UFC 220 Prelims draw 905,000 on FS1, Bellator 192 770,00 viewers on Paramount

January 23, 2018

The UFC 220 Prelims on FS1 drew 905,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims overlapped with Bellator 192 on Paramount which drew 770,000 viewers.

UPDATED:  Bellator 192 was also on CMT network.  Thanks to a reader who pointed this out.  Based on the combined ratings Bellator 192 drew 931,000 viewers (CMT chipped in with the additional 161,000 viewers)

The UFC Prelims were highlighted by Julio Arce versus Dan Ige.  The event on FS1 drew 0.39 in the A18-49 demo.  In comparison, last year’s first PPV, UFC 208, which occurred in February drew 824,000 viewers. Bellator 192 featured Rampage Jackson and Chael Sonnen as it began the Heavyweight Grand Prix.  It also saw Rory MacDonald win the welterweight belt from Douglas Lima.  The event drew 0.32 in the A18-49 demo.

In addition, on Saturday night, the UFC Prefight Show on FS1 drew 286,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator 192 was the highest-rated Bellator event on Spike TV, now Paramount, since March 2017’s Bellator 175 which featured Rampage against King Mo.  Bellator 180 had a higher viewership in the aggregate but was shown on Spike and CMT.  While the event produced the best ratings in almost 10 months, it still does not come close to the initial tentpole events which drew near 1 million viewers.  Obviously, the head-to-head with the prelims and the UFC PPV hurt Bellator this time around.  For the UFC Prelims, the 905,000 is a nice rating considering the fights did not have any “named” fighter on them which bodes well for the PPV buys.

Boost Mobile signs on with Bellator

January 16, 2018

Boost Mobile has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Bellator MMA and will appear in the cage this Saturday as Bellator 192 relaunches Spike TV as the new Paramount Network.  According to the Sports Business Journal, the deal will make Boost Mobile the “official wireless carrier” of Bellator MMA.

Boost Mobile sponsored the World Series of Fighting but has been away from MMA until the news of this deal on Tuesday.  It also was a sponsor of the UFC in 2010.  The company has scheduled a meet and greets for this Thursday to promote Saturday’s event in LA.

The SBJ article quotes Scott Coker of describing Boost Mobile as a “blue chip” sponsor.

Payout Perspective:

No financial terms were disclosed but the report indicates the logo will be prevalent throughout the Bellator broadcast Saturday.  The wireless carrier is back sponsoring esports and the return to MMA shows a dedication to reach out to a young demo in its target audience.  Look for Bellator to seek out other sponsors in 2018 as it will compete with UFC for additional revenue in this business segment.

Jimmy Smith joins UFC broadcast team

January 12, 2018

Jimmy Smith has joined the UFC broadcast team according to a company release.  Smith will be a part of all facets of UFC programming including UFC broadcasts for Fox Sports, PPV events and pre-fight programming.

“I am honored to join the world’s premier combat sports brand in 2018. It is a privilege to call fights for a living and I can’t wait to join the tremendous UFC broadcast team to call the best fights in the world. To the UFC fans, I am thrilled to join you for this wild ride. See you all very soon!”

Smith left Bellator late last year where he served as the company’s color commentator.

Payout Perspective:

Smith’s hiring comes days after Bellator announced the signing of “Big” John McCarthy as a color commentator.  The news is somewhat surprising considering that the UFC has a stable of commentators/analysts including fighters Dominick Cruz, Paul Felder, Daniel Cormier and former fighter Dan Hardy.  Notably, Cruz and Felder have been great in their analysis.  Perhaps Smith’s signing will alleviate the travel of some of the UFC’s commentating team as well as scale back Joe Rogan’s PPV duties.

Bellator 191 draws 511,000 viewers on Spike TV

December 18, 2017

Bellator 191 drew 511,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured the debuts of former UFC fighters Michael McDonald and Valerie Letourneau.

McDonald’s debut at bantamweight saw him defeat Peter Ligier in the main event.  The event drew 0.15 in the A18-49 demo according to ShowBuzz.

The ratings reflect the first uptick in three events and a substantial increase from Bellator 190’s 394,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The debuts of McDonald and Letourneau may have aided the ratings this week for Bellator as it was slumping of late.  We will see if McDonald’s statute as a former UFC bantamweight help his appeal in Bellator.

Bellator 190 draws 394,000 on a busy Saturday night of televised combat sports

December 13, 2017

Bellator 190 from Florence, Italy drew the lowest-rating of the promotion’s time on Spike TV with only 394,000 viewers on Saturday night.

There was stiff competition Saturday night with a UFC Fight Night and ESPN showing Top Rank’s card of Vasiliy Lomachenko taking on Guiellermo Rigondeaux.  In addition, there was another boxing card on HBO.

Bellator 190 featured Rafael Carvalho taking on Alessio Sakara.  Carvalho defeated Sakara to retain his middleweight title.

