November 19, 2013
MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Bellator 108 scored an average viewership of 793,000 viewers. However, Rampage Jackson’s debut with the company scored a high of 1.1 million viewers with a peak of 1.2.
In the main event of the two hour broadcast, Jackson fought Joey Beltran earning a KO in the first round. During the main event, the broadcast, between 10:30 p.m.-10:45pm drew 1.1 million viewers with a 1.2 million peak.
Season 9 (Fall 2013):
Bellator 98 – 437,000 viewers
Bellator 99 – 660,000 viewers, 704,000 DVR+3
Bellator 100 – 700,000 viewers, 736,000 DVR+3
Bellator 101 – 649,000 viewers, 710,000 DVR +3
Bellator 102 – 675,000 viewers. 774,000 DVR +3
Bellator 103 – 539,000 viewers, 638,000 DVR +3
Bellator 104 – 615,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3
Bellator 105 – 520,000 viewers, 684,000 DVR +3
Bellator 106 – 1.1M viewers
Bellator 107 – 683,000 viewers, 782,000 DVR +3
Bellator 108 – 793,000 viewers
One might infer that the strong ratings show that Rampage Jackson is still a draw and that Bellator made the right decision to sign him. Although his shoulder programming leading up to the nixed PPV, Rampage 4 Real, fizzled after the cancelled fight people tuned in on Friday to watch him. The ratings high during the two hour event jumped during his fight and he did not disappoint those that tuned in with a first round KO. We shall see how Bellator plans to use Jackson in the future.
November 19, 2013
MMA Payout has learned that the UFC 167 Prelims scored an average of 998,000 this past Saturday on FS1. It was the highest prelim rating since it moved to FS1 this past August.
UFC Prelims on FS1
UFC 164 809,000
UFC 165 722,000
UFC 166 628,000
UFC 167 998,000
The 998K is a very good rating for the UFC which may reflect interest in the PPV card. It’s the best number since the last UFC Prelims on FX which was 163 in August which scored 1 million viewers. The Prelims featured Donald Cerrone versus Evan Dunham in the last fight on the Prelims. Cerrone looked sharp and eventually submitted Dunham.
November 19, 2013
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we take a look at the big 20th Anniversary Show of UFC 167 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bruised and battered but GSP wins split decision
If you disagree with the decision review the 1st round because it appears that is the round where two judges scored it for GSP and 1 for Hendricks. The rest of the rounds the judges agreed. It was a close call, but ties go to the Champion. Of course that’s not how it’s scored but many probably came to that conclusion on Saturday night.
Who do we blame? The Nevada State Athletic Commission for the judges? The judges themselves? Hendricks’ corner for not telling him to keep pressing? Or do we chalk this one up to a bad decision? Then again, was it a bad decision?
While the judging may have been suspect, based upon how the 10-9 scoring system, it was a plausible outcome.
Two items from the actual match between GSP-Hendricks. There was the theory of a phantom tap by Hendricks during the match spotted by many. But GSP did not stop and did not argue a tap. Looking back at Bendo-Pettis, even if a tap is not detected by the referee, the fighters would likely have stopped themselves. You may recall that Bendo lost his title this past August when he verbally submitted to Pettis although the ref did not stop the fight immediately. It seems like guys like Hendricks and GSP would have the sportsmanship to admit if a tap had occurred.
Also, it appeared as though Hendricks had yelled out that GSP was either holding the fence or his shorts on the ground as a way to keep position during a scramble on the ground in the 5th round. Yet, there was nothing done in that instance. Perhaps this was some desperation by GSP in trying to keep position on Hendricks.
And now for the post-fight story. Give Joe Rogan credit for not giving the stock platitudes in the post-fight interview and actually pressing GSP. Even though he didn’t get the answer, Rogan saw GSP wanted to say something and followed up with questions.
One of the reasons Dana White was so hot at the post-fight press conference was that he was not given (official) notice that GSP was leaving. Thus, he was mad at the commission and its judges. If Hendricks won, White would not have been steamed. He would have had a new marketable champion and could give GSP the time off to do what he needed. According to reports, White was able to speak with GSP after the post-fight press conference (GSP was not at the press conference at the beginning). One might deduce their discussion was an attempt to get to the bottom of the cryptic statements GSP made in the Octagon and persuade him to not take a leave of absence. TMZ has reported the alleged personal issues of GSP (which is in part being denied according to a report picked up by Bloody Elbow). We shall see what becomes of this situation and how GSP will address what now is becoming a public story.
Evans pounds out Sonnen
It was quick work by Evans who destroyed Sonnen with a flurry of punches on the ground in the first round. There was a little hope that that this would be a good match considering Sonnen’s last outing against Shogun Rua. Then after Evans took Sonnen down there was little hope that it would last past round 1. Evans looked rejuvenated from a poor outing against Little Nog in February and a so-so performance in June. Does it mean he’s somewhere in the Light Heavyweight title picture? We’ll have to wait. As for Sonnen, he gets a TUF Brazil coaching spot and Wanderlei Silva.
