White confirms TUF to continue in new ESPN deal

August 8, 2018

Dana White has confirmed that The Ultimate Fighter will continue as part of the ESPN deal despite record-low ratings the past several seasons on FS1.

After the season finale of Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday night, White told reporters of the future of the series. “There’s still a huge market for ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ still does well.”

The last season of TUF on FS1 will feature Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum as coaches this fall. It will then move to ESPN as part of the new deal announced earlier this year.

White indicated that TUF would move to ESPN or ESPN+ and stated that its likely to air once a year as opposed to the two seasons per year.

Payout Perspective:

It was ironic that White spoke about the future of TUF at the end of his Contender Series which is essentially what TUF was made to be. Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series has been a success this summer with some good prospects, great fights and the reality show element of White choosing fighter(s) for contracts in the UFC. TUF has shown its age throughout the past several years as it went from a something pitched as live content to a show that picks up viewers via DVR. But, with the new deal with ESPN, it is likely looking for content for its ESPN + platform so I would imagine it would be something the network would be interested on seeing if it has traction.

UFC 227: Payout Perspective

August 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 227 taking place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.  The show featured two championship fights with one title change.

Dillashaw retains title in stoppage of Garbrandt

T.J. Dillashaw successfully defended his UFC Bantamweight title over Cody Garbrandt with a first round stoppage of the former champion.  Dillashaw is now 2-0 over his former stable mate.

Cejudo wins split decision over Mighty Mouse to end Johnson’s reign

Henry Cejudo’s wrestling was the key in a split decision victory over Demetrious Johnson to win the UFC Flyweight title.  Cejudo’s several takedowns and ability to pin down Johnson likely earned him the narrow victory.  Johnson indicated that he suffered a broken book and knee injury during the fight.  Still, the former champ almost pulled out the victory.

Johnson’s loss is his first since October 2011.  He successfully defended the title 11 times prior to this defeat and has to be considered as one of the greatest title runs ever in the UFC.

Attendance and Gate

The event was a sellout at Staples Center with 17,794 in attendance for a gate of $2.85 million.

Bonuses

Dillashaw, Cejudo, Johnson and Renato Moicano earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Dillashaw and Moicano drew the Performance Bonuses while Cejudo and Johnson earned the Fight of the Night.

Payouts

Mighty Mouse and Dillashaw earned the most out of the purses disclosed by the California State Athletic Commission.  The payouts are here.

Reebok Payouts

Notably, Cub Swanson and Thiago Santos were the only fighters outside of the title fight participants to earn 5 figures.

T.J. Dillashaw: $40,000
Cody Garbrandt: $30,000
Henry Cejudo: $30,000
Demetrious Johnson: $40,000
Renato Moicano: $5,000
Cub Swanson: $20,000
J.J. Aldrich: $4,000
Polyana Viana: $3,500
Thiago “Marreta” Santos: $10,000
Kevin Holland: $3,500
Pedro Munhoz: $5,000
Brett Johns: $4,000
Ricky Simon: $3,500
Montel Jackson: $3,500
Ricardo Ramos: $3,500
Kyung Ho Kang: $5,000
Sheymon Moraes: $3,500
Matt Sayles: $3,500
Alex Perez: $3,500
Jose Torres: $3,500
Weili Zhang: $3,500
Danielle Taylor: $4,000
Marlon Vera: $5,000
Wuliji Buren: $3,500

Sponsorships

Van Heusen made its first appearance in the Octagon as an official sponsor of the UFC.  Stephen Thompson and T.J. Dillashaw star in an online commercial for the men’s brand which is launching a flexible casual line.  It had the fighter prep point.

Fallout 76, a multiplayer action video game sponsored the Embedded Series this time around.

It was announced that Trifecta Nutrition was the “Official Meal Delivery Partner of the UFC.”  The deal is set to be worth $10 million dollars.  Notably, Blue Apron, another company within the same space as Trifecta Nutrition is experiencing issues with its company as its second quarter earnings didn’t match up to analyst expectations.

In addition to Van Heusen and Trifecta Nutrition, Harley Davidson, Modelo, MetroPCS, Motel6.com, UFC Fight Pass, Toyo Tires, Monster Energy/Circle K and the movie Mile 22 which stars Ronda Rousey were in the Octagon.  Monster Energy had the center.

There seemed to be a concerted effort to promote the Reebok walkout shirts from the fighters.

