UFC on Fox 29 draws over 2M viewers; Prelims on Fox 970K

April 17, 2018

UFC on Fox 29 drew 2,020,000 viewers including the overrun for the main event featuring Dustin Poirier-Justin Gaethje.  The UFC on Fox 29 Prelims which aired on Fox prior to the main card drew 970,000 viewers.

UFC on Fox 29 drew 790,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and an overall household rating of 1.25.  The Prelims garnered 356,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and an overall household rating of 0.65.

The Prelims are a decrease from February’s UFC on Fox 28 which drew 1,214,000 viewers on the network.  Last July, the Prelims on Fox drew 1.137 million viewers.

Payout Perspective: 

The telecast improved from its initial fast overnight rating of 1.78 million viewers.  It did draw slightly above 2 million viewers but reflects the continued decrease in ratings for the network national broadcasts.

Report: UFC nearing next TV deal?

April 17, 2018

Variety reports that ESPN and Fox Sports are coming together to bid for the television rights for the UFC.  The companies will split the UFC TV package and we will see 15 fight events moving to new subscription streaming service ESPN+.

ESPN, according to sources, ESPN is willing to pay $120-$180 million per year.  Fox currently pays $120 million per year.

The number of fights from Fox would “decline slightly” according to the report.

Last spring a Sports Business Journal article indicated that the UFC was looking for a rights package of $450 million per year.  The Variety article notes that it reportedly sought $300-$400 million per year.

But the ratings decline on Fox are glaring.  The article states that Saturday-night broadcasts fell 22% from the previous year.  This past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 29 barely surpassed 2 million viewers after the overrun.  The “UFC Fight Night” on FS1 averaged 795,000 viewers this year which is reportedly down 17%.

Payout Perspective:

If the rumored deal comes to fruition, it will represent a shakeup for UFC TV that will likely affect UFC Fight Pass.  In passing, articles on the media deal have indicated that the digital platform has approximately 400,000 subscribers.  With the launch of ESPN’s new OTT platform, the UFC will contribute to the variety of content offered.  But, this may mean a loss of exclusivity for Fight Pass which may have to rely on its library to keep its subscription base as MMA fans will have another bill to pay.

Poirier tops UFC on Fox 29 roster payouts

April 16, 2018

MMA Junkie has obtained the payouts from Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 29 card.  Dustin Poirier topped the roster of fighters with $170,000 for his victory over Justin Gaethje. Gaethje received $110,000 for his efforts in addition to the $50,000 Fight of the Night Bonus with Poirier.

Carlos Condit ($115,000) and Alex Oliveira ($100,000) were the other fighters to make six figures on Saturday.

The rest of the payouts as disclosed by the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission.

Dustin Poirier: $170,000 (includes $85,000 win bonus)
def. Justin Gaethje: $110,000

Alex Oliveira: $100,000 (includes $50,000 win bonus)
def. Carlos Condit $115,000

Israel Adesanya: $106,000 (includes $53,000 win bonus)
def. Marvin Vettori $20,000

Michelle Waterson: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
def. Cortney Casey $33,000

Antonio Carlos Junior: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Boetsch $72,000

Muslim Salikhov: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ricky Rainey $14,000

John Moraga: $74,000 (includes $37,000 win bonus)
def. Wilson Reis $31,000

Brad Tavares: $80,000 (includes $40,000 win bonus)
def. Krzysztof Jotko $36,000

Gilbert Burns: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Dan Moret $12,000

Lauren Mueller: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Shana Dobson $12,000

Yushin Okami: $70,000 (includes $35,000 win bonus)
def. Dhiego Lima $15,000

Adam Wieczorek: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Arjan Bhullar $12,000

Alejandro Perez: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
ef. Matthew Lopez $33,000

Luke Sanders: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Patrick Williams $12,000

Payout Perspective:

Gaethje has earned 4 bonuses in his 3 fights in the UFC.  He is an entertaining fighter with a style that is not long for a career.  But, he is making a lot of fans while he’s here.  Returning Yushin Okami made $70,000 ($35K and $35K).  It was his second fight in the UFC since returning from the PFL. His last fight in the PFL he made $50,000 ($25K and $25K).  Oliveira, filling in for Matt Brown, collected $150,000.  The Cowboy made $50K and $50K plus another $50K performance bonus for his upset over Condit

UFC on Fox 29 draws 1.78M viewers

April 15, 2018

UFC on Fox 29 drew 1.78 million viewers on Saturday according to Television By Numbers.  It is the 6th straight UFC on Fox event that failed to draw 2 million viewers.

The main event featuring Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier went on past the 7pm PT time slot so there will be additional viewers tacked on.  But, the fast overnights reflect a drop-in viewership.

The telecast drew 0.6 in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share for its time slot.  UFC on Fox 29 went up against the NHL Playoffs on NBC which drew 2.18 million viewers and identical ratings for the A18-49 demo and share.

