UPDATED TUF 22 Finale draws 883,000; Prelims 809,000

December 14, 2015

The TUF 22 Finale Friday night on FS1 drew an average viewership of 883,000 viewers via Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims which preceded the main card drew an average viewership of 809,000 viewers.

UPDATED:  via Nielsen the FS1 UFC 194 Weigh-Ins drew 149,000 in the A18-49 category more than doubled last December’s event (145,000 and 75,000 A18-49). The prelims scored 463,000 viewers in the 18-49 category which was an increase of 13% from last fall.  The main card was up 2% (552,000 vs. 539,000) in the A18-49 category from last December’s TUF Finale.  The peak viewership for the main card was 991K during the main event.

The 2 hour UFC 194 weigh-ins which occurred prior to the prelims (6:00pm-8:00pm ET) on FS1 drew 294,000 viewers.

The TUF 22 Finale featured Frankie Edgar’s KO of Chad Mendes in the first round.  The event aired from 10:00pm-1:08am ET on FS1.  The prelims featured Gabriel Gonzaga defeating Konstantin Erokhin in a less than pleasing fight. The prelims were from 8:00pm-10:00pm ET.

In comparison, the TUF 21 Finale drew 691,000 viewers and the prelims drew 470,000.

Recent TUF Finale ratings:

TUF 18 (December 2013):  1.13M viewers, Prelims 938,000

TUF 19 (July 2014): 1 million viewers, Prelims 774,000

TUF 20 (December 2014): 989,000, Prelims 719,000

TUF 21 (July 2015): 691,000, Prelims 470,000

TUF 22 (December 2015): 883,000, Prelims 809,000

Payout Perspective:

The main card did lower in ratings than the past two Decembers.  The main card was the 4th highest rated sports event on cable TV Friday night with the NBA on ESPN drawing the top two spots followed by Pardon the Interruption.  The prelims drew well and probably were aided by the weigh-in show for UFC 194.

TUF Finale 21 draws 691,000 viewers, Prelims 470,000

July 14, 2015

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the TUF 21 Finale drew 691,000 viewers on Sunday night on FS1.  The Prelims which preceded the main card drew 470,000 viewers.

The main card on Sunday aired from 6pm-9pm PT and featured Stephen Thompson taking on Jake Ellenberger.  Thompson took the win with a highlight reel KO of Ellenberger.  It also featured the finals for TUF 21.  The Prelims which aired from 4pm-6pm PT featured Josh Samman and Caio Magalhaes.  Samman submitted Magalhaes with a rear-naked choke.  In a show poor sportsmanship, Magalhaes spat at Samman whom he thought held on to the RNC too long.

In comparison to the same event last year, it was a precipitous drop from last year’s TUF 19 Finale.  Last year, the card featuring BJ Penn taking on Frankie Edgar drew 1 million viewers and the prelims drew 774,000.  Obviously, it may be an unfair comparison since Penn-Edgar is a much better main event than Thompson and Ellenberger.  Of course, looking back at the Penn-Edgar event, there were not many other notable fights on that card.  Corey Anderson, Eddie Gordon and Derick Lewis are names UFC fans may remember from last year.

This year we did have Michelle Waterson making her debut, Jorge Masvidal and Dan Miller.  But after that there were many prospects on the card.

Recent TUF Finale ratings:

TUF 18 (December 2013):  1.13M viewers, Prelims 938,000

TUF 19 (July 2014) : 1 million viewers, Prelims 774,000

TUF 20 (December 2014): 989,000, Prelims 719,000

TUF 21 (July 2015): 691,000, Prelims 470,000

Payout Perspective:

Based on the past 4 TUF Finales, you can see the drop in viewership.  Perhaps one of the reasons is the correlation between the show and the final event.  That is, ratings for TUF are dropping which means less people are invested in seeing the fighters that appear on the weekly show in the final.  With that being said, I think having the TUF Finale as part of International Fight Week is a good idea.  TUF is not going away and with the announcement that Connor McGregor will be a coach next season, the UFC and Fox hope it will revive the franchise.

TUF 20 Episode 12 Live + 3 viewership up to 752,000

December 17, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that TUF 20 Episode 12 drew an additional 244,000 viewers for a total of 752,000 viewers for the regular season finale.

The increase in the 12th episode of 244,000 viewers brings the average increase in viewers from DVR watching to 275,000. The Live +3 ratings for TUF 20 drew a season average of 788,000 viewers. The live rating for the season was 513,000 viewers.