Ratings

UFC 227 Prelims on FX: 717,000, 0.3 in the A18-49 demo (3rd highest in cable)

UFC 227 Pre Fight Show on FX:  306,000

UFC 226 Post-Fight Show on FS1:  122,000

Odds and Ends

Likely overshadowing this event was the news that Conor McGregor was returning to fight against Khabib Nurmogomedov in October.

While the story died down, there were old social media posts made by Garbrandt where he used racially insensitive language.  He was able to explain the posts away and it was seemed to be disregarded once fight night came around.  There was the news that was contemplating pulling out of the fight due to issues with his back but decided to go through with it due to financial reasons.  You have to feel for Garbrandt who has a little baby and is looking to buy a house, get insurance and all the other things with becoming a regular adult trying to start a family.  During a prefight media event, he revealed he went to Vegas to get epidural injections in his back.

There were over 500,000 google searches on Saturday for UFC 227 which is the norm for PPV buys in the 200K range.

Cub Swanson stated that he paid for $26,000 for tickets for the event.  The SoCal native lost via submission in the first round.

Garbrandt and Mike Tyson are friends if you watched the Embedded series.

The Prelims were shuffled to FX due to MLB on FS1.  It was also a busy night for combat sports as there was boxing on Fox and another on HBO.

Conclusion

Based on the google searches and the prelim ratings, this PPV likely drew around 250,000-275,000 PPV buys.  Outside of Conor McGregor, its hard to see a lighter weight division title fight drawing near 300,000 PPV buys nowadays.

HBO Boxing’s Kovalev-Alvarez event averages 731,000

August 7, 2018

HBO’s Boxing After Dark featuring Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez drew 731,000 Saturday night as the featured fight on the telecast according to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz Daily).

Alvarez upset Kovalev with a ref stoppage after two knockdowns in round seven.  Kovalev appeared to be ahead up until the seventh.  The fight peaked at 813,000 viewers.  The other fight of the night saw Dmitry Bivol defeat Isaac Chilemba via unanimous decision.  The fight drew 583,000 viewers and peaked at 632,000.

Payout Perspective:

The telecast happened at the same time as the UFC 227 PPV after PBC on Fox.  The ratings are more than Kovalev’s last outing on HBO this past March where he stopped Igor Mikhalkin (599K and peak of 674K) and less than Kovalev’s late 2017 fight on HBO which drew an average of 869,000 viewers.  We may see a rematch between Alvarez and Kovalev later this year which may improve Kovalev’s viewership.

PBC on Fox draws 933,000 viewers

August 5, 2018

PBC on Fox drew 933,000 viewers on Saturday according to Nielsen via Television By Numbers.  It is the third lowest rating for the PBC telecast on the network.

Andre Berto and Devon Alexander met in the main event of the telecast with Berto winning a decision over Alexander.  It drew a 0.2 rating in the A18-49 demo and a 1 share.  It was last in its network time slot with other programming grabbing at least 1.5 million viewers.

This past April, PBC on Fox drew 880,000 viewers and in July 2017, it received 866,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It was a heavy night for combat sports with HBO having a card, the PBC card and UFC 227.  The 933,000 viewers is a disappointment considering the competition on the network were reruns and a show on CBS featuring women committing crimes.

Garcia-Easter fight draws 680K on Showtime Saturday night

July 31, 2018

The Mikey Garcia-Robert Easter fight on Showtime Saturday night drew 680,000 viewers.  The fight peaked at 725,000 viewers.

The first fight of the evening saw Mario Barrios face Jose Roman.  The fight averaged 462,000 viewers and peaked at 530,000.  Barrios defeated Roman via TKO in the 9th round.

The second fight of the night saw another stoppage when heavyweight Luis Ortiz defeated Rozvan Cojanu in the second round via KO.  The fight averaged 583,000 and peaked at 606,000.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings for Garcia’s fight improved compared to his last fight on Showtime in March.  It was less than his Adrien Broner fight last July which drew 881,000 viewers.  But, Broner draws ratings for the network which might explain the higher-than-norm viewership for Showtime.  The network hopes that his popularity continues as the Staples Center crowd was behind the Mexican American boxer.

UFC on Fox 30 ratings draw 1.678M, prelims 939,000

July 31, 2018

The UFC on Fox 30 main card drew 1.678 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The Prelims drew 939,000 viewers on Fox Saturday afternoon.  It drew 364,000 viewers in the Adult 18-49 demo.

