UFC on Fox 16 draws 2.8M viewers per Live+SD ratings

July 28, 2015

UFC on Fox 16 drew an official live + SD rating of 2.8 million viewers factoring in the complete event which aired from 8-10:30PM ET.  In addition, the prelims which preceded the main card on Fox drew 1.3M viewers.

The ratings were released via Fox Sports press release.  The numbers show a bump based on the fast overnights of 2.29M viewers which did not account for the last 30 minutes of the event.  The peak of the main card was 3.8 million viewers.

UFC on Fox 16 Ratings updated

In comparison to last July’s UFC on Fox event, this year’s card featuring T.J. Dillashaw defending his bantamweight title against Renan Barao did better than UFC on Fox 12 which drew 2.5 million viewers peaking at 3.4 million.  Last July featured Matt Brown taking on Robbie Lawler.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000

The chart and graph have been revamped to include the “fast overnights” versus the Live + same day (SD) rating.  The overnights do not account for any overruns.  The live plus same day rating includes any viewership that may have occurred that day and not just live viewing.

Note that UFC on Fox 1 and 2 we do not have the “fast overnights,” just the Live +SD rating.

Payout Perspective:

The bump in viewership is a nice increase from the original overnight viewership in comparison to the last couple network events.  Its peak viewership of 3.8M viewers is the best peak for a UFC on Fox event since UFC on Fox 13 drew 3.8M viewers.  The prelims matches the viewership number on Fox for UFC on Fox 12.  The only other time the prelims were also on Fox, UFC on Fox 15 drew 1.4 million viewers.

Eric Winter named UFC Fight Pass exec

July 28, 2015

The UFC announced that former Yahoo and Rivals.com executive Eric Winter has been named Senior Vice President and General Manager of UFC Fight Pass.  Winter will oversee and manage the global expansion of UFC Fight Pass according to a UFC press release.

In addition, Winter will oversee exclusive content for the over the top platform.  Winter will work with Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik and Executive Vice President of Operations and Production Craig Bosari.

Winter via UFC press release:

“UFC is not only the leader in the sport of mixed martial arts, but it is a leader in the area of programming and content distribution. I am thrilled to join UFC and build key partnerships that will ensure UFC FIGHT PASS is the premier destination for fight fans around the world.”

More on Winter’s background:

Previously, Winter led the unprecedented development of the Yahoo-owned Rivals.com, revolutionizing college football and basketball recruiting and the coverage of elite student-athletes. Overseeing a staff of 360 writers, editors, videographers and technologists, Winter transformed Rivals.com into the premier digital community featuring the most sought-out prospects and created the nation’s premier football camp series, showcasing the best athletes from across the country.

Prior to Rivals.com, Winter worked for Yahoo! Sports where he was the co-head of the global partnership team.  He first established relationships with the UFC when he worked for DirecTV where he led the PPV events marketing team in promoting UFC and Pride PPVs.

Payout Perspective:

It appears that Winter may spearhead a growth period for UFC Fight Pass.  We shall see if that means expansion in new global territories, acquisition and/or development of new content for the platform or both.

Unrepentant White discusses Duran dismissal

July 26, 2015

Dana White talked about the Stitch Duran release Saturday night on FS1 after UFC on Fox 16.  Instead of an explanation as to the dismissal, White was on the offensive with remarks about Duran in the classic strategy of changing the topic.

FS1’s Karyn Bryant interviewed White post-event and fed White the question about Duran so that he could clear the air.  Instead of an explanation of the dismissal, White chose to address the post-release comments by Duran in the video clip:

You can find the video here.

White indicated the name of cutman Don House as an individual he considered “close.”  So, like references, if any media decide to interview House, one would ensure that he would give a glowing account of working for the company.

Payout Perspective:

It’s a classic move to change the subject on a topic rather than address the actual issue.  It happens in politics all of the time.  Instead of focusing on the issue, the dismissal of Stitch Duran, White’s response related to Duran’s post-release response about the fact that he was not directly contacted by White about his release.  Duran gave an interview to Bloody Elbow commenting on the fact that cutmen were not included in the Reebok sponsorship deal and that they were losing sponsor earnings as a result.  Duran was released shortly after the interview.  White’s comments were the first public response after the firing.  Instead of an explanation on the release or acknowledging the UFC faux pas, White switched gears by commenting on whether or not he was friends with Duran.  That was not the issue.  The issue was why Duran was terminated.  Yet, White can now say he’s addressed the situation and that is final.

UFC on Fox 16 draws 2.29M viewers

July 26, 2015

UFC on Fox 16 drew an overnight viewership of 2.29 million viewers on Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  The event received the highest share and rating in the adult 18-49 demo for the night.

