Kovalev-Mohammedi draws 1.041 million viewers

July 29, 2015

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that HBO Boxing’s event featuring Sergey Kovalev against Nadjib Mohammedi drew an average subscriber viewership of 1.041 million viewers with a peak of 1.082 million.

In addition, the first fight on HBO on Saturday featuring Jean Pascal taking on Yunieski Gonzalez drew an average viewership of 883,000 viewers peaking at 1.082 million.  The Pascal-Gonzalez fight was an entertaining one that went to Pascal despite a great showing by Gonzalez.

The HBO event drew more viewers than NBCSN’s PBC event even though, as Rafael points out, HBO has about 36 million subscribers while NBC Sports Network is in more than double the homes (81.5 million).

Kovalev’s March fight against Jean Pascal drew an overall average audience of 956,000 viewers but his fight against Pascal drew an average audience of 1.152 million peaking at 1.2 million.  His fight last fall against Bernard Hopkins drew 1.328 million.

Payout Perspective:

Kovalev is showing that he is a draw and an asset to HBO’s stable of boxers.  This Saturday’s fight was lower than his past two but that may be due to the less-than-stellar opponent.  If Kovalev finds a fight with a bigger name, we can see viewership rise.  However, it appears that he’ll be fighting in Russia in November against another Russian opponent.

UFC on Fox 16 draws 2.8M viewers per Live+SD ratings

July 28, 2015

UFC on Fox 16 drew an official live + SD rating of 2.8 million viewers factoring in the complete event which aired from 8-10:30PM ET.  In addition, the prelims which preceded the main card on Fox drew 1.3M viewers.

The ratings were released via Fox Sports press release.  The numbers show a bump based on the fast overnights of 2.29M viewers which did not account for the last 30 minutes of the event.  The peak of the main card was 3.8 million viewers.

UFC on Fox 16 Ratings updated

In comparison to last July’s UFC on Fox event, this year’s card featuring T.J. Dillashaw defending his bantamweight title against Renan Barao did better than UFC on Fox 12 which drew 2.5 million viewers peaking at 3.4 million.  Last July featured Matt Brown taking on Robbie Lawler.

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

The chart and graph have been revamped to include the “fast overnights” versus the Live + same day (SD) rating.  The overnights do not account for any overruns.  The live plus same day rating includes any viewership that may have occurred that day and not just live viewing.

Note that UFC on Fox 1 and 2 we do not have the “fast overnights,” just the Live +SD rating.

Payout Perspective:

The bump in viewership is a nice increase from the original overnight viewership in comparison to the last couple network events.  Its peak viewership of 3.8M viewers is the best peak for a UFC on Fox event since UFC on Fox 13 drew 3.8M viewers.  The prelims matches the viewership number on Fox for UFC on Fox 12.  The only other time the prelims were also on Fox, UFC on Fox 15 drew 1.4 million viewers.

UFC on Fox 16 draws 2.29M viewers

July 26, 2015

UFC on Fox 16 drew an overnight viewership of 2.29 million viewers on Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  The event received the highest share and rating in the adult 18-49 demo for the night.

UPDATED:  We will have updated ratings from Nielsen, tomorrow, Tuesday.  As pointed out by a reader, Shawn Jennings, the ratings for UFC on Fox 16 are not the final ratings.  The graph below, with the exception of UFC on Fox 16 are final overnight ratings.  So to be clear UFC on Fox 16 rating of 2.29M viewers is not final.  And to Mr. Jennings, we are “amateur hour.”  We will repost the ratings and table soon.

The main card featured T.J. Dillashaw taking on Renan Barao with Dillashaw stopping the former champion.  Notably, the rating is from the 8-10pm ET time slot.  However, the bulk of the Dillashaw-Barao fight occurred after 10pm which is not accounted for in the overnight rating at this time.

