Silva bristles at donning Reebok

January 30, 2015

In a recent interview, Anderson Silva stated he will not wear Reebok in the UFC despite the impending uniform deal.  More damaging, he is quoted as saying he doesn’t identify with Reebok at all.

The quotes came in a recent interview with Brazilian outlet Terra and were reported by MMA Junkie.

Until Nike decided to opt out of the MMA sponsor business, Silva was a swoosh mainstay.  Silva stated that he identifies with the Nike brand even though he no longer is sponsored by the Beaverton, Oregon company.

Silva stated that his whole family wears Nike and Adidas.  As an aside, Adidas owns Reebok.

Payout Perspective:

The words from SIlva are not encouraging for Reebok when one of the biggest stars in the UFC does not endorse the brand.  Furthermore, although he’s being frank, he is burying the brand and endorsing its competitor, Nike.  Obviously, Silva’s long-time ties with Nike may persuade his views but I’m sure his opinion on the Reebok brand might be shared by other fighters that will be required to don the Reebok gear this July.

Ticket demand for UFC 183 up from 182

January 29, 2015

According to SeatGeek.com, tickets on the secondary market for UFC 183 are up 9% from UFC 182 with an average price of $460 per ticket.  In addition, there are still tickets available according to Ticketmaster with the best “get in” price for a ticket going for $238.

As of Thursday afternoon, the cheapest ticket on Ticketmaster to get into UFC 183 featuring Anderson Silva versus nick Diaz is $238.02.  The best available tickets on Ticketmaster are seats on the floor which go for $1,042.35.  Also as of Thursday afternoon, SeatGeek has the current pricing in the secondary market for UFC 183.  The lowest tickets are going for $210.  Of course, these likely come with broker fees.

UFC 182 which featured Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier drew an average price of $420 on the secondary market.  Notably, the prices for UFC 183 are the least expensive for Anderson Silva in the U.S. since August 2010 when Silva took on Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in Oakland.  Silva-Sonnen I drew an average of just $198 on the resale market.

SeatGeek indicates that the decrease in Silva as a box office star may be due to his current losing streak.  In his first fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 162,, the average ticket on the secondary market was $519.  For the rematch at UFC 168, tickets averaged at $536.  Both of these fights were at the MGM Grand.  Saturday’s fight also takes place at the MGM Grand.

Via Seat Geek

Payout Perspective:

One might believe that the ticket prices are up from January’s event due to the influx of fans from Brazil and Super Bowl weekend. Although Anderson Silva fights have gone for over $500 per ticket in the last two events, those events occurred during key times during the UFC calendar (i.e., UFC 162 during International Fight Week and UFC 168 at “year-end show” which also included Rousey-Tate). UFC 183 comes on the heels of an event in the city 4 weeks ago so the increase in demand is a good sign.

UFC officially raises its PPV prices

January 29, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC has permanently raised its pay-per-view prices $5 due to what the company calls “rising costs in producing live events.”  For most, the usual $54.99 HD PPV fans have been accustomed to pay will increase to $59.99.

For those that purchase their PPVs in SD, the price will increase from $44.99 to $49.99.

Prior to this official statement to Junkie, it was thought that the first three UFC PPVs of this year would be $59.99 due to the special nature of the events.  In December 2013, UFC 168 increased its PPV price point by $5 as well.

Payout Perspective:

As we discussed earlier in the year, White had previously stated that PPV prices would never go up.  The UFC then raised the price for UFC 168.  With the relative success of UFC 182, one had to know that the price increase was going to stay permanent.  While it may be true that rising production costs may have forced the company to pass along those costs to its fans, the way it has introduced the new prices seems a little disappointing.  It’s not that the prices were raised (at least in my opinion), but how it was done.  The issue of raising PPV prices had been thought to be happening and there had been no answer from the company, until now, that the UFC would raise prices.  Instead, it appeared that the prices would be raised for special events – a form of dynamic pricing.  It now will permanently keep the price adjustment and consumers are now upset.  While boxing has seen its PPV prices rise as well, there are fewer events to choose from.  Still, charging $65 and $75 for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather still has fight consumers upset.

