Bellator 159 draws 668,000 viewers

July 25, 2016

Bellator MMA 159 on Friday night drew 668,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  It’s an approximately 17% increase from last week’s tape delay event from London.

Bellator 159 featured Darrion Caldwell taking on Joe Taimanglo in the main event.  Taimanglo scored the upset with a submission victory over Caldwell.  The event on Friday night drew 283,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category per Sports TV Ratings.

The event, which aired from 9-11:12pm ET, was the highest rated live sports event on cable Friday.  Notably, it drew better than US Women’s Soccer on ESPN Friday night.

Also of note, UFC Weigh-Ins on FS1 drew 73,000 viewers and Glory Kickboxing on ESPN2 drew 11-1:25am drew 196,000 viewers and 122,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

Bellator through 159

Also of note from last week, Bellator 158 London drew 640,000 viewers and peaked at 941,000 viewers on Spike TV.  The tape-delayed event originally drew 556,000 viewers so there was an approximate increase of 14% from overnight (Live +SD) to the DVR + 3 numbers.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect a nice rebound from Bellator.  On a card without a big name on it, the event drew a healthy audience.

UFC on Fox 20 draws 2.44M viewers in overnight ratings

July 24, 2016

UFC on Fox 20 drew 2.44 million viewers in overnight ratings per Television By Numbers.  Its strong showing helped Fox win the night in network ratings.

Per TV By Numbers it drew a 0.9 rating and 4 share in the adult 18-49 demo.  UFC on Fox 20 went up against The Bourne Identity on NBC, 20/20 on ABC and Angel from Hell on CBS.  Although The Bourne Identity drew more viewers (2.93M) and 20/20 drew more in the 9-10pm block (2.98M), its strong showing in the adult 18-49 demo won the night for the network.

The event improved on last year’s overnight rating as UFC on Fox 16 drew 2.29M viewers and improved to 2.8M in Live + SD ratings.  2014’s July show on Fox drew 2M viewers and ended up with 2.5M viewers.

UFC on Fox 20

The event was headlined by Holly Holm taking on Valentina Shevchenko in a women’s bantamweight matchup.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000


Tape delayed Bellator 158 draws 556,000

July 19, 2016

Bellator MMA 158 on Saturday drew an average viewership of 556,000 viewers on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.

The tape delayed event from the UK featured Paul Daley vs. Douglas Lima but the highlight of the night was Michael Page’s knee knockout of Cyborg Santos.  The flying knee caused Santos to undergo surgery for a fractured skull.

The event drew 248,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 rating per Sports TV Ratings.  Overall, the 3 hour event on Spike TV was a slight decrease from Bellator 157.

Bellator 158

On Spike UK it averaged 108,000 viewers and peaked at 154,000 making it one of the highest-rated Bellator events on Spike UK.  On Channel 5 (UK), the show attracted an average audience of 418,000 peaking at 550,000.

Payout Perspective:

Obviously the tape delay for U.S. fans may have detracted from the viewers on Saturday night when it aired on Spike TV.  Due to social media, everyone knew of the Page KO and likely saw it in a gif or vine on social media.  Thus, despite the buzz of the KO, many saw it and may not have felt the need to tune in for the event.

Spike TV announces back-to-back Bellator and PBC cards

July 17, 2016

Bellator and PBC will have an end of summer card on back-to-back nights at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California August 26th and 27th.

Benson Henderson will headline the Bellator card on Friday night while Robert Guerrero will fight in the main event on the PBC card Saturday.  Henderson faces Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Robert Guerrero faces David Peralta.

For Henderson, it’s a return to lightweight after an inauspicious Bellator debut against Andrewy Koreshkov at 170 pounds.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps this is another type of synergy for the two organizations that are on Spike TV.  You could also see it as a sort of mini-weekend for hardcore combat sports fans similar to the UFC with back-to-back live events.  Henderson’s fight against Freire is pivotal for the company as the former UFC lightweight champion was a big signing for the company.  Another loss could mean that the Viacom-owned company picked up another UFC fighter that is past his prime.

UFC Fight Night: 609K, Prelims 311K

July 14, 2016

UFC Fight Night 91 drew 609,000 viewers on Wednesday night according to Nielsen.  The event airing from 6pm to 8:43pm PT was the highest-rated sports event on cable television per Sports TV Ratings.  However, it was the lowest-rated Fight Night this year.