UFC on Fox 16 drew a 0.9 rating and 4 share amongst adults 18-49 which was the most for network shows on Saturday night.  Overall, CBS ruled the night as it won all time slots on Saturday night.  A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS drew more viewers in the 8pm time slot with 3.49M viewers and a rerun of Scorpion in the 9pm time slot drew 3.35M viewers.  In the 10pm time slot, a rerun of 48 Hours scored the highest viewership overall with 4.11M viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It was a good night of fights and the UFC did well against relatively no competition in network shows.  However, it did not do as well as UFC on Fox 12 last summer (2.5M viewers).  It did better than UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago (2.04M viewers).  Traditionally, the summer network cards do not fare as well as the other three cards during the year for a variety of reasons.

Based on the initial ratings, it looks as though it should surpass the final overnights of last summer’s UFC on Fox 12 which did 2.5M viewers. It has already eclipsed UFC on Fox 8 two summers ago.

Bellator 140 DVR + 3 increases to 774K

July 24, 2015

As an update to Bellator 140 ratings from last Friday, the adjusted viewership from DVR +3 numbers grew the viewership to 774,000 and a peak of 1,041,000.

Last 3 Bellator events on Spike TV
Bellator 138: 1,580,000 overnight, 2,100,000 peak; DVR +3: 1,700,000, 2,900,000 peak
Bellator 139: 764,000 overnight, 988,000 peak; DVR +3: 819,000, 1,200,000 peak
Bellator 140: 722,000 overnight, 977,000 peak; DVR +3: 774,000, 1,041,000 peak

Payout Perspective:

The Bellator 140 ratings increase reflects a 7% increase in viewership which is approximately 52,000 viewers.  The adjusted ratings bring this year’s Bellator shows (132-140) to 6 events with a peak viewership over 1 million.

UFC Fight Night 71 draws 508,000, prelims 292,000

July 21, 2015

UFC Fight Night 71 on Saturday morning drew an average viewership of 508,000 with the prelims drawing 292,000 according to Nielsen sources.

Fight Night 71 featured Michael Bisping taking over Thales Leites.  The event which started at 10am PT on FS1 drew 508,000 viewers.  The prelims which preceded the event at 8am PT drew 292,000.

The prelims reflect a 6% increase over the two previous Saturday day fights on FS1.  The main card delivered a 4% increase over the last two Saturday day cards.  In the A18-49 demo, Saturday’s Fight Night 71 drew 275,000 viewers which was 3% more viewers than the prior two card average of 267,000.

UFC Fight Night 71

UFC Fight Nights 2015
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 59 (FOX) 1,700,000 908,000
UFC Fight Night 60 913,000 775,000
UFC Fight Night 61 1,200,000 813,000
UFC Fight Night 62 617,000 280,000
UFC Fight Night 63 389,000 304,000
UFC Fight Night 66 575,000 286,000
UFC Fight Night 67 813,000 713,000
UFC Fight Night 68 950,000 782,000
UFC Fight Night 70 (prelims on FS2) 909,000 223,000
UFC Fight Night 71 508,000 292,000

Payout Perspective:

In comparing the ratings for a UFC Fight Night during the day this year, UFC Fight Night 63 which aired during the morning/afternoon in the US drew 389,000 (main card) and 304,000 (prelims).  UFC Fight Night 66 drew 575,000 (main card) and 292,000 (prelims).  Thus, the ratings from Saturday were slightly above the last two cards held during the day on Saturday.

PBC on CBS Saturday posts 0.8 rating

July 20, 2015

Sports Business Daily (subscription required) reports that Saturday afternoon’s Premier Boxing Champions on CBS drew an overnight rating of 0.8 in the 4:00-6:00pm ET time slot.

According to Sports Media Watch, 3 of the 4 PBC events on CBS have failed to earn at least a 1.0 overnight average.  Saturday night’s fight on CBS featured Carl Frampton and Alejandro Gonzalez, Jr. with the IBF super bantamweight champ Frampton earning the win.

The ratings points represent the percent of all households with televisions tuned in, according to Nielsen.

Saturday also featured UFC Fight Night 71 and boxing on Showtime later that evening.  PBC on CBS also went up against The British Open on ABC.

Payout Perspective:

In comparing the ratings from PBC on NBC to CBS.  April’s PBC on NBC drew a 0.80 rating and 2.9 million viewers.  The latest PBC on NBC from June drew a 0.95 rating.  It appears that the PBC cards on the network are slipping slightly in the ratings.

