January 16, 2017
The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will feature bantamweight coaches T.J. Dillashaw and newly crowned champ Cody Garbrandt according to a UFC press release. The long-running series will continue with former competitors from past seasons on the show.
The new season begins on FS1 on April 19th with a two hour premiere.
No date yet for a fight between Garbrandt and Dillashaw although the press release indicated that they would fight after the season of TUF so this might put us at the July show of International Fight Week which would be a great co-main event. As for the series, I’m not sure if these two as coaches will garner more viewers than previous seasons although the curiosity of seeing past TUF fighters serves as a “Where are they now” sort of feel for people that have watched past seasons.
January 6, 2017
The UFC 207 Prelims peaked with more than 1.8 million viewers. The Friday night event on FS1 was up over 45% from last year’s UFC 195 prelims.
The event which featured Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny in the feature fight peaked during the last quarter hour 9:45-10pm ET.
In comparison’s to last year’s PPV show, UFC 195 which aired 1/2/16, it was up almost 50% from the prelims which also aired on FS1. It was up 42% in the A18-49 demo as well (813K v. 572K) last year.
All signs point to a good PPV buy rate with Ronda Rousey’s return.
January 4, 2017
World Series of Fighting drew
941,000 951,000 on NBC Saturday afternoon according to Nielsen. The rating makes it the highest-rated televised WSOF event ever.
The preliminaries on NBC Sports Network drew 71,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims aired from 11:30-1pm PT. The main card aired on NBC from 1-3pm PT.
Notably, the WSOF event took place during the first NCAA College Football semifinal at the Peach Bowl between Washington and Alabama. The game drew 18,397 million viewers on ESPN per Sports TV Ratings.
Also of note, the UFC 207 PPV post-fight replay on FS1 drew 76,000 viewers at 3-4am PT.
The Saturday event bests the WSOF’s last time on NBC when it drew 741,000 for WSOF 11 on July 5, 2014. This past Saturday’s event, which took place in New York, featured Jake Shields-Jon Fitch and Justin Gaethje-Luiz Firmino. Considering WSOF was up against one of the national semifinals for college football, reaching close to 1 million viewers is a success. Of course, the question of whether the WSOF can remain afloat in 2017 is another question.
January 3, 2017
The UFC 207 Prelims on Friday night drew 1.511 million viewers on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings. It was the fourth highest PPV of 2016 and the sixth prelims telecast to go over 1 million viewers.
In addition, it drew 813,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 category. The featured fight on the prelims was Johny Hendricks versus Neil Magny. Magny earned a unanimous decision.
The average for 2016 was 1,097,000. In comparison, 2015 drew an average of 1,069,000.
In addition, the pre-fight broadcast on FS1 which preceded (4:00-5:00pm PT) the UFC Prelims drew 572,000 viewers and 281,000 in the A18-49 demo. The post-fight drew 404,000 viewers and 234,000 in the A18-49 demo. The post-fight event went from 9:50pm-11:07pm PT.
The ratings are very considering the prelims took place on Friday night. The big viewership number likely reflects a big PPV buy rate. All of the prelims except UFC 195 drew over 1 million PPV buys. With Rousey on the PPV card, expect a buy rate over 1 million.
December 28, 2016
The final Live + SD ratings for the replay of UFC on Fox Saturday night drew 4.72 million viewers per Sports TV Ratings.
Final Live+SD # for UFC 206 on Fox Saturday night: 4.72 million.
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) December 28, 2016
Monday TV By Numbers reported the huge ratings win for the UFC on Christmas Eve. Only UFC 1 drew more viewers.
Great ratings as we see a new tradition begin. The UFC on Christmas Eve. Another piece of good fortune with the large viewer audience was the promotion for this Friday’s UFC 207. As many point out, cable companies have been advertising the PPV being this Saturday, not Friday. So, at least the promotion during the 206 replay may have helped.
December 26, 2016
The replay of selected fights from UFC 206 earlier this month drew 4.7 million viewers on Christmas Eve according to Television By Numbers. It also drew a 1.6 rating and a 6 share in the Adult 18-49 rating making it the second highest viewed UFC show on Fox since UFC on Fox 1.
The replay was the most-viewed show Saturday night and drew the biggest share among adults 18-49 across the board on the network.
The fights on the 2-hour replay Saturday included Lando Vannata versus John Makdessi, Cub Swanson versus Doo Ho Choi, Donald Cerrone versus Matt Brown and Max Holloway versus Anthony Pettis.
Nielsen reports that the peak viewership occurred during the Swanson-Choi fight which many consider a Fight of the Year frontrunner for 2016.
Only the November 2011 fight featuring Cain Velasquez-Junior dos Santos scored more viewers when the company’s debut on Fox drew 5.7 million viewers.