Overall, UFC on Fox 29 had the lowest overall viewership in its time slot.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the entertaining card, the casual viewer failed to tune in once again.  The 1.78 million viewer ensures another low 2 million viewership for the event when factoring in the overrun.  While the ratings are better than the PBC on Fox, there has been a decrease over the years in these network shows.  Some of it has to do with injuries and amount of cards ongoing, and fans are starting to tune out the free shows.

UFC on Fox 29 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 14, 2018

UFC on Fox 29 took place in Glendale, Arizona and delivered with its main event of Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

The main event which saw Poirier pull out a third-round stoppage in a back and forth fight drew Fight of the Night for the evening.  Alex Oliveira surprised Carlos Condit with a guillotine submission and Adam Wieczorek submitted Arjan Bhullar with an omoplata.

The event drew 11,382 for a gate of $1.09 million.  Last January’s UFC Fight Night 103 11,589 for a gate of $913,373.  UFC on Fox 13 drew 15,350 for a live gate of $1.5 million. The bonuses, attendance and gate were announced post-event.

Payout Perspective:

The last Fox event in Arizona drew 2.27M viewers in December 2014.  The main card had almost a 30-minute overrun for a very good slugfest between Poirier and Gaethje.  Oliveira’s upset victory over Condit was also entertaining.  With Fox running the Prelims on the same network as the main card, we should see better ratings for the Prelims and hopefully UFC on Fox 29 can draw over 2 million in overnight ratings.

UFC 223: Payout Perspective

April 13, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 223 which took place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Iaquinta fills in to take on Khabib

The main event was to be Tony-Khabib and then Max Holloway and Khabib, but eventually Al Iaquinta, who was to face Paul Felder, filled in to the main event spot.  As one might expect, Khabib’s wrestling was too much for Iaquinta despite some moments that may have had him in trouble.  Khabib called out Georges St Pierre for November’s big 25th Anniversary show this fall.  Whether or not we will ever see Tony-Khabib remains a mystery and then there’s the potential for a huge fight against Conor McGregor once his legal issues are sorted out.

Namajunas defeats Jedrzejczyk in rematch

Rose Namajunas proved that her first win against Jedrzejcyk was not a fluke as she won most of the exchanges with the former champ to retain her title.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

The event at the Barclay’s Center drew 17,026 for a gate of $3,007,108.12 according to the UFC announcement post-event.

$50,000 bonuses went to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chris Gruetzemacher, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak. The Canadian with the fanny pack had an impressive submissive victory over Evan Dunham.  Gruetzemacher defeated Joe Lauzon via corner stoppage after 2 dominating rounds and Zabit and Bochniak stole the show with a back and forth affair.  Zabit still did more to win the fight but Bochniak put up a game effort.

UFC Prelims and other ratings

The UFC Prelims drew 892,000 viewers.  It was up 23% from the UFC 210 Prelims last April per Nielsen.  The Prelims had an average minute audience of 7,131.  The Prelims peaked on FS1 with 1,057,000 viewers in the last quarter of the telecast.

In addition, the UFC Prefight show drew 373,000 viewers and the Postfight show garnered 138,000 viewers.  On Friday, the weigh-ins on FS2 drew 47,000 and the replay later that night on FS1 drew 128,000 viewers.

The Conor McGregor Show

After Khabib Nurmogomedov’s camp ran into Artem Lobov in the hotel during Fight Week, Conor McGregor and his crew came to UFC Media Day at the Barclay’s Center to get revenge.  As most know, it ended with McGregor trying to get onto Khabib’s bus and throwing a dolly through a window.  The fifth episode of Embedded had a first-hand account of the attack.  As a result, Michael Chiesa was cut on his forehead and Ray Borg had shards in his eye.  As a result, Chiesa’s fight with Anthony Pettis was called off and Ray Borg’s fight with Brandon Moreno was cancelled.  In addition, Artem Lobov was taken off the card for discipline purposes.  As a result, his opponent Alex Caceres was taken off the card as well.

Sponsorships

Motel 6 was once again in the Octagon as one might suggest that the company may be closer to being an official sponsor of the UFC.  In addition, HSS, AMC’s Into the Badlands, Gruntstyle.com, BodyArmor, MetroPCS, Modelo, Harley Davidson, 7-11, EA UFC 3, Toyo Tires and Monster had the center of the Octagon.

The UFC Prep Point was sponsored by EA’s UFC 3 with the tag line, “Become the GOAT”

The Embedded episodes were presented by AMC’s “Into the Badlands.”

Odds and Ends

Jimmy Smith, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik did a very good job on the broadcast.  Smith’s addition to the broadcast team has been seamless.

UFC 223 drew 200,000 searches on Sunday after the event.  Wrestlemania 2018 drew over 1 million searches.

Kyle Bochniak was introduced as being a pit fighter.  It was the first time I heard someone having a discipline as a pit fighter.

