January 27, 2015
Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 14 drew an average of 3.049 million viewers per Nielsen. In addition, the Prelims on FS1 drew 607,000 viewers for the three hour show preceeding the two hour network card.
The two hour event on FOX won its time slot as well as coming in first in key adult and male demos. It drew a 1.8 rating with a 3 share and its final peak rating drew 3.646 million viewers. The event featured Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson. “Rumble” scored an upset win over the hometown favorite.
The ratings are the best on FOX for the UFC since last year’s UFC on Fox 10 in January 2014 which featured Benson Henderson and Josh Thompson.
The UFC on Fox 14 Prelims are down from December’s UFC on Fox Prelims which drew 654,000 viewers.
Despite this past Saturday’s event drawing less than previous network events in January, the ratings show that the promotion of the event from Fox during the NFL playoffs and other Fox sports have helped with awareness of the card. The Prelims were slightly off of December’s ratings which may be due to the lack of name recognition from all of the non-US fighters.
January 27, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s HBO boxing card featuring the third fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvardo drew 1.252 million HBO viewers. According to Nielsen the peak of the fight drew 1.315 million viewers.
Per Rafael, it was the most watch fight of the three between Rios and Alvardo. Also on Saturday, the Gilberto Ramirez-Maxim Vlasov fight which preceded the main event drew 820,000 viewers with a peak at 946,000 viewers.
HBO Boxing on Saturday featuring Rios-Alvarado (which occurred after UFC on Fox 14) outdid the big Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne fight on Showtime the week before. The ratings for the fights on HBO and Showtime show that boxing is gaining some ratings momentum. With the news that Al Haymon has secured spots on NBC, NBC Sports Network and SpikeTV, we can see more of good boxing events in 2015.
January 26, 2015
Oscar De La Hoya announced last week that he is launching his own network. De La Hoya TV will debut this spring as announced at the National Association of Television Program Executives annual conference in Miami. The network will offer combat sports including boxing, MMA as well as features on sports and lifestyle that will cater to the burgeoning Hispanic population in the United States.
No word on where you may find De La Hoya TV as the head of Golden Boy Promotions and his partner in the venture, Jose Alberto “Pepe” Gomez are still talking to cable and satellite systems about carriage deals. Per ESPN, there are no plans for the channel to include live sports programming.
The network will be based in Miami and will focus on Spanish-language content for the U.S. Hispanic market.
This is an interesting business venture for De La Hoya and perhaps just an expansion of his personal brand. The network states that it will offer boxing and MMA although there is no word on whether it has worked out any contracts with any existing organizations. Certainly, De La Hoya’s network will join some competition for the Hispanic market as Nuvo TV and the El Rey Network are two of the newer networks looking for a Hispanic audience. The big question will be whether it can be picked up by a cable and satellite system and how many households it can get into.
January 25, 2015
Television By Numbers reports that UFC on Fox 14 on Saturday drew an overnight rating of 2.82 million viewers, 1.1 rating (18-49 year olds) and 4 share. It won its time slot on Saturday night.
UFC on Fox 14 aired on Fox from 8:00-10:00pm ET and due to the first round stoppage in the main event, there was no overrun. UFC won its network time slot on Saturday night. It went up against an ABC kid’s movie, “Mirror/Mirror,” a rerun of CSI on CBS and Figure Skating on NBC.
UFC on Fox Ratings
UFC on Fox 1: 5.7 million
UFC on Fox 2: 4.57 million
UFC on Fox 3: 2.25 million
UFC on Fox 4: 2.36 million
UFC on Fox 5: 3.41 million
UFC on Fox 6: 4.22 million
UFC on Fox 7: 3.3 million
UFC on Fox 8: 2.38 million
UFC on Fox 9: 2.9 million
UFC on Fox 10: 3.22 million
UFC on Fox 11: 1.98 million
UFC on Fox 12: 2.5 million
UFC on Fox 13: 2.27 million
UFC on Fox 14: 2.82 million
The good news is that the UFC won its time slot against less than stiff competition. It is also up 22 percent from UFC on Fox 13 in the 18-49 demo. The 2 hour show featured 3 stoppages so there was no overrun this time around. Thus, the ratings will likely see a big increase. The bad news is that the ratings are off from last year’s UFC on Fox 10 which aired last January. That show which featured Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thopmson drew 3.2 million viewers. In 2013, January’s UFC on Fox 6 drew 4.2 million viewers which featured Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson. The first January UFC drew 4.57 million viewers. MMA Payout will have more on the ratings in the days to come.