From the UFC perspective, the slight increase in pricing helps its bottom line.  A part of the reason why Standard & Poor’s lowered its credit rating and financial outlook were due to 2014’s poor PPV numbers.  The additional revenue it may receive from the price increase should mitigate its increasing production costs and help with its overall financial outlook in 2015.

UPDATED: UFC heading to Philippines for UFC Fight Night 65 May 16th

January 28, 2015

UFC is finally heading to the Philippines per a report by Bloody Elbow.  MMA Junkie reports that the deal has been finalized to hold UFC Fight Night 65 in Manila at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Back in 2011, the Philippines was thought to be the country to have the first international TUF according to Dana White. Obviously, that was not the case.  The Philippines is a fight crazy country and have come out by the thousands to see the likes of Carlos Condit, Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera visit the country on behalf of the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly, an event in the Philippines could bring a large fan base to an event craving MMA.   Aside from basketball, the Philippines is big on combat sports.  The UFC has toiled with holding an event in the country and it looks like it could come to fruition.  Certainly, Filipino UFC fighters Mark Munoz, Mark Eddiva and Roldan Sangcha-an could be on tap for the event in Manila.

Silver steps down as NY State Assembly Speaker

January 28, 2015

NY Times reports that Sheldon Silver will be replaced as speaker of the NY State Assembly and Assemblyman Joseph Morelle will become the interim speaker starting next week.  Notably, Morelle sponsored a bill that would legalize professional mixed martial arts in the state.

Notably, in the first half of January 2013, records show that Zuffa contributed $2,500 to the re-election campaign of Assemblyman Joe Morelle.  Zuffa also contributed the same amount to Joe Griffo, another New York state senator that, along with Morelle, has sponsored a bill to legalize the sport in the state.

Morelle, who is the majority leader of the state Assembly, will be one of several lawmakers vying for the permanent role of speaker.  According to Jim Genia, Morelle, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Assemblyman Denny Farrell and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan are candidates for Silver’s former position.  Per Genia, Assemblywoman Nolan is the only one to come out against the sport.  The NY Times also names Assemblyman Carl Heastie as a possible contender for the speaker positions as well.  According to a report, Zuffa donated $500 to Heastie in 2013.

Payout Perspective:

The Assembly plans to elect its permanent speaker on February 10th.  The prospects look good that New York may get a speaker that has supported MMA in the past.  While this does not necessarily mean that the speaker will be able to get a law passed legalizing MMA, if a pro-MMA assembly person becomes speaker, there should not be an issue with getting a vote on a bill legalizing MMA in the state.

UFC on Fox 14 draws 3.049M, Prelims do 607K on FS1

January 27, 2015

Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 14 drew an average of 3.049 million viewers per Nielsen.  In addition, the Prelims on FS1 drew 607,000 viewers for the three hour show preceeding the two hour network card.

The two hour event on FOX won its time slot as well as coming in first in key adult and male demos.  It drew a 1.8 rating with a 3 share and its final peak rating drew 3.646 million viewers.  The event featured Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson.  “Rumble” scored an upset win over the hometown favorite.

The ratings are the best on FOX for the UFC since last year’s UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 which featured Benson Henderson and Josh Thompson.

The UFC on Fox 14 Prelims are down from December’s UFC on Fox Prelims which drew 654,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Despite this past Saturday’s event drawing less than previous network events in January, the ratings show that the promotion of the event from Fox during the NFL playoffs and other Fox sports have helped with awareness of the card.  The Prelims were slightly off of December’s ratings which may be due to the lack of name recognition from all of the non-US fighters.

UFC on Fox 14 draws 2.82M, wins time slot

January 25, 2015

Television By Numbers reports that UFC on Fox 14 on Saturday drew an overnight rating of 2.82 million viewers, 1.1 rating (18-49 year olds) and 4 share.  It won its time slot on Saturday night.

UFC on Fox 14 aired on Fox from 8:00-10:00pm ET and due to the first round stoppage in the main event, there was no overrun.  UFC won its network time slot on Saturday night.  It went up against an ABC kid’s movie, “Mirror/Mirror,” a rerun of CSI on CBS and Figure Skating on NBC.

