UPDATED: WSOF 34 draws 951,000 viewers, prelims draw 71,000 on NBCSN

January 4, 2017

World Series of Fighting drew 941,000 951,000 on NBC Saturday afternoon according to Nielsen.  The rating makes it the highest-rated televised WSOF event ever.

The preliminaries on NBC Sports Network drew 71,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims aired from 11:30-1pm PT.  The main card aired on NBC from 1-3pm PT.

Notably, the WSOF event took place during the first NCAA College Football semifinal at the Peach Bowl between Washington and Alabama.  The game drew 18,397 million viewers on ESPN per Sports TV Ratings.

Also of note, the UFC 207 PPV post-fight replay on FS1 drew 76,000 viewers at 3-4am PT.

Payout Perspective:

The Saturday event bests the WSOF’s last time on NBC when it drew 741,000 for WSOF 11 on July 5, 2014.  This past Saturday’s event, which took place in New York, featured Jake Shields-Jon Fitch and Justin Gaethje-Luiz Firmino.  Considering WSOF was up against one of the national semifinals for college football, reaching close to 1 million viewers is a success.  Of course, the question of whether the WSOF can remain afloat in 2017 is another question.

UFC 207 Prelims on FS1 draws 1.511M viewers

January 3, 2017

The UFC 207 Prelims on Friday night drew 1.511 million viewers on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings.  It was the fourth highest PPV of 2016 and the sixth prelims telecast to go over 1 million viewers.

In addition, it drew 813,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category.  The featured fight on the prelims was Johny Hendricks versus Neil Magny.  Magny earned a unanimous decision.

The average for 2016 was 1,097,000.  In comparison, 2015 drew an average of 1,069,000.

In addition, the pre-fight broadcast on FS1 which preceded (4:00-5:00pm PT) the UFC Prelims drew 572,000 viewers and 281,000 in the A18-49 demo.  The post-fight drew 404,000 viewers and 234,000 in the A18-49 demo.  The post-fight event went from 9:50pm-11:07pm PT.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are very considering the prelims took place on Friday night.  The big viewership number likely reflects a big PPV buy rate.  All of the prelims except UFC 195 drew over 1 million PPV buys.  With Rousey on the PPV card, expect a buy rate over 1 million.

UFC 206 replay on Christmas Eve draw 4.72M viewer average

December 28, 2016

The final Live + SD ratings for the replay of UFC on Fox Saturday night drew 4.72 million viewers per Sports TV Ratings.

Monday TV By Numbers reported the huge ratings win for the UFC on Christmas Eve.  Only UFC 1 drew more viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Great ratings as we see a new tradition begin.  The UFC on Christmas Eve.  Another piece of good fortune with the large viewer audience was the promotion for this Friday’s UFC 207.  As many point out, cable companies have been advertising the PPV being this Saturday, not Friday.  So, at least the promotion during the 206 replay may have helped.

UFC 206 replay on Fox scores big Christmas Eve

December 26, 2016

The replay of selected fights from UFC 206 earlier this month drew 4.7 million viewers on Christmas Eve according to Television By Numbers.  It also drew a 1.6 rating and a 6 share in the Adult 18-49 rating making it the second highest viewed UFC show on Fox since UFC on Fox 1.

The replay was the most-viewed show Saturday night and drew the biggest share among adults 18-49 across the board on the network.

The fights on the 2-hour replay Saturday included Lando Vannata versus John Makdessi, Cub Swanson versus Doo Ho Choi, Donald Cerrone versus Matt Brown and Max Holloway versus Anthony Pettis.

Nielsen reports that the peak viewership occurred during the Swanson-Choi fight which many consider a Fight of the Year frontrunner for 2016.

Only the November 2011 fight featuring Cain Velasquez-Junior dos Santos scored more viewers when the company’s debut on Fox drew 5.7 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The obvious takeaway here is that the UFC has found a niche and its likely Fox will be open for this slot for next Christmas Eve.  Even on a night when many people were doing holiday activities and spending time with family, many people tuned in.  This is great for the UFC as the actual card only did 150,000 PPV buys.

Update on Bellator 169 ratings

December 21, 2016

Bellator 169 drew 699,000 viewers in DVR +3 ratings per Nielsen.  The event peaked with 965,000 viewers.

The event, which aired on Friday on tape delay drew 965,000 viewers.  The event featured King Mo Lawal as he defeated Satoshi Ishii in Dublin, Ireland.  It was the most-watched international Bellator MMA event to date.

The event drew 643,000 viewers in live + SD ratings.  It was the best showing for a Bellator TV event since September 2016.  Friday’s event was the highest peak since Bellator 167 peaked at 967,000.

16 for 16: No. 14 Bellator 149

December 20, 2016

In match-ups that reflect the organization’s penchant for odd attractions, Bellator 149 featured former street fighters Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000 and fighters past their prime Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.

Actually, you could argue that all four of the featured fighters should not have been in the cage on February 19th.  Yet, it was the biggest audience for Bellator in 2016.

In the last fight of the night, Gracie defeated Shamrock in round 1.  While we could digest this since it didn’t last long, Slice-Dada was unbearable to watch after the first minute of the fight.

Booked as a brawl between two ex-street fighters, Kevin Ferguson and Dhafir Harris ran out of gas after the first minute of the fight and, as we learned later, Harris almost died in the cage as he essentially gave up due to exhaustion.  Ferguson tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone post-fight and his win was overturned to a no-contest.

In addition, Shamrock tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone and methadone.

Despite the main event of Slice and Dada and the post-fight failed tests, the event was the highest-rated event for the company.  Each fight on the telecast drew over 1.9 million viewers while the fights between Ferguson-Harris (2.9M) and Gracie-Shamrock (2.8M) surged to over 2 million viewers on Spike TV.