UPDATED:  We will have updated ratings from Nielsen, tomorrow, Tuesday.  As pointed out by a reader, Shawn Jennings, the ratings for UFC on Fox 16 are not the final ratings.  The graph below, with the exception of UFC on Fox 16 are final overnight ratings.  So to be clear UFC on Fox 16 rating of 2.29M viewers is not final.  And to Mr. Jennings, we are “amateur hour.”  We will repost the ratings and table soon.

The main card featured T.J. Dillashaw taking on Renan Barao with Dillashaw stopping the former champion.  Notably, the rating is from the 8-10pm ET time slot.  However, the bulk of the Dillashaw-Barao fight occurred after 10pm which is not accounted for in the overnight rating at this time.

UFC on Fox 16 drew a 0.9 rating and 4 share amongst adults 18-49 which was the most for network shows on Saturday night.  Overall, CBS ruled the night as it won all time slots on Saturday night.  A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS drew more viewers in the 8pm time slot with 3.49M viewers and a rerun of Scorpion in the 9pm time slot drew 3.35M viewers.  In the 10pm time slot, a rerun of 48 Hours scored the highest viewership overall with 4.11M viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It was a good night of fights and the UFC did well against relatively no competition in network shows.  However, it did not do as well as UFC on Fox 12 last summer (2.5M viewers).  It did better than UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago (2.04M viewers).  Traditionally, the summer network cards do not fare as well as the other three cards during the year for a variety of reasons.

Based on the initial ratings, it looks as though it should surpass the final overnights of last summer’s UFC on Fox 12 which did 2.5M viewers. It has already eclipsed UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago.

UFC on Fox 16 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 25, 2015

In the post-event press conference, Dana White announced the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC on Fox 16 on Saturday night from Chicago, Illinois.

White announced attendance at 11,663 with a gate of $1.2 million for the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  Notably, UFC on Fox 2 in January 2012 drew 16,963 for a gate of $1.271 million and UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 drew 10,795 for a gate of $863,655.

The bonuses of $50,000 each went to Edson Barboza, Paul Felder, T.J. Dillashaw and Tom Lawlor.  Barboza and Felder drew Fight of the Night and Dillashaw and Lawler scored the Performance of the Night bonuses.  White indicated that he also liked the Ben Saunders-Kenny Robertson fight and was impressed with James Krause’s win tonight.  It sounded that those three fighters may also receive additional compensation.

Payout Perspective:

The event was not a sellout as the ‘get in’ price as of noon Saturday was $59 according to StubHub.  The United Center could house 20,000 plus so it was far from selling out.  The fights were very good tonight which culminated in Dillashaw’s domination of Renan Barao.  Dillashaw earned a bonus and the lighter weight divisions are on a roll this month.

UFC McGregor bio indicates UFC 189 did 1M PPV buys

July 24, 2015

UFC is reporting that UFC 189 drew 1 million PPV buys according to the biography of Conor McGregor on the company’s web siteMMA Junkie noted the information on McGregor’s bio.

Via UFC.com:

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.

Payout Perspective:

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.

Dillashaw signs deal with Everlast

July 23, 2015

UFC Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has signed a sponsorship deal with Everlast as announced by the company via tweet.  Dillashaw is set to make his second title defense against Renan Barao this Saturday at UFC on Fox 16.

Despite the talk of the sponsorship market shrinking due to the Reebok deal, Dillashaw has a deal with Onnit and now Everlast.

It was reported back in May that Dillashaw left his agents at MMA, Inc. to go at it alone.  Unless Dillashaw has signed with another agent, it appears that he has secured this sponsorship on his own.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting sponsorship since Dillashaw cannot wear any logos sporting the Everlast brand this week due to the new UFC outfitting policy.  The good news for Dillashaw is that the brand is willing to work with him outside of the UFC umbrella.  Perhaps a trend of seeking out the lower-weight divisions for sponsor deals.

Reebok receiving criticism for Duran departure

July 23, 2015

Reebok is feeling the heat after the UFC let go of cutman Stitch Duran.  The official clothier of the UFC sent out a tweet in apparent response to UFC fans outraged by his dismissal.

Not even one month into its official partnership with the UFC, it is feeling the brunt of criticism from the fans.  The dismissal of Duran after he spoke out about losing out on sponsorship money due to the Reebok deal has angered the MMA internet community and Reebok felt compelled to respond.

MMA fans were not happy with Reebok taking over as the company’s primary clothing sponsor which eliminated many MMA brands from the octagon.  It also angered fans and fighters when the UFC revealed payouts from the sponsorships which were below those that fighters received and now Duran’s departure has drawn the ire of many that follow the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

For those that believe that Reebok is looking for a way out of this deal think again.  Despite the harsh criticism, the brand needs the UFC as much as the UFC needs Reebok.  Reebok is seeking to establish a niche in the fitness market and boost sales for its parent company, Adidas, in the U.S.  The uniforms are a big deal for the brand even though public opinion seems to be negative overall.  If nothing else, Reebok can say it is an official outfitter for one of the biggest female athletes today, Ronda Rousey.

