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)
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.
December 1, 2013
MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Saturday night’s TUF 18 Finale from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The event drew 4,346 for a gate of $322,742.50. TUF 17’s Finale which featured Urijah Faber defeating Scott Jorgensen and Cat Zingano defeating Miesha Tate drew 5,549 for a live gate of $569,000. TUF 17 was at the same venue as Saturday’s event.
Bonuses for the TUF 18 were as follows:
FOTN: Ryan Benoit-Joshua Sampo
Submission of the Night: Chris Holdsworth
KO of the Night: Nate Diaz
Each bonus was $50,000 each but since Sampo missed weight Benoit received his bonus which gave Benoit, the loser of the match, a $100,00 in bonuses.
Benoit turns out the lucky loser since Sampo missed weight. The moral of the story is to not miss weight. This was best exemplified through the last couple episodes of TUF. The attendance figure was down despite a pretty good main event, Maynard-Diaz.
November 8, 2013
MMA Payout has learned from industry sources that the Wednesday’s TUF episode 10 received an average viewership of 583,000. The viewership was up from last week’s episode.
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
There was a slight overrun from UFC Fight Night 31 but for those DVR watchers you still got to see the first round submission by Chris Holdworth of Michael Wooten. The ratings show a slight drop off from the UFC Fight Night audience which is disappointing considering the lead-in. According to Television By Numbers, America Horror Story on FX (ironically) topped cable ratings for Wednesday receiving 3.79 million viewers in the 10:00pm slot (opposite TUF).
October 21, 2013
Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. The announcement was made during a much-hyped edition of Fox Sports Live.
Dana White was interviewed by Sonnen on a segment of Fox Sports Live in which White revealed that Sonnen and Silva would be the coaches for TUF Brazil. White half-joked that Sonnen would have extra security for the show as it’s scheduled to be in Brazil. As is customary, the two coaches will face one another at the end of the season of the show. No date of filming, location or timetable for the fight between Sonnen and Silva.
Sonnen is still set to fight Rashad Evans at UFC 167.
It’s interesting to note the type of news broken on FS1 as opposed to the news broken on ESPN by the UFC. For instance, White announced the rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva on ESPN. Here, the programming aspect is the tie-in for the Fox announcement. No real information has been disseminated other than Sonnen and Silva will be coaches. It would make sense that FS1 (or FS2) picks up the episodes in America. The move appears to be a shot at infusing life in the show in Brazil. But, will the Sonnen-Silva show have Rampage-Rashad spark? Sonnen ended up liking Jon Jones after pre-TUF trash talk. Although Silva and Sonnen have gone at each other in social media and a public confrontation, it does not mean that TUF Brazil will get ratings as a result.
September 11, 2013
Dana White announced today on UFC Tonight on FS1 that Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn would be the coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. Edgar and Penn will fight in their third fight but this time at Featherweight.
In perhaps bigger news, White indicated that Penn has re-signed with the UFC.
Via UFC press release:
“BJ Penn is moving down to 145 lbs. to coach The Ultimate Fighter against Frankie Edgar,” said UFC President Dana White. “BJ really hates the fact that he lost to Frankie Edgar. It’s something that’s been burning deep inside of him for three years now. So he’s moving down to 145 lbs. to not only avenge those defeats, but to try and become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in three different weight classes.”
Widely considered one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, Penn (16-9-2 in MMA) is one of only two men to win UFC world titles in two separate divisions. The former welterweight and lightweight champion has defeated a Who’s Who of MMA, including UFC champions Matt Hughes, Matt Serra and Sean Sherk. His reign over the UFC’s 155lbs. division was ended in 2010’s Upset of the Year, when he was outpointed by Frankie Edgar. “The Prodigy” not only returns to the UFC but also The Ultimate Fighter, after coaching season five back in 2007.
Filming begins this October.
White indicated that Urijah Faber was thought to be a potential candidate to coach opposite Edgar but could not come to a decision on what weight to fight. White stated that Penn wanted to fight Benson Henderson but it seems that there was a better idea.
