February 26, 2015
MMA Junkie reports that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will finally meet Ken Shamrock as part of a Bellator card slated for June 20th at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The show will headline a Spike TV televised main card.
As MMA Junkie points out, the Bellator event will take place on the same day as UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin. The UFC event looks to be a Fight Pass only card.
Slice signed with Bellator MMA last month. The 41 year old has not fought in MMA since his loss to Matt Mitrone in 2010.
Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock was the main event on an EliteXC card on CBS back in 2008. MMA fans may recall that Shamrock was a late scratch and replaced by Seth Petruzelli. Slice was knocked out by Petruzelli in the first round and the reputation of Kimbo took a big hit.
It will be interesting to see how the Missouri Athletic Commission deals with this fight as Slice is in his 40s and has not fought in 5 years. Shamrock is 51 and although he was scheduled to fight in a bare knuckle match in April, he last had an MMA fight in November 2010. The booking falls in line with Bellator’s “tent pole” events. We saw this last November with Ortiz-Bonnar. It was a ratings success. Slice-Shamrock should provide the same. Slice has been a ratings draw and Bellator is hoping that he still is.
February 24, 2015
UFC Fight Night 61 airing on FS1 Sunday night drew an average viewership of 1.2 million viewers in initial overnight ratings according to Nielsen. It’s the second straight year that a February Fight Night from Brazil has exceeded expectations.
Last February, UFC Fight Night 36 drew 1.4 million viewers on FS1. Last year’s event featured Lyoto Machida taking on Gegard Mousasi in the main event. Also, Ronaldo Souza took on Francis Carmont in the semi-main event. The event was on a Saturday night and went up against NBA All-Star Saturday night and the Winter Olympics.
Sunday’s event went up against the Oscars and WWE’s Fast Lane PPV. The main card started at 8pm ET and Mir’s KO of Bigfoot ended the fighting portion of the event around 11pm ET.
Broken down in demo ratings it drew 0.81 in adults 18-49, 1.16 for males 18-49 and 1.23 for males 18-34.
In addition, the UFC Prelims which immediately preceded the main card drew 813,000 viewers. The main card was anchored by an upset by Marion Reneau of Jessica Andrade.
The overnight viewership ratings are impressive considering the amount of choices viewers had for Sunday night. Also, the fact that the event was not on the traditional Saturday night schedule may have thrown people. Mir-Bigfoot was not a marquee fight and the overall card did not amaze but the amount of upsets and action was very good and viewers still tuned in.
February 18, 2015
MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 60 drew an average viewership of 913,000 viewers. The Prelims which aired prior to the event on FS1 drew 775,000 viewers.
In the main event, Benson Henderson submitted Brandon Thatch in Henderson’s first fight at welterweight. The Prelims aired from 5:00pm PT to 8:00pm PT and the main card was immediately after with about 20 minutes of overrun. Approximately 8:00pm PT to 10:20pm PT. Obviously, a late card for those on the east coast.
It was nowhere near the overnight rating of 1.7 million viewers that saw UFC Fight Night 59 when the promotion pulled out all of the stops for Conor McGregor as he headlined the show in Boston last month. That event ended up with 2.7 million viewers. But, Saturday’s event was slightly lower than UFC Fight Night 58 in December which featured Lyoto Machida and C.B. Dolloway in Brazil of 966,000.
It’s likely that the NBA All Star Saturday Night may have drawn away some viewers for the Prelims. But, the main card largely went unopposed in terms of sports competing with it. Aside from the former UFC lightweight champion in the main event, the card did not have a lot of big names. Still, the main card rating was above the 2014 Fight Night main card average of 819,000.
February 18, 2015
Bellator 133 held last Friday night drew an average viewership of 565,000 on Spike TV which is considerably down from January’s Bellator 132. Its adjusted viewership (Live +3) increased to 606,000 viewers.
The event peaked at 967,000 viewers. In the main event, Alexander Shlemenko used a spinning backfist to KO Melvin Manhoef in the second round.
In terms of competition, the NBA All Star Events may have drawn some viewers away although it seems like the demo watching those festivities would not watch Bellator. The NBA Celebrity Game on ESPN at 7:00pm drew 1.78 million viewers while the Rising Stars game on TNT held at 9:00pm drew 1.55 million viewers per Television By Numbers. In terms of winning the night in cable ratings “Gold Rush” (4.6 million) followed by “Alaskan Bush People” (3.8 million) on the Discovery Channel were 1-2 in the cable ratings.
February 17, 2015
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reports that CBS Sports and Showtime have brokered a deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions to be aired on Saturday afternoons. The sides have agreed to an 8 show deal starting April 4th featuring light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson.
In addition, shoulder programming will assist in promoting the fight cards.
It’s beginning to look a lot like everyone is an Al Haymon guy. The boxing landscape for 2015 will have a lot of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions across multiple networks. Certainly, this evolving strategy will be fascinating to watch as it is executed. I am thinking that this investment will come with some blue chip sponsors that would like to advertise along some, if not all of these platforms.
