August 25, 2016
In case you missed it, PBC on NBC Sunday afternoon drew a huge rating for the Errol Spence, Jr.-Leonard Bundu fight. The event drew an overall average viewership of 4.8 million viewers and a peak of 6.34 million making it the highest-rated PBC fight since its inception.
As noted by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, the fight aired on NBC after the U.S. Olympic gold medal basketball game between the U.S. and Serbia. The one-hour show was in between the Olympics on the network which may have attributed to the huge ratings.
The large numbers can be attributed to the fact that viewers did not turn off their television despite a blow-out in the gold medal basketball game. It’s the best ratings for PBC and Spence is a boxer that could see more spotlight fights for the organization.
August 23, 2016
The UFC 202 Prelims on FS1 drew 1.3M viewers on Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.
The event, which aired from 8-10pm ET drew 816,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The event featured Cody Garbrandt and Takeya Mizugaki. The Alpha Male fighter stopped Mizugaki in the first round.
The event peaked with 1.507M viewers in the 9:15-9:30pm ET quarter hour.
In comparison, the UFC 196 Prelims (Conor-Nate I) drew 1.8 million viewers and 1.074M viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The prelims landed second in sports cable viewing on Saturday to the NASCAR Sprint Cup on the NBC Sports Network. If the prelims ratings foreshadow the PPV viewership, we should see a very good buy rate for UFC 202.
August 23, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective for UFC 202. This time we take a look at Diaz-McGregor II at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
McGregor gains revenge on Diaz
It was a majority decision for Conor McGregor as 2 judges scored the bout for McGregor while the third judge determined it a draw. It was a solid back and forth fight with McGregor coming out with a solid game plan but despite a crimson mask, Diaz came back and was able to score a 10-8 round (according to 1 judge). McGregor seemed to tire after round 2 as he attempted to run from exchanges. However, he was able to muster enough to narrowly escape a second loss to Diaz.
Here’s the scorecard for McGregor-Diaz 2. pic.twitter.com/zJTErk9NzZ
— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) August 21, 2016
The question of when the third fight shall happen will likely depend on when McGregor will be available as an injured leg may keep him out until 2017. Could we see Diaz-McGregor III in Vegas in July 2017?
Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz represented 82 percent of the reported salary payouts which we detail below. A definite money fight.
Anrhony Johnson drops Glover
It took one uppercut for Anthony Johnson to end the night for Glover Teixeira. Johnson should get Daniel Cormier next. Johnson is on a roll and it looks like Cormier will need to rely on his wrestling to stop Rumble’s power. This could be one of the main events for the UFC’s debut in New York this November.
Attendance and gate
Although there were reports that the event had trouble selling tickets, it still was a big gate for the UFC. It drew 15,539 for a live gate of $7,692,010 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. A typical McGregor draw.
UFC 196: 14,697 for $8.1M
UFC 194: 16,516 for $10.1M
UFC 189: 16,019 for $7.2M
Ticket prices were slashed for the event per ESPN. There were still tickets available the day of the event.
The $50,000 bonuses went to Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Anthony Johnson and Donald Cerrone. Diaz-McGregor earned FOTN while Johnson and Cerrone drew POTN. There were a lot of stoppages to choose from and there could have been several fighters that could have drawn the bonuses.
Conor McGregor made history by making the most of any reported payout for an MMA fighter when the NSAC disclosed he would receive $3 million for the fight. Diaz came in second in payouts with $2 million. The two drew over 80% of the reported overall payouts.
The full list is here.
Promotion of the Fight
The Pre-Fight Press Conference was a spectacle with bottle throwing and middle fingers everywhere. With McGregor showing up late, it seemed to make Diaz mad as he got up and left and that’s when the presser went off the rails.
Things just got real between Diaz and McGregor at the UFC 202 press conference. pic.twitter.com/cxD8yYBl4W
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 17, 2016
Also of note, Nate Diaz appeared on Conan and Jimmy Kimmel.
Conor McGregor did not do as many appearances but did another CNBC interview.
He also did an ESPN interview post-water bottle throwing and the censors were too slow to catch up with some profanity.
