November 19, 2014
MMA Payout has learned form a Nielsen source that the UFC 180 Prelims on FS1 Saturday drew an average of 624,000 viewers for its two hour show between 8:00-10:00pm (5:00-7:00pm).
The prelims on Saturday peaked in the 9:45-10pm quarter hour (6:45-7pm west coast) with 771,000 total viewers (Live + SD) according to Nielsen.
UFC PPV Prelims since August 2013 (FS1 unless specified)
UFC 164 809,000
UFC 165 722,000
UFC 166 628,000
UFC 167 998,000
UFC 168 1,554,000
UFC 169 933,000
UFC 170 936,000
UFC 171 305,000 (FS2)
UFC 172 750,000
UFC 173 697,000
UFC 174 784,000 (FX)
UFC 175 1,000,000
UFC 177 436,000
UFC 178 698,000
UFC 179 536,000
UFC 180 624,000
The UFC Prelims provided some very good action but a lot of names we did not know and thus it was one of the reasons it likely fell to Bellator. The prelims did feature the Fight of the Night as well as a submission and an ear almost falling off (Leslie Smith). UFC 180 did improve upon prelim rating for UFC 179. The current average of UFC Prelims for 2014 is at 699,000.
November 17, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 180 from the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City.
Werdum wins interim Heavyweight title
It was to be Cain Velasquez fighting in Mexico City against Fabricio Werdum. However, an injury to Cain allowed Mark Hunt the chance to step in and seize the title. Hunt looked good until a well-timed knee spelled the beginning of the end for Hunt.
Werdum wins the title and will eventually get to face Cain Velasquez to unify the titles.
Gastelum ascends while Ellenberger descends
Kelvin Gastelum defeated Jake Ellenberger with a rear naked choke in the first round. The win should propel the former TUF winner into the top 10 of the welterweight division while it showed the Ellenberger maybe a broken fighter. Gastelum secured a rear-naked choke with ease as it appeared that Ellenberger did not defend his neck despite his back being taken. The win should mean a step up in fights for Gastelum while Ellenberger is teetering on the cusp of being cut.
Initial reports in August had UFC 180 a sell out in just 8 hours after the announcement of Velasquez-Werdum and the launch of TUF in Mexico (which drew 7 million viewers on Televisia according to Yahoo! Sports). The announcement made post-fight had the attendance at 21,000 although no official gate was given.
The bonuses of $50K were given to Werdum, Gastelum, Henry Biones and Guido Cannetti. Briones and Canetti put on the Fight of the Night. White indicated that Ricardo Lamas would also be given a bonus although that was unofficial.
Promotion of Fight
Once again one of the main drivers of the promotion was the UFC Embedded series which followed the fighters on the main card. It caught the best moment of the pre-fight hype with Werdum-Hunt singing together.
The UFC also did a photo op with the NBA as the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves played a game in Mexico City earlier in the week.
The Octagon sponsors were without UltimatePoker.com, the Stations Casinos online poker site which was closed down last week. Notably, one of the Octagon sponsors for UFC 180 was Costa Rican online gaming company, BetCris. The sponsors included the UFC Network, UFCStore.com, UFC Fit, MateFit.me, MusclePharm, Toyo Tires, video game FarCry 4, the aforementioned BetCris and Bud Lite in the center of the Octagon.
Gastelum wore the UFC Network logo as did Werdum during pre-fight activities and but wore Bad Boy to the Octagon.
Hunt wore his own clothing brand Juggernaut on his shorts. It’s interesting that Hunt does not have more sponsors. You may recall he had zero as a fill-in when he fought Junior dos Santos at UFC 160. Werdum most prominent sponsor was clothing brand Torque.
Doritos was a prominent sponsor for this event as it banked heavily on the Werdum-Velasquez matchup including producing in-store placement of 2.5 million bags with the fighter likenesses on them. It was described as a “360 degree activation” around UFC 180. With Cain falling out, the campaign likely fell short of its goal.
Post-UFC 180 Headline
Werdum-Velasquez should be next although White indicated that if Cain were to have another injury that forces him from action, he could be stripped of the title.
Odds and Ends
- The WWE collaborated with the UFC during the UFC Prelims on FS1. To be exact, a 2K Sports commercial for the WWE video game, WWE2K15, infused images of the video game and UFC action.
- The main event ended at 8:50 pm on the west coast. Only about an hour and a half of fights before the UFC showed the prelims to fill the time.
- Bellator used the footage of Melvin Manhoef knocking out Mark Hunt from 2008 during its pre-fight hype package to put over Manhoef.
- Jessica Eye almost took Leslie Smith’s ear off but Smith still wanted to fight.
- Google Trends revealed that the top countries searching for UFC 180 were Mexico, Canada, Brazil and the United States in that order.
- The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) ran a story on the Fertittas and Dana White and their ties to Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School in last week’s Sports Business Journal. It was placed “below the fold.” Prominent placement for a rather evergreen story during UFC 180 week.
- Chael Sonnen began his duties with ESPN as an analyst.
It was a good night of fights but the lack of brand-name power was one of the detracting factors about this event. When the Werdum-Velasquez fight was initially announced and the two were TUF coaches, there was much hope that UFC 180 would be one of the bigger PPVs of this year. Entering a new market and the quick sell out appeared to be good signs for the PPV. But, Velasquez’s injury was a significant blow to any hopes that this PPV would do well. Without a good undercard, the UFC was placing its hopes on Cain’s drawing power. Based on Google Trends, we are looking at a buy rate comparable to UFC 174 or 177 which drew between115-125K PPV buys.
November 12, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the adjusted DVR ratings for the seventh episode of TUF 20 drew it up to 764,000 viewers. The number represents a gain of 270,000 viewers from its overnight rating of 494,000 viewers.
