AEW edges out NXT in Wednesday night Wars

December 5, 2019

AEW on TNT narrowly edged out NXT on USA in the Wednesday night ratings war.  AEW drew 851,000 to NXT 845,000 in overall viewership according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The win for AEW represents the end to a two-week winning streak by NXT in terms of overall viewership.  When looking at some of the target demos, its clear that the preferences lean toward AEW for younger audiences while the older prefer the WWE product.

 

AEW Overall A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 586,000 0.62 0.46 0.25
Week 5 759,000 0.33 433,000 0.48 0.38 0.25
Week 6 822,000 0.35 450,000 0.46 0.38 0.28
Week 7 957,000 0.43 554,000 0.55 0.45 0.29
Week 8 893,000 0.39   0.52 0.42 0.29
Week 9 668,000 0.26 337,000 0.33   0.40
Week 10 851,000 0.32   0.41 0.35 0.31

Courtesy AEW

 

NXT Overall A18-49 M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,179,000 0.43 0.56 0.48 0.47
Week 2 1,006,000 0.32 0.40 0.37 0.48
Week 3 891,000 0.32 0.41 0.36 0.36
Week 4 790,000 0.22 0.29 0.27 0.40
Week 5 712,000 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.35
Week 6 698,000 0.21 0.23 0.26 0.33
Week 7 580,000 0.18 0.23 0.22 0.29
Week 8 813,000 0.30 0.38 0.34 0.34
Week 9 750,000 0.25 0.32 0.29 0.35
Week 10 916,000 0.30 0.39 0.35 0.40
Week 11 810,000 0.24 0.31   0.52
Week 12 845,000 0.29 0.36 0.32 0.38

Payout Perspective:

The good news is that the momentum seems to be continuing for both shows despite going head to head.  AEW came back from posting just 668,000 viewers last week which may have been due to the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Report: Ad buyers frustrated with lack of data from UFC on ESPN+, DAZN programming

November 19, 2019

According to a report from Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand advertisers are growing weary of the unknown viewership numbers that are watching online content such as the UFC on ESPN+.  The concern may lead to a demand from advertisers to provide solid numbers for specific program for direct-to-consumer platforms.

At a National Association of Broadcasters panel in New York Adam Schwartz, Horizon Media’s senior vice president and director of sports media noted that his company has pushed for specific numbers as to how many consumers are watching specific programming.  Notably Schwartz buys advertising packages for the likes of Geico, Sprint, Capital One, Burger King and Corona.

He noted that the UFC on ESPN + has been frustrating to decipher because rather than provide advertisers with actual viewership numbers, ESPN+ provides an overall number of subscribers.  According to the SBJ report from Schwartz’ appearance on the panel, there is a UFC sponsor (name not revealed) that entered into a deal with the company prior to the ESPN+ contract and was promised a specific number of viewers.

Additionally, DAZN has not provided concrete numbers for its MMA or Boxing events.  Schwartz cites these two as challenges for advertisers because they must make a monetary decision based on speculation.  Without concrete data, its hard to prove whether or not the advertising campaign was successful, influenced its target audience or was a bust.  Furthermore, it would be hard to convince your buyer of the bottom line if the specific program does not provide ratings that one might be able to assess.

Payout Perspective:

One of the questions that loomed when content moved to digital platforms was how would programming be tracked.  Television ratings are prevalent and are easy to access. Ad buyers are able to analyze the numbers of viewers watching and breaking down the demographics to determine how to target a specific audience.  As we have learned from this report, online content viewership of specific events is not released to even advertisers.  One might also believe this to be true of UFC PPV events.  While DAZN has noted it gained subscribers for big events, it does not disclose specifics.  Similarly, the UFC has not provided solid numbers unless it wants it to be known.  This may not be fair to the media.  But it would be frustrating for an ad buyer that cannot quantify its return on investment.

The panel did note that advertisers may seek to pay a premium for the specific numbers which might entice digital holders to provide them.  Of course, disclosing the information would make tracking the viewership patterns easier and the possibility that the media would get a hold of the information.

Bellator MMA 234 draws 318,000 on The Paramount Network Friday

November 18, 2019

Bellator MMA 234 on The Paramount Network drew 318,000 viewers on Friday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily. The event was tape-delayed from Israel.

The event featured Linton Vassell as he defeated Sergei Kharitonov via stoppage in the second round. In addition, Sidney Outlaw earned a unanimous decision in the co-main event of the evening. The event took place in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The event drew 0.12 in the A18-49 demo which reflects an improvement from Bellator MMA 233’s 0.03 rating.

