PBC on FS1 for Quillin-Truax drew 181,000 viewers

April 19, 2019

PBC on FS1 this past Saturday night drew 181,000 for the Peter Quillin Caleb Truax fight per Nielsen.  The event aired on a busy night for combat sports.

The event happened the same night as UFC 236 and the Shields-Hammer event on Showtime.  A portion of the PBC on FS1 event aired on FS2 due to an overrun with MLB Baseball on FS1.

The Quillin-Truax fight went to a no decision after an inadvertent head butt caused a bad cut on Truax in the second round.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are low due in part to the later start time and perhaps the confusion with the airing of the event.  The MLB overrun likely was a detriment to viewership.  Also, the event was likely overshadowed by the Shield-Hammer fight on Showtime.

ShoBox featuring Shields-Hammer draws 339,000 viewers

April 16, 2019

Showtime Boxing Saturday featuring the Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer fight peaked at 369,000 viewers for the much-anticipated fight.  Overall, the fight unifying the middleweight title drew 339,000 viewers on the network according to Nielsen.

The event went up against the UFC PPV on ESPN+.  Shields had an easy time with Hammer winning a unanimous decision.

Payout Perspective:

The event was marketed by Showtime as a fight between two of the best female boxers in the world.  It was given its own All Access featuring the two fighters.  Despite the domination by Shields, it shows that it was willing to feature two women boxers. Yet, 339,000 viewers isn’t the needle mover you would hope for and the peak viewership did not exceed the 410,000 viewers that saw her on Showtime last summer.

UFC 236 prelims draw 893,000 viewers

April 16, 2019

The prelims for UFC 236 on ESPN drew 893,000 viewers according to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz Daily).  The event drew 498,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.60 share on Saturday.

The prelims featured Matt Frevola and Jalin Turner with Frevola winning an impressive unanimous decision.  The event served as the pre-cursor for the first PPV on ESPN+.

Notably, this time last year, UFC held an event on Fox and drew 2,020,000 viewers for the Dustin Poirier-Justin Gaethje matchup.  Ironically Poirier was in the main event for the PPV of UFC 236 as he won the interim lightweight championship.

Payout Perspective:

In my opinion, I thought that the prelims would certainly draw over 1 million viewers.  The Masters, NBA and NHL Playoffs were also on at points during Saturday which may have detracted from the prelims on ESPN.  The UFC on ESPN showed an increase of its viewership in the first appearances on the network.  Yet, this ratings seems to be slightly disappointing considering there were two title fights and was a ESPN+ PPV.

ONE Championship debut draws 176,000 on TNT

April 2, 2019

ONE Championship MMA: A New Era drew 176,000 viewers Monday night on TNT for the replay of its Tokyo event this past weekend per Nielsen.  The event was also available live on the B/R App live.

Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez made their promotional debuts on the card.  Johnson earned a second round submission over Yuya Wakamstsu.  However, Alvarez was upset falling to Russian Timofey Nastyukhin.  The event featured four championship fights and the actual card was condensed for the televised version on TNT.

The event in Tokyo was the first of ONE’s expansion after it had signed Alvarez, Johnson, Sage Northcutt and Vitor Belfort flexing its new financial muscle to raise its profile, especially in the United States.

Payout Perspective:

It was the first telecast under the Turner television deal and hopefully it gets a better time slot than 11:45pm on the east coast.  This telecast did not do well because it wasn’t live and the replay was on at a poor time slot on a Monday night.  Hopefully, programming will do better to help ONE succeed by not only letting it air on its B/R App but also during good time slots on the network.

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 2 draws 828,000 viewers, Prelims draw 480,000

April 2, 2019

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 2 drew 828,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily. The prelims which also aired on ESPN drew 480,000 viewers.

The main card saw Justin Gaethje KO Edson Barboza in the first round of the main event.  The event from Philadelphia drew 330,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.53 share.  The prelims, which preceded the main card drew 196,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.32 share.

Notably, Top Rank Boxing, which had the main UFC card as its lead-in drew 655,000 viewers, 224,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.43 share.

Payout Perspective:

There was stiff competition Saturday night due to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on TBS which likely drew away a lot of casual UFC viewers.  The ratings appear to be somewhat low if you consider how well the other UFC cards have done since the partnership began.  The Top Rank rating is promising and may have benefited from the built-in UFC audience.

Ratings for Top Rank, PBC and NCAA Wrestling this weekend

March 26, 2019

This weekend’s boxing event took a step back from the last couple of weeks as events for Top Rank on ESPN and PBC on FS1 were flat likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday night, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew 469,000 viewers and 150,000 in the A18-49 demo per Nielsen via ShowBuzz.  The event featured Kubrat Pulev as he defeated Bogdan Dinu via KO in the 7th round.  There were two fights on the telecast which aired Saturday night.