TUF 20 Episode 12 DVR

Increase in viewers Ep 12

Payout Perspective:

The average boost in viewership of 275,000 viewers is slightly lower than TUF 19’s Live + 3 average of 278,000, but better than TUF 18’s Live + 3 of 250,000 viewers.  It was not the most exciting season although when originally revealed there was a lot of  hope for a new women’s division and the coaches for the show.  Yet, Pettis and Melendez were not over the top personalities that a viewer would tune in to watch.  The TUF franchise is still getting viewers although not at the same clip as we’ve previously been accustomed to on Spike.  We’ll see what, if anything, the UFC does its next go round with TUF.

TUF 20 Finale on FS1 draws 989,000 viewers

December 16, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Niesen source that the TUF 20 Finale on FS1 Friday drew an average of 989,000 peaking at 1,219,000 viewers during the main event between Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas.

The Prelims which preceded the main card on Friday night between 7:00pmET-9:00pm ET produced 719,000 viewers.

The TUF 20 Finale main card provided a boost to Fox Sports Live’s Postfight coverage average 300,000 viewers from 11:48pmET-1:00am.  The ratings post-fight were a 39% jump from last year’s December average.

Last December, the TUF 18 Finale on FS1 drew 1.13M viewers and the prelims drew 938,000 viewers.

This past July, the TUF 19 Finale on FS1 drew 1M viewers and the prelims drew 774,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the lowest ratings for a TUF Finale on FS1 thus far (main card and prelims).  And while the post-fight coverage may have been up this time around, the viewership was down.  Of course, this may be due to a number of factors including two UFC events on back to back nights.  Also, the previous two events were not on Friday night.  TUF 18’s final card was on a Saturday and TUF 19 (which was the second event of a back to back) was on a Sunday.  TUF 20 did not have as strong a main event as the previous two TUF Finales (18 had Nate Diaz-Gray Maynard; 19 had Penn-Edgar).

TUF 20 Episode 8: 578,000 viewers

November 13, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the 8th episode of TUF 20 drew an average of 578,000 in Live + Same Day viewership.  Based on the numbers, it’s the best non-DVR average so far this season.

In the fight of the episode, Tecia Torres handled Bec Rawlings in two rounds for the victory.

TUF 20 Episode 8

Payout Perspective:

Episode 8 was the most watched show on FS1 yesterday.  It brings the non-DVR average up to 525,000 viewers.  For those wondering, last fall’s TUF 18 drew a season average of 684,000 viewers and TUF 19 this past spring received 476,000 viewers.  American Horror Story on FX (which aired at the same time as TUF) drew the highest cable rating for Wednesday with a 3.6 million average in Live + SD viewership per Television By Numbers. Notably, the NBA game between the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves from Mexico City drew 1.6 million viewers. It started in the same time slot as TUF.

13 for 13: No. 2 UFC moves to Fox Sports 1

December 31, 2013

The UFC-Fox relationship entered into a new venture as Fox unveiled two new sports networks: Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2).  The UFC was pegged to play a big role in providing the networks, especially FS1 with its content.

So far, the network has not lived up to its lofty expectations, but the UFC is a central piece to the FS1 programming grid.

The network almost stalled from the beginning as distributors balked at the carriage fees for FS1.  DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable held out from carrying the new sports networks.  The three distributors combined for about 46 million households.  Fox had promised its investors that FS1 would reach 90 million households.  Without the three holdouts, it would have only half of its promised households.

The pre-FS1 carriage fee was 31 cents a month per subscriber whereas FS1 wanting 80 cents per month in 2014 which could go as high as $1.50 per subscriber based on fee increases during the life of the deal.  In the end Fox conceded the fee increase (for now) with the distributors in order for its intended launch of August 17th.

The first day of the new FS1 network received outstanding ratings marked by UFC Fight Night 26 from Boston which grabbed 1.78 million viewers.   It was a surprise considering the leveled expectations that it may take some time for people to get acclimated with the new network.  Well, that happened.  Since the first night of ratings, FS1 ratings have not been going as expected.

The UFC programming has not seen the numbers of UFC FN 26 (although this past Saturday’s Prelims did very well).  The Ultimate Fighter: Tate vs. Rousey which featured men and women fighters was supposed to draw viewers back to the fledgling franchise.  While there were spikes for the women fights, overall, the ratings were lukewarm (averaging 648K viewers for the season) and showed a 22 percent drop when moving to FS1.  In fact, it was reported that Fox execs would look at the MMA reality show differently.  Rather than look at the live viewership ratings, it would look at the “overall consumption” of the show which would include DVR and reruns to access the success of the show.  Certainly, the time slot of 7pm on the west coast (without a same night rerun) hurt same day viewership although there was an increase in DVR numbers.