The Live +3 average is now at 808,000 viewers whereas the overnight viewership is at 518,000 viewers. The average DVR gain from TUF this season is approximately 290,000 viewers.
November 6, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the seventh episode of TUF 20 scored an average viewership of 494,000. It was the second lowest of this season and the fourth straight week with a decline in viewership.
In the episode’s fight of the night, Rose Namajunas defeated Alex Chambers via RNC in round 1. Also featured on the episode were Kron Gracie and two members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team: Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe.
Not a bad episode of TUF but the ratings are slipping away. The NBA did make its return to ESPN to compete for viewership, but the decline has been steady since Episode 4. Based on Television By Numbers, the highest rated show on cable was America Horror Story on FX which did 4.2 million viewers and aired at the same time as TUF 20.
November 4, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the Live +3 rating for last week’s TUF 20 Episode 6 drew an additional 225,000 viewers which drew the average viewership up to 725,000 viewers from the initial 500,000 average. As previously pointed out, last week’s episode went up against Game 7 of the World Series on Fox.
The average bump in DVR viewership is at 295,000 viewers through 6 episodes. The average Live +3 rating is at 816,000 viewers. While it was the lowest watched episode if you include DVR gains, it was up against Game 7 of the World Series.
October 31, 2014
The 6th episode of TUF 20 on FS1 which aired this past Wednesday received an average viewership of 500,000 viewers. The episode went up against Game 7 of the World Series on Fox.
In the fight of the show, Aisling Daly submitted Angela Magana. Arguably, there was a questionable standup by the ref which negated a potential submission attempted by Magana.
Magana had one of the sadder backstory’s on the show and it was a disappointing loss.
As for the ratings, going up against Game 7 in any sport would draw most sports fans away from anything else. Still, the A18-49 demo remained relatively flat (345,000) in comparison to the average over the season (346,000). The World Series on Fox scored 23.5 million viewers which was the highest rating for the 7 games. Of course, going into Game 7, it was on pace to be the lowest rated series and least-viewed ever.
October 29, 2014
The adjusted ratings for last week’s TUF 20 episode 5 drew it up another 280,000 viewers for a total of 789,000. The Live +3 numbers are an addition of 55% from the overnight rating.
The episode, which featured Felice Herrig defeating Heather Jo Clark only drew 509,000 viewers in its initial running which may be due to going opposite the World Series. However, it was the highest output for the A18-34 demo (367,000 viewers) for the season, yet was the lowest Live +3 output. Episode 3 edge last week’s episode at it drew 791,000 viewers in Live +3.
As we indicated last week, the 5th episode likely suffered in overall viewership due to going up against the World Series and coming off a two week hiatus. It did do well with the A18-34 demo which may be likely due to the Felice Herrig fight. The Live + 3 average is at 834,000 viewers. The overnight average through 5 episodes is at 525,800. In comparison TUF 19’s (Edgar-Penn) average through 5 episodes was at only 438,000 and Live + 3 at 746,000.
October 2, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source indicates that last night’s episode 4 of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 received 577,000 viewers Live + same day. Wednesday’s episode received the largest audience for the season.
Episode 4 featured Carla Esparza as she tapped out Angela Hill in the first round of the fight of the episode.
Of note, this season’s TUF average is up from last season through four episodes (433,500 vs. 530,000). Also, the rerun of episode 3 which preceded the new episode drew 194,000 viewers which is up about 15% above the average of all TUF repeats in that time slot.
Notably, Anthony Pettis was not on the show as Urijah Faber filled in for Showtime. Perhaps I was paying attention more last night, but I thought the background on both fighters was excellent. In addition to exceeding last season’s live ratings, it is also averaging 850,000 viewers in its DVR +3 day adjusted ratings versus last season’s average of 769,000 (through 3 episodes).
September 18, 2014
MMA Payout has learned that the second episode of TUF 20 on FS1 scored an average viewership of 574,000 viewers. The average is up slightly (7%) from the debut episode which aired last Wednesday on the network.
According to a Nielsen source, it’s only the sixth time in the twenty seasons of TUF that the second episode drew more than the debut episode. Wednesday’s episode grew in the important adult 18-49 demo from the first (359,000 viewers) to the second episode (364,000 viewers).
In offering a quick comparison from the start of this season to the start of TUF 19, the second episode from the Penn-Edgar season drew only 320,000 viewers.
Episode 1: 536,000 (on FS1)
Episode 2: 574,000
The good news is that the second episode drew higher than the debut episode for Episode 20. One might have expected a higher bump considering the additional viewing opportunities for TUF 20’s debut episode which re-aired Sunday on Fox before or after NFL Football in many markets. Still, the ratings are better than TUF 19 at this point. We’ll see if there will be additional efforts to promote TUF on Fox.
August 27, 2014
MMA Fighting reports that the debut episode of TUF Latin America featuring UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum as opposing coaches peaked at 7.2 million viewers on Televisa Ch. 5 in Mexico.
The viewer average was not available according to the article by Dave Meltzer. But, according to the report TUF Latin America was the highest-rated show in Mexico in its time slot overall and in the 19-44 demo. TUF Latin America is shown on Wednesday in Mexico and Friday through Sunday in 12 other Latin American countries.
The show will be offered on Fight Pass and Fox Deportes in the U.S.
This is good news for the inaugural event as the continued strategy of exposing the UFC brand through TUF seems to be working in the Latin American market. Obviously, it’s too soon to call the series a success but fans in Latin American countries are taking notice. It will be interesting to see how many fans Cain will draw considering he’s not really a native speaker. Yet, it appears that the fans do not care.