The event which featured Jon Lineker taking out Michael MacDonald drew 298,000 viewers in the 18-49 adult demo.  The event peaked with 675,000 viewers between 7:15-7:30pm PT.  The prelims, which preceded the main card from Sioux Falls, South Dakota drew 311,000 viewers and 173,000 in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims aired from 4pm-6pmPT.

Previous mid-July events:

UFC on Fuel TV 4 – July 11, 2012:  211,000 (Fuel TV)

No mid-July fight in 2013 (July 2013 fights were UFC 162 and UFC on Fox 8)

UFC Fight Night 45 – July 16, 2014: 640,000 (FS1)

UFC Fight Night 71 – July 15, 2015: 801,000 (FS1)

UFC Fight Night 91 – July 13, 2016: 609,000 (FS1)

Payout Perspective:

Down ratings from last year’s mid-week event although it was the highest-rated sports event on cable television Wednesday night.  The ESPY’s were on Wednesday as well although that was not factored into the sports cable viewership since it was on ABC.  For those wondering the ESPY’s were down 24% from last year to 5.89 million.

Overall, it was the lowest-rated televised Fight Night event of 2016.  You’d have to go back to July 2015 to find a lower-rated Fight Night.  UFC Fight Night 72 from Glasgow, Scotland drew just 508,000 for the main card and 292,000 for the Prelims.  F

TUF 23 Episode 12 draws biggest ratings of season

July 14, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter 23 Episode 12 drew the highest rated episode of the season.  It drew 601,000 (354,000 in the adult 18-49 demo) in overnight ratings and then increased to 798,000 viewers in adjusted DVR ratings.

The final episode of the season set up the fights we saw last Friday at the TUF 23 Finale from Vegas.

Episode 12

Overall, the season averaged approximately 400,000 viewers in overnight ratings (Live +SD) and 610,000 viewers in DVR viewership.  The ratings increased on average 35%.

Last spring’s TUF 21 drew an average of 393,000 for the Team Blackzilians-Team ATT season.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings for the last two episodes.  Episode 10 was marred due to a delayed soccer game.  As it has in the past the ratings, the DVR ratings boosted the overall viewership for the show.  This was an ok season.  I had thought that the Team Joanna-Team Claudia rivalry would have been much more dynamic but it seemed to be muted.

UFC 200 Prelims draws 1.7M viewers

July 12, 2016

The UFC 200 Prelims on FS1 drew one of its top ratings for the prelims on the network with 1.786M viewers Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The ratings drew well despite starting off on FS2 due to baseball.

The Prelims on FS1 aired from 5:31pm to 7:00pm PT due to the MLB game preceding it going to extra innings.  The Prelims start on FS2 airing from 5:00pm to 5:32pm PT drew 582,000 viewers and 379,000 in the Adult 18-49 demo.  The ratings made it the most-watched telecast in FS2 history in both metrics per Nielsen.

When on FS1, the Prelims drew 1.084 million viewers in the adult 18-49 demo making it the most-watched UFC Prelims telecast in this demo.  The show peaked with 2,046,000 viewers in the last quarter hour (6:45pm-7:00pm PT)

The 200 Prelims comes in third in terms of all-time highest-rated prelims on FS1.  UFC 196 in March drew 1.843 million viewers and UFC 194 drew 1.931M viewers in December 2015.

The UFC 200 Prelims were highlighted by Juliana Pena defeating Cat Zingano in the last fight of the televised prelims.


In addition, the UFC Post-Fight Show on FS1 drew 244,000 viewers and 142,000 viewers in adult 18-49 demo.  The UFC Pre-Fight Show which was switched to FS2 drew 99,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The big ratings for the prelim card is one of the indicators that many look at when guessing the buy rate.  We note that the two other UFC Prelims scoring over 1.7M viewers featured Conor McGregor in the PPV main event.  Both of those events drew over 1 million PPV buys.  The viewership in the adult 18-49 demo should please the UFC’s new owners as it set a record on FS1 and FS2 in terms of viewership.