Lawler jumps back into title picture after upset
Not a good night for the Tri-Star Gym. Not only is GSP out indefinitely, its “next in line” was upset by resurgent Robbie Lawler. MacDonald is still very young and will be back but for Lawler it was a definite step forward. Lawler is 3-0 since coming over from Strikeforce. As Lawler proposed at the post-fight press conference, maybe a Hendricks-Lawler fight could be in the future.
Attendance and Gate
As reported, the gate was the best since UFC 148 at the MGM. 14,856 were in attendance for a $5.7 million gate. Although not factored in the actual number, the secondary market had its biggest demand since 2009 with an average of $580 per ticket. But, it does show the demand for this event.
Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were GSP-Hendricks, Donald Cerrone for his sub of Evan Dunham and Tyron Woodley for his highlight reel KO of Josh Koscheck.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the UFC 167 salaries and as expected Georges St. Pierre topped the payroll earning $400,000 with no win bonus although GSP earned a FOTN bonus making his total earnings $450,000. Johny Hendricks earned $50,000 for his split decision loss but did pick up another $50,000 to top out at $100,000.
While the viewership for the UFC Primetime series has been down since moving to FS1, they were well-done this time around as it introduced you to Johny Hendricks. I think the introduction of the challenger in these programs is important and Hendricks came off as a likeable guy. I also like the spotlight they did on Firas Zahabi as you don’t get to hear too much about the story behind some of the trainers.
The sponsors in the Octagon included Assassin’s Creed IV “Black Flag”, MusclePharm, UltimatePoker.net, Harley Davidson, Dodge, Toyo Tires, the movie Grudge Match, Alienware, MusclePharm and Bud Light in the center. Corn Nuts and MetroPCS had its usual placements within the PPV broadcast.
Reebok signed Johny Hendricks to wear its logo into the Octagon for UFC 167. Hendricks wore Reebok crossfit shorts and had a walkout shirt via Reebok. Also, Hendricks sported its shoes and promoted them via social media. A lot was made that Reebok paid the sponsor fee for Hendricks but did not for Rampage when it was announced Reebok would be sponsoring Hendricks. We will see if Reebok continues to sponsor Hendricks and/or other fighters.
Hendricks did have UFC official sponsors Corn Nuts and Alienware as his sponsors in addition to Bass Pro Shops and “Rags to Rick,” a Comedy reality show.
GSP wore his Hayabusa gi (no controversy this time) to the Octagon and his corner wore Affliction.
It was the first time that I’ve seen PS4 advertised during a UFC broadcast. This may not sit well with Mighty Mouse’s primary sponsor, Microsoft’s Xbox.
Robbie Lawler was sponsored by the Air Force Reserve. It’s an interesting sponsor considering that some pushed to curtail U.S. military sport sponsorships earlier this year.
Interesting sponsor of the night: Rick Story was sponsored by PaleoRanch.com.
What’s going to happen without GSP? An interim title will likely happen if GSP is out for a prolonged period of time. In addition to Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Matt Brown and maybe Nick Diaz will be names to look for in the welterweight division. The loss of GSP is a hit for the UFC which now may have 3 of its champions out for extended periods of time (GSP would join Dominick Cruz who plans to be back after a long absence from injury and the recently injured Anthony Pettis). This doesn’t even include what may be happening with Jon Jones. We shall see what the UFC plans to do with the welterweight division in GSP’s absence.
It was the 20th Anniversary show and with it came the UFC retrospective show last week on FS1. It was well done and gave some detail of the early years for those of us that picked it up in the Zuffa days. The weekend also included some notable fighters over the years in attendance. The UFC also bought a special advertising section in the Sports Business Journal which told the UFC’s story and gave it some added publicity.
Odds and Ends
-Erik Perez rocked the Lucha Libre mask once again.
-Was this the first time that they dropped the lights during a main event for Bruce Buffer to announce the fighters?
-GSP has been with the company for a while, shouldn’t the UFC have a French interpreter so that Georges doesn’t have to interpret for the entire room during press conferences.
-First time I recall FS1 insets on PPVs. Speaking of FS1, the Prelims did the double screen in between rounds with showing the corner at the top right hand of the screen during a commercial.
-Tyron Woodley made a statement with his KO of Josh Koscheck.
-Seemingly, Rory MacDonald had the most sponsors ever seen on shorts. If the UFC allowed for spats, he could have made a killing.
-Arnold Schwarzeneger was in the crowd…and to the benefit of Ali Bagautinov who admitted at the post-fight presser that he is a big fan.