Penn was dominated by Rory MacDonald in his last fight in December and there was speculation that he would retire. Penn looked awful in his last showing against MacDonald but it appears as though he wants one last run. The matchup does not make sense for Edgar as he’s beaten Penn in their first two matchups. Moreover, the cut down to 145 may be very difficult for Penn.
Penn is a Hall of Famer and having him as a coach on TUF may draw some viewers. He’s still widely popular and Honolulu (although not his actual hometown) is the #1 market for avid fans of the UFC. While we don’t have the ratings of TUF when he coached opposite Jens Pulver we will try to dig those up.
Does the Edgar-Penn TUF entice you to watch the series?
September 5, 2013
The Wrestling Observer (subscription required) reports the UFC ratings from Wednesday. The 2 hour debut of TUF received an average of 762,000 viewers while the main card of UFC Fight Night 28 received 539,000 viewers.
According to Television By the Numbers, The Ultimate Fighter featuring Team Rousey vs. Team Tate scored an average of 762K for a 0.4 rating (Adults 18-49) in the 7pm-9pm PT/10pm-12amET time slot. Duck Dynasty on A&E won the night and the 10pm time slot with over 10 million viewers for a 4.6 rating.
In other numbers, bonuses, for UFC Fight Night 28 were $50,000 each and given to Glover Teixeira (KO), Piotr Hallman (Submission) and Rafael Natal and Tor Troeng (FOTN). (via MMA Junkie). Although a slow start, UFC FN 28 did well with its three top fighters on the card getting impressive wins.
How many hours of UFC programming did you watch Wednesday? Of the 8 hours, it’s likely that the most scrutinized was the TUF debut as it pulled out all the stops for this season with men and women in the house and the Rousey-Tate feud. The women fights were the most compelling. Also, having the fighters meet their families before the fights were a nice touch to add drama. FS1 even aired an hour special for Ronda Rousey the day before the TUF debut. Yet, it opened with the lowest rating ever for TUF. MMA Fighting chalks it up to growing pains for a new network. While this might be believable, its hard to explain the 1.72 million viewer debut of the UFC on FS1’s first day. Perhaps its the 8 hours of programming which caused TUF’s low rating as that many hours of MMA would cause fatigue for any MMA fan. Will TUF gain momentum or will we see another TUF season reaching new viewership lows?
July 16, 2013
The Sports Business Journal reports that Fox Sports 1 is still without carriage deals with DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. FS1 is looking to charge distributors 80 cents per subscriber per month with increases up to $1.50 per subscriber per month.
While the negotiations are being described as “amicable” and the fact deals have yet to be complete, there still is time left for the companies to agree for FS1 to launch with all three distributors on August 17th. However, the new price rate with subsequent increases may give pause to be concerned. Moreover, with cord cutters and subscriber complaints about the increases in cable/satellite fees rising (as distributors pass along the increase in subscriber rates), there is a swell of talk that distributors may ditch sports networks.
The three distributors represent 46 million subscribers and could put a dent into the 90 million households FS1 hopes to reach next month. While it is crunch time, the companies could still broker deals. However, if one of these distributors holds out, it could be a dent into FS1’s plans. One need only look to the fact that DirecTV and the Pac 12 Network are still at an impasse in negotiations and while many thought that one company would cave by the time college football…then college basketball came around, neither side has budged.
For the UFC, losing a portion of its audience (or potential audience) can hurt its fall PPV events not to mention the upcoming TUF featuring Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate and the expected huge buildup for Silva-Weidman II. MMA Payout will keep you posted on this issue.
June 29, 2013
Bloody Elbow reports that China will have a version of The Ultimate Fighter franchise. Registration and tryouts for the show will happen in multiple countries in the coming months.
No coaches have been selected at the moment and Featherweights, Lightweights and Welterweights will be invited to try out although specific weight divisions for the show have yet to be announced.