There was also a GQ profile on McGregor.
The promotion of the fight included twitter emojis for Diaz and McGregor when you used their hashtags. Other fighters and famous folks did videos on twitter holding up the hashtag of they believed would win the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) August 16, 2016
The UFC 196 replay featuring Diaz-McGregor I was shown on FS1 Thursday night before the fight and drew over 200,000 viewers despite Olympics and NFL Preseason on the same night. The first fight was available for free online too.
The UFC weigh-ins drew 173,000 viewers on Friday night and was followed by a replay of the “Bad Blood” special on Diaz-Conor which drew 162,000 viewers.
The regular UFC sponsors were in the octagon including MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Bud Light, 7-Eleven, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy Drink had the center of the octagon. The movie “Hands of Stone,” which is about the Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard fight. Bud Light had the fighter prep point.
The octagon also included the twitter hashtags for Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.
Conor McGregor, who has an individual sponsorship with Reebok, did posts and a video for Reebok promoting himself and UFC 202.
Donald Cerrone had a Monster Energy Drink logo and Bud Light sponsorship on his shorts. He also held the Monster can post-fight after his stoppage of Rick Story.
Odds and Ends
No “Face the Pain” music intro to the PPV. Perhaps a call by the new owners.
Conor McGregor claimed that he spent $300,000 on his training camp in preparation for Nate Diaz. That’s 10% of his reported payout for his fight with Diaz.
Cerrone said that it was his last fight on his contract but his reps stated otherwise. Regardless, he seemed set on re-signing with the UFC instead of testing free agency.
Despite the payout for Nate, Nick remains suspended due to the fact he has yet to pay his fine from the settlement with the commission. As a result, he was banned from the arena and precluded from cornering Nate.
We’ll probably talk about Nate and his post-fight vaping later this week.
The Dominick Cruz-Alpha Male feud continues as Cody Carbrandt stopped Takeya Mizugaki in the first round. Cruz stopped Mizugaki in the first round in his return from injury. Post-fight Carbrandt turned his attention to Cruz who was in the FS1 booth.
Was that Eva Marie or Rando Markos with the red hair?
New thing for fighters. They get to see tweets in the locker rooms:
— Shanda (@UFC_Shanda) August 20, 2016
Mike Perry may be the most-hated UFC fighter already. Not only did he fake a handshake with his opponent at the televised weigh-ins. There is audio of his corner possibly using racial slurs. This, in addition to having a long fingernail going into the Octagon and then, without a clipper in site, he attempted to chew it off.
Gordon Ramsey, Skip Bayless, Dwight Howard and Kanye West were all in attendance at UFC 202.
It was Neil Magny’s last fight on his contract but his upset loss to Lorenz Larking probably does not help his cause when negotiating with the UFC.
No post-fight press conference as fighters had individual scrums. A sign of the times for the new ownership?
The Pro Fighter’s Association held a press conference in Vegas during fight week to establish its potential roll in a fighter’s union for the UFC. It will be a long, hard road for this to happen but we shall see.
5 million google searches on Saturday for UFC 202 might infer that the PPV buy rate will soar over 1M buys. Certainly, the lack of tickets sales may be a concern but realize that the UFC moved into T-Mobile Arena versus most of their other big events taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. T-Mobile holds more people so maybe the UFC overestimated the attendance. While the event seemed to lack the buzz of a typical McGregor fight, it will still produce PPV buy rates. I would expect this event to hit 1M buys.
August 9, 2016
UFC Fight Night 92 drew 863,000 viewers Saturday night on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 662,000 viewers.
UPDATED: The peak for the main card was 1,023,000 from 10:45-11:00pm ET. This would mean that it viewership peaked pretty early.
The main card featured Alex Caceres and Yair Rodriguez in an entertaining fight in which Rodriguez pulled out the victory. The event aired from 10:00pm to 1:27am ET. It scored 428,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The prelims aired from 8-10pm ET. The prelims also drew 325,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The post-fight show on FS1 drew 229,000 viewers and 120,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.