-Boxing fans know Edwin Rodriguez? Despite getting docked $200K for missing weight in his fight with Andre Ward on Saturday he would be the second highest paid fighter on the UFC 167 card. This assumes GSP salary plus PPV upside. Rodriguez made $800K after the $200K deduction.
-Forbes ran a piece on GSP and how he makes $12 million a year. We will have more on that this week.
GSP is the company’s biggest draw. And while we cannot conclude that a higher gate will equate to a higher PPV buy rate, the rumors that GSP could be fighting in his last fight may have prodded folks to pay the money to watch one of the best in the sport in his last match. Additionally, the main event was well-supported on paper by Evans-Sonnen and Lawler-MacDonald. While the UFC had hoped the last four PPVs of 2013 would have done well, it will get 2 of the 4 doing a good number. I would say UFC 167 would do somewhere in the 800K range and GSP once again comes through for the company.
November 18, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the salaries for Saturday’s UFC 167 event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Georges St. Pierre topped the UFC roster with a reported $400,000.
MMA Junkie reports as revealed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission:
Georges St-Pierre: $400,000 (no win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks: $50,000
Rashad Evans: $250,000 (includes $125,000 win bonus)
def. Chael Sonnen: $100,000
Robbie Lawler: $166,000 (includes $83,000 win bonus)
def. Rory MacDonald: $50,000
Tyron Woodley: $104,000 (includes $52,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Koscheck: $78,000
Ali Bagautinov: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Elliott: $12,000
Donald Cerrone: $96,000 (includes $48,000 win bonus)
def. Evan Dunham: $25,000
Thales Leites: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Ed Herman: $40,000
Rick Story: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Brian Ebersole: $18,000
Erik Perez: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Edwin Figueroa: $12,000
Jason High: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Anthony Lapsley: $8,000
Sergio Pettis: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Will Campuzano: $10,000
Gian Villante: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Cody Donovan: $8,000
No win bonus for GSP but it’s likely he gets a PPV upside. He actually received $450,000 if you include his Fight of the Night Bonus. Also, Woodley received $154,000 (so the holidays should be good for his family as he pleaded for the bonus in his post-fight Octagon interview) and Cerrone topped out at $146,000 with his sub bonus. Evans still a top earner with a $125K base and another $125K win incentive.
Stay tuned for more information from UFC 167 in its Payout Perspective.
November 17, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for UFC 167. The attendance was the second highest reported gate in the UFC’s history at the MGM Grand Arena since UFC 148 and the night’s main event scored the Fight of the Night.
The reported attendance and gate announced at the post-fight press conference was 14,856 for a live gate of $5.7 million. As always, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will confirm the numbers in the coming weeks. It comes second to only Silva-Sonnen II at UFC 148 for biggest gate at the MGM Grand.
Also announced at the post-fight presser were the bonuses which were the standard $50,000 each and were as follows as:
Fight of the Night: GSP-Hendricks
Submission of the Night: Donald Cerrone
KO of the Night: Tyron Woodley
As we reported Friday, UFC 167 was a hot ticket as they were going for an average of $580 per ticket on the secondary market. While the reported gate does not consider the secondary market, it was a good indicator of how lucrative it would be. A GSP fight with the rumors (and now maybe reality) that this may be his last time in the Octagon drove the interest for this fight. As for the bonuses, all seemed spot on and we have not heard the last of the controversial decision in the main event as well as GSP’s “leave”.
November 15, 2013
MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal. In this week’s edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 11/4 – 11/10.
UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (11/6):
- Ultimate Fight Night: Fight For the Troops Prelims: 250,000 viewers
- Ultimate Fight Night: Fight For the Troops: 641,000 viewers
- The Ultimate Fighter (new episode): 583,000 viewers
UFC on Fox Sports 1 Saturday (11/9):
- Ultimate Fight Night: Belfort vs Henderson: 722,000 viewers.
Other Key Programming Notes (Fox Sports 2):
- Live Weigh-ins (11/8) for UFN: Belfort vs Henderson event on FS2 drew 7,000 viewers.
- Post Fight (11/8) for UFN: Belfort vs Henderson event on FS2 drew 17,000 viewers.
- Live Weigh-ins (11/5) for UFN: Fight For Troops: Kennedy vs Natal event on FS2 drew 2,000 viewers.
- Post Fight (11/5) for UFN: Fight For Troops: Kennedy vs Natal event on FS2 drew 11,000 viewers.
Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals:
- Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 630,000 (FS1 record)
- Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 16,000
Last week was Fox Sports 1′s most successful week yet in terms of viewership numbers. For one, it finally aired programming that dethroned the UFC on FS1 Shogun vs Sonnen debut on 8/17, which drew 1.782M viewers. Thursday nights game between Oklahoma and Baylor drew an amazing 2.11M viewers on Fox Sports 1. Due to the high viewership numbers for College Football, NASCAR (602,000 high for the week), and airing two UFC events in one week (not including TUF), it all led to Fox Sports 1 celebrating it’s most successful primetime viewership so far in its short lifespan.