UFC on Fox Ratings

UFC on Fox 1: 5.7 million

UFC on Fox 2: 4.57 million

UFC on Fox 3: 2.25 million

UFC on Fox 4: 2.36 million

UFC on Fox 5: 3.41 million

UFC on Fox 6: 4.22 million

UFC on Fox 7: 3.3 million

UFC on Fox 8: 2.38 million

UFC on Fox 9: 2.9 million

UFC on Fox 10: 3.22 million

UFC on Fox 11: 1.98 million

UFC on Fox 12: 2.5 million

UFC on Fox 13: 2.27 million

UFC on Fox 14: 2.82 million

UFC on Fox 14 ratings

Payout Perspective:

The good news is that the UFC won its time slot against less than stiff competition.  It is also up 22 percent from UFC on Fox 13 in the 18-49 demo.  The 2 hour show featured 3 stoppages so there was no overrun this time around.  Thus, the ratings will likely see a big increase.  The bad news is that the ratings are off from last year’s UFC on Fox 10 which aired last January.  That show which featured Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thopmson drew 3.2 million viewers. In 2013, January’s UFC on Fox 6 drew 4.2 million viewers which featured Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson.  The first January UFC drew 4.57 million viewers.  MMA Payout will have more on the ratings in the days to come.

UFC on Fox 14 draws record gate

January 24, 2015

MMA Junkie reports UFC on Fox 14 reportedly drew a record 30,000 in attendance for a gate of $3.1 milion.  It was the biggest European attendance and gate in the company’s history.

Perhaps most remarkable about the attendance was that the event occurred during the middle of the night in Sweden.  UFC General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa David Allen announced the attendance and gate post-event.  The UFC on Fox broadcast indicated that 26,000 were in attendance at the Tele2Arena in Stockholm but Allen stated that there was a strong walkup for tickets.

There were no reports of comps.

Payout Perspective:

When the stadium show was announced, we had our skepticism about whether the show could draw 30,000 people.  This is partly due to the fact that attendance over the past 3 UFC events in Sweden had decreased.  Moreover, the event would be held in the middle of the night to accommodate the North American audience.  But with the country backing Alexander Gustafsson, the UFC fans came out to support him.  It was an entertaining card and a good indicator that the UFC could hold stadium shows in select countries.

UFC on Fox 14 bonuses

January 24, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the bonuses from Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 14.  Anthony “Rumble” Johnson earned a title shot with his win as well as led the bonuses for the night.

Johnson, Gegard Mousasi, Makwan Amirkhani and Kenny Robertson all earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses.  There was no “Fight of the Night.”  The bonuses were announced post-event by UFC exec David Allen.

Payout Perspective:

Johnson was the biggest winner of the night as he earns the next title shot against Jon Jones.  He also earned the $50K and upset the home favorite Gustafsson.  Mousasi also moved up the middleweight ladder with a win over Dan Henderson.  Amirkhani needed only 8 seconds to KO Andy Ogle in the first round.  Robertson also had a first round KO over Sultan Aliev.

NYS Assembly Speaker Silver arrested on corruption charges

January 22, 2015

New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges on Thursday.  The charges include mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion.  In MMA circles, the state assemblyman had been the one that prevented a vote on the legalization of MMA in the state.

The Complaint obtained by the NY Times alleges that Silver has received “more than $6 million in outside income from two law firms since late 2002.”  This includes “undisclosed bribes and kickbacks” where Silver used his position and power to “induce real estate developers with business before the State to retain and continue to use a Real Estate Law Firm controlled by an attorney who previously had worked as Silver’s counsel in the Assembly and who caused Silver to be paid for such referrals by the Real Estate Law Firm,” reads the Complaint.

UFC head Dana White has accused Silver of blocking a vote which could potentially grant the legalization of professional MMA in the state.  New York is the only state which prohibits professional MMA.

Silver had served as speaker for more than two decades.  So far, there is no clear indication as to who Silver’s successor would be.

A lawsuit is pending in which Zuffa has sued the state for its legislative ban on professional MMA.

Payout Perspective:

The news of Sheldon’s arrest could breathe new life into the annual Zuffa lobbying activities in Albany this spring.  While Sheldon’s removal from his position may not mean that New York passes legislation legalizing professional MMA in the state, it gives lobbyists new hope that they can obtain a vote in the Assembly.  This story is just getting started and MMA Payout will keep you posted.

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