The event fared better than UFC Fight Night 91 which drew 609,000 and 311,000 (Prelims) respectively. Of course, that was on a Wednesday night this past July. Saturday’s event did go up against the first weekend of the Summer Olympics from Rio. The 863,000 for the main card is lower than June’s Saturday night Fight Night (964,000). However, the prelims fared well as it scored the highest viewership since UFC Fight Night 85 (766,000) in March.
August 3, 2016
Bellator announced an expansion of its product in multiple countries according to a press release from Electus International.
The multimedia entertainment company Electus International secured deals in Australia (Spike), Japan (AbemaTV), Russia (Match), China(LeEco), Africa (MBC), South Korea (KBSN), Benelux (Spike) and Bulgaria (bTV).
Via press release:
“Bellator continues to enjoy explosive growth overseas where we are now in over 140 countries and have entered into numerous foreign event partnerships,” said Eddie Dalva, Executive Vice President, Content and Program Enterprises, Viacom Music and Entertainment and Bellator MMA.
In my opinion, the key countries to the deal are Japan and China where there are possibilities with drawing the most consumers to its product. Notably, LeEco in China is ramping up its activities in North America and the rights to Bellator falls in line with its strategy. The deal probably includes streaming deals which would appeal to the younger demo. The overseas broadcast expansion is good news for Bellator assuming that these networks that will air Bellator have a broad audience and availability.
August 2, 2016
World Series of Fighting 32 drew an average of 250,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network per Sports TV Ratings. The event reflects a 50% increase in viewership from WSOF 31.
The event featured the Fodor brothers in a main event that had to be uncomfortable for some. Regardless, it was the best rating in a year. WSOF 22 last August drew 254,000 viewers.
To put the numbers in perspective in comparison to WSOF 31 in June. That event was a Friday night card opposite Bellator on Spike TV. Per Sport TV Ratings, the event drew 103,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
August 2, 2016
The UFC 201 Prelims on Fox Sports 2 drew 331,000 viewers according to Fox Sports PR. The ratings represent a 9% increase over the last full PPV prelims on FS2.
According to Fox Sports, it was the 6th most-watched show ever on FS2. You may recall, that the UFC 200 Prelims started on FS2 and for the 31 minutes on the network, it was the most-watched show ever on FS2. In the main fight of the prelims, Nikita Krylov stopped Ed Herman in a light heavyweight matchup.
Per Sports TV Ratings, the event drew 173,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
Modest numbers for this PPV lead-up which should tell you that it’s likely that the PPV buy rate is likely low (i.e. sub 300K buys) as well. These are pretty good numbers for FS2 programming, but we are used to comparing its ratings with what we the numbers we normally see on FS1.
August 2, 2016
PBC Boxing on Spike TV drew 531,000 viewers on Friday night according to Sports TV Ratings. It ranked third on Friday in terms of sports programming on cable television.
PBC on Spike featured Adonis Stevenson and Thomas Williams, Jr. with Stevenson getting the KO.
PBC drew 167,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. for the 9-11:09pm ET time slot. In its last showing on Spike TV, it drew 180,000 in the A18-49 demo. The last Bellator show (159) on Spike TV, drew 283,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.
The ratings slightly improve from its last showing on Spike TV this past April.
PBC on Spike TV 2016
April 1, 2016 – 873,000
April 29, 2016 – 513,000
July 29, 2016 – 531,000
The ratings are on par with the last April show. Interesting to note that the audience for boxing in the adult 18-49 demo is significantly less than Bellator’s demo. This may be due in part to the sport of boxing skewing to an older audience.
July 31, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 201 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The main event featured Robbie Lawler taking on Tyrone Woodley for the welterweight title.
The wait was worth it: Woodley new WW champ
Tyron Woodley waited almost a year and a half for his shot at the welterweight title. What was almost a nothing fight for the first minute exploded quickly as Woodley laid the hammer down on Lawler. It has to be one of the bigger upsets in some time. Then again, it’s yet another title change in the UFC.
So does Nick Diaz actually get the first shot at him? It’s the “money fight” and could happen sometime this fall. But, doesn’t Lawler deserve a rematch? While he got caught, I doubt this could happen in another fight. Lawler should still be near the top of the rankings for this division.