Bellator 318,000 viewers
Bellator 314,000 viewers
Bellator 232: DAZN
Bellator 231: 265,000 viewers
Bellator 230: 202,000 viewers
Bellator 229: 301,000 viewers
Bellator 227: 276,000 viewers
Bellator 226: DAZN
Bellator 225: 285,000 viewers
Bellator 224: 325,000 viewers
Bellator 223: 386,000 viewers
Bellator 222: DAZN
Bellator 221: DAZN
Bellator 220: DAZN
Bellator 219: 307,000 viewers
Bellator 218: 255,000 viewers
Bellator 217: 349,000 viewers
Bellator 216: DAZN
Bellator 215: 365,000 viewers
Bellator 214: 697,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

Despite the tape-delay and the alternative replay on DAZN, the ratings improved slightly from Bellator 233. Still down in the ratings from previous years, Bellator over the last two telecasts has been on the upward trend albeit small increments.

WWE Smackdown finds new low

November 16, 2019

WWE Friday Night Smackdown ratings fell once again to 2.445 million viewers in the first hour and 2.255 million viewers in the second.  Also, the viewership for the A18-49 fell to 0.7 which tied with CBS’s Hawaii Five-O.

The ratings are the lowest for the series since its debut on Fox.  It drew a 4 share overall and a 5 share in the Men 18-49 demo.  The numbers are disappointing and once again fall behind the other 3 networks in overall viewership and ratings.

The new low comes the same week that the WWE and Fox stated that they were pleased with the partnership at an industry conference.

AEW draws 957K viewers, NXT 750K viewers in 7th week of head-to-head competition

November 14, 2019

All Elite Wrestling bounced back after a down week last week to draw 957,000 viewers on TNT making it into the top 5 on cable Wednesday night.  NXT on USA was down slightly with 750,000 viewers.

AEW, coming off of its PPV this past Saturday saw a gain from last week’s 822,000 viewers while NXT is slightly down from its 813,000 viewers last week.

Courtesy AEW Wrestling

 

AEW Overall A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 586,000 0.62 0.46 0.25
Week 5 759,000 0.33 433,000 0.48 0.38 0.25
Week 6 822,000 0.35 450,000 0.46 0.38 0.28
Week 7 957,000 0.43 0.55 0.45 0.29

 

NXT Overall A18-49 M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,179,000 0.43 0.56 0.48 0.47
Week 2 1,006,000 0.32 0.40 0.37 0.48
Week 3 891,000 0.32 0.41 0.36 0.36
Week 4 790,000 0.22 0.29 0.27 0.40
Week 5 712,000 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.35
Week 6 698,000 0.21 0.23 0.26 0.33
Week 7 580,000 0.18 0.23 0.22 0.29
Week 8 813,000 0.30 0.38 0.34 0.34
Week 9 750,000 0.25 0.32 0.29 0.35

 

*Data from Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily

Payout Perspective:

It appears that AEW is finding a solid audience and is popular with the younger demo in live head-to-heads with NXT.  What is interesting is that NXT is doing well with the over 50 demographics as its outdrawn AEW every week in head-to-head.  Still, the AEW product is performing well and has to be pleasing TNT executives.

PBC Countdown draws 686,000 viewers this past Saturday

November 13, 2019

Fox is reporting that the PBC Countdown telecast this past Saturday featuring Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz drew 686,000 viewers.

It is the best PBC Countdown telecast of 2019 and the second-best viewership overall since December of 2018.

Wilder-Ortiz takes place Saturday November 23rd on Fox PPV.

Payout Perspective:

The shoulder programming for this event has seen an increase in viewership. One can only think that the newfound interest in the Heavyweight Division has helped facilitate the viewers for the event.  Wilder’s persona and his KO ability makes him a marketable feature that people are willing to watch.

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox draws 2.62M viewer average

November 9, 2019

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox drew an average of 2.62 million viewers over the two hour telecast according to Nielsen.  The ratings per hour showed a slight increase over last week.

WWE’s show drew 0.8 in the A18-49 demo and a 5 share which led the networks for the night.  Overall, Hawaii Five-O on CBS won the 8-9pm time slot with 7.05 million viewers and Magnum P.I. on CBS won the 9-10pm time slot with 6.65 million viewers.

Broken down per hours Smackdown’s first hour drew 2.725 million viewers and 2.510 million in the second hour.

Payout Perspective:

Some promising numbers for the WWE as its first hour was solid although it saw a loss of viewers going into its second hour.  The CBS lineup is very solid and has dedicated viewers between 8-10pm regardless of whether or not the shows are reruns.  But, the WWE is still winning the A18-49 demo for both hours.

AEW, NXT post ratings gains from last week

November 8, 2019

AEW saw its first uptick in ratings in its 6th week according to Nielsen.  The ratings were up to 822,000 viewers on TNT while NXT on USA also posted gains with 813,000 viewers.