Bellator MMA 140 draws 722,000 viewers

July 20, 2015

Sport TV Ratings reports that Friday’s Bellator MMA event on Spike TV drew an average viewership of 722,000.  The event airing from 9:00pm ET to 11:51pm ET featured a title change with Andrey Koreshkov defeating Douglas Lima for the welterweight championship.

Bellator 140 rating

Bellator 132 – 767,000

Bellator 133 – 565,000

Bellator 134 – 872,000

Bellator 135 – 605,000

Bellator 136 – 655,000

Bellator 137 – 594,000

Bellator 138- 1,580,000

Bellator 139 – 764,000

Payout Perspective:

Notably, Bellator was second to only The British Open on ESPN Friday in terms of sports cable tv programming.

The ratings are off from Bellator 139 in late June.  That event featured Cheick Kongo who seems to be a ratings draw.  This event did not have any named fighters unless you are a big fan of Bellator.  The 2015 average for Bellator is down to 792,000 viewers.  Without June’s tentpole event, the average is only 693,000.

UFC Fight Night 71 draws 801K viewers

July 17, 2015

Sports TV Ratings reports that Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night drew an average of 801,000 viewers and a 0.4 rating in adults 18-49.  The prelims drew an average of 543,000 viewers.

UFC Fight Night 71 which officially aired from 7pm-10:04pm PT and featured Frank Mir and Todd Duffee drew 801,000 viewers.  The prelims which featured Sam Sicilia and Yaotzin Meza aired from 5pm-7pm PT drew 543,000 viewers.

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)

UPDATE:  Per Nielsen the main card peaked at 928,000 viewers from 8:15-8:30pm PT. UFC programming made FS1 the top ad-supported cable sports network on Wednesday in primetime.  The prelims were up 31% (415K viewers last year) from last year’s UFC Fight Night 45 from New Jersey.  Post-fight coverage on Fox Sports Live averaged 211K viewers which was up 66% (compared to 127K) from last year as well.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings based on previous mid-week July cards by the UFC.  These cards take advantage of the lull in sports mid-July and viewership was up.  Per Sports TV Ratings, it was the second most-viewed sports cable programming of the night to a Gold Cup Match on Univision Deportes.  The ratings did exclude the ESPY awards which aired on ESPN. An ESPY countdown show drew 665,000 on ESPN.

UFC 189: Payout Perspective

July 16, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take you to UFC 189 which was the biggest event in years for the company taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

McGregor wins interim Featherweight title

The gamble for the UFC paid off.  Conor McGregor stopped Chad Mendes with just seconds remaining in the second round to win the interim Featherweight title.  McGregor was in trouble early as he could not stop takedowns and was being held down by Mendes.  But, McGregor was able to escape a guillotine attempt and used his power to KO Mendes.

McGregor actually has a coaching spot on TUF this fall and then it’s likely Jose Aldo.  Mendes showed well for himself considering he did not have a full camp.  He is still at the top of the list of challengers for the Featherweight title.

The (Interim) Champ - Via Wikimedia Commons

The (Interim) Champ – Via Wikimedia Commons

Lawler outlasts MacDonald in bloody war

It was the best fight in some time and likely a prime example of why this sport can never gain mainstream acceptance.  Robbie Lawler’s lip and Rory MacDonald’s nose exemplified the dedication, discipline, heart and fearlessness it takes to make it to the top of this sport.  Although MacDonald was ahead on the judge’s cards, he succumbed to the pain and crumpled to the mat in the fifth round after another shot from Lawler.

Lawler-MacDonald scorecard

For Lawler, Johny Hendricks seems like the next opponent for Lawler.  Many have said that this fight may have changed the trajectory of MacDonald’s career forever.  We shall see.

Attendance and gate

It was the biggest attendance and gate for a UFC event ever since UFC 129 in Toronto.  Attendance stood at 16,019 for a gate of $7.2 million.  Dana White stated that ticket sales actually surged after Jose Aldo pulled out of the fight getting the gate over $7 million.

On the secondary market the “get in” price at the start of the Fight Pass Prelims was $665.  According to Darren Rovell, the median price paid on Stubhub was $500 which was the highest since Silva-Sonnen II ($450).


