Bellator 139: 764K viewers and Friday night boxing numbers

June 29, 2015

Bellator 139 drew an average viewership of 764,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The event is down from its tent pole event of a week prior but it still was the second-best rating on the network since February.

In the main event of Friday night, former UFC heavyweight Cheick Kongo defeated Alexander Volkov.  The other big news coming out of Bellator 139 was the KO of Joe Schilling by Hisaki Kato.  Per Nielsen sources, the peak for the show was 988,000 viewers during the last quarter hour (10:45-11pm).

Bellator 137 pulls the promotion’s 2015 Spike TV average up to 800,000 viewers.

Overnight Peak
Bellator 132 767,000 1,200,000
Bellator 133 565,000 967,000
Bellagtor 134 872,000 1,200,000
Bellator 135 607,000 922,000
Bellator 136 655,000 900,000
Bellator 137 594,000 768,000
Bellator 138 1,580,000 2,100,000
Bellator 139 764,000 988,000

Bellator 139

Sports TV ratings also notes that boxing on TruTV drew 303,000 viewers Friday night in the 10pm-12am slot.  The TruTV fights are promoted primarily by Top Rank.  Also, boxing on FS1 on Friday drew 129,000 viewers.  The event on FS1 appears to be the last promoted by Golden Boy.  Additionally, Showtime aired a prospect card Friday night although no information on the ratings were available at this time.

Payout Perspective:

There were a lot of viewing options Friday night for combat sports enthusiasts but viewers tuned in to Bellator 139 which should be seen as a positive for the company and Spike.  It’s interesting that it did so well the week after its tent pole event.  The last tent pole event, Bellator 131, did not have a follow event the next week.  In fact, the next Bellator event was not until January 2015.  We could see more follow up events the week after to take advantage of the momentum.

In terms of boxing ratings, the TruTV ratings are surprising and it looks like Top Rank has found a nice way to promote its HBO fights the next night.

Koscheck signs with Bellator

June 26, 2015

Bellator announced the signing of former UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck during its live event on Spike TV Friday night.  The 37-year-old Koscheck ended his UFC career on a 5 fight losing streak but has signed a mult-fight deal with the organization.

We last saw Koscheck in a loss to Erick Silva as a replacement at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare in March.  He also lost to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 184 in February.

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that the fight to make here is against Paul Dailey.  For those that do not recall, Dailey was exiled from the UFC after he sucker-punched Koscheck at UFC 113 in May 2010.  That matchup saw a lot of trash-talking which ended up with Dailey hitting Koscheck after the final bell.  He was dismissed from the UFC and never given a chance to return.  We shall see if Bellator can continue its success of repackaging older, name brand fighters for its shows.  As we know from Bellator 131 and 138, the ratings reflect that it can.

More ratings from Bellator 138

June 24, 2015

Spike TV has released Live+3 data on Bellator 138 which reveals that 1.7 million viewers watched Friday night’s event.  The Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock fight drew 2.8 million viewers and peaked at 2.9 million making it the most watched Bellator event ever.

Adults 18-49 drew a 1.2 rating, Men 18-49 a 1.7 rating and Men 18-34 a 1.3 rating.

In comparison, Bellator 131’s DVR numbers bumped up last November’s telecast to 1.4 million with a peak of 2.246 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A remarkably good showing by Bellator as the live event showing plus 2 replays drew an average of 8.9 million viewers.  It did much better than Bellator 131 although you might recall it competed with UFC 180 that night.  Without another MMA telecast to compete with, Bellator had its best night on television.  We shall see how Bellator does September 19th with its third “tent pole” event.  It will go up against a UFC card but that is a Fight Pass only event.

Updated Bellator 138 ratings has peak viewership at 2.4M

June 23, 2015

Updated ratings for Bellator 138 are in and as expected the ratings have gone up from its initial ratings yesterday.  Notably, the Friday telecast peaked at 2.4 million viewers at 11:53pm ET during the main event.

Additionally, the fight between Slice and Shamrock drew 2.3 million viewers alone for the 3 minutes it lasted (11:51-11:54pmET).  In addition the replay immediately after the event drew an additional 339,000 viewers.  The next day, another replay on Saturday, June 20th drew 428,000 viewers.

The overall live telecast from 9-12:03pm drew 1.6 million viewers.

