1.5M viewers watch Bader-Fedor on Paramount last Saturday

February 2, 2019

Last Saturday, 1.5 million viewers saw the main event of Bellator 214 with Ryan Bader taking care of Fedor in the very first round.  According to Nielsen via Bellator, the entire telecast drew 784,000 viewers in its 2 hour and 44-minute airing on the Paramount Network including the DVR +3 ratings

Bader won the Heavyweight title becoming a Bellator double champ with the win over Emelianenko.

In addition, the Aaron Pico-Henry Corrales fight drew 1 million viewers and Jake Hager-J.W. Kizer fight drew 1 million viewers.  Both of these fights ended in the first round.

In addition, Bellator outlined several other highlights from its broadcast last Saturday.

  • The most-watched Bellator event since Bellator 192on January 20, 2018.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with adults 18-49 (.6) since Bellator 175on March 31, 2017.
  • The highest-rated Bellator event with men 18-49 (.73) since Bellator 192.
  • The second most-streamed Bellator event ever (on various Bellator/Paramount mobile platforms).
  • The most-streamed Bellator prelimany card ever.
  • The Ryan Bader knockout was among the most engaged posts in Bellator social media history with over 4 millionviews on various social platforms including a record number of video views on      Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • The week leading into Bellator 214delivered the second most growth for new followers to Bellator’s social platforms in franchise history.

Payout Perspective:

The numbers should please Bellator execs as the company has seen a decline in their ratings on Paramount in 2018.  The ratings, even though they include DVR ratings should show promise.  But the strong ratings are based on several minutes of viewership as the three featured fights lasted less than a round.  Yet, you could argue that there was strong interest based on the numbers. It also should be noted that the ratings do not include the number of those watching on DAZN.

Pacquiao-Broner replay draws minimal audience Saturday on Showtime

January 30, 2019

The Manny Pacquiao Adrien Broner replay on Showtime Saturday night drew 367,000 viewers according to Nelsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The replay which saw Pacquiao defeat Broner via unanimous decision went up against PBC on Fox and Bellator 214 on Saturday.  In addition, the NHL All-Star Game and NBA on ABC featuring the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics were on the same night.

In comparison, the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury replay drew 488,000 viewers on Showtime in December.

In addition, MMA Payout has obtained the official payouts from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

The official tickets sold were 11,410 for a gate of $6,003,322.00.  There were 248 comps according to the commission.

Payout Perspective:

Despite his age and absence from boxing in North America, it was a good gate and a healthy amount of paying fans in attendance.  Regardless of what we think of Adrien Broner, he has made himself into a name in boxing and he helped with sales.  The replay rating is a little disappointing but with a live event on at the same night it might have overshadowed those that didn’t pay for the PPV.

Bader-Fedor fight drew 1.2M viewers on Paramount Saturday night

January 30, 2019

Bellator 214 scored an overall rating of 697,000 viewers on Saturday night.  The Fedor-Ryan Bader showdown drew 1.2 million viewers on the telecast.

Bellator 214 took place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.  It featured the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix with the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Champion winning the Heavyweight Championship.

Also on the card, Jaker Hager (aka Jack Swagger) defeated J.W. Kiser in the first round via submission.  The bout drew 809,000 viewers.  Aaron Pico’s surprising KO loss to Henry Corrales drew 808,000 viewers.

It was a busy night for sports on Saturday with PBC on Fox, Showtime’s replay of Pacquiao-Broner and the NBA on ABC and the NHL All-Star Game.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are the best for Bellator since last January when Chael Sonnen faced Rampage Jackson at the beginning of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.  It should be noted that the top 3 fights lasted less than a round.  The Fedor-Bader matchup which drew over 1 million viewers was just 35 seconds.  Yet, the ratings show that there is an audience that is either looking for a UFC alternative or has been trained to look for MMA on Saturdays.  The good news is that Bader proved himself a star and Hager’s performance showed that he is a legit threat in the heavyweight division although we have yet to see his chin.  Perhaps the only bad news is the loss of Aaron Pico, a fighter the promotion had hoped it could promote as a superstar.  It still can but his fight style might need a quick rehab.

PBC on Fox draws 1.72M viewers Saturday night opposite NBA and NHL

January 27, 2019

PBC on Fox Saturday night drew a fast-overnight rating of 1.72 million viewers according to Television By Numbers.   PBC had stiff competition for sports fans on the networks Saturday night.