UFC 200: Payout Perspective – Part 1 of 2

July 11, 2016

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 200 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Nunes upsets Tate to win women’s title

If I were to tell you at the start of the year that the main event for July’s UFC 200 would be Amanda Nunes versus Miesha Tate, you probably would have thought that it was a joke.  However, due to Ronda Rousey’s movie career, Conor McGregor’s poorly played power move and a Jon Jones drug test, we received Nunes-Tate as the final fight on what was/is supposed to be the biggest card of the year for the UFC.

Amanda Nunes looked sharped and started off quick as she always does.  She peppered Tate and may have broken her nose.  Once it got to the ground, Nunes applied the rear-naked choke (or chin crank) for the victory.  You could see Tate being broken as the round went on.  She barely made weight for this fight despite seemingly calm throughout the rest of the camp.

Nunes was emotional and became the first openly gay UFC champion for the sport.  It was fitting as it was the same weekend that the UFC announced its line of apparel in support of the LGBTQ community.  Of course, the weekend was somewhat tarnished by comments made by Donald Cerrone on Sunday although The Cowboy did apologize immediately.

Nunes may have Holly Holm or a returning Ronda Rousey at year’s end.  If Rousey decides to return to the Octagon, I could envision a New York defense for Nunes against Rousey.

UFC 200

Lesnar dominates Hunt in return to Octagon

Brock Lesnar surprised most of the MMA fanbase as he defeated Mark Hunt in a 3-round heavyweight bout.  Although Lesnar’s last time in the Octagon looked very bad (a loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141), he looked quick and his wrestling helped squash Hunt.  In another surprise, Lesnar’s post-fight interview was far-less dynamic and much more humanitarian than beast-like in his UFC 100 tirade which even UFC Fight Pass censors due to his comments about sponsor Bud Light.

This was supposed to be a one-time thing for Lesnar as he was on “loan” (for $2.5M +) from the WWE.  We will see if he will fight again.  If he does, you have to think he’s close to being in line for a title shot.

Aldo wins interim belt as McGregor watches on

Jose Aldo looked like his old self in securing a unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar.  Aldo’s ability to stuff takedowns and score on the outside helped him defeat a game Edgar.  Aldo should receive his much-anticipated rematch against Conor McGregor (after his one-off with Nate next month).

Not sure what Edgar will do next.  He had been on a great run up until Saturday.  However, he’ll have to hope for a Conor win to get another shot at the 145 title.

Attendance and Gate

The UFC set a gate record in Nevada with $10.7 million for the 18,202 in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


The bonuses of $50,000 went to Amanda Nunes, Cain Vevlasquez, Joe Lauzon and Gegard Mousasi.  All were performance bonuses as there was no Fight of the Night.


The biggest payout was Brock Lesnar and his $2.5 million.  Even with no win bonus, it’s the largest reported payout for a UFC fighter.  No complaints from anyone else as Lesnar likely brought in many PPV purchasers.  Lesnar likely will make more from his PPV cut.

Lesnar’s opponent, Mark Hunt, received $700,000 for stepping in with the WWE superstar.  According to Kevin Iole, the Nevada State Athletic Commission stated that Cormier was slated to make $1 million for his fight with Jon Jones.  But since that was cancelled, he made $500,000.

Promotion of the Fight

The UFC bought ad time on Adult Swim in an effort to expand its reach as well as touch upon the network’s African American demo.  At the time, the main event was Cormier-Jones.

In addition, the UFC had a “confrontation show” on FS1 with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier talking about their fight.

Bud Light and Monster Energy held promotions months in advance holding trips to win a chance to go to UFC 200.

The UFC did their usual media stops although it did not seem as broad a reach as UFC 196.


The special gold mat included the usual sponsors as well as a couple new ones.  EA UFC2, Harley-Davidson, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Bud Light and Monster were all in the Octagon with the energy drink having the center of the Octagon.  Hudson Shipping Lines, a mainstay sponsor on many International UFC cards had signage in the Octagon.  DirecTV promoted its original show, Kingdom.  It showed clips of the show as well as showing stars in attendance.  Also, Speedway was also in the Octagon sharing a signage post with Monster.  The company is a gas and convenient store with most of its locations on the East Coast.  It ran a promotion in conjunction with Monster leading up to this event.