A ratings breakdown of some of the fights from Friday (live) are as follows:

Pitbull-Weichel- 1.9 million viewers

Lashley-Charles- 1.8 million viewers

Straus-Corrales – 1.3 million viewers

Chandler-Campos – 1.1 million viewers

Slice-Shamrock – 2.3 million viewers

In comparison, here is the breakdown (in order) of the fights for Bellator 131 last November:

King Mo-Joe Vedepo – 1.1 million viewers

Mike Richman-Nam Phan – 1.1 million viewers

Joe Schilling-Melvin Manhoef – 1.6 million viewers

AJ Matthews-Kyle Bolt – 1.3 million viewers

Will Brooks-Michael Chandler – 1.3 million viewers

Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar – 1.9 million viewers

Payout Perspective:

Viewership is up for Bellator’s second “tent pole” event. The replays drew a modest audience as Saturday night’s replay went up against PBC on NBC as well as US Open Golf.  Still, the average viewership for fight are positive.  The DVR viewership should increase these numbers even more.

Bellator 138 posts biggest ratings in its history

June 22, 2015

Bellator 138 drew 1.58 million viewers on Spike TV Friday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event was the largest average viewership in Bellator history.

The previous record was November’s Bellator 131 which averaged 1.2 million viewers.

The main event for Bellator 138 was Kimbo Slice taking on Ken Shamrock.  Slice KO’d Shamrock in the first round.  It drew the highest peak in the company’s history: 2.1 million viewers (11;45pm-12am).

Bellator 138, which aired from 9:0pm-12:03am Friday night, drew an 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 per Sports TV Ratings.

Overnight Peak
Bellator 132 767,000 1,200,000
Bellator 133 565,000 967,000
Bellator 134 872,000 1,200,000
Bellator 135 607,000 922,000
Bellator 136 655,000 900,000
Bellator 137 594,000 768,000
Bellator 138 1,580,000 2,100,000

Bellator 138 ratings

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are great for Bellator as it was second to only US Open Golf on FS1 in cable sports viewing on Friday.  Scott Coker’s “tent pole” event strategy seems to be working as viewers are making sure that they tune in when a big event is on.  MMA Payout will keep you updated on further ratings information as we receive it.

Bellator-Glory agree to co-promoted event on Spike TV

June 19, 2015

MMA Fighting reports that Glory Kickboxing and Bellator MMA have agreed to a joint show to air on Spike TV this fall.

Event details are expected to be revealed tonight during Bellator 138 on Spike TV.  The event is scheduled to take place in San Jose and will have both a Glory ring and Bellator cage in the arena.  According to the report, Tito Ortiz, Phil Davis, Paul Daley and Joe Scholling are names that are being floated around for the event.


Payout Perspective:

The hybrid show is something reminiscent of events in Japan and the event should promise to be of interest.  Both are part of Friday Night Lights Out, the rebranded Friday night for Spike TV featuring combat sports.  PBC Boxing on Spike is also a part of Spike’s Friday lineup.  The show this fall may be another “tent pole” event for Bellator and should help raise the brand of Glory.

How will Bellator 138 do on Spike TV Friday?

June 18, 2015

Bellator 138, the organization’s latest “tent pole” event occurs Friday night on Spike TV with Kimbo Slice taking on Ken Shamrock in the featured event.

Last Friday, Spike TV aired “Countdown to Unfinished Business” which drew 215,000 viewers according to Nielsen sources.  The shoulder programming was preceded by a PBC event which drew 446,000 viewers.  The ratings are less than prior shoulder programming for Bellator events.  For example, last year’s “Rampage vs. King Mo” shoulder program hyping their fight at Bellator 120 drew 460,000 viewers.  While we do not have the ratings for shoulder programming for Bellator 131, one might make the assumption that Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar drew more than 215,000 viewers in the days before their big fight last November.

Still, there is some positive buzz for this event despite the fact the two main event fighters are past their prime.

Fortunately for Bellator, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday ending the NBA Finals.  A Game 7 would have put the NBA up against Bellator on Friday which could have proven disastrous for the organization.  With boxing’s big event this weekend occurring on Saturday, Bellator will go unopposed aside from regional MLB broadcasts and those wanting to watch the US Open.  However, the latter likely skews to an older demo not targeted by Bellator.

