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.

McGregor-Faber to coach The Ultimate Fighter 22

July 12, 2015

During Sunday’s TUF 21 Finale, Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber were announced for Season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter which will air this fall on FS1.  The two are not scheduled to fight as is the usual protocol at the end of the show.

As many noticed during the weigh-in show, the two had an awkward run-in.  Perhaps not a coincidence.

The coaches will have lightweights from America and Europe with Faber coaching the Americans and McGregor coaching Europe.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps also not a coincidence, the television cameras during the PPV caught Frankie Edgar approach the Octagon and shake McGregor’s hand after he won the interim belt.  This could be an option if Aldo cannot come back soon.  As for TUF, many thought Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate would spark some ratings success.  It did ok, but nothing big.  Everything McGregor does seems to spark interest so this was a measured risk to put McGregor on this show.  We shall see if it can produce consistent ratings.

TUF 21 Finale attendance, gate and bonuses

July 12, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the TUF 21 Finale attendance, gate and bonuses announced at the post-fight press conference.  Stephen Thompson and Kamara Usman topped the Performance of the Night bonuses.

Thompson executed a perfect spinning head kick to end the night for Jake Ellenberger.  Usman earned a second-round submission of Hayder Hassan with a head an arm choke.  The win meant that the Blackzilians team earned $300,000 with its win over rival American Top Team.

Jorge Masvidal KO’d Cezar Ferreira and Josh Samman submitted Caio Magalhaes to earn the other $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses.  There was no Fight of the Night.

The event drew 4,844 for a live gate of $291,000 according to the UFC at the post-fight press conference.  The event took place once again at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  In comparison, last year’s TUF 19 Finale held the day after UFC 175 last year drew 6,500 for a gate of $835,000.  Of course, that event featured BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar in the main event.  Also, last year included a ticket discount for those that bought UFC Fan Expo passes.  Not sure if they offered the same this year.

Payout Perspective:

Wonderboy had the KO of the weekend with his spinning kick on Ellenberger.  As for the gate, the main event was rumored to feature Benson Henderson taking on Michael Johnson.  However, an undisclosed injury by Henderson forced him out of the potential matchup. Ellenberger-Thompson and the TUF participants probably did not excite enough people to stay another night to go to the event.

TUF 21 Episode 11 draws 433,000 viewers

July 2, 2015

The 11th episode of TUF airing on FS1 Wednesday drew an average viewership of 433,000 according to Sports TV Ratings.  A replay of the episode the same night drew an additional 74,000 viewers on Wednesday.

The episode featured a controversial ending to the fight of the show as Michael Graves of ATT defeated Jason Jackson of The Blackzilians via 1st round submission.  It also featured the competition between coaches as they participated in a relay race.

In addition to this week’s episode ratings, the DVR ratings from last week’s Episode 10 increased to 613,000 viewers reflecting an increase of 163,00 viewers.  The average increase per episode is now 180,000 viewers and the DVR rating is 566,000.  It should be noted that the DVR rating only covers the first-run of TUF and not the replays throughout the week.

TUF 21 Ratings
Live + SD Live +3 Increase
Episode 1 490,000 704,000 214,000
Episode 2 454,000 646,000 192,000
Episode 3 364,000 524,000 160,000
Episode 4 286,000 415,000 129,000
Episode 5 340,000 512,000 172,000
Episode 6 350,000 586,000 236,000
Episode 7 371,000 625,000 254,000
Episode 8 425,000 566,000 141,000
Episode 9 332,000 467,000 135,000
Episode 10 450,000 613,000 163,000
Episode 11 433,000

TUF 21 Ratings through Ep 11

Payout Perspective:

Despite having a strong lead-in from FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal between Japan and England which drew 2.3 million in the 6:41-8:56pmET time slot and Fox Sports Live 8:56pm-10:00pm ET time slot which drew 876,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings, there was considerable drop off when TUF came on at 10:00pm.  The TUF average is 391,000 for this season.

TUF 21 Episode 10 draws 450,000 viewers

June 25, 2015

The 10th episode of TUF 21 drew an average of 450,000 according to Sports TV Ratings.  It was the third-highest rated show this season.

The College World Series was the highest-rated sports event on cable TV Wednesday night which drew 1.665 million viewers on ESPN.

Episode 10 featured the Harley Davidson promo during the show as Michael Chiesa made an appearance talking up Harley Davidson.  In the fight of the episode, Nathan Coy defeated Valdir Araujo.

TUF 21 Ratings through Episode 10

TUF 21 Ratings
Live + SD Live +3 Increase
Episode 1 490,000 704,000 214,000
Episode 2 454,000 646,000 192,000
Episode 3 364,000 524,000 160,000
Episode 4 286,000 415,000 129,000
Episode 5 340,000 512,000 172,000
Episode 6 350,000 586,000 236,000
Episode 7 371,000 625,000 254,000
Episode 8 425,000 566,000 141,000
Episode 9 332,000 467,000 135,000
Episode 10 450,000

Payout Perspective:

In addition, to Episode 10, MMA Payout has learned that Episode 9’s DVR rating increased to 467,000 making it the second-lowest increase from Live to DVR this season.  The rating this week was a much needed improvement from last week and one would hope that the series end with better ratings.  The current average sits at 387,000 viewers.