Fox also issued “make goods” for advertisers paying for time on FS1 due to ratings shortfalls.  Some advertisers received ad times carved out during the World Series on Fox.  There was also discussion that “early pre-game” inventory for the Super Bowl would be offered.

UFC Fight Nights on FS1 and FS2

UFC Fight Night 26:  1.78 million viewers

UFC Fight Night 27:  824,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 28:  539,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 29:  638,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 30: 122,000 viewers (FS2)

UFC Fight Night 31:  641,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 32:  722,000 viewers

TUF 18 Finale: 1,129,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 33: 755,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 33 Prelims: 132,000 (FS2)

Despite the ratings disappointment, analysts and advertisers are still giving the networks a chance.  There is still room for improvement and the belief that the networks, especially FS1, will keep growing an audience.

Via Sports Media Journal

Via Sports Media Journal

Fox looks at TUF ratings differently

December 8, 2013

The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reported the ratings of this past season’s Ultimate Fighter and addressed the reasons for its 22 percent viewership drop in its first season on FS1.  But Fox execs are not worried as it is assessing the overall consumption of the reality show.

According to the article, the overall consumption of the series is up 8 percent over last year when it was on FX.

TUF 18 featuring Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate had hoped to make a splash by having men and women fighters in a house.  The belief would have had viewers excited by the novelty of men and women sharing the same house and coupling that with the fierce rivalry between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. They also had hoped it would make a big splash on the new network FS1.   Instead, many were turned off by Rousey’s behavior during the show.  The ratings did not reflect the hope that it would gain traction with fans.  For a while, the viewership reflected the interest in the women’s fights as there was a spike each week the women fought.

According to the SBJ, TUF 18 averaged 648K viewers which is down from 832K viewers last season when it ran on FX.  Fox sports execs are viewing the ratings differently as it is not assessing the overnight ratings as it would a live sporting event.  Rather, the tact is to view the ratings in total which would include the DVR usage and re-airs.

When taking into consideration the total numbers, TUF attracted “14,844 million viewers this year through 163 airings on two sports channels plus DVR users,” according to the SBJ report.  In comparison TUF 17 pulled in 13.8 million viewers through 24 airings on FX and DVR users.  Same day viewership is off 22 percent but live plus 7 day viewership is down only 10 percent and it increased its male 18-49 and male 25-54 demos according to the senior vice president of programming and research of Fox Sports.


Payout Perspective:

Spin or correct reassessment of programming by Fox?  As most know, the TUF series has taken a downturn in ratings since the UFC left SpikeTV.   But the article suggests that the TUF franchise is not going anywhere and with the launch of two new all-sports networks, it is willing to be patient with the show as well as look at the overall picture of how it is contributing to the ratings.

Certainly, a 7pm start time on the west coast with no same night replays on FS1 does not really help the overnight ratings.  The west coast is known for having higher viewership for MMA programs.  While there’s nothing definitive that would suggest that TUF has higher ratings on the west coast, the fact that there are a lot of MMA fans out west would make Fox look to all of the airings of TUF and not just the live version.  In the future, perhaps programming might also look to same night reruns as well as this might boost viewership for FS1

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (11/25 – 12/01)

December 6, 2013

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC  TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal.  In this week’s edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 11/25 – 12/01.



UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (11/27):
UFC Tonight: 156,000 viewers.
UFC Unleashed: 285,000 viewers
– The Ultimate Fighter (repeat): 216,000 viewers
– The Ultimate Fighter (new episode): 635,000 viewers

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Saturday (11/30):
– Big 12 College Football (lead-in for TUF Prelims): 464,000 viewers.
– The Ultimate Fighter Finale Prelims: 938,000 viewers.
– The Ultimate Fighter Finale Main : 1.129M viewers.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– The Ultimate Fighter Live Weigh-ins (11/29) on FS2 drew 31,000 viewers.
– Ultimate Insider (11/26) on FS2 drew 7,000 viewers.
– The Ultimate Fighter Finale Prelims (11/30) on FS2 (FS1  delay due to CFB): 109,000 viewers.
– Golden Boy Boxing (11/26) on FS1 drew 263,000 viewers.
– PAC-12 College Football (11/29) on FS1 drew 2.179M viewers.


 Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals:
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 514,000 (last week: 289,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 14,000 (last week: 9,000)

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.


Payout Perspective:

It looks like Fox Sports 1 has something to be very thankful for this week, which just happens to be Thanksgiving weekend.  The PAC-12 Friday night CFB game drew an eye-popping 2.179M viewers, which was followed up by the TUF Finale UFC event which pulled 938K viewers for the prelims and a remarkable 1.129M viewers for the main card. The TUF Finale main card marks the first time the UFC has gone beyond 1M viewers since the debut show back in August. The UFC had 3 of the top 5 most watched FS1 programs for the week.

TUF rebounded with an increase of viewership of 25% (635,000) from the previous week to finish culminate the season by averaging 639,000 viewers for the 13 episodes. With NASCAR wrapping up, the UFC, CFB, and CBB have so far done a great job at rebounding this week.  Now with TUF over and no weekly Wednesday night fights on FS1, it will be interesting to see what the viewers will do from here on out.  There is an UFN coming up today (Friday) and UFC 168 coming up to close-off the year, so observing the MMA viewer behavior during this downtime should give us some insight on whether the network can retain the MMA fan during the TUF off-season.

TUF 18 Finale: 1.13M viewers

December 4, 2013

TUF 18 Finale on Saturday night scored a pretty remarkable average viewership of 1.129M.  In the main event, Nate Diaz stopped Gray Maynard in the first round.

UFC Fight Nights on FS1

UFC Fight Night 26:  1.78 million viewers

UFC Fight Night 27:  824,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 28:  539,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 29:  638,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 31:  641,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 32:  722,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night on FS2

UFC Fight Night 30: 122,000 viewers

TUF Finale on FS1 (Saturday)

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

TUF 18 Finale (prelims): 938,000 viewers

Source: Fox Sports


Payout Perspective:

Pretty remarkable numbers for the UFC here. It outdrew any other show outside of the UFC on FS1 debut with less star power and a much weaker card. It also scored the highest prelim rating ever on the network with 938,000 average viewers.

The TUF 18 Finale is comparable to UFC Fight Night 32, which also aired on Saturday night. The big difference may be competition and the Thanksgiving weekend though, as UFN 32 featured much bigger names and only drew 722,000 compared to the TUF 18 Finale’s 1.13M. That is an increase of 56% in viewership between the two events.

The key may have been mainly due to the Thanksgiving weekend, which produced some great numbers for FS1 outside of the UFC.  Friday night’s Oregon vs Oregon St. drew one of it’s best viewership numbers ever, with 2.2M viewers.

TUF 18 Ep. 13: 635,000 viewer average

December 3, 2013

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Wednesday’s TUF episode 13 received an average viewership of 635,000.  The viewership was up from last week’s episode by 25%.

TUF 18 Episodes

Episode 1: 762,000 viewers

Episode 2: 870,000 viewers

Episode 3: 639,000 viewers

Episode 4: 778,000 viewers

Episode 5:  640,000 viewers

Episode 6:  725,000 viewers

Episode 7:  672,000 viewers

Episode 8:  476,000 viewers

Episode 9:  452,000 viewers

Episode 10: 583,000 viewers

Episode 11: 561,000 viewers

Episode 12: 510,000 viewers

Episode 13: 635,000 viewers

Season Average: 639,000


Payout Perspective:

The season finale finally broke the trend of decreased viewership for TUF from the previous three weeks, as it drew 635,000 (0.31 A18-49) average viewers. The number indicates a 25% increase in average viewership from the previous week.  The TUF season was culminated appropriately with a woman’s bout as Raquel Pennington and Jessica Rakoczy defeated Raquel Pennington by unanimous decision 30-27 . Rakoczy’s win earns her a shot against  semifinalist Julianna Pena for the TUF crown alongside Chris Holdsworth and David Grant for the men’s TUF crown.

TUF ends the season averaging 638,692 average viewers, which is a significant drop-off from TUF 17: Jones vs Sonnen on FX, which averaged 1.2M viewers for the season, which is roughly a 50% decline in viewership.  That drop can be attributed to FOX moving the TUF property from the highly rated FX network to the new startup Fox Sports 1.

Topping the night on cable for sports programming was the NBA Wednesday night game between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavs, which drew 1.856M (0.73 A18-49) viewers.

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