January 23, 2015
MMA Fighting reports that Spike TV has added Al Haymon’s boxing organization to its Friday night lineup as the network will rebrand Friday nights as a combat sports night. The new deal which was announced at a press conference on Thursday is reported to be another time buy by Haymon’s group.
Spike TV has Bellator MMA and Glory kickboxing and now has secured a deal with Premier Boxing Champions, Al Haymon’s boxing organization.
The plan according to Spike TV president Kevin Kay is to rebrand Friday night’s sole for combat sports. MMA, kickboxing and boxing will be packaged together on Fridays.
The first boxing card on Spike is set for March 13th.
As reported by ESPN.com, this will be a time buy rather than Spike TV paying a rights fee for Premier Boxing Champions.
The potential for boxing on Spike TV goes back to January 2012 when there was speculation that Top Rank would air the sport on the network. Haymon’s latest purchase of time follows his investment with NBC where he purchased time for boxing to be on the network. These moves by Haymon and his investors could mean a big shift in the sport. With much of boxing’s big names kept on premium cable or PPV, Haymon’s new spots on Spike, NBCSN and NBC could reintroduce the sport of boxing back to a broader audience.
As for Spike TV moves, it follows a similar strategy by AXS TV in which it brings together two similar sports with the same demos on the same night. With the acquisition of New Japan Wrestling, AXS TV provides a lead-in to its MMA and/or Kickboxing cards. For Spike TV, it can now mix and match Bellator MMA, Glory and boxing on the same night. The move should complement each show and keep its target demo on the network.
January 22, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s boxing event on Showtime between Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne drew an average of 1.24 million viewers per Nielsen. The peak for the fight was 1.34 million viewers.
The estimated average is based solely on the actual fight and not the overall event televised on the premium cable network. It was the biggest in over two years and drew the second largest boxing audience since 2004 behind Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout in December 2012. It also should be noted that the fight between Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana in December 2013 drew an average of 1.3M viewers on Showtime.
Rafael also provides numbers for the other two fights on the telecast including Leo Santa Cruz’s victory over Jesus Ruiz (912,000 viewer average) and Amir Imam’s win over Fidel Maldonado, Jr. (811,000 viewer average).
The fight between Wilder and Stiverne gained a good amount of buzz in the lead-up to the event. Showtime had an All-Access centered on the two heavyweights and Don King did his usual promos. The two fighters also provided their own sparks to fuel interest in the fight. One might argue that based on the ratings, boxing heavyweights still do matter in the sport.
January 22, 2015
WSOF 17 held this past Saturday drew an average of 222,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network. The show reflects an increase in viewership from its last show in November.
WSOF Ratings 1-14 (1-10 and 12-17 on NBC Sports Network)
WSOF 1 – 198,000 viewers
WSOF 2 – 210,000 viewers
WSOF 3 – 201,000 viewers
WSOF 4 – 264,000 viewers
WSOF 5 – 227,000 viewers
WSOF 6 – 161,000 viewers
WSOF 7 – 94,000 viewers
WSOF 8 – 212,000 viewers
WSOF 9 – 242,000 viewers
WSOF 10 – 365,000 viewers
WSOF 11 – 781,000 viewers (NBC)
WSOF 12 – 206,000 viewers
WSOF 13 – 246,000 viewers
WSOF 14 – 229,000 viewers
WSOF 15 – 179,000 viewers
WSOF 16 – 181,000 viewers
WSOF 17 – 222,000 viewers
The show was headlined by Jake Shields taking on Brian Foster with Shields taking the submission victory. The show went opposite college basketball and a big heavyweight boxing matchup on Showtime. The ratings are a nice bump for the organization. Overall, the average of WSOF televised events are up to 248,000 although that includes one show on NBC. Without the NBC show, the televised events on NBCSN are at 215,000 viewers.
