The Wrestling Post – 04.18.14

April 18, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we write about a new PPV announced, DirecTV plays hard ball and the latest ratings from Total Divas.

Ring of Honor tries PPV Sunday June 22nd

This week Ring of Honor announced that it would be holding its first PPV ever for the company Sunday, June 22nd.

Notably, the ROH PPV is the same weekend as Glory’s first PPV and a week after TNA Wrestling’s PPV, Slammiversary.  ROH had previously put on iPPVs with some noted difficulties.

The Sinclair Broadcasting-owned ROH have expanded its reach with its weekly show as more affiliates carry ROH.  Of course, it’s at 1:00 am on Friday night here in Seattle so you can still DVR the show. Hopefully promotion of the PPV will attract fans to buy the PPV.

Payout Take:  The PPV can be seen as ROH capitalizing on the WWE popularity and its champion – Daniel Bryan worked Ring of Honor for some time.  104,000 buys is the unofficial number of ECW’s very first PPV – Barely Legal in 1997.  We shall see if ROH can do better in 2014.  ROH has more financial backing and should put on more of a polished product.  Obviously PPV has evolved since the late 1990s and we will see which satellite/cable companies pick up the PPV but it will be an interesting comparison.

DirecTV drops WWE PPVs

Earlier this week, DirecTV announced that it would no longer offer WWE PPVs to its subscribers per PW Torch.  WWE did release a statement acknowledging the move by the satellite company.  “Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV’s residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider.”

DirecTV did leave an out that it may return to carrying WWE PPVs.  You may recall that the Dish Network first announced that it would no longer carry the company’s PPVs since it launched its digital network.  However, the distributor changed its mind and carried Wrestlemania XXX.  The domestic buys for Wrestlemania XXX, the first PPV carried on the WWE Network, drew 400,000 purchases.

Payout Take:  While the WWE is hoping for the success of its network, it still seeks its distributors to continue to carry its PPV.  Distributors such as DTV and Dish saw this as a direct hit against its profits from the WWE PPVs.  We all knew that the WWE Network would cannibalize its PPV profits but would benefit the WWE bottom line in the long run.  We will see whether DTV stands it ground. It has played hard ball in the past.  One need only look at the acrimonious negotiations between DTV and the Pac 12 Network and The Weather Channel to see it doesn’t back down.

Total Divas ratings

Episode 4 for the second season of Total Divas on E! scored 1.164 million viewers for a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 according to Television By Numbers.   The episode was the first in two weeks having taken off for Wrestlemania XXX Sunday.

The 1.164 million is the second-lowest rating this season for the reality show.  This season’s average is at 1.26 million viewers.

TUF 19 debut and UFC TUF Nations ratings

April 17, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source the ratings from Wednesday night of UFC programming.  Notably, the debut of TUF scored just an overnight average of 595,000 viewers.

Preceding TUF was the UFC TUF Nations Finale from Quebec City.  The Prelims which started at 2pmPT/4pmET received a viewership of 263,000 viewers whereas the main card starting at 4pmPT/7pmET received 641,000 viewers.

TUF Nations Finale (April 2014) FS1

TUF Nations (prelims) 263,000 viewers

TUF Nations (main card) 641,000 viewers

TUF Finale 18 (December 2013) FS1

TUF 18 Finale (prelims): 938,000 viewers

TUF 18 Finale (main card): 1,129,000 viewers

TUF Finale 17 (August 2013) FX

TUF 17 (main card): 1.7 million

TUF Finale 16 (December 2012) FX

TUF 16 (prelims on Fuel TV) 104,000

TUF 16 (main card): 1.3 million

According to a Fox source, the main event of the TUF Finale was the most watched program on FS1 on Wednesday.

The two hour season debut of TUF 19 featuring coaches Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn drew only 595,000 viewers although the show was delayed until 7:19pm/10:19pm for the TUF Finale overrun.


TUF 18’s season average was at 639,000 viewers in its first season on FS1.  Notably, TUF 17: Jones v. Sonnen scored an average of 1.2M in its last season on FX.

Payout Perspective:

First TUF featured the 2 hour debut with fights to get in the house.  I always find this an entertaining episode although ratings do not show it.  It may be MMA fatigue as FS1 had 7 hours of UFC (more if you watched on Fight Pass and then watched the 1 hour special on an MMA fighter after).  As previously noted Fox Sports execs are looking at the TUF franchised differently when evaluating ratings.  Last year it noted same day viewership was down 22 percent last season which featured Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.  Live +7 was down only 10 percent but increased in viewership in the male demos of 18-49 and 25-54.  We’ll try to keep track of the reruns and compare how it does during different time slots.  Yet, the opening night numbers have to be a little disappointing.

Some odds and ends from TUF 19:

-Will Dana wear different MMA web site’s shirt each episode?  Last night was Fightland.

-Bellator champ doesn’t even get into the house and then is buried.  Ouch.

-Too bad the guy with the Polar Bear ears didn’t make it into the house.  He would have been interesting to watch.

