The Wrestling Post: Spike TV does not renew TNA Impact Wrestling

July 28, 2014

TMZ Sports first reported that TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV will not be renewed by the network.  The company has been with Spike TV since October 2005.

While ratings usually hover around 1.2 million viewers on Thursday nights and once served as lead-in for Bellator, the promotion has fallen on hard times.  Attendance and finances have been the leading causes for the downturn in what is the de facto number 2 professional wrestling company.

According to Dave Meltzer on Sunday night’s Wrestling Observer podcast, the TMZ report has been confirmed by people within TNA.  The current deal runs through October although it’s not clear whether Spike TV will continue to air it through the end of the deal.

Recently, King Mo re-emerged with the organization and it’s not clear whether he will continue on as part-time wrestler, part-time MMA fighter if TNA continues on another network.

Payout Take:  It’s an interesting move on the part of Spike TV to cancel TNA as it does have a following of at least 1 million viewers each week.  Compare that with Bellator ratings and TNA would seemingly be safe on the network.  Perhaps TNA is going a different direction here.  As for TNA, it’s not clear if the company will fold or seek to find another network to air on.  But, if you look at the WWE’s rights fee deal, pro wrestling may not be a burgeoning property in the television industry.

UFC on Fox 12 overnight rating: 2.02 million viewers

July 27, 2014

MMA Fighting reports that the overnight ratings for Saturday’s UFC on Fox 12 drew an average of 2.02 million viewers in overnight ratings.  According to Television By Numbers, it tied with NBC for highest rated show on network television in its time slot.

UPDATED 07/28/14:

UFC on Fox 12 scored an 0.8 in the 18-49 demo.  Although tied with NBC, it had more viewers.

The ratings only count for the 5:00pm-7:00pm (8-10pm) time slot and does not account for the 30 minute overrun when the bulk of the main event took place.  Its anticipated that the rating should go up with the inclusion of the additional time.

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:  2.02 million

Payout Perspective:

The last two summer events were less than stellar and the ratings reflected this with UFC on Fox 4 (Vera vs. Rua) and UFC on Fox 8 (Mighty Mouse vs. Moraga) doing 2.36 million and 2.38 million respectively.  Saturday’s event had a little more interest with a fight between two fan-friendly fighters.  Before we scrutinize the ratings, we should probably wait for the overrun numbers as UFC on Fox 4 and 8 ratings include the overruns.  At this point, it’s unfair to critique the show since we may see it surpass the ratings of the last two summers.

Bellator 120 re-air on SpikeTV: 890K viewers

July 22, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Friday night’s replay of Bellator 120, the company’s first PPV from May scored an average viewership of 890,000 viewers.  The 3 hour event starting at 9pm ET/PT peaked at 1,334,000 viewers at 11:39pm.

The peak occurred at the beginning of the King Mo-Rampage fight.  Bellator 120 averaged 1 million viewers for 47 minutes of the telecast according to the Nielsen source.  It also was second in terms of viewership on cable in the Male 18-49 demo during the time period.

Bellator-PPV-Poster-Alvarez-Injury

Payout Perspective:

The re-air of May’s PPV which reportedly drew 100,000 buys showed that people that did not buy the initial PPV wanted to see it or for those that saw the fights, wanted to see it again.  Regardless, it’s a good number for what essentially was a rerun.  The PPV re-air is a good way to condition viewers to tune back in on Friday night’s for Bellator’s Summer Series with a live event happening this Friday.

UFC Fight Night 45: 640,000 viewers

July 17, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that UFC Fight Night 45 airing on FS1 Wednesday night received an average viewership of 640,000.  The Prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 scored an average of 415,000 viewers.

The viewership is comparable to the past Wednesday night shows.  In January, UFC 35 from Duluth, Georgia received 629,000 viewers with the prelims receiving just 220,000.  In April, TUF Nations Finale from Quebec City received 641,000 viewers with the prelims doing 263,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe it was the lack of promotion or the fact that it wasn’t hammered into fans’ minds that it was on a Wednesday, but I thought there would have been more viewers.  This is due to the fact that the Wednesday after the MLB All-Star is considered the slowest day in sports. The day has been co-opted by the ESPY award show but UFC Fight Night was the only live sports programming occurring on national television.  The prelims did do much better than the previous Wednesdays.  It’s likely that the viewership did boost the average Wednesday viewership for the network.

WSOF 11: 781,000 average viewers

July 11, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that the World Series of Fighting 11 which aired last Saturday on NBC received an average viewership of 781,000 viewers.  It was the first time the organization has been on the network.

WSOF Ratings 1-11 (1-10 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

Interesting to note that the biggest viewership came from males 50 years (56% of audience/0.62) and over which is not the normal demo for MMA.  The audience was 69% male with a median age of 52 years of age.  In the other demos it did a 0.35 in M18-49 and only 0.19 in M18-34.

Also of note, only 95% of the NBC affiliates cleared the telecast.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously, it was the largest viewership for the company although it did not do as well as similarly situated combat sports programs (i.e., boxing) in a Saturday afternoon network slot.