ABC aired the NBA Countdown show in the first 30 minutes of the PBC event and then aired the Golden State Warriors playing the Boston Celtics.  The Countdown show drew 2.19 million viewers and the game which started at 8:3pm EST drew 3.33 million viewers with a 1.0 rating the A18-49 demo and a 5 share of the overall viewership.  NBC showed the NHL All-Star Game from 8-11pm EST.  The event drew 2.15 million viewers with 0.7 in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share of the audience.

PBC’s second telecast without the UFC as a companion combat sports driver for the network drew a 0.4  in the A18-49 demo and a 2 share overall.

The telecast featured the return of Keith Thurman as he defeated Josesito Lopez via majority decision. A great deal of the fight occurred after the 10pm EST time slot so one might expect the viewership to grow.

Payout Perspective:

 The event improved upon December’s PBC event which drew 1.69 million viewers.  One can see this as a good showing considering the amount of sports opposite PBC on Saturday night.  The Warrior-Celtics game was an entertaining throughout and the NHL audience produced a vast amount of hockey fans to NBC.  This time last year, UFC on Fox 27 drew 1,770,000 which was the lowest UFC on Fox rating up until that date.

Fedor atop Bellator 214 payouts

January 25, 2019

The California State Athletic Commission has disclosed the main card and preliminary payouts for Saturday’s Bellator 214.

MMA Junkie reported the disclosed payouts it had requested and obtained from the commission.  Bellator 214 takes place Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Fedor Emelianenko: $300,000 (no win bonus)
vs. Ryan Bader: $150,000 (no win bonus)

Aaron Pico: $45,000 to show ($45,000 to win)
def. Henry Corrales: $35,000 to show ($35,000 to win)

Jake Hager: $50,000 (no win bonus)
vs. J.W. Kiser: $7,000 to show ($7,000 to win)

Juan Archuleta: $25,000 to show (no win bonus)
vs. Ricky Bandejas: $30,000 to show (no win bonus)

Adel Altamimi: $10,000 to show ($10,000 to win)
vs. Brandon McMahan: $3,500 to show ($3,500 to win)

Jay Jay Wilson: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Tyler Beneke: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Ozzy Diaz: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Chris Reyes: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Jorge Juarez: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. David Pacheco: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Jesse Merritt: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Thor Skancke: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

A.J. Agazarm: $12,000 to show ($12,000 to win)
vs. Jesse Roberts: $2,500 to show ($2,500 to win)

Weber Almeida: $5,000 to show ($5,000 to win)
vs. Oscar Chinchilla: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Sean Johnson: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Arturo Rivas: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

James Barnes: $2,250 to show ($2,250 to win)
vs. Ryan Lilley: $2,000 to show ($2,000 to win)

Ian Butler: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Craig Plaskett: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Steve Ramirez: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)
vs. Desmond Torres: $1,500 to show ($1,500 to win)

Payout Perspective:

The biggest disparity here is the between the former WWE superstar Jake Hager (aka Jack Swagger) and J.W. Kiser.  Hager is making $50,000 for this fight while Kiser, a 41-year-old with just one pro fight, a loss in 2018, is receiving $7,000 to show and another $7,000 if he pulls the offset.  Certainly, the $50,000 Swagger is making is far less than his salary in the WWE.  Of course, its his first pro fight.  Without much argument, Fedor is the top paid athlete earning $300,000 and his opponent making just half of that.

UFC Fight Night Prelim debut on ESPN draws huge ratings

January 23, 2019

The UFC Fight Night Prelims on Saturday drew 1.956 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  Even with a late start due to the college basketball overrun, the rating is the best Prelims ratings for an event.

The prelims saw 1.036 million viewers in the A18-49 demo and draw a 1.17 share of the overall audience according to Nielsen.  The feature bout of the prelims saw Donald Cerrone defeat Alexander Hernandez.

It was the debut of UFC on ESPN and it delivered with the best ratings for a prelim event ever.

On FS1, UFC Fight Night 124 Prelims drew 1.079 million viewers in 2018.  The prelims for UFC Fight Night 81 on FS1 in 2016 drew 1.767 million viewers.

The debut of UFC Fight Night drew 1.7 million viewers as it was the debut of the FS1 network.   The prelims, which was described as doing “25 times greater than SPEED/Fox Soccer/FUEL TV among both Adults 18-49 and Men 18-49, and 40 times greater among Adults 18-34 and M18-34,” were likely blown away by Saturday’s Prelim rating.

Payout Perspective:

The Duke-Virgina game drew over 3.5 million viewers on ESPN as the lead-in and went 13 minutes past the hour which likely helped the initial viewership.  Nothing was lost, as it was clear that the card was waiting for the TV audience.  One might expect a dramatic rise in viewership in events to come as ESPN has a much more robust audience and there are people that habitually leave the channel on ESPN as opposed to FS1 as the channel is much more predominant on the dial.