Conclusion

According to The Wrestling Observer’s early estimates, the UFC 223 buy rate is higher than the UFC 222’s 210K-260K estimate but lower than UFC 220’s 350K viewers.  This has to be seen as a good since the main event was uncertain even a day before the event.  If the event ends up around 300K viewers, you might infer that many viewers already were purchasing the PPV regardless of the main event and you might argue that the women’s bantamweight co-main event drew many to purchase the card.

‘Faces of UFC’ campaign celebrates 25th anniversary

April 12, 2018

In commemoration of its 25th anniversary in 2018, the UFC is launching its ‘Faces of UFC’ campaign to celebrate the company’s fan base.

Via the UFC press release:

“In just 25 years, we’ve built a revolution, and we couldn’t have done it without our fans,” UFC President Dana White said. “For our 25th anniversary, we want to celebrate all the believers by hearing your UFC stories. If you became a fan of UFC because of a fighter, a love of martial arts or just because fighting’s in your DNA, we want to hear your favorite UFC memory, first fight or how UFC has inspired you.”

The ‘Faces of UFC’ campaign will feature an exciting sweepstakes that will be offered to UFC fans 18 years and older in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland and the United Kingdom, who want to share their personal UFC fan stories. The sweepstakes begins on Thursday, April 19 and ends on Saturday, September 29. On Monday, October 1, 25 winners will be selected and awarded the ultimate prize — an exclusive trip to the UFC 25thAnniversary event on Saturday, November 10.

Payout Perspective:

Although no big specifics on the grand price, it’s likely a trip to New York’s Madison Square Garden to watch the UFC’s 25th Anniversary show.  The UFC’s activation behind its 25th anniversary not only celebrates its benchmark year but uses various social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram.  The UFC fan engagement on social media has always been one of its driving forces and this campaign should be successful.

UFC 223 Prelims draw 892,000 viewers

April 10, 2018

The UFC 223 Prelims drew 892,000 viewers on FS1 according to Neilsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event preceded Saturday’s UFC 223 PPV.

The feature fight of the UFC 223 Prelims was Karolina Kowalkiewicz’s split decision victory over Felice Herrig.

The event drew 0.33 in the A18-49 demo and 0.49 in the male 18-49 demo.

In addition, the pre-fight show which preceded the Prelims on FS1 drew 373,000 viewers.  The post-fight show drew 138,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event did better than UFC 221 and is near the ratings for UFC 220 and 222.  The other ancillary ratings on Saturday for UFC 223 were on par with other pre and post-fight shows this year.

 

Nick Diaz accepts one-year USADA ban…which ends next week

April 9, 2018

USADA announced that Nick Diaz has accepted a one-year sanction for Whereabouts Failures reporting pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.  The suspension is retroactive to April 19th of last year and thus he will be available to fight by next week.

Via USADA release:

USADA announced today that Nick Diaz, of Stockton, Calif., has accepted a one-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy resulting from three unsuccessful test attempts during a 12-month period.

Like all UFC athletes, Diaz, 34, is a member of the UFC Registered Testing Pool and is therefore subject to certain Whereabouts responsibilities, which allow him to be located for out-of-competition testing. Diaz failed to be available for three tests at the locations provided in his Whereabouts Filings. The first two failures occurred in the second and third quarters of 2016, while the third occurred in the first quarter of 2017. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the accumulation of three Whereabouts Failures within a 12-month period constitutes an anti-doping policy violation.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement could be due to the timing of the investigation and speaking with Diaz’s representatives on the matter.  If not, this sort of announcement is a mockery of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as the announcement almost coincides with his ability to get back to active status with the UFC.  While its clear that Diaz could not take a fight since he did not report his Whereabouts on three separate occasions in as 12-month span, the length of time it took for the decision seems lengthy.  If it was not due to a delay in fact-finding, one has to wonder why the investigation process and determination of penalty is taking so long.

UFC 223 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 9, 2018

UFC 223 drew over $3 million in gate despite a card that was riddled with replacements for its main event.  Bonuses were handed out with an obvious Fight of the Night on the Main card.

The numbers were announced post-event.  The event at the Barclays Center garnered 17,026 fans a gate of $3,007,108.12.  As occurs most times, the number of comps were not revealed.  It’s the best attendance and gate at the Barclays as it bests last year’s Holm-de Randamie event.  It ranks 4th in terms of numbers in New York since MMA was legalized in the state.

Bonuses went to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chris Gruetzemacher, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak. The Canadian with the fanny pack had an impressive submissive victory over Evan Dunham.  Gruetzemacher defeated Joe Lauzon via corner stoppage after 2 dominating rounds and Zabit and Bochniak stole the show with a back and forth affair.  Zabit still did more to win the fight but Bochniak put up a game effort.

Payout Perspective:

While its disappointing that we did not (and may never get) Khabib-Tony, the Rose-Joanna fight was entertaining and the Zabit-Bochniak was great. While tickets on the secondary market may have decreased during  fight week, there does not seem to be a significant drop with attendance.

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