While this may be dated, an NBC Fight Night from December 22, 2012 scored a 1.6M viewer average for the same two hour block on NBC (1-4pm PT/4-6pm ET).  An April 2013 NBC Fight Night on NBC received an average viewership of 1.2M viewers.

On December 15, 2012, a “Showtime Boxing on CBS” special airing Saturday afternoon from 1:45pm PT to 3:45pmPT/3:45pm ET to 6:45pm ET) received an average viewership of 1.5M viewers.

If we are to remain positive about WSOF, it’s a major stepping stone for the organization as a lot more people saw its product.  Further, maybe its marketing department can determine how to use the info that males 50 and over watched the program (e.g., pitch ED, Low-T, Hair Loss sponsors).  Maybe Jon Fitch might rethink that digital currency sponsorship with its audience skewing old.

On the flip side, the numbers did not do as well as boxing in a similar spot.  The concern here is that those boxing shows were not named boxers and those December shows came with built-in excuses for it to fail (i.e., Holiday season, College Basketball, College Bowl Season).  Yet, they each surpassed 1M viewers.  There can be no excuse for WSOF because it was during the July 4th weekend and there was World Cup on too. Also, as Dave Meltzer pointed out on one of his podcasts, the decimation of Nick Newell by Justin Gaethje may look very bad to a casual viewer just tuning in without the knowledge of Newell’s ability.

TUF 19 Episode 12: 586,000 viewers

July 10, 2014

MMA Payout has learned that the season finale of TUF last Wednesday received 586,000 viewers which was the third highest in the season.  Overall, the season average was 477,000 viewers.

TUF 19 Episode 12 Graph

Payout Perspective:

We will be trying to obtain the DVR number to round out the graph.

Unfortunately for UFC fans, this was one of the more disappointing seasons in the TUF franchise. The fights were boring, not a lot of characters were drawn out and even the coach’s challenge wasn’t that fun.  With the exception of a scoring controversy, there was nothing remarkable about season 19.  The irony is that both finals were action-packed first round finishes.

So what do we make of the ratings.  One thing that stands out was episode 11 registered one of the lowest (if not the lowest) rating ever on TUF.   However, it was the highest rated show on FS1 for that day.  This tells us that despite the decline that MMA fans have seen over the years, Fox execs are still pleased with its performance.  One of the things that Fox has been pleased with is the amount of people watching on the DVR as DVR +3 ratings have gone up gaining 278,000 viewers compared to TUF 18’s DVR +3 average of 250,000 viewers.

It will be interesting to see how TUF 20 is received with it being the all women house. One thing seems to be certain, TUF is here to stay.

UFC 175: Payout Perspective

July 9, 2014

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 175 which was the centerpiece for International Fight Week.  The main event from the Mandalay Bay in Vegas had Chris Weidman defending his middleweight title against Lyoto Machida.

Weidman defends belt against Machida

It was a tough title defense, but Chris Weidman did enough to defeat Lyoto Machida and retain his welterweight title.  Machida put the heat on Weidman in the championship rounds but Weidman did enough to win.  Weidman will face Vitor Belfort next.

Gone in 16 seconds

If there was ever a time where a moment overwhelmed an athlete, the look on Alexis Davis face during the walkout told the story.  It took more time for Ronda Rousey to do her mean mug strut to the Octagon than it did for her to finish Davis.  The real action happened post-fight when Joe Rogan seemingly received a question to ask Rousey from a producer in the truck as to whether she would fight next month in Los Angeles.  At that point, Rousey looked as uncomfortable as Davis did heading to the Octagon.  It turns out that Rousey is injured and the UFC cancelled its trip to Los Angeles.

UFC 175

Attendance and Gate

Announced at the post-fight press conference, UFC 175 did 10,044 for a gate of $4.4 million.  Dana White had predicted the gate to do $5 million.  However, he was slightly off.  Notably, the last time the UFC was at the Mandalay Bay (UFC 170) it had a higher attendance but lower gate which reflects the fact that ticket prices were much higher.  In fact, according to SeatGeek, UFC 175 was the most expensive ticket of 2014.

Bonuses

Bonuses were the standard $50,000 each and were given to Weidman-Machida for FOTN.  Rousey and Rob Font won the Performance Bonuses.

Salaries

Weidman ($450K + $50K = $500K) and Machida ($200K + $50K = $250K) were the top earners for the night with Rousey ($120K + $50K = $170K) and Faber ($120K) following behind on the pay scale.

Pre-Fight Promotion

It was International Fight Week and beside the array of events during the week leading up to the fight weekend, it was the annual UFC Expo.

It was likely the best Embedded series so far.  The short vlogs have been a great replacement for the UFC All Access show.

White took over ESPN’s Instagram account for the weigh-ins.

An email was sent out promoting the Fan Expo and the events this past weekend which had the tag line “Sh**t’s Going Down This Saturday.”  Perhaps a little too enthused about the fights.

Sponsorships

The sponsors in the Octagon included Toyo Tires, MusclePharm, UltimatePoker, the EA UFC video game, Corn Nuts, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, the upcoming movie Sin City and Bud Light in the center.