PBC on Fox Sports Sunday night drew 761,000 viewers

January 15, 2019

PBC on Fox Sports 1 Sunday night drew 761,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event drew 210,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.5 overall share.

The event featured Jose Uzcategui taking on Caleb Plant for the 168-pound IBF belt.  The Challenger, Plant, took the belt in an upset.

The telecast featured two other fights with KOs in them.

Payout Perspective:

This is a very good rating for an event that took advantage of the advertising during the Divisional Playoff weekend on Fox.  The Sunday night main event started after the Saints-Eagles game so that may have helped with fans.  This is a good start for the year for PBC on FS1 as it takes over full-time from the UFC.

PFL’s New Year’s Eve Show drew 204,000 viewers on NBCSN

January 4, 2019

The New Year’s Eve showing of the PFL Championships on NBC Sports Network drew 204,000 viewers.

According to a PFL press release, “the 2018 Championship, the PFL saw a record-setting number of fans tune-in with over 5 million fans watching in the U.S. on NBCSN and in the rest of the world on Facebook Watch as well as on select international sports networks.”

The main card featured the finals of the weight divisions for the season with the winners taking home an advertised $1 million.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings were the best for the promotion this season which is surprising given the fights were shown on New Year’s Eve.  But it also speaks to the low ratings on NBC Sports Network this season as Monday’s event was the only one to go over 200,000 viewers. The finals had compelling storylines, upsets and focused on the life-changing event of becoming a millionaire which was key.  For the organization to go forward next season, it must find a way to draw more ratings and engage viewers in its product.

UFC 232 Payout Perspective

January 2, 2019

Welcome to another edition of UFC Payout Perspective.  This time around we take a look at UFC 232 which took place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Jones tops Gus, calls for DC

Inside the Octagon, Jon Jones showed why you may consider him one of the best of all-time.  He thoroughly dominated Alexander Gustafsson and ended the fight by imposing his will on Gus, taking his back and reigning punches down on him to force the stoppage.

However, its outside the Octagon controversy and drama which makes people wince when they hear Jon Jones and USADA.  Moreover, the outright falsehoods and mistruths spewed by the people in control of the promotion makes you want to take a shower to clean off the grime of their words.

Jones made it clear he wants Daniel Cormier and it seems like the most logical fight to make.  While Anthony Smith and Corey Anderson made their overtures to the Champ, it’s clear that Cormier would be the fight that would draw most interest.

Nunes stops Cyborg, becomes double Champ

Amanda Nunes has now stopped, Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg.  The latter two Nunes stopped in the first round in impressive fashion.  Perhaps the KO of Cyborg was more impressive considering she had not lost since 2005.  Nunes used her superior speed to stun her with some big shots.

Nunes is now the Women’s Featherweight and Bantamweight champions.  The question is how it will market Nunes.  A lot of online debate took place over why the UFC has not marketed Nunes in the past.  It’s clear that she is the best women’s UFC athlete of all time despite the mainstream notoriety of Ronda Rousey and the dominance of Cris Cyborg.  It seemed as though the demolition of Cyborg validated UFC’s greatness.  Cyborg was the once-feared women’s MMA fighter that was too big and skilled for most women.  But, Nunes’ speed, accuracy and punching power proved too much for Cyborg.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

Despite the short notice, the event was a sell out with 15,862 for a gate of over $2 million.  To be specific, the gate was $2,066,604.  The Fight of the Night went to Chad Mendes and Alexander Volkanovski.  The Performance Bonuses went to Ryan Hall and Amanda Nunes.

The event was moved earlier this week from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to The Forum in Inglewood, California for Jon Jones.

Notably, UFC 199 drew 15,587 for a live gate of $2,1687,675 in June 2016.  The fight featured last minute replacement Michael Bisping winning the middleweight title from Luke Rockhold.

Lance Pugmire indicated that his sources said that the attendance would be soft.  But that was not the case.  Let’s read these tweets as this occurred within 30 minutes.

Next tweet from Lance in which the UFC gets to him.

There was also this…

And then after the event…

Payouts

There were 10 fighters that grossed over six figures for UFC 232.  It was topped by the headliners splitting $1M a piece.  $500K for Gus and $500K for Jones for those that were unaware.

Of those clearing six figures, Andre Arlovski ($300,000), BJ Penn ($150K) and Carlos Condit ($115K) are well-paid fighters that aren’t living up to their pay scale at this time.  Chad Mendes, who just came back from a USADA ban, made $87K plus $50K for Fight of the Night.  But then stated he would retire.