The prelims featured Jordan Mein and Alex Morono with Mein winning the welterweight matchup via unanimous decision.  The Prelims preceded the main card from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The main card drew the lowest UFC on Fox fast overnight rating in the history of the events on the network with 1.46 million viewers despite an action-packed main card with competitive fights.   The main card featured Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez with Poirier earning the stoppage in round 2.

UFC on Fox 30 drew 771,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and received a 1.04 household rating.

The Prelims are not far off the UFC on Fox 29 Prelims from April which drew 970,000 viewers.  But, last July’s UFC on Fox 25 Prelims drew 1.137 million viewers on Fox.  This past Saturday’s ratings reflects that viewership increased gradually throughout the night which is promising news but it still shows that the ratings are decreasing.

UFC on Fox 30 draws 1.461 million

July 29, 2018

UFC on Fox 30 drew 1.461 million viewers in fast overnight ratings according to Television By Numbers.  It led its time slot with a 0.6 rating for Adults 18-49 and a 3 share.

The ratings were based on the 8-10pm time slot and does not account for the overrun.  The main event featuring Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez seeped over the 10pm time slot with Poirier earning the TKO victory in the second round.

The 1.461 million viewers for the main card on Fox is the lowest out of the UFC on Fox cards held in the summer since the inception of the network cards in 2012.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000
UFC on Fox 27 1,590,000
UFC on Fox 28 1,820,000
UFC on Fox 29 1,780,000
UFC on Fox 30 1,460,000

Payout Perspective:

UFC on Fox 30 was the only live event and non-rerun in its time slot which may account for winning the night in the adult demo.   It’s hard to know how much the overrun will aid the viewership as it was perhaps 15 minutes into the 10pm hour.  One may spin it as a win for the UFC as it beat out other programming Saturday night for the A18-49 demo.  But, overall viewers were the lowest during its time slot.  Also, the historical outlook of the viewership for Fox broadcast is at its lowest.

UFC Fight Night 134 on FS1 draws 492,000 viewers

July 24, 2018

UFC Fight Night 134 drew 492,000 for its Sunday morning telecast on FS1 according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims drew 271,000 viewers on FS1.

The main event of the telecast featured Mauricio Rua taking on Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight showdown.  Smith earned the TKO victory.  The prelims featured Damir Hadzovic in his win over Nick Hein.

UFC Fight Night 134 took place in Hamburg, Germany.  The event aired Sunday morning and into the afternoon due to the start overseas.  The post-fight coverage on UFC which began at 2:00pm PT drew 156,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are down from UFC Fight Night 133 from Boise which drew 754,000 for the main card.  But, that event took place on a Saturday night. Usually, Sunday morning shows do not garner as many viewers as Saturday night shows.  UFC Fight Night 130 this past May did a respectable 552,000 viewers.  The event may have been affected by Tiger Woods’ return to The Open on NBC as he was in contention most of the day.  Golf aired at about the same time as the UFC and was an overwhelming ratings success.

Ratings for boxing telecasts on ESPN and Showtime Friday night

July 23, 2018

There were two boxing telecasts this past Friday on ESPN and Showtime featuring rising stars in the sport.

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN averaged 375,000 viewers.  In the featured event of the telecast, Lamont Roach defeated Deivi Julio Bassa to win the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Title.

Showtime Boxing: The Next Generation topped out at 304,000 viewers for the fight between Jaron Ennis and Armando Alvarez.

Payout Perspective:

The events featured up and coming fighters that hope to breakthrough to bigger cards in the future.  These events also serve as content for both Showtime and ESPN.  The ratings are expected not to draw but the intent is to hope that one of these fighters becomes the next big star.

Fourth telecast of PFL draws 101,000 viewers on NBCSN

July 20, 2018

The Professional Fighters League drew 101,000 viewers on Thursday night on NBC Sports Network according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event was the lowest-rated event thus far in the PFL season.  The event featured Lance Palmer as he defeated Jumabieke Tuerxun via submission.  Also, Andre Harrison defeated Nazareno Malegarie via unanimous decision.

PFL 1: 116,000 viewers

PFL 2: 150,000 viewers

PFL 3: 146,000 viewers

PFL has aired its prelims on Facebook Watch and then the main card airs on NBC Sports Network.

Payout Perspective:

While its early the PFL ratings are not that great.  The points concept that PFL is implementing is interesting and one would hope for the company that it starts to catch on as the summer goes on and heads into playoffs this fall.

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