Per Nielsen, via ShowBuzz Daily, the event drew 0.12 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The lower ratings had to be expected with an overseas card on a night Bellator usually is not on against three other televised combat sports events.  The 394,000 is an all-time low and lowers the 2017 average to 619,000.  Last year’s average was 678,000 viewers.  It was the third straight event with ratings lower than the previous event.

Bellator 189 draws 439,000 viewers on Spike

December 4, 2017

Bellator 189 drew 439,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured Julia Budd defending her Featherweight championship against Arlene Blencowe.  It was Budd’s first title defense as she defeated Blencowe for the second time.

The event took place in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC edged out Bellator on Friday night with its TUF Finale.  Bellator ratings were down slightly from last week’s event in Israel.  The event did not draw as much interest as the UFC which might be due in part to the TUF season and the lack of promotion for the Bellator event.  This is the 6th event this year which has drawn less than 500,000 viewers.

 

Bellator 188 draws 444,000 on Spike TV

November 21, 2017

Bellator 188 drew 444,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was tape-delayed as it took place in Israel.

In the main event of the card. Jeremiah Labiano defeated Noah Lahat via unanimous decision.  The card was the second straight week of international cards on tape delay.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the lowest-rated card since last month’s Bellator 184 from Oklahoma.  The tape-delay and lack of interest contributed to the low viewership for this card.  It was one for the hardcore fans on Friday night.

Bellator 187 peaks with 1 million viewers during McGregor run in

November 15, 2017

According to Nielsen, the Conor McGregor interruption this past Friday at Bellator 187 drew 1 million viewers on SpikeTV in the quarter hour that the event occurred.

As you recall, McGregor charged the cage after his teammate’s first round KO.  McGregor then proceeded to go after referee Marc Goddard.  The event occurred in the first quarter hour of the Bellator tape-delayed telecast on Spike TV.  The news on social media spread and many tuned in to watch the antics.

In comparison, Bellator 186 peaked at 800,000 viewers during Phil Davis’ fight.

Overall, Bellator 187 drew 621,000 viewers in DVR +3 ratings.

Payout Perspective:

The 1 million viewers is a peak threshold not seen by Bellator on Spike TV since Bellator 175 this past spring.  It says something that McGregor’s appearance was the likely reason many tuned in considering the peak was in the first quarter hour and most telecast peak as the event progresses.

With McGregor cameo, Bellator 187 draws 575,000

November 13, 2017

Bellator 187 drew 575,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night.  The event was highlighted, or marred based on what you think, with Conor McGregor storming the cage and confronting referee Mark Goddard.

The ratings are up slightly from last week’s Bellator 186 from the campus of Penn State.  Bellator 187 was taped delay from Dublin, Ireland.  McGregor had come to the cage to celebrate with his teammate Charlie Ward after a first round KO.  The fireworks occurred less than 15 minutes into the Bellator telecast.

Payout Perspective:

I think that there are some that tuned in just to see how the McGregor incident played out instead of the highlights on social media.  I would have expected a bigger bump but since this was tape delayed, many already saw as much as they wanted of McGregor.

Statement issued on McGregor antics at Bellator event

November 11, 2017

The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation and the Association of Boxing Commissions issued a statement related to Conor McGregor’s antics at a Bellator event in Dublin, Ireland on Friday.

McGregor, who was not a licensed cornerman, stormed the cage after his training partner Charlie Ward won his fight against John Redmond via first-round TKO.  McGregor shoved referee Marc Goddard when he attempted to stop McGregor from celebrating in the cage.  The UFC lightweight champion proceeded to go after Goddard and almost trampled the still fallen Redmond.

The full statement via MMA Junkie:

“While the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation (MTDAR) was regulating Bellator 187 in Dublin, Ireland, on November 10, 2017, the following events took place during the Ward vs Redmond bout.

“Mr. Conor McGregor who was a spectator at the time, disrupted the event by scaling the cage prior to the conclusion of the bout. Mr. McGregor’s conduct jeopardized the health and safety of the bout participants by delaying necessary medical attention to the fighters that were injured during the round.

“In addition, Mr. McGregor assaulted Referee Mark Goddard and a Bellator staff.

“The MTDAR has been in consultation with the upper management of the UFC regarding Mr. McGregor’s inappropriate and unacceptable behavior.

“The MTDAR has also contacted members of the Association of Boxing Commissioners that have licensed Mr. McGregor in their jurisdictions to inform them of Mr. McGregor’s behavior.”

Payout Perspective:

McGregor’s presence probably helped with Bellator ratings as the fight was taped-delay on SpikeTV and news of the incident swirled on social media.  The question of whether any penalty aside from maybe a fine will transpire.  Certainly, the UFC should have some sort of fine for McGregor although I would expect no suspension of any kind.  The company probably does not like it that he gave publicity to Bellator and likely that is the only real issue with the incident for the UFC.

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