January 21, 2015
Bellator 132 drew an average viewership of 767,000 viewers according to Nielsen. The main event between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Daniel Straus drew 1.1 million viewers.
The show peaked during the main event with 1.2 million viewers at 11:21 p.m. ET.
It was the first show for Bellator MMA in 2015 and took place at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.
It’s a nice start to the year for Bellator as its next event will occur on February 13 in Fresno, CA. Friday’s event is above the season 11 average (727,000) for Bellator programming on Spike. Notably, only two events from season 11 (one of which was Bellator 131) drew a live peak average of over 1 million viewers.
January 21, 2015
UFC Fight Night 59 held on Sunday night on Fox Sports 1 drew an average of 2,751,000 million viewers with a peak of 3,162,000 viewers during the final quarter hour (12:00-12:15 AM ET) of the show according to Nielsen.
The night started off well with the 3 hour prelim show drawing an average of 908,000 viewers making it the second most-watched non-PPV prelims in FS1 history. The peak of the prelims occurred in the final quarter-hour (9:45-10:00 PM ET) with 1,486,000 viewers tuning in. Notably, it went up against the AFC Championship Game between Indianapolis and New England. Of course, that game was a blowout.
In addition, the post-fight Fox Sports Live averaged 1,167,000 viewers from (12:15 AM-1:00 AM ET) making it the most-watched Sunday edition of the program all time.
Overall, it was the third most-watched Sunday in FS1’s history despite it being NFL Championship Sunday.
UFC Fight Night 59 was the highest-rated MMA event on cable TV since TUF 10’s Finale on Spike TV which featured Roy Nelson defeating Brendan Schaub. The card also had Jon Jones’ only loss, a DQ, to Matt Hamill. It also featured a guy by the name of Kimbo Slice.
The big viewership numbers were expected considering the news that it had an overnight rating of 1.7. The great ratings for the day could be attributed to the marketing behind Conor McGregor for the event. It also showed how Fox can help the UFC by promoting its product. Note the cross-promotion of McGregor on FX as well as the many reminders during the NFL playoffs (including the NFC Championship) of the event. The question is how often will Fox want to assist in the promotion of these UFC events.
January 19, 2015
Sunday night’s UFC Fight Night 59 drew an overnight rating of 1.7 and it is projected to be the most-watched/highest rated show in FS1 history according to Fox Sports.
UFC Fight Night 59 occurred on the same day as NFL’s Championship Sunday. The NFC Championship game on Fox posted a 29.1 overnight rating which is the highest-rated, most watched show since Super Bowl 48. The peak was a 33.8 from 6-6:30. The AFC Championship drew a 24.2 overnight rating and was off from last year’s AFC game likely due to the blowout.
Despite power outages in the Seattle area due to storms, Seattle had a 51.9 rating. According to local information, more than 1.85 million viewers in Seattle area watched Green Bay-Seattle. Interesting enough, Seattle (3.9 rating) was the top market watching UFC Fight Night 59 per Newsday’s Mark LaMonica. Oklahoma City (3.2) and Phoenix (3.2) were next. In these cities, it looks like the UFC promos helped.
Actual viewership numbers will likely come out Wednesday due to the U.S. holiday. But news of a 1.7 rating is great considering the concern of it running on Championship Sunday. The additional promotion including McGregor on sister network FX, the ESPN car wash, the “Embedded” series and the constant promotion during the NFL playoffs culminating with spots during the NFC Championship game definitely helped. The UFC does not do this for any of its Fight Nights but McGregor is an exception. Should the UFC do more to leverage it’s most talented (or most marketable) stars more in this fashion? It’s hard to say that every fighter could be as media savvy as McGregor. It’s also hard to foresee whether the UFC and its partner Fox would be willing to invest as much time and money in a fighter as it did in McGregor.