Conor McGregor, Thomas Almeida, Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler earned the $50,000 bonuses.


McGregor and Mendes topped the salaries making $500,000 each.  The full list is here.

Promotion of the Fight

The promotion of the fight started with the expensive and well-chronicled world tour with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.  The Embedded episodes were entertaining as those occurred this past spring.  Most of us were hoping that July would come soon.  Of course, the fight did not happen and we were given Chad Mendes.   More Embedded episodes occurred to promote the fight and even some controversy as it appeared that an episode featuring Conor training in wrestling was edited out.  The theory was that it would give Mendes some advantage.

Dana White appeared on ESPN, the Jim Rome and other outlets.  Notably, he stated in a radio interview that Aldo would have made $4 million at UFC 189.  He also stated on Jim Rome that McGregor wanted to bet him $3 million that he would knock out Mendes.  Apparently, he knew what he was talking about.


This was the first event where Reebok uniforms were exclusively used.  Overall, it was not as bad as I had thought although I am sure there are some fight fans that will miss the aesthetic of different sponsors on the shorts as well as fight banners.

The official UFC sponsors were in the Octagon including the movie “SouthPaw,” Draft Kings, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Fram,Bud Light, Corn Nuts, Metro PCS, Musclepharm and Monster Energy Drink had the center.

Reebok presented the Embedded  episodes featuring McGregor and Mendes.

In addition to announcing an individual deal with Reebok, Rory MacDonald had a Monster logo on its shorts.  Same for Conor McGregor. McGregor also starred in a commercial for Game of War.

Toyo Tires also sponsored Chad Mendes and sent out an eblast about the challenger.

Although it was announced in early June, the UFC announced a partnership with Las Vegas Monorail making it the “Official Las Vegas Transportation of the UFC.”  While this seems silly, the fact that so many people from out of town (especially Irish McGregor supporters) likely took it as a method of transportation probably made the sponsorship worth its while.

Odds and ends

The changes in production were subtle but great.  While there might be a lot of criticism about spending 6 months and who knows how much money to change the “C” in the UFC, the presentation at the weigh-ins and the actual show were top-notch.

The live singing entrances for the main events were an interesting touch.

It was interesting that this fight was not offered in movie theatres like other events before it.

One critique about new UFC production, rounds now noted by filled in marks like balls/strikes in baseball.  I like numbers to tell me rounds.

The uplighting and other stage enhancements for the weigh-ins were great.  It gave UFC 189 that big fight feel.  Of course, the atmosphere with so many Irish there made it feel that much more electric on television.

This was the first event with the USADA drug testing protocol.

It appears that cutmen have lost their sponsor deals when Reebok took over this month but are not a part of the Reebok deal.  We will see where this goes.

Mendes has been stopped in two championship fights with seconds left in a round.

I already booked my hotel for UFC 200 which will be in the new MGM-AEG Arena July 2, 2016


Much has been scrutinized about what the PPV buy rate will be for UFC 189.  Despite Aldo pulling out late, it appears that it did not hurt PPV sales.  The pre-buys for the event appear to be strong which is based on the number of people that purchase the PPV prior to the day of the PPV.  The google searches appear strong but the Prelim rating was under 1 million viewers.  So, we shall see.  My gut reaction is that the PPV did between 550K and 600K buys which solidifies McGregor as a legitimate PPV star.

UFC Fight Night 71 attendance, gate and bonuses

July 16, 2015

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses from Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 71.   Frank Mir led the bonus winner’s after his first round KO of Todd Duffee.

Joining Mir was Tony Ferguson with a Performance of the Night for his dominating victory over Josh Thomson.  Fight of the Night was awarded to Alan Jouban and Matt Dwyer.  All received $50,000 each.

Attendance at the Valley View Casino in San Diego was 5,471 for a gate of $412,000.  The numbers were announced post-event by the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

Notably, Bellator 131 drew 8,243 for a gate of $407,259 at the same venue last November.  It was a respectable fight night attendance considering it was mid-week as it is the annual event in which the UFC takes advantage of the lull in other sports in July.  Mir and Ferguson were especially impressive with Mir’s KO ensuring that the UFC event ended on time on FS1.

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