Sponsorships

Perhaps the most noticeable for UFC 232 was a new “cryptocurrency sponsor” Litecoin.

Also, of note PokerStars continued its sponsorship and it appears it will be the official fight odds for the UFC.  Pari Match, an overseas book for the UFC, was also present in the Octagon.

There were a lot of sponsors in the Octagon for this end of the year event.  They included Monster and convenience store AM/PM sharing a post.  Another post included Pari Mutual, Toyo Tires, TriFecta Nutrition, Nemiroff Vodka, EA’s UFC3 video game, Modelo, Metro PCS, P3, Air Asia, Pari Match, Harley Davidson, Poker Stars, the movie “Happy Death Day 2U,” and Monster had the center.

It was announced that TriFecta Nutrition would be used in helping athletes with its nutrition.  P3 also appeared on the fighter shorts.

Nemiroff is spending a lot on its UFC sponsorship from the outset.

Cyborg signed an individual deal with Monster Energy.  Jon Jones also was sponsored by Monster Energy.

It was interesting to note that Amanda Nunes had to place tape over her headphones (likely Beats) because the UFC has Monster Headphones as its sponsor.

Ratings

The UFC Weigh-Ins drew 123,000 viewers on FS1.  The UFC Countdown Show on ESPN2 Friday drew 99,000 viewers.

The UFC Pre-fight show on FS1 drew 198,000 viewers according to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz)

The UFC Prelims scored just its second rating over 1 million when the UFC 232 Prelims drew 1.148 million viewers.

The UFC Post Fight Show on FS1 drew 227,000 viewers.

Odds and ends

$6 Million.  The amount that Dana White claims the UFC spent to switch the event from Las Vegas to Inglewood, California.  One has to wonder when they put a deposit on the building.  Or, does the UFC have a practice of securing other sites just in case.

As the UFC begins its partnership with ESPN, the Worldwide Leader aired the UFC 232 Countdown show on ESPN2.

With Carlos Condit taking on Michael Chiesa, I noticed that both fighters had cats on their right oblique.  Chiesa had some new ink with a Tiger and Condit has had his lion on his side for some time.

UFC announced a lot of original and new content for UFC Fight Pass in 2019.  This includes a gambling show which will be interesting to see how that goes.

Notably, Chuck Liddell was in attendance at UFC 232.  White had revealed Liddell’s pay in a Kevin Iole article earlier in the month, but I guess there is no hard feelings when you are comped tickets.

Anyone else notice that Conor McGregor’s Proper Twelve Whiskey was a sponsor and ran commercial during the PFL’s Championships on New Year’s Eve.

Cris Cyborg was a champion in defeat as you can see with the troll job of Ronda Rousey. She took the KO in stride and congratulated Nunes for her victory.

The UFC announced its events for the second quarter of 2019 and there’s a lot of them.  Most on ESPN+

There were over 2 million google searches on Saturday night for UFC 232 which was behind Alabama vs Oklahoma in North America.  Jon Jones vs. Gustafsson drew 200,000 searches the same night.  Cat Zingano had an additional 100,000 searches likely due to the toe poke she received.

Conclusion

It was a strong ending for the UFC on FS1 with over 1 million viewers and the google searches on Saturday looks as though there was above average interest in the event.  Whether it was due to Jon Jones’ issues or the title fights, UFC 232 probably made out well even though the last minute change of venue really hurt fans.  I would expect a buy rate of between 350-375K total buys including traditional and digital.

 

 

UFC 232 Prelims draw 1.148M on FS1

January 2, 2019

The UFC 232 PPV Prelims on FS1 drew 1.148 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The feature bout of the two-hour show featured Heavyweight Andre Arlovski and Walt Harris in a less-than-exciting matchup won by Harris.  The show also had Meagan Anderson and Cat Zingano which ended in a disappointing one round stoppage after Zingano was injured via toe to the eye.  BJ Penn opened the show as he was submitted by Ryan Hall.

The event drew 630,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.55 share according to ShowBuzz Daily.

It was the very last event on FS1 and it was the second highest-rated Prelims show in 2018 to UFC 229.

Payout Perspective:

This was the second Prelims that drew over 1 million viewers in 2018 which makes one believe that the UFC 232 PPV did well if you believe that many fans tune in to the FS1 broadcast and then are converted to purchase the PPV and/or had already purchased the PPV.  The show did have some interesting matchups but were not geared to the casual fight fan.  So, you might assume that many were intrigued by the Jon Jones situation.

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