Sunday afternoon, PBC on FS1 took place with a fight between Lamont Petersen and Sergey Lipinets.  The Kazakhstani Russian stopped Petersen who then announced his retirement from boxing.  The event drew 374,000 viewers and only 74,000 in the A18-49 demo.

On another note, College Wrestling on ESPN drew 312,000/128,000 A18-49 Thursday (7:00pm), 407,000/147,000 A18-49 Friday night (8:00pm start), 625,000/245,000 A18-49 Saturday night (7:00pm EST start) for the NCAA Mat Madness showdown.

Payout Perspective:

This weekend sports programs were likely overshadowed by the NCAA Tournament which started for both the men’s and women’s brackets.  The opening rounds usually garner a lot of viewership which likely meant that most other sports took backseats to them.  The PBC on FS1 event is somewhat low for a name like Petersen, but with a late afternoon/early evening start it competed with NCAA games.

PBC on FS1 Prelims score 421,000 viewers

March 19, 2019

The PBC on FS1 Prelims this past Saturday drew 421,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The PBC Prefight show which supported the Spence-Garcia PPV drew 404,000 on FS1.

The prelims on FS1 aired just one fight with heavyweight champion Charles Martin taking on Gregory Corbin.  Martin won via DQ over Corbin.

The prefight show which aired after the prelims previewed the main PPV card including the Spence-Garcia matchup.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership was fair considering just one fight on the aired prelims on FS1.  Did it do enough to sell the casual boxer on purchasing the PPV?  Hard to say considering that the fight ended in a DQ due to punches to the groin.  With the build for this PPV card, PBC did a good job in building excitement despite a poor PPV.

PBC on Fox (3/9) draw 1.34M viewers in fast overnights

March 10, 2019

PBC on Fox Saturday night drew 1.34 million viewers in fast overnights per Television By Numbers.  The event drew 0.3 in the A18-49 demo and a 2 share overall.

The event which featured Shawn Porter beating Yordenis Ugas in a controversial decision was the latest event for PBC on the network.  It went up against a very strong Celics-Lakers NBA game on ABC which drew 2.66 million viewers.  Notably, Dateline NBC won the 8pm and 9pm timeslots with 4 million viewers each and a 0.7/4 share.

Payout Perspective:

The event did better than the February 16th PBC on Fox which drew 1.26M viewers opposite NBA All-Star Saturday night.  But it did not do better than PBC on Fox in December which drew 1.69 viewers.  Saturday’s telecast was overshadowed by a Kyrie Irving-LeBron James matchup as well as the UFC on ESPN +.

UFC 235 Payout Perspective

March 6, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at UFC 235 at The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jones dominates Smith

Jon Jones did not have the best day at the office but he thoroughly outclassed Anthony Smith to retain his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.  There was no threat by Smith to Jones throughout the whole 5 rounds and the Bones cruised to a unanimous decision.  Smith stated that he was “nullified” by Jones during the fight which seems like the most appropriate description of the fight.

Of course, Jon Jones cannot escape controversy.  An almost soccer-kick to a grounded Anthony Smith could have cost Jones but he missed. Then, another knee to the head that landed could have cost Jones the title.  But Smith decided to continue and despite not taking the way out to win the championship, he was applauded by the announcers.

Jones now has a choice of opponents from the Light Heavyweight division although there doesn’t seem to be anyone that pops out as someone fans want to see.

Usman wins middleweight title

Kamaru Usman took the middleweight title away from Tyron Woodley with an impressive battering of the former champ.  Arguably, Usman had 2 or 3 “10-8” rounds which underscored his dominant performance.

Usman’s victory makes him the first fighter of African descent to hold a world title in the UFC.  He now is scheduled to face Colby Covington in defense of the title.  If that falls through, Ben Askren might be another name waiting in the wings for a shot.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

UFC 235 drew 14,790 fans for a gate of $4,035,156.50 as announced at the post-fight press conference.  It was the 6th best announced attendance and gate at T-Mobile.  It was not a full house, but decent attendance and a good gate.

The bonuses went to Pedro Munhoz and Cody Garbrandt for Fight of the Night. Johnnie Walker and Diego Sanchez earned Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages.  Each earned $50,000.

Ticket demand was pretty big for this event as the average resale price for UFC 235 was $409 as of Monday of Fight week.  The cheapest get-in ticket was $137.

Promotion of the Event

While it may have gone under the radar, the UFC is utilizing the new Instagram feature which allows videos on its platform.  The company has been doing it for the past several events.  This time around one of the features included Jones-Gustafsson 2.  Getting people to see fights for free on multiple platforms (i.e., YouTube and Instagram) helps promote the fighters and more importantly the PPV.