As many know, Adidas is owned by Reebok and there was speculation that it wanted to sell off Reebok due to poor profits.  There were earnings warnings in 2013 and 2014 for Reebok and shareholders were concerned.  Add to that, Adidas has fallen for the first time to number 3 in the U.S. sportswear market behind Nike and Under Armour.  Even the creator of Crossfit made it known in a ’60 Minutes’ segment this year that Reebok should be sold  to “someone young, fresh, excited and willing to enter into the modern era of things.”

However, it appears that profits have turned around in 2015 for the brand and the future of the fitness market is looking bright.  According to a report by CBS Marketwatch earlier this year, Adidas indicated that it would not sell Reebok.  Could some of the brand’s newfound momentum be from the UFC deal?  Even if there is pushback from fans, Reebok will likely ride out the wave of discontent in hopes of a promising future.

Duran dismissed by UFC after comments about Reebok deal

July 22, 2015

MMA Junkie reports that UFC cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran was let go by the company after revealing that the cutmen were not part of the Reebok sponsorship deal and that he lost all revenue from his sponsors.  Duran detailed this in an interview with Bloody Elbow and despite putting his contractor in a positive light, he was let go.

Duran first revealed the information in a tweet responding to someone asking about whether cutmen were a part of Reebok sponsorship.

He then gave an interview with John Nash of Bloody Elbow in which he clarified the situation.  He indicated that he was an independent contractor for the UFC although it was “highly recommended” not to work for another MMA promotion stating it was “an unwritten rule.”  He told Nash that cutmen were told that they were “given sufficient warning” that they were not a part of the Reebok deal.  In support of the UFC, he stated he didn’t think “they [UFC] did this out of malice.”  Duran claimed that he thought that the cutmen were “doing too good of [a] job where they just maybe forgot about us.”

An interesting sidenote from the interview was that Duran stated that in boxing, boxers pay cutmen directly whereas MMA promotions pay its cutmen.

Duran was let go shortly after the interview as he indicated via twitter.  MMA Junkie confirmed with an unnamed source.

Payout Perspective:

The situation smells of a lawsuit waiting to happen…perhaps.  Duran talks about his work status and is immediately let go by the company.  Unless there was something in Duran’s contract that prevented him from speaking about sponsors, the Reebok deal or his pay his dismissal is very suspect.  Obviously, the UFC can rely on the fact that Duran’s contract can be terminated at any time.

The other part of the situation that puts the UFC in a bad light is the brazen way this looks as how it seeks to control its message.  The Reebok deal has caught major scrutiny and criticism.  And despite efforts by the UFC to use its fighters to promote the deal, many fight fans see the dismissal of Duran (and Burt Watson although that situation was different) as the UFC disregarding the people that helped get it to where it is today.  Duran’s dismissal appears to be a sign to others within the organization that they should remain in line with the company or else.

UFC Fight Night 71 draws 508,000, prelims 292,000

July 21, 2015

UFC Fight Night 71 on Saturday morning drew an average viewership of 508,000 with the prelims drawing 292,000 according to Nielsen sources.

Fight Night 71 featured Michael Bisping taking over Thales Leites.  The event which started at 10am PT on FS1 drew 508,000 viewers.  The prelims which preceded the event at 8am PT drew 292,000.

The prelims reflect a 6% increase over the two previous Saturday day fights on FS1.  The main card delivered a 4% increase over the last two Saturday day cards.  In the A18-49 demo, Saturday’s Fight Night 71 drew 275,000 viewers which was 3% more viewers than the prior two card average of 267,000.

UFC Fight Night 71

UFC Fight Nights 2015
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 59 (FOX) 1,700,000 908,000
UFC Fight Night 60 913,000 775,000
UFC Fight Night 61 1,200,000 813,000
UFC Fight Night 62 617,000 280,000
UFC Fight Night 63 389,000 304,000
UFC Fight Night 66 575,000 286,000
UFC Fight Night 67 813,000 713,000
UFC Fight Night 68 950,000 782,000
UFC Fight Night 70 (prelims on FS2) 909,000 223,000
UFC Fight Night 71 508,000 292,000

Payout Perspective:

In comparing the ratings for a UFC Fight Night during the day this year, UFC Fight Night 63 which aired during the morning/afternoon in the US drew 389,000 (main card) and 304,000 (prelims).  UFC Fight Night 66 drew 575,000 (main card) and 292,000 (prelims).  Thus, the ratings from Saturday were slightly above the last two cards held during the day on Saturday.

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