The obvious takeaway here is that the UFC has found a niche and its likely Fox will be open for this slot for next Christmas Eve. Even on a night when many people were doing holiday activities and spending time with family, many people tuned in. This is great for the UFC as the actual card only did 150,000 PPV buys.
December 23, 2016
The World Series of Fighting will cap off its year with a show on New Year’s Eve in New York. However, there might be cause for concern for the organization as legal problems persist.
3 new lawsuits were filed in Nevada this year which call into question the financial stability of the company. The lawsuits reveal the fact that the company has internal issues with the people that run it and the people that fund it. Based on the information gathered from the lawsuits, the people investing and claiming ownership (even a small %) are not the most professional people you may know. You may recall a lawsuit in 2015 saw issues with loans and an assignment of rights for use internationally. The new lawsuits see similar problems with loans to keep the organization afloat.
In addition to the legal troubles, WSOF cancelled two events in order to bolster its New Year’s Eve show in New York. WSOF opened an office in New York last year and supported the push to legalize professional MMA in the state so it makes sense that they want a show in the state by year’s end. But a New Year’s Eve show conflicts with the College Bowl Playoffs on television.
Notwithstanding what may happen on its New Year’s show, the ratings for WSOF on NBC Sports Network are slightly behind 2015’s average of 189,000 viewers.
Will WSOF survive its legal and financial woes in 2017 and continue through the year into 2018?
December 21, 2016
Bellator 169 drew 699,000 viewers in DVR +3 ratings per Nielsen. The event peaked with 965,000 viewers.
The event, which aired on Friday on tape delay drew 965,000 viewers. The event featured King Mo Lawal as he defeated Satoshi Ishii in Dublin, Ireland. It was the most-watched international Bellator MMA event to date.
The event drew 643,000 viewers in live + SD ratings. It was the best showing for a Bellator TV event since September 2016. Friday’s event was the highest peak since Bellator 167 peaked at 967,000.
December 20, 2016
In match-ups that reflect the organization’s penchant for odd attractions, Bellator 149 featured former street fighters Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000 and fighters past their prime Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie.
Actually, you could argue that all four of the featured fighters should not have been in the cage on February 19th. Yet, it was the biggest audience for Bellator in 2016.
In the last fight of the night, Gracie defeated Shamrock in round 1. While we could digest this since it didn’t last long, Slice-Dada was unbearable to watch after the first minute of the fight.
Booked as a brawl between two ex-street fighters, Kevin Ferguson and Dhafir Harris ran out of gas after the first minute of the fight and, as we learned later, Harris almost died in the cage as he essentially gave up due to exhaustion. Ferguson tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone post-fight and his win was overturned to a no-contest.
In addition, Shamrock tested positive for the banned substance nandrolone and methadone.
Despite the main event of Slice and Dada and the post-fight failed tests, the event was the highest-rated event for the company. Each fight on the telecast drew over 1.9 million viewers while the fights between Ferguson-Harris (2.9M) and Gracie-Shamrock (2.8M) surged to over 2 million viewers on Spike TV.
The Bellator tentpole model has worked and this event highlights the sports entertainment aspect of MMA. The Slice-Dada promos for the fight were “must see” television. The actual fight was not. But, viewers were drawn to watch. Ferguson, who passed away this past June, was a ratings magnet which likely helped the ratings. Nostalgia of Shamrock-Gracie also brought casual viewers to watch.
One of the big questions about the event was how the main event participants were able to obtain a license to fight. While there is no link between Ferguson’s death and his fighting career, one has to wonder what was included in his medical information to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Same could be asked of Harris. It was clear he was in no condition to fight, yet was still granted a license. While he met the requirements, one has to wonder how stringent they were at the time.
December 20, 2016
UFC on Fox 22 peaked with 4.8 million viewers for the main event between Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson. The live + SD ratings for Saturday’s event on Fox drew 3,178,000 overall.
The ratings are an increase from the fast overnights which were 2.69M viewers. The Live + SD ratings are a 14% increase from last December’s 2.781M viewers. UFC on Fox 22 was the most-watched UFC event since April 2013 when it drew 3,742,000.
|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||3,742,000|
|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||2,975,000|
|UFC on Fox 21||2,200,000||1,983,000|
|UFC on Fox 22||2,690,000||3,178,000|
The ratings reflect the appeal of Paige VanZant as a ratings needle mover. With her upset in the main event, Michelle Waterson can claim this as well. Despite the belief that neither fighter had the skill to be in the main event, it’s clear that based on the viewership, people wanted to see them fight. A couple years ago, you would not think that a women’s fight on network tv could draw 4.8 million viewers. It’s a clear sign that times have changed.