TUF 21 Episode 9 draws 322,000 viewers

June 18, 2015

The Ultimate Fighter 21 episode 9 drew 332,000 viewers on Wednesday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The first showing of the episode on FS1 was down 22% from episode 8.

Notably, a same-day replay on FS1 at 10:00pm PT (1:00am ET) drew another 72,000 viewers.

In the fight of the episode, Kamaru Usman of the Blackzilians earned a unanimous decision of ATT’s Steve Carl.  Usman now has a chance to fight in the finale July 12.

TUF 21 Ratings through Ep 9

TUF 21 Ratings
Live + SD Live +3 Increase
Episode 1 490,000 704,000 214,000
Episode 2 454,000 646,000 192,000
Episode 3 364,000 524,000 160,000
Episode 4 286,000 415,000 129,000
Episode 5 340,000 512,000 172,000
Episode 6 350,000 586,000 236,000
Episode 7 371,000 625,000 254,000
Episode 8 425,000 566,000 141,000
Episode 9 332,000

Also of note, the DVR + 3 ratings from Episode 8 drew it up to 566,000 viewership reflecting an increase of 141,000 viewers which is way below the average increase (191,000) from live to DVR.

Payout Perspective:

Notably, it’s the first episode where TUF did not have to worry about NBA or NHL playoffs as both are over.  Yet, TUF lost ground in ratings.  Live viewership is averaging approximately 380,000 viewers.

TUF 21 Episode 6: 353,000 viewers

May 28, 2015

The 6th episode of TUF 21 drew 353,000 viewers last night on FS1 according to Nielsen sources.  The episode is up slightly from last week’s 340,000 viewers.

In the fight of the show, the Blackzilians Jason Jackson defeated ATT’s Marcelo “Grilo” Alfaya via majority decision.  The Blackzilians have now won 5 of the 6 fights this season.

Episode 1 – 490,000 Live +SD

Episode 2 – 454,000

Episode 3 – 364,000

Episode 4 – 286,000

Episode 5 – 340,000

Episode 6 – 353,000

TUF 21 Ratings through Episode 6

Payout Perspective:

The NBA and NHL Playoffs ruled the night with respect to sports TV on cable as the Houston-Golden State game drew 8.8 million viewers on ESPN and the Anaheim-Chicago game drew 2.3 million viewers on NBCSN (h/t: SportsTV Ratings).  The viewership numbers are up slightly bringing up the season average to 381,000 viewers.

TUF 21 Episode 5: 340,000

May 21, 2015

The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 4 drew an overnight rating of 340,000 viewers for a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 category for adults per Sports TV Ratings.  The rating was good enough to be the highest rated show on FS1 on Wednesday.

The show included an appearance by Anthony Johnson and featured a fight between Hayder Hasaan and Andrews Nakahara.  Hasaan scored a stoppage for the first win by ATT.

TUF 21

Episode 1 – 490,000 live + Same Day

Episode 2 – 454,000

Episode 3 – 364,000

Episode 4 – 286,000

Episode 5 – 340,000

TUF 21 Episode 5

Payout Perspective:

The season average climbed up to 387,000 which is below many other seasons of TUF.  Of course, when put in perspective that it was the highest-rated show on FS1 for Wednesday, there is still value for the program.  NHL and NBA Playoffs were at the top of sports on cable for Wednesday night with the Cavaliers/Hawks game receiving 6.84 million viewers.

TUF 21 Episode 4 gains extra 129K viewers via Live +3 numbers

May 20, 2015

The Ultimate Fighter 21 Episode 3 drew an additional viewership of 160,000 viewership in Live +3 ratings which brought the show up to 524,000 viewers according to Nielsen sources.

The average viewership bump for Wednesday’s show is at 174,000 viewers.  The average Live +3 (or DVR +3 rating) is 573,000 viewers.

Episode 1 – 490,000, DVR +3 704,000; Gain +214,000

Episode 2 – 454,000, DVR +3 646,000; Gain +192,000

Episode 3 – 364,000, DVR +3 524,000; Gain +160,000

Episode 4 – 286,000, DVR +3 415,000; Gain +129,000

TUF 21 Episode 4 + DVR

Payout Perspective: If we are to look at the bright side of these numbers, the same TUF episode is being played again during the week on FS1.  Thus, the viewership should be more than this.  Still, these numbers are poor compared to previous seasons.

TUF 21 Episode 4 draws 286,000 viewers

May 18, 2015

The Ultimate Fighter 21 Episode 4 drew just 286,000 viewers on FS1 this past Wednesday.  It’s the lowest rating this season for the show.

TUF 21

Episode 1 – 490,000 live + Same Day

Episode 2 – 454,000

Episode 3 – 364,000

Episode 4 – 286,000

TUF 21 Ep 4

The TUF 21 early average sits at a lowly 399,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

A game 7 in the NHL between Washington-New York and two NBA playoff series likely spelled the poor ratings for the first showing of TUF 21.  It’s clear that the focus for the network is that series does well overall (i.e., focus on DVR ratings) rather than look at the Wednesday night ratings.  The concern for FS1 is that while it may pick up almost 50% viewership from its Live +SD average, it still is lower than the past seasons airing on the network.

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