The Bellator tentpole model has worked and this event highlights the sports entertainment aspect of MMA.  The Slice-Dada promos for the fight were “must see” television.  The actual fight was not.  But, viewers were drawn to watch.  Ferguson, who passed away this past June, was a ratings magnet which likely helped the ratings.  Nostalgia of Shamrock-Gracie also brought casual viewers to watch.

One of the big questions about the event was how the main event participants were able to obtain a license to fight.  While there is no link between Ferguson’s death and his fighting career, one has to wonder what was included in his medical information to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  Same could be asked of Harris.  It was clear he was in no condition to fight, yet was still granted a license.   While he met the requirements, one has to wonder how stringent they were at the time.

UFC on Fox 22 peaks at 4.8M viewers

December 20, 2016

UFC on Fox 22 peaked with 4.8 million viewers for the main event between Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson.  The live + SD ratings for Saturday’s event on Fox drew 3,178,000 overall.

The ratings are an increase from the fast overnights which were 2.69M viewers.  The Live + SD ratings are a 14% increase from last December’s 2.781M viewers.  UFC on Fox 22 was the most-watched UFC event since April 2013 when it drew 3,742,000.

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 3,742,000
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
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect the appeal of Paige VanZant as a ratings needle mover.  With her upset in the main event, Michelle Waterson can claim this as well.  Despite the belief that neither fighter had the skill to be in the main event, it’s clear that based on the viewership, people wanted to see them fight.  A couple years ago, you would not think that a women’s fight on network tv could draw 4.8 million viewers.  It’s a clear sign that times have changed. 

Hopkins’ last fight draws 934K on HBO

December 20, 2016

Bernard Hopkins’ last fight of his career drew 934,000 viewers on HBO Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.  Hopkins was knocked through the ring ropes by Joe Smith, Jr. and could not continue.

The fight, which aired from 11:54 to 12:24 am, drew 464,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  It also peaked at 1.035 million (according to Nielsen) at the time that Hopkins was knocked out.

In addition to the main event, there were two other fights during the telecast.  The opening bout between cruiserweights Oleksandr Usyk and Thabiso Mchunu drew 560,000 viewers (270,000 A18-49).  Usyk prevailed via TKO in the 9th round.  In the second fight of the night, Joseph Diaz and Horacio Garcia battled in a matchup of featherweights.   Diaz won via decision.  That fight drew 644,000 viewers (304,000 A18-49).

Payout Perspective:

The HBO fight occurred after the UFC on Fox event went off the air so there was no real overlap.  The ratings are a good bounce back from last week’s Terrence Crawford fight.  Of course, that telecast ran opposite a Showtime card and UFC on PPV.  Likely, many tuned in to see the 51-year-old Hopkins one last time.  Unfortunately, for Hopkins fans, he was sent through the ropes unceremoniously to end his career.

UFC on Fox 22 Prelims draw 679,000

December 20, 2016

The UFC on Fox 22 Prelims airing on FS1 Saturday afternoon drew 679,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.

In the last fight of the prelims, Paul Craig defeated Luis Henrique da Silva via submission.  Craig earned a Performance of the Night Bonus for his work.

The event drew 338,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category.

The UFC on Fox 22 Prelims are down from the prelims last December which drew 693,000 viewers.

UFC on Fox Prelims – 2016

UFC on Fox 21 Prelims rating: 1.122M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 20 Prelims rating: 1.261M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 19 Prelims rating: 1.4M (on Fox)

UFC on Fox 18 Prelims rating: 702,000 (on FS1)

Payout Perspective:

For a 3 hour prelims airing 5:00-8:00pm ET, I would think that the ratings fared pretty well.  If you consider the difference between the prelims airing on Fox preceding the main card versus on FS1, it’s clear that being on the network helps with viewership.  While the ratings are down from this time last year, the network main card did much better with Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson headlining.

16 for 16: No. 16 Former Bellator employee sues company, organization sues back

December 19, 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, we take a look back at some of the bigger legal and business issues in MMA this year.  It’s clear we know the top 3 or 4 business stories but in the coming days we’ll walk you back through some other stories.

  1. Former Employee sues Bellator, company sues back

In May 2016, Zachery Light sued Bellator and parent company Viacom for wrongful termination.  The lawsuit includes allegations of disobeying laws by forging medical information for fighters.  He also claims that he was pressured by Scott Coker and Rich Chou not to press issues related to this.  He also claimed that Mike Kogan was hired by Bellator in an executive capacity while at the same time managing fighters that were put on Bellator cards.  Light claimed that due to stress from the job he took a leave but was terminated upon his return.

Zachery Light vs Bellator Sport Worldwide LLC by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

In response to the lawsuit, Bellator filed a Cross-Complaint citing Light for conversion, theft and a breach of written contract.

X Complaint to Zach Light by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The Bellator Cross-Complaint claims that Light requested a loan from the company and was given $9,403 and entered into a written agreement with Light that made him pay back the money on an agreed schedule.  Bellator claims that he never paid back the loan.  In addition, Bellator claims that he did not return “thousands of dollars in VIP ticket sales” related to Bellator 136 in Irvine, California.

Light filed an Answer in August denying the allegations made in Bellator’s Cross-Complaint.

Zachery Light Answer by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

A Case Management Conference was to be heard to give a status on the case in November but it appears that there has been a continuance of this.  Light now works for MMAAA per Bjorn Rebney at the organization’s debut press conference earlier this month.  It will be interesting where this lawsuit will go or if the parties will determine to settle the case before any salacious information about either Light or Bellator’s business practices surfaces for the public.

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