As for the ratings from TUF Nations, Wednesday nights may not be the night for these events.  It will be interesting to see if FS1 considers Sundays for TUF when it is not carrying MLB or NASCAR.  Wednesday had a number of good matchups and notable names on the card but the ratings did not reflect this despite being the most watched show on FS1.

Bellator 116 DVR +3: 642,000 viewers

April 17, 2014

MMA Payout has learned the DVR +3 ratings for Friday’s Bellator 116 have bumped the overall rating to 642,000 viewers with a peak of 919,000 occurring approximately at 10:46 p.m.

Bellator MMA 110 – 880,000, overnight; 1.1M Peak, DVR +3 – 1M, Peak – 1.1M
Bellator MMA 111 – 653,000, overnight; 964,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 718,000, Peak 964,000
Bellator MMA 112 – 699,000, overnight; 1.037 Peak; DVR +3 – 748,000, Peak – 1.22M
Bellator MMA 113 – 507,000, overnight; 871,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 567,000, Peak 970,000
Bellator MMA 114 – 711,000, overnight; 882,000 Peak; DVR+3 – 800,000, Peak 1.03M
Bellator MMA 115 – 830,000, overnight; 874,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 874,000, Peak 1.232M
Bellator MMA116 – 572,000, overnight; 782,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 642,000, Peak 919,000

Bellator 116 DVR+3 graph

Payout Perspective:

Another week of modest gains with the DVR +3 ratings for Bellator.  It bumps the ratings average for this season (including DVR ratings) to 764,163 and the peak to 1,064,571.

Glory 15 Istanbul: 354,000 viewers

April 16, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Saturday’s ratings for Glory 15: Instanbul received an average viewership of 354,000.  The peak almost doubled the average viewership with 720,000 viewers.

Glory 115

Glory Ratings on Spike TV:

Glory 11: 381,000 viewers

Glory 12: 476,000 viewers

Glory 13: 659,000 viewers

Glory 14: 495,000 viewers

Glory 15: 354,000 viewers

The show was seen on tape delay for most of us on Spike TV and will be remembered for the unfortunate leg injury suffered by Tyrone Spong in the finals of the Light Heavyweight Championship tournament.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings have taken a dip despite the peak viewership hitting 720,000 viewers.  We don’t have the information on this but one might suppose the peak occurred during the main event which would have been the Spong injury.  Spike TV is supporting Glory with shoulder programming and we might expect more of this aid as it announced a PPV in Los Angeles this June.  But, perhaps the tape delay of the fights hurt ratings and/or the Pacquiao-Bradley PPV (although you could have watched both easily).  Still, the ratings are down for the second straight event.

Bellator 116: 572,000 viewers

April 15, 2014

MMA Payout has learned through a Nielsen source that this past Friday’s Bellator 116 received an average viewership of just 572,000 viewers.  Its peak occurred midway through the card with 782,000 viewers.

Friday’s Bellator 116 featuring Blagoi Ivanov vs Lavar Johnson, Joey Beltran vs Vladimir Matyushenko, and Alexander Volkov vs Mighty Mo, which was a substantial decrease from the prior week overnight of Bellator 115 which scored 830,000 viewers in overnight ratings.  Friday’s overnights reflect the second lowest rating for the 10th season and the lowest peak of the season.

Bellator MMA – 110  880,000, overnight; 1.1M Peak
Bellator MMA – 111  653,000, overnight; 964K Peak
Bellator MMA – 112  699,000, overnight; 1.037 Peak
Bellator MMA – 113  507,000, overnight; 871,000 Peak
Bellator MMA – 114  711,000, overnight; 882,000 Peak
Bellator MMA – 115  830,000, overnight; 1,131,000 Peak
Bellator MMA – 116 572,000, overnight; 782,000 Peak

Bellator 116 overnight graph

Payout Perspective:

Disappointing ratings considering that last week Bellator cracked the cable top 100 according to Television By Numbers.  The fighters on the card did not stand out in particular and the ratings reflect this.  The peak occurred mid-way through the event which is not usual considering most of the peak viewership this season has happened during the main event.

TUF Nations Episode 13: 162,000 viewers

April 10, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Fox sources that last night’s season finale of TUF Nations scored an average of 162,000 viewers.  The 13th and final episode scored a 0.15 rating among adults 18-49.

TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia

Episode 1:  371,000 viewers

Episode 2:  253,000 viewers

Episode 3:  107,000 viewers – FS2

Episode 4:  384,000 viewers

Episode 5: 187,000 viewers

Episode 6: 78,000 viewers – FS2

Episode 7: 161,000 viewers

Episode 8:  202,000 viewers

Episode 9:  220,000 viewers

Episode 10: 195,000 viewers

Episode 11:  267,000 viewers

Episode 12: 198,000 viewers

Episode 13: 162,000 viewers

According to Television By Numbers, two reruns of The Family Guy on Adult Swim won the night in overnight ratings Wednesday.  The 11:00pm ET episode of The Family Guy received 2.8 million viewers with a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 category.