TUF Finals will be held at the Venetian Hotel in Macau and will be available for all to see. In China, TUF will be broadcast on LiaoNing TV which is one of China’s national pay satellite television networks.
The announcement is not really a surprise as Zuffa is trying to tap into the Chinese market. Its show last November was a first step and a TUF series in China is another step in setting a footprint into the market. This time last year Lorenzo Fertitta indicated that there was no set strategy for China. But, with the Macau show and now this announcement, this falls in line with the Zuffa strategy of introducing the key demos to its product through its television product which it hopes will garner a following which Zuffa will follow up with a live event. The unknown of Chinese fighters for this show and what stars will coach will be interesting to watch unfold. Moreover, we shall see how the ratings will do for this show.
June 8, 2013
The Ultimate Fighter 2 Brazil announced that it is participating in Brazil’s Ceara state government to make the UFC on Fuel TV 10 event 100% carbon neutral. UFC Fighters Glover Texeira and Demian Maia participated in a ceremonial tree planting ceremony to commemorate the occasion.
Via UFC press release:
In 2011 the Ceara State Government began a carbon emissions policy under the guidelines of the Ceara Carbono Zero strategy. The strategy emphasizes support to renewable energy investments (specifically solar and wind power), the protection of the biodiversity of the Caatinga (a semi-arid scrub forest situated in the northeast of Brazil), the implementation of the solid waste policy, as well as a set of overall efforts to mitigate and compensate emissions.
The State Government laid out a set of actions aimed to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at important events set to take place in Ceara throughout the next several years, such as the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Confederation Cup and Saturday’s UFC event. The Government will work with the Federal University of Ceará to calculate the carbon emissions stemming from the UFC event.
The State Government’s carbon offset action develops an inventory of all carbon emission from transportation and operation of an event, including travel by the public to the event venue, the calculation of total greenhouse gas emissions – using the United Nations approved Greenhouse Gas Protocol, adjusted to local environmental conditions – and the compensation of emissions through the planting of trees, using native species to protect and preserve the local ecosystem.
“As a global leader in sports, the UFC is thrilled that its event can serve as a platform for bringing awareness and further helping the State Government’s environmentally conscious initiative,” said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. “With athletes and fans from all over the world, we are proud to do our part in reducing the carbon footprint of UFC’s live event this week in Fortaleza.”
The UFC’s participation in this local initiative is good PR for the company and helps promote good will. Utilizing homegrown UFC stars ingratiates itself with the local fan base. Involving itself with the local effort also shows that the UFC intends to continue its relationship with the area.
May 28, 2013
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that Miesha Tate will replace an injured Cat Zingano to coach opposite Ronda Rousey on the next edition of The Ultimate Fighter. The announcement on Tuesday came as a surprise to Rousey as she was unaware Zingano was injured.
Tate appeared as the replacement coach as filming of the next season of TUF began. Apparently it was a closely held secret that Zingano would be replaced. The pairing is likely the matchup the UFC had wanted prior to Rousey-Zingano based on Tate’s rivalry with Rousey.
The coaching spot comes with odd timing as Tate is schedule to fight Liz Carmouche at UFC on Fox 8 in Seattle this July. Could we see Tate being pulled to preserve her for Rousey in the next couple days?
Many are skeptical with the timing of the replacement. But based on Zingano’s twitter feed, the injury looks substantial.
— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) May 29, 2013
The question of why didn’t they just put the two (Tate-Rousey) together as coaches instead having a stipulation for the Tate-Zingano match? Yes, one might argue that Tate was winning that fight but Zingano pulled it out. So now it looks a little suspicious that despite a loss she’ll get a title shot.
Putting how we got here behind us, the show should now be a certified train wreck in the most positive sense (think Rashad-Rampage). The combustible hate-hate relationship of Tate-Rousey and the male-female fighters living in the same house should get enough storylines and press that FS1 needs to get its network up and running.