November 13, 2013
Virtustream, a company which offers enterprise cloud computing services, is not the type of company you first think of when discussing UFC sponsors. UFC’s fan demographic is largely composed of the adult males between the ages of 18-34. Is there some correlation between the demographic and enterprise cloud computing services? Not necessarily.
So why would Chairman/CEO of Virtustream Rodney Rogers, who is self admittedly a big MMA fan, go out of his way to sponsor UFC fighters? He explains it on a Virtustream blog post, which he titled “We Love the Boom”.
“So it’s probably not a huge surprise that we sponsor MMA fighters from time to time, mostly in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events. We are a young venture-backed technology firm and spend a very modest amount of money on marketing each year (~2% of revenue), so we are careful where we place our precious dollars and utilize avenues like social media and various forms of on-line interaction extensively. I think we do pretty well in terms of return on investment in this regard. Sponsoring an MMA fighter on prime time PPV or national TV (FOX) is not as expensive as you may think, if you follow the right process and know the right people. The primary reason we do this is to reach the 18 – 34 age demographic (loyal UFC viewers) for brand awareness, as this is the group our software engineers primarily come from. It has indeed helped us in a highly competitive market.”
Using the M18-34 demographic as a way to recruit employers is definitely an interesting tactic, and gives a whole different meaning to ROI (return on investment). But Rogers also stressed another benefit of sponsoring MMA fighters, their character.
“I have also found many of the athletes in this sport to be uncommonly good people. They conduct themselves with honor and generally all give back to their community. They are pretty amazing people, really. These characteristics are the ones that we hope to embody as a firm.”
This is quite the different perspective we have come to know from many other sponsors. Aside from their most recent sponsorship endeavor with the UFC for the Fight for the Troops event which took place last week, Virtustream has also been involved in other events. They sponsored Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 and also Joe Lauzon at UFC 155.
One of the most interesting quotes from Rogers was his mention of UFC sponsorship cost – “Sponsoring an MMA fighter on prime time PPV or national TV (FOX) is not as expensive as you may think, if you follow the right process and know the right people.” That comment can be interpreted in several different ways, but it gives us one of the many different perspectives between sponsors and the UFC.
November 12, 2013
MMA Payout has learned from industry sources that UFC Fight Night 32 on Saturday night scored an average viewership of 722,000. In the main event, Vitor Belfort stopped Dan Henderson in the first round.
UFC Fight Nights on FS1
UFC Fight Night 26: 1.78 million viewers
UFC Fight Night 27: 824,000 viewers
UFC Fight Night 28: 539,000 viewers
UFC Fight Night 29: 638,000 viewers
UFC Fight Night 31: 641,000 viewers
UFC Fight Night 32: 722,000 viewers
UFC Fight Night on FS2
UFC Fight Night 30: 122,000 viewers
This was the first Fight Night on a Saturday since UFC Fight Night 26.
Decent ratings considering this was a Brazil card and it went opposite a very big college football game involving LSU and Alabama on CBS. That game received a 13 share among adults 18-49 and 11.5M viewer average. Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson was a decent main event although there were not any other known fighters on the card (although you may want to know the name Brandon Thatch for the future). Also, the fact that there was a fight night on Wednesday may have hurt the promotion for this event.
November 11, 2013
Ben Henderson was recently featured on a web episode series entitled “My Ink” which follows athletes as they get tattoos. The online feature includes an interview with the athlete as they discuss the meaning and reasons behind their ink.
I’ve always thought that there should be a series like this for the NBA. The online feature also includes skateboarder Ryan Sheckler (from MTV’s “Life of Ryan” fame), NBA player J.R. Smith and NFL football player Ray Rice among others. Henderson describes the meaning of some of his Korean tattoos in an interview with me back in 2010. The obvious cynic would ask why someone needs so much ink and perhaps someone like Henderson could spend the extra time in the tattoo chair focusing on things like defending an arm bar. But, it is these “get to know you” type episodes that helps a fighter gain press and should aid with opportunities outside of the Octagon
November 10, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance and bonuses for UFC Fight Night 32 taking place at the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Goias in Brazil. Over 10,000 in attendance saw Vitor Belfort KO Dan Henderson in the first round of the main event.
10,565 is the attendance number announced by Dana White at the post-fight press conference.
The bonuses are as follows:
Fight of the Night: Omari Akhmedov-Thiago Perpetuo
Submission of the Night: Adriano Martins
KO of the Night: Vitor Belfort
Each received the standard $50,000.
Brandon Thatch and Jeremy Stephens could have been candidates for the KO of the Night as well. There was no mention of gate although there is the chance that we could get it this week. However, the attendance was substantially more than the last two cards in Brazil.