a sellout in Mexico City last October, the PPV buy rate drew just 185,000.
The last time a June PPV surpassed 500K buys was Chuck Liddell’s last UFC fight against Rich Franklin in 2010. UFC 115 drew 525,000 PPV buys. With the big July card up next, June’s PPVs seem to be overlooked. This time, June’s PPV offers some big fights. The question is whether fight fans will tune in to pay for it.
June 11, 2015
Forbes announced its annual list of highest paid athletes. As expected, boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. topped the list earning $300 million including endorsement deals. His opponent, May 2nd, Manny Pacquiao landed second on the list.
Mayweather tallied $285 million in pay from June 2014 to June 2015. He earned $100 million on fight night against Pacquiao but the revenue does not include PPV (which were an astronomical 4.4 million buys), gate ($73 million) and fight sponsorships ($13 million). According to Forbes, the fight is expected to gross $600 million once the dust settles. For his May fight, he also earned another $15 million in sponsorship money from Hublot, FanDuel and Burger King. Mayweather’s earnings also include his September 2014 fight with Marcus Maidana.
Pacquiao landed second on the list earning $160 million. The earnings include his November 2014 fight in Macau against Chris Algieri. Pacquiao earned $125 million in pay from the Mayweather fight and $23 million from his Algieri fight. He drew $148 in pay and drew $12 million in endorsements from a variety of sponsors including Nike, Foot Locker, Wonderful Pistachios, Nestle’s Butterfinger and a variety of Filipino sponsors. Prior to the event, it was reported that Pacquiao would garner $2.25 million from sponsors on his trunks alone.
It’s the third time Mayweather has topped the list and his earnings set the record for athlete earnings in a year. Tiger Woods earned $115 million in 2008 which was the previous record.
Wladimir Klitschko made the Forbes Top 100 paid athletes at #63 making $22.5 million. There were no MMA fighters on the list.
The list reflects the fact that boxing’s top stars command the most money. Overall, the sport of boxing may not pay all of its fighters well, but the earning power of Mayweather and Pacquiao show that the sport is still a draw when there are big fights. The money made by Mayweather this year is based on the split in revenue from the Pacquiao fight in which he controlled a dominant share of the money drawn from the event. It’s unlikely we’ll see another athlete earn this much money in a 12 month span for a long time.
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.).
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.