Scott Coker indicated in an MMA Fighting article that he believed that Slice-Shamrock could beat the ratings record of Ortiz-Bonnar.  Bellator 131 last November drew an overall record 1.24 million viewers on Spike TV climaxing with a peak of 2 million during the Ortiz-Bonnar fight.  The adjusted viewership for DVRs drew the telecast to 1.4 million for the overall event and 2.246 million for the main event.   Of course, Ortiz-Bonnar included some pro-wrestling promotion which drew notoriety for better or worse.

It’s undeniable that Kimbo Slice is, or was, a ratings draw.  His EliteXC days drew huge ratings on CBS and season 10 of TUF (on Spike TV) was the last time that the TUF series drew notable ratings.  Of course, aside from Kimbo, that season was sparked due to the rivalry between Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson.  Ken Shamrock is a legend in MMA and his name is tied to famous rivalries throughout the years.  But, will this fight garner ratings?

Payout Perspective:

Without the NBA Finals opposing this event, we could see a very good ratings number for Bellator 138.  I doubt we see ratings like Ortiz-Bonnar.  The fact is that both Slice and Shamrock are past their primes and this may deter some viewers from tuning in.  Yet, the names might intrigue a casual viewer just to see if they still have “it.”  We shall see Friday if their name recognition should be past tense as well.

Bellator fighter issued 2 year suspension by California

June 10, 2015

MMA Fighting (via Sherdog) reports that Bellator’s Mike Richman has been suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for two years for taking performance enhancing drugs.  Richman becomes the first fighter to be disciplined under the stricter penalties set forth by California, Nevada and the UFC.

The suspension is a result of a failed drug test from Bellator 137.  Richman fought Eduardo Dantas in the co-main event of Bellator 137 last month in Temecula, California.  He did not make for the fight against Dantas and lost via unanimous decision.

Richman announced via social media that he took anabolic steroids and expressed remorse for cheating.  He indicated that no one else knew that he was taking PEDs.  The 29-year-old Richman appears not to appeal the suspension based on his admission.

Bellator indicated that it would “stand behind the commission 100 percent” with respect to the suspension and find of Richman.  In addition to the suspension, California levied the maximum monetary penalty on Richman of $2,500.

Payout Perspective:

While most of us will applaud the suspension and subsequent apology from Richman, the issue of whether the suspension is appropriate for the infraction.  It appears that Richman will not appeal the suspension which means that he will miss out on two years of his prime due to failing just one test.  This should serve as an example for others that the commission is willing to issue stiff penalties for those that attempt to cheat.  We shall see how the commission handles a situation if (and when) another fighter fails a drug test but decides to appeal the decisions.

Coker comments on UFC-Reebok sponsor policy

May 11, 2015

In an interview with MMA Fighting, Scott Coker indicates that Bellator has been contacted by multiple UFC fighters and managers about its sponsorship policy in light of the revealed pay structure under the new UFC-Reebok deal.  He also talked about Bellator business.

The Q&A with Luke Thomas hit all of the salient points although Coker remained neutral in the UFC decision to have Reebok as its sole clothing sponsor and the new pay which appears to negatively affect the pocketbooks of many UFC contracted fighters.

Notably, Coker indicated that Monster Energy Drink remains a Bellator sponsor despite its appearance in the Octagon.  He also stated that the company looks to expand its schedule in 2016 which means more Bellator cards for next year.  This likely means the possibility of more fighters being signed by the company.

When asked about the potential for a union, Coker was neutral once again about how it would affect MMA.

Payout Perspective:

The query by fighters and managers about Bellator’s sponsorship policy was a likely result after the Reebok sponsor pay tiers were released.  But, the issue fighters and managers must decide is whether the sponsors that may pay them $50-$60K right now will pay the same in Bellator.  Also, at this point is clear that the UFC, just based on the publicly reported purses, pays more than Bellator.  A fighter that sees his sponsor income drop from $60K to $10K may also want to consider where he might be slotted within a Bellator pay structure before jumping ship.

At this point, when non-MMA fans think of the sport of mixed martial arts, they think of the UFC.  Non-endemic sponsors know this and thus it seems it would make it a hard sell for a fighter going to Bellator.  Even for brands synonymous with MMA, one would think that sponsor pay may be different (i.e, less) in Bellator.

Show Money Episode 3 talks Rampage, Antitrust and Phil Davis

April 21, 2015

The third episode of Show Money talks Rampage injunction, an update on the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, Phil Davis to Bellator and the dismissal of Zuffa’s lawsuit in New York. I join Bloody Elbow’s Paul Gift and John Nash to talk, debate and discuss these issues.

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