Karolina edges out Rose for chance at Joanna
Karolina Kowalkiewicz defeated Rose Namajunas in the fight of the night. We now get an interesting all-Polish for the women’s strawweight title. Hopefully, the UFC can build this fight for women’s MMA as well as its international expansion. Certainly, this fight with Joanna Champion should take place sometime this fall in Poland.
Attendance and gate
It’s not surprising that this event drew less than the prior two PPV events in Atlanta. The previous two: UFC 88 and UFC 145, had highly anticipated fights in Evans-Liddell and Evans-Jones. The UFC did draw a 1 million gate. Specifically, 10,240 for a gate of $1.07M.
Bonuses of $50K each went to Rose-Karolina, Woodley and Jake Ellenberger. Rose-Karolina earned the Fight of the Night while Woodley and Ellenberger scored the Performances of the Night for their respective stoppages.
The usual UFC sponsors were in the octagon including Bud Light, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, UFC Fight Pass, MetroPCS, and Monster had the middle of the octagon. QT, a software company, shared the post with Monster’s logo.
Also in the octagon was signage for UFC 202 August 20th for Diaz-McGregor.
EA UFC2 had the prep point.
Tyron Woodley wore Monster head phones to the ring. This is something you rarely see any more.
Notably, MusclePharm was all over the UFC Embeddeds. Matt Brown even drove a car with the MP logo on the side.
Odds and Ends
On Friday, UFC 201 drew 500,000 google searches which is corrected from our original report that it drew just 50,000 searches. Still, it did not feel like strong momentum going into this.
Another thing going against this card was that the UFC Prelims were moved to FS2.
Recall this was to be a double title night with Demetrious Johnson defending his title against Wilson Reis. Johnson was injured, so Reis was bumped off the main card. He did record a submission victory over Hector Sandoval.
Why do fighters still strip down at the televised weigh-ins if their official weigh-ins were earlier that morning? No need to be in your underwear in front of the crowd. You can just wear your fight shorts.
It was interesting that Pat Barry, Rose Namajunas’ boyfriend and coach was not a part of the UFC Embeddeds. Rose talked about this prior to the fight.
Speaking of the UFC Embeddeds, this is the first time that I thought most of them were bland. However, the one thing that I enjoyed (aside from the Woodley kids) was that we were introduced to Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The other thing we may have learned from the video series is that Coy Wire and Robbie Lawler look alike.
Ian McCall received his win bonus and show money after Justin Scoggins could not make weight. McCall remained an alternate on the card which may explain him receiving the win bonus. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a fighter receiving a win bonus when they did not fight.
Did Reebok get Erik Perez an official Lucha Libre mask?
Jake Ellenberger was going to be cut but was given one more chance. He won with a liverkick that stopped Matt Brown. It’s not his last fight after all.
This PPV felt like the “forgotten PPV” as it is sandwiched between UFC 200 and UFC 202 (featuring the rematch between Diaz-McGregor). Both of these PPVs will draw over 1 million buys while 201 will fall far short of that. While Robbie Lawler is an exciting fighter and produced some great battles. Does it equate to his PPV average of 333,000 buys? Perhaps. But with the UFC seemingly promoting UFC 202 prior to UFC 201 even happening (e.g., Nate Diaz on Conan as well as the promos starting earlier), the PPV likely drew 285,000-300,000 PPV buys.
July 27, 2016
UFC has renewed its broadcast rights partnership with United Kingdom and Ireland provider BT Sport per press release.
The deal allows for BT Sport to the exclusive right to air live UFC events throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The deal allows for BT Sport to show over 150 hours of live UFC coverage including all of the numbered UFC PPVs and all EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) events. Terms of the deal were not disclosed although the deal will run through 2018.
According to the Daily Mirror, there was some competition for the UFC rights deal with Sky.
The timing comes prior to the big Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch at UFC 202 which should garner a lot of viewers in the UK and Ireland due to Conor. The deal solidifies the UFC’s broadcast deal in an area with which they hope to grow with the new ownership.