The two-hour telecast on TNT saw an increase in its viewership from last week.  It saw slight increases in viewership in the A18-49 demo. With a PPV on Saturday night, it was important that ratings increased as it geared toward its first PPV during its run on TNT.

Via AEW

NXT on USA also saw a boost in ratings as its ratings were within striking distance of AEW’s for the first time with the two competing.

AEW Overall A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 586,000 0.62 0.46 0.25
Week 5 759,000 0.33 433,000 0.48 0.38 0.25
Week 6 822,000 0.35 0.46 0.38 0.28

 

NXT Overall A18-49 M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,179,000 0.43 0.56 0.48 0.47
Week 2 1,006,000 0.32 0.40 0.37 0.48
Week 3 891,000 0.32 0.41 0.36 0.36
Week 4 790,000 0.22 0.29 0.27 0.40
Week 5 712,000 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.35
Week 6 698,000 0.21 0.23 0.26 0.33
Week 7 580,000 0.18 0.23 0.22 0.29
Week 8 813,000 0.30 0.38 0.34 0.34

*Data from Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily

Tyrell Fortune building brand, in no rush in Bellator Heavyweight division

November 7, 2019

Bellator heavyweight Tyrell Fortune is ready to build his brand whether it be MMA or boxing.  He’ll take the next step in his MMA career as he takes on former UFC heavyweight Azunna Anyanwu Friday night as part of the Bellator 233 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

The former Olympic hopeful is 7-0 and is looking to extend his undefeated streak in MMA. However, Fortune is also considering boxing as he is entertaining offers to box.  Fortune notes that he’s already sparring a lot of heavyweight boxers and thinks it’s a logical step that he put on the gloves for pay.

Courtesy of Bellator MMA

But before he enters the boxing ring, he’ll discuss the move with Bellator.  “Before my last fight, they [Bellator] were all about it and then after [the fight] they did not want me to do it.”  Fortune submitted his last opponent, Rudy Schaffroth, via rear naked choke this past August.  Wanting to capitalize on his undefeated record, Fortune got back in the gym to train looking for his next opportunity.

Fortune, a Portland, Oregon native is currently training at Arizona Combat Sports.  He also trains with current Bellator Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader.  “I definitely pick his brain,” said Fortune of his time working with the double champ.  Even though he could eventually be on a collision course with Bader in the future, Fortune is not thinking about it at this point.  “I’m in no rush,  I don’t mind taking these guys out,” said Fortune of fighting his way up the division.

Fortune has a decorated amateur wrestling career with a couple junior college titles and a Division II Wrestling title while at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.  He then made a run at the Olympics in freestyle wrestling for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.  After falling short of his goal, Fortune made the transition to MMA in the same year and was signed as a prospect by Bellator.

In his previous fights, Fortune had been sponsored by Nike, a relationship that was born during his amateur wrestling career.  Originally from Portland, Oregon, and with the company headquarters in nearby Beaverton, it made sense that Nike would scoop up a young prospect like Fortune.  He notes he’s been sponsored by them since he was 14.  However, that relationship recently ended.  “I just recently stopped working with them,” indicated Fortune.  “They are not diving headfirst into MMA.”

Tyrell’s brother, Tyree, is also on the Bellator card on Friday fighting in the Prelims.  Tyrell said that he will definitely watch the fight prior to getting ready for his on the main card.  Tyree, also undefeated at 4-0, trains out of Portland, Oregon.  “I haven’t trained with my brother but we do share that camaraderie in the sport,” Fortune added, “[w]e do take and analyze fights together and I think that definitely helps.”

Light heavyweight Tyree Fortune fights against 2-0 Chuck Campbell on the undercard of Bellator 233 Friday night while brother Tyrell fights on the main card.

PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 159K viewers another 74K on Fox Deportes

November 6, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night averaged 159,000 viewers and an additional 74,000 viewers on Fox Deportes per Nielsen.

The FS1 telecast peaked from 12:15 am-12:30am with 198,000 viewers.  Notably, this was prior to the main event in Las Vegas featuring Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev as DAZN paused their event to await the finish of the UFC feature fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Also airing Saturday night were PBC studio specials promoting the upcoming Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz fight.  The Fox PBC Face-to-Face averaged 590,000 viewers from 12:21am-12:51am and PBC’s Fight Camp averaged 365,000 viewers from 12:51am-1:21am.

The telecast featured Brian Castano as he defeated Wale Omotoso in a battle between super welterweights.  Castano earned the victory.

Payout Perspective:

There was a lot of boxing on Saturday night including PBC on FS1, Top Rank on ESPN and the DAZN card featuring Canelo.  Not to mention the UFC card which sparked controversy for DAZN’s decision to wait for the card to end to begin the main event.  While the PBC ratings on Saturday was comparatively low, there is still general interest in the buildup for the Wilder-Ortiz fight.

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