Bud Light had the prep point at the televised weigh-ins and at the event.

As we mention, Bud Light and Monster Energy had promotions far in advance of 200.

Odds and ends

Yes, we’ll address the sale in another post.

The mat probably was to be more a gold look but was yellow to commemorate UFC 200.

The UFC offered 200 in 4K.  It was the first time ever and event was offered in PPV.

This was the first reveal of the Reebok kits.  It had more colors.  Notably the yellow looked good for Anderson Silva as it was his usually color.  But, the yellow also was the same as the mat.

Interesting that DC was wearing his Nike Air Max shoes during fight week including during the Embedded where Dana White told Cormier that his fight with Jones was off.

The WWE did not actively promote UFC 200 although the PPV featured an ad for Summerslam.  It was not until Brock’s win did the WWE social media machine engage.

While there is so much love for Lesnar right now, an injury-free Cain Velasquez at sea-level is probably the best heavyweight out there.

It’s been slightly over 1 year with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the company’s biggest event is greatly affected by it.  At least we know that there are no favorites in the process.

The UFC and Snapchat announced a multi-year partnership for coverage of its live events which began at UFC 200.

The UFC Prelims on FS1 were sent to FS2 for the first half hour due to the MLB game that preceeded the event going to extra innings.  The FS1 audience missed out on the Sage Northcutt fight.  Despite an average (maybe below) average performance, Sage secured an individual Reebok sponsorship.

The Exclusive UFC Fight Pass Prelims had some of the more exciting fights of the night on it as it produced two bonus winners (Lauzon, Mousasi).

Speaking of Fight Pass, I was interviewed by The Verge about how the UFC became the ‘Netflix of Combat.”


We’ll have more on the event, the Expo, Jon Jones and more in part 2.  But, everyone probably wants to know what an estimated buy rate would be for this event.  While we pondered whether this event could draw 2 million PPV buys, that would be unlikely after the Jon Jones debacle.  Jones is not a big PPV draw but the promotion and marketing was centered around the feud with Cormier.  UFC 182 drew 800,000 PPV buys.  With Lesnar and two other title fights, one would think that it could draw near the 2 million mark.  Even without the feud, UFC 200 should do well with just the name Brock Lesnar attached.  UFC 200 should doing something between 1 million to 1.2 million PPV buys.  While it won’t eclipse UFC 100’s buy rate, it will be a good sendoff for Zuffa.

TUF 23 Finale posts 1.086 million viewers

July 11, 2016

The Ultimate Fighter Finale on FS1 Friday night drew 1.086 million viewers according to Sports TV Ratings.  It was the highest-rated sports cable TV programming on Friday.

The main card aired from 10:00pm-1:22am ET and drew 657,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The main event featured Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha.  Joanna Champion dominated the later rounds earning the victory.

In addition, the TUF Prelims which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 642,000 viewers.  It drew 352,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The event improved upon the TUF Finale this past December which drew 883,000 viewers (but 809,000 for the Prelims).  Last July’s TUF 21 Finale drew 691,000 viewers (470,000 for the Prelims).  In 2014, July’s TUF Finale drew 1 million viewers (774,000 for the Prelims).  Considering December’s card featured Edgar-Mendes and last July featured Thompson-Ellenberger, this Friday’s event has to be considered a success with two strawweights and prospects anchoring this card.

PBC on ESPN draws 542,000 viewers this past Saturday

July 6, 2016

Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN Saturday night drew 542,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.

In addition, the event drew 207,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.  The event featured Denis Shafikov as he defeated Jamel Herring via TKO.


July 11, 2015 – (Thurman-Collazo) 800,000

August 1, 2015 – (Garcia-Malignaggi) 1.073M

August 31, 2015 (Mares-Santa Cruz) – 1.217M viewers

October 14, 2015 (Alexander-Martinez) – 428,000 viewers

November 25, 2015 (Lara-Zavek) – 482,000 viewers

July 2, 2016 (Shafikov-Herring) -542,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The ratings improved on the last 2 times PBC aired on ESPN.  In addition, this edition of PBC on ESPN did not really have a known fighter to the casual audience.  Thus, the 542,000 viewers is a good rating although it might have taken advantage that there was no MMA or big boxing cards for the July 4th weekend.

Next Page »