USA Wrestling owned the fighter prep point as we see more organizations buy space with the UFC.  In the past, Tae Kwon Do and Judo have bought real estate during the PPVs.

UFC Prelims

There was some talk about why Urijah Faber was not on the PPV.  It would have added another name to sell for the show but he was placed on the prelims as the main event of the prelim card against Alex Caceres.  One might infer that putting Faber on the prelims was a way to create enough buzz and promotion for last minute fans on the fence on purchasing the PPV.  It could also be that Fox wanted a named-fighter to close out the show for its ratings.

The Prelim show did average 1 million viewers which is much better than the 174 prelim show.

Odds and Ends

-Subtle and overlooked, the weigh-ins for the big events like UFC 168 and this past weekend have a big time feel with the additional stage and screens.

-One of the better fight posters this time around which highlighted the fact it was going to be International Fight Week.

-The big controversy coming out of UFC 175 was Joe Rogan asking Ronda Rousey post-fight whether she would be available for UFC 176 in Los Angeles on August 2nd.  It put Rousey on the spot and White looked genuinely upset at the question.  In the end, it was a moot point since the UFC cancelled UFC 176 and Rousey could not have fought because she was medically suspended.

-Perhaps the greatest Hall of Fame speech ever came from Pat Miletich this past weekend. It was quick and to the point.  Not many can do that.

-Who looked sadder on their walkout this weekend?  Alexis Davis on Saturday or BJ Penn on Sunday?

-Should we be concerned that Chris Weidman did not remember anything about the fight right after it happened as he told Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview?

Conclusion

It looks like the initial reports from Dave Meltzer have the show at 500K PPV buys although that is not official.

If we are to follow Google Search data, searches were down for Ronda Rousey from her last fight.  The loss of the Chael Sonnen-Wanderlei Silva fight also took away from the buzz of the event. Still, one would have hoped that the combination of Weidman and Rousey would get this card to 450-500K PPV buys.  Anything less should be a concern.  As alluded to at the press conference, look for Rousey and Weidman to stick together on a card.  The UFC probably knows the combination is one of the better shots at a big gate and an above average PPV buy rate.

 

TUF 19 Finale: 1M viewers; TUF 19 Prelims: 774K viewers

July 9, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that Sunday night’s TUF 19 Finale on FS1 hit an average of 1 million viewers.  In addition, the   TUF Finale Prelims which preceded the Finale scored 774,000 viewers in the 7-9pm ET slot.

The fights Sunday night on FS1 were lower than the previous TUF 18 Finale in December which did 1.13M viewers and the prelims scoring 938,000 viewers.  Notably, TUF 18 was on a Saturday night whereas this finale was on a Sunday night. In addition, there was a PPV the night before.

Coaches B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar served as the main event for Sunday with Edgar dominating The Prodigy.  In addition, both finals provided exciting endings which was a change from the fights all this season.

The last time a UFC live event occurred on a Sunday was UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun v. Henderson 2 which received an average of 936,000 viewers and a peak of 1.25 million.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are off the previous TUF Finale but are up from live viewership of UFC events on FS1.  Penn and Edgar were key names that probably got the rating up to 1 million.  The 774,000 for the prelims were respectable considering there were not a lot of names in that 2 hour block.

UFC 175 Prelims: 1,000,000 viewers

July 9, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from Nielsen sources that this past weekend’s UFC 175 Prelims drew 1 million viewers on FS1.  The ratings for the prelims are up considerably from UFC 174’s prelims.

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

The prelims this past Saturday featured Urijah Faber and Alex Caceres in the main event of the preliminary card.  Faber won via rear naked choke.

Payout Perspective:

As you can tell from the list, it’s only the second time that a televised PPV prelim card hit 1 million viewers.  Perhaps putting Faber on the prelim card and/or the hype surrounding this card drew viewership.  For MMA fans, there was a WSOF card earlier in the day so there was a lot of MMA on television this past Saturday.

Crawford-Gamboa on HBO Saturday receives 1.2M viewers

July 1, 2014

ESPN reports that Saturday night’s HBO live boxing event featuring lightweight Terence Crawford defeating Yuriorkis Gamboa scored a rating of 1.208 million HBO subscribers with a peak at 1.286 million.

The Crawford-Gamboa fight was a back and forth action-packed fight.  It was the second week in a row that had an entertaining fight as Robert Guerrero and Yoshihiro Kamegai put on a slugfest on Showtime the preceding week which drew 614,000 Showtime viewer average.

As reported by ESPN’s Dan Rafael, only Chavez, Jr-Vera II did better this year.

Payout Perspective:

The fights on HBO Saturday coincided with UFC Fight Night 44 which received just 702,000 viewers on FS1.  The HBO fights featured Terence Crawford fighting in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.  According to Rafael’s report, it drew 10,943 for a gate of $500,000.  It was a good draw for the hometown crowd.  This makes it two weeks in a row in which boxing had two “Fight of the Year” fights.  Although Guerrero-Kamegai may have drawn less, it was nonetheless a hard fought fight.

 

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