TUF Nations Graph

Payout Perspective:

The final average for the 13 episode show ended at 214,000 viewers although two of the episodes were on the lesser watched FS2.  It’s hard to say that 214,000 is a disappointment considering the show was geared to a niche audience and featured Kyle Noke and Patrick Cote as coaches.  I am working on finding the ratings in Canada and Australia to try and compare it.  We will keep you posted.

Bellator 115 DVR + 3 numbers up slightly: 874,000

April 10, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the DVR +3 numbers for last Friday’s Bellator 115 scored a viewer average of 874,000 with a peak of 1,232,000

The ratings which increased based on the DVR viewership reflect a modest increase from the overnight ratings. Of course, the peak viewership did go over 1.2 million for only the second time this season.

Bellator 115 graph

Payout Perspective:

While it was just a modest bump, the DVR ratings did help increase the viewership average for the season to 784,500 including DVR ratings.  Bellator 115 did have the second-highest peak viewership for the season which may say something about the popularity of Cheick Kongo, Vitaly Minakov and/or the Bellator Heavyweight division

UPDATED with peak number: Bellator 115: 830,000 viewers

April 7, 2014

Television By Numbers reports that the overnight rating for Bellator 115 this past Friday received 830,000 viewers.  It also received a 0.4 rating in the Adult 18-49 demo.

UPDATED 04/08/14: Nielsen sources tell us that it scored a 0.44 in the adult 18-49 demo and 0.60 in the male 18-49 demo which are both season highs.  The peak was 1,131,000 which occurred at approximately 10:55pm during the main event.

Notably, its lead-in, “Cops” drew an average of 1.16 million viewers in the 8:29pm ET spot.  Other ratings of note for Friday included WWE Friday Night Smackdown receiving 2.71 million viewers on Syfy in the 8:00-10:00pm ET time slot.  A rerun of “The Family Guy” on Adult Swim in the 11:30pm ET time slot won the night with 2.33 million viewers.

Bellator MMA – 110  880,000, overnight; 1.1M Peak

Bellator MMA – 111  653,000, overnight; 964K Peak

Bellator MMA – 112  699,000, overnight; 1.037 Peak

Bellator MMA – 113  507,000, overnight; 871,000 Peak

Bellator MMA – 114  711,000, overnight; 882,000 Peak

Bellator MMA – 115  830,000, overnight; 1,131,000 Peak

See above. No info on the overnight peak for the broadcast although we will attempt to get this once the DVR +3 numbers come out. 

Bellator 115 featured Bellator heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov and Cheick Kongo with Minakov winning a unanimous decision.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are the second best for the season and bring back the overnight average to approximately 713,000 viewers.  The draw to 115 may have been former UFC heavyweight Kongo despite his loss.

Bellator 114 DVR +3: 800K, peak over 1 million

April 2, 2014

MMA Payout has learned via Nielsen sources that the DVR +3 numbers for Friday’s Bellator MMA Live drew 800,000 viewers.  Its peak was once again over 1 million viewers

The peak occurred during the main event of Shlemenko/Ward.  It was exactly at 10:58 p.m. when the telecast hit 1,030,000 average viewers.

Bellator MMA – 110 880,000, overnight; 1.1M Peak, DV$ +3 – 1M, Peak – 1.1M
Bellator MMA – 111 653,000, overnight; 964,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 718,000, Peak 964,000
Bellator MMA – 112 699,000, overnight; 1.037 Peak; DVR +3 – 748,000, Peak – 1.22M
Bellator MMA – 113 507,000, overnight; 871,000 Peak; DVR +3 – 567,000, Peak 970,000
Bellator MMA – 114 711,000, overnight; 882,000 Peak; DVR+3 – 800,000, Peak 1.03M

Bellator 114

Payout Perspective:

The numbers are consistent which is positive.  Its average (including DVR+3) is now at 766,600.  What is impressive is that its peak viewership continues to hover around 1 million viewers.  The peak time usually occurs during the main event which shows that people are tuning in for the main event.  So, the question for Bellator is how it can have its audience tune in to the rest of the card.

WSOF 9: 242,000 viewer average

April 1, 2014

The World Series of Fighting 9 which took place this past Saturday night in Las Vegas drew an average of 242,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network per Nielsen sources.  The rating is the second-highest viewership in WSOF’s history.


WSOF 1 – 198,000 viewers

WSOF 2 – 210,000 viewers

WSOF 3 – 201,000 viewers

WSOF 4 – 264,000 viewers

WSOF 5 – 227,000 viewers

WSOF 6 – 161,000 viewers

WSOF 7 – 94,000 viewers

WSOF 8 – 212,000 viewers

WSOF 9 – 242,000 viewers

NBC Sports Network also showed WSOF Canada which was seen on tape delay and garnered 96,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The average viewership ratings are a positive considering it was on the same night as NCAA Basketball, competed with Metamorsis 3, HBO Boxing and NBC Sports Network also streamed the  event.  The streaming may have taken away some viewers from the televised show but that number is likely low.

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