April 30, 2015
The second episode of TUF 21 on FS1 scored just 454,000 viewers in overnight ratings per Sports TV Ratings. It’s a slight decrease from the debut.
In the second episode, Luis “Buscape” Firmino defeated Uros Jurisic by unanimous decision in a fight that Dana White voiced his displeasure.
TUF 21 was up against the NBA Playoffs on TNT as well as a Game 7 on NBCSN in the NHL Playoffs. The Portland/Memphis game won the night for cable TV sports with 2.937 million viewers tuning in. The ESPN Mayweather/Pacquiao press conference which aired from 4:00-5:00 ET drew 465,000 viewers, which was just ahead of TUF per Sports TV Ratings.
Episode 1 – 490,000
Episode 2 – 454,000
The series is not off to a good start although it appears that many people are recording this show and watching it later. Per a Nielsen source, the adjusted viewership (DVR +3) ratings for last week’s debut drew 700,000 viewers. As long as people are tuning in to watch at some point, I think that
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.
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.
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.
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).
December 15, 2014
MMA Junkie reports the salaries from Friday night’s TUF 20 Finale. The salaries were disclosed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Via MMA Junkie:
Carla Esparza: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Rose Namajunas: $25,000
Charles Oliveira: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Jeremy Stephens: $40,000
Daron Cruickshank: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
vs. K.J. Noons: $31,000
Yancy Medeiros: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Proctor: $10,000
Jessica Penne: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Randa Markos: $8,000
Felice Herrig: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Lisa Ellis: $8,000
Heather Jo Clark: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Bec Rawlings: $8,000
Joanne Calderwood: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Seo Hee Ham: $8,000
Tecia Torres: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Angela Magana: $8,000
Aisling Daly: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Chambers: $8,000
Angela Hill: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Emily Kagan: $8,000
A good payday for Esparza as she had a base of $25,000 and a $25,000 win bonus. Adding her Performance of the Night bonus, Esparza made $100,000 on Friday night. Charles Oliveira topped the overall purses for the night at $54,000. K.J. Noons had the highest base pay with $31,000.
December 13, 2014
The UFC returned to The Palms after Dana White and the venue’s casino had a falling out in 2012. Earlier this year, The Palms sought to make amends with White by awarding him his own championship belt. It seemed to have worked as TUF 20 took place at The Palms.
You may recall that the TUF 19 Finale was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center as was International Fight Week. It drew 6,500 for a gate of $835,000.
The finale of TUF 18 drew 4,346 for a gate of $322,742 at the Mandalay Bay.
In addition, the bonuses for the night were handed out to Carla Esparza, Yancy Medeiros, Jessica Penne and Randa Markos.
Esparza and Medeiros were granted “Performance of the Night” and Penne and Markos earned “Fight of the Night.” Each won $50,000.
Also, Rose Namajunas, Randa Markos and Joanne Calderwood earned the bonuses on the show. Namajunas earned $50,000. Namajunas and Calderwood won for best fight. Namajunas also earned a best performance along with Markos.
December 8, 2014
MMA Payout has learned that the penultimate episode of TUF 20 drew an average viewership of 532,000 viewers in its first showing (7pmPT/10pmET) on Wednesday on FS1 per a Nielsen source. The episode brought the season 20 average to 514,000 viewers.
There were two fights on the 11th episode. First, Carla Esparza defeated Tecia Torres and will face Jessica Penne in the semifinals. Also, Rose Namajuna submitted Joanne Calderwood and will face Ronda Markos in the other semi.
In the adult 18-49 demo, the episode drew 365,000 viewers which is 10% over the season average of 333,000.
The same episode which aired the same night 10pmPT/1amET) drew 81,000 viewers. It did draw up almost 30% in the adult 18-49 demo (71,000 versus 55,000). One might infer that younger people in the demo watching live on the west coast or are night owls for watching TUF at 1am.
As we near the end of another season of TUF, we note that this season will do better than the BJ Penn-Frankie Edgar season of last spring but will not do as well as Rousey-Tate last year. The viewership has been steady this season and has received a nice bump with DVR ratings. But, if you watched the weigh-ins on Friday, you wonder where that spark between Anthony and Gil were during the filming of the season.
December 3, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the Live +3 ratings for last week’s TUF 20 episode drew up to 821,000 viewers.
Episode 10 saw a 54% increase in viewership with the adjusted numbers. It was an increase of 287,000 viewers from its overnight rating.
The updated ratings bring the Live +3 ratings up to 796,000 viewers. The average viewership rise from the DVR is 284,000. The ratings increase is the largest since Episode 3 which may be due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
December 1, 2014
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that last week’s episode of TUF 20 on FS1 drew 534,000 viewers which is a 4% increase over the season average.
The episode featured Jessica Penne defeating Aisling Daly in the fight of the show. It also was the annual Harley Davidson visit and also featured a Connor McGregor cameo.
Among adults 18-49, it was up 3% over the season average with 341,000 viewers in that demo. the season average is 332,000. The repeat on the same night 10pm PT/1am ET drew 108,000 viewers and 65,000 in the adults 18-49 demo.
The live season average is now 512,000 viewers.
We are starting to see college basketball running over into TUF’s time slot. This time the Big East game ran over into the TUF time slot. It’s unlikely to matter with the overall rating but might confuse those trying to DVR the show. For a show running on a night when many were traveling, the ratings were up from Episode 9.
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.