There was no press conference involving the featured fighters during Fight Week which may be due in part to protect Jon Jones from questions regarding USADA.

Jones’ drug tests were revealed leading up to his fight against Anthony Smith.  Two out of five tests revealed show positive for the same banned substance in Jones’ system.  The UFC’s Jeff Novitzky answered questions during the media scrum which included his support of the Nevada Athletic Commission’s statement.  The two talking points of interest stressed by Novitsky was that the tests reveal no re-administration of the drug and that there would be no performance enhancing benefit.

Colby Covington went to Vegas to raise a ruckus and he did a pretty good job of doing it.  He crashed Kamaru Usman’s open workouts, he tracked down Dana White while gambling, showed up at UFC 234 and caused a disruption post-fight with Kamaru Usman and then round 2 in a buffet line in Vegas according to Covington.  The former interim welterweight champion looks have Usman next.

Sponsorships

Trifecta was utilized much more in the Embedded episodes as Anthony Smith openly talked about how it has helped him with nutrition.  In addition, they were on the mat in the Octagon.

It also sponsored the Fight Card prep.

Also, in the Octagon was Nemifor, the Amazon original mini-series, “Hanna,” betting site PariMatch, P3, the video game Dead Red Redemption II, Modelo, Monster Energy, convenience store Rebel, BodyArmor, Toyo Tires and Monster Energy in the center.  Also, broadcast partner ESPN+ had signage on one of the posts.

The UFC announced a multi-year marketing partnership with Devour as its “Official Frozen Meal of UFC.”

Although there was no major announcement, the UFC entered into a partnership with Heed, a data analytics company that specializes in fan engagement.  Presumably, the promotion will be working with Heed to develop information based on research which would appeal to the UFC’s target demo.  Heed, according to its web site, works on facilitating engagement with youth.

Metro by T-Mobile activated through its social media by having its own watch show.

Ratings

UFC Prelims on ESPN: 1.4 Million (first overall in original cable telecasts for Saturday)

Payouts

Payouts for the event can be found here.  Both Woodley and Jones earned a flat $500K as defending champions while challengers Kamaru Usman and Anthony Smith received flat fees of $350K.

Reebok Promotional Guidelines Compliance Pay

Jon Jones: $40,000 def. Anthony Smith: $30,000
Kamaru Usman: $30,000 def. Tyron Woodley: $40,000
Ben Askren: $3,500 def. Robbie Lawler: $20,000
Weili Zhang: $3,500 def. Tecia Torres: $5,000
Pedro Munhoz: $10,000 def. Cody Garbrandt: $5,000
Zabit Magomedsharipov: $4,000 def. Jeremy Stephens: $20,000
Johnny Walker: $3,500 def. Misha Cirkunov: $5,000
Cody Stamann: $4,000 def. Alejandro Perez: $5,000
Diego Sanchez: $20,000 def. Mickey Gall: $5,000
Edmen Shahbazyan: $3,500 def. Charles Byrd: $3,500
Macy Chiasson: $3,500 def. Gina Mazany: $4,000
Hannah Cifers: $3,500 def. Polyana Viana: $3,500

Odds and ends

ONE FC sent congratulations to Ben Askren as he made his UFC debut.

UFC unveiled the first PSA of its Opioid campaign in conjunction with the Trump Administration.


Dave Meltzer reported that Mickey Gall passed out while cutting weight during fight week which may have attributed to his loss.

Bad night for refs.  Marc Goddard broke apart Usman and Woodley a couple times when Usman was working.  Herb Dean may have stopped the Robbie Lawler-Ben Askren fight prematurely and then he had the issues with the Jon Jones illegal strikes.

But Lawler was classy despite the confusion.

 

Conclusion

It’s clear that the ESPN relationship has helped with viewership for the UFC as the prelims hit one of its biggest highs since starting the pre-PPV cards.  It also drew over 1M google searches on Saturday which may mean PPV success for the event.  While UFC 232 drew an estimated 700,000 PPV buys featuring Jones, this event did not have as much controversy as this past December’s card. I would suspect that due to Jon Jones’ return we will see an uptick over the norm of PPV buys and get a buy rate of around 450K buys.

PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 291K viewers

February 28, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night drew 291,000 viewers.  The event featured Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim with Dirrell pulling out the technical decision.

The event took place at the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The event peaked with 366,000 viewers during the co-feature of Jamal James and Janel Gonzales.

The telecast took place late on Saturday night on the east coast 10:30pm and ran over 3 hours which may have attributed to the decrease in ratings.  At this point, its hard to keep up with all of the MMA and boxing occurring each weekend.  There start at different times and different networks.  With such a late start time for a bulk of their audience, it’s easy to see why this telecast experienced a slight downturn in ratings.

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