February 17, 2015
MMA Payout has learned that World Series of Fighting 18 held last Thursday drew an average viewership of 209,000 viewers according to Nielsen. The viewership is slightly off of last month’s show which drew 222,000 fans on a Saturday night.
WSOF aired from 8:56 p.m to 11:11 p.m. on NBC Network Sports.
In the main event, Marlon Moraes retained his WSOF bantamweight title with a win over Josh Hill. Perhaps the most news coming out of this event was the emulation of the Street Fighter video game by Shane Campbell.
For a Thursday night, the viewership numbers were very good. There was one NBA game it competed with due to the NBA All Star break and several college basketball games. Having the event on Thursday prevented it from competing with either Bellator on Friday or the UFC on Saturday.
February 13, 2015
Spike TV has announced that its combat sports-branded Friday night now has a name. Per a press release it has named it “Friday Night Lights Out” with the first night under the new moniker starting March 13th.
Below is a portion of the Spike TV press release:
Spike TV has given combat sports fans a destination every Friday night with its action-packed Bellator MMA, “Premier Boxing Champions,” and Glory kickboxing. Now, Spike TV has given that destination a name – SPIKE’S FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT.
Launching on Friday, March 13 at 9:00pm ET/PT with the debut of “Premier Boxing Champions,” Spike TV will package its hard-hitting roster of combat sports franchises under the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT banner.
Each FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT live telecast on Spike TV will include special content including in-depth feature segments showcasing the fighters and their unique personal stories.
“With first-rate production values, engaging on-air personalities, and some of the most athletically-gifted and fearsome athletes in the world, FRIDAYNIGHT LIGHTS OUT on Spike TV is THE must-see home for sports fans on Fridays nights,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Branded Entertainment.
On-air and digital spots for SPIKE’S FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT sports block promoting the March 13 PBC event will begin during the “Bellator 133: Manhoef vs. Shlemenko” telecast on Friday, February 13 at 9:00pm ET/PT.
Friday Night Lights Out should be an interesting programming experiment for Spike TV. Each sport (Bellator, Glory and PBC) should complement the other as it’s the hope that fans of one will give the other sport a try. It’s clear that Spike TV wants to give this night a chance by building it out with production as well. We will see what the product looks like March 13th.
February 11, 2015
Glory 19 drew an average viewership of 542,000 with a peak of 825,000 viewers according to Nielsen. The show which aired Friday night on Spike TV was an increase of almost 50% from its last airing in November.
Glory Ratings on Spike TV:
Glory 11: 381,000 viewers
Glory 12: 476,000 viewers
Glory 13: 659,000 viewers
Glory 14: 495,000 viewers
Glory 15: 354,000 viewers
Glory 16: 498,000 viewers
Glory 17 – 487,000 viewers
Glory 18 – 352,000 viewers
Glory 19 – 542,000 viewers
Its the second highest rating for Glory on Spike TV which, in my opinion, is very good considering there was not a lot of buzz heading into this event. The Glory average on Spike TV is at 472,000 viewers.
February 10, 2015
Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that Miller Lite has signed on to be Bellator MMA’s official title sponsor for its 16 events this year.
No financial details were reported. The deal will go across Spike TV platforms (we assume this means online including the Spike TV App) including on-air branded fight clock graphic and press-conference signage.
Miller Lite has been involved in sponsorship of Bellator events in the past and was known as the official bear for the company. The official deal begins February 27th at Bellator 134.
According to the report, its the biggest deal for Miller Lite in MMA . The deal can be seen as Miller Lite affirming its support of Bellator and its new strategy. As we know, Bud Light owns the center of the Octagon in the UFC (actually Budweiser was the center for the last PPV but you get the point). The move shows the positive momentum for Bellator MMA as it heads into a big year for the organization. For Miller Lite, we shall see if it makes additional moves in combat sports. With Spike TV repackaging Friday nights with a combat sports focus, it would be interesting to see if Miller Lite brokers other deals with Glory or Premier Boxing Champions.
February 6, 2015
MMA Fighting reports that Glory kickboxing has brokered a deal with CBS Sports Network to air three shows per year. The deal adds to the organization’s television package as it plans on nine live events per year on SpikeTV.
The CBS Sports Network deal will air Glory three times a year and will support the live event broadcasts on SpikeTV. The CBS broadcast, “Glory Superfight Series” will feature five fights on the undercard that did not make the SpikeTV live broadcast. Glory on CBS will be on a one-week tape delay.
Glory CEO Jon Franklin believes that this second television deal will help expand Glory’s audience base. Franklin sees the CBS Sports deal as getting his product in front of mainstream sports fans that tune into the network as opposed to SpikeTV where the lead-in is usually Cops.
The events on CBS Sports Network will air 11pm to 1am Eastern but in prime time on the west coast.
CBS Sports Network is available to 96 million homes nationwide.
It’s a very compelling strategy that should help Glory attempt to expand its audience. Not only will it be on SpikeTV where the network is building out its Friday night as a “combat sports” night with MMA, Boxing and Kickboxing, it will be on a pure sports network. MMA organization Titan FC is also on CBS Sports Network as well as boxing. But, Glory should get some eyes from mainstream sports fans.