Showtime Boxing event Saturday peaks with first two fights

October 17, 2017

ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s Showtime card had its best viewership prior to the main event.

Erislandy Lara’s win over Terrell Gausha drew 399,000 viewers and peaked at 476,000 Showtime subscribers according to Nielsen. But the Jermell Charlo Erickson Lubin fight averaged 495,000 viewers and peaked with 537,000.  The first fight between Jarrett Hurd and Austin Trout averaged 430,000 and peaked at 555,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The Showtime event aired after PBC on Fox.  The ratings are unusual as one would expect that viewership would increase as the telecast goes on but in t his case, the viewership peaked during the first two fights.

PBC on Fox draws 1.3 million viewers

October 15, 2017

PBC on Fox Saturday night drew 1.3 million viewers on Saturday night per Television By Numbers.

The event went up against stiff competition with the MLB Playoffs featuring the Cubs and Dodgers on cable TV.  Also, USC played Utah on ABC opposite the Fox broadcast.

The event featured Abner Mares as he defeated Andres Gutierrez to retain his WBA featherweight title.  The telecast drew 0.3 in the A18-49 demo and a 1 share.

In July, PBC on Fox drew just 866,000.  In February of this year it drew 1.76 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The PBC telecasts on Fox have waned in popularity and although Saturday’s event drew better than this past summer, it’s not nearly as popular as the UFC when it does its quarterly events on Fox.

UFC 216: Payout Perspective

October 10, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at UFC 216 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ferguson submits Lee

It was not a good week for Kevin Lee.  Not only did he have issues with cutting weight which kept everyone in suspense on Friday.  It appeared that he had a staph infection on Saturday night.  Joe Rogan noticed a mark on Lee’s left pec immediately.  Lee acknowledged the infection which makes one wonder how the commission allowed Lee to fight.

It was a good fight but it looked like Lee had tired in the third and was eventually submitted.  Ferguson should go on to face Conor McGregor if he decides to return to fight.  If not, could we see another setup with Khabib.

DJ makes history with title defense

Demetrious Johnson did it again with another successful title defense of his UFC Flyweight title and another 5th round stoppage.  Johnson had a sensational suplex into an armbar transition to tap out Ray Borg.  It was the 11th title defense which set a record.  DJ stands alone in the UFC Flyweight division.

Despite the remarkable accomplishment Johnson was the co-main event and not the main fight on the show.  This was a subtle sign that despite the remarkable accomplishment, Johnson is not a top of the card draw as he should be.

Attendance, gate and bonuses

This was the lowest attendance and gate for a UFC PPV held at the T-Mobile Arena.  The figures announced post-fight totaled just 10,638 for a gate of $677,999.50.  Of 7 events at the T-Mobile, it was 6th in terms of attendance and gate.  Only this summer’s TUF 25 Finale drew less and that’s due to the fact that there are events on back to back nights.

The bonuses went to Demetrious Johnson, John Moraga, , Bobby Green, Lando Vannatta.  Johnson and Moraga earned the Performances of the Night while Green and Vannatta earned Fight of the Night for their draw.

Payouts

Tony Ferguson was the highest paid fighter of the night earning $500,000 while Demetrious Johnson drew $340,000.  Both Kevin Lee and Ray Borg earned the most of their career with their pay on Saturday.

Via MMA Junkie:

 

Tony Ferguson: $500,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)
def. Kevin Lee: $250,000

Demetrious Johnson: $370,000 (no win bonus)
def. Ray Borg: $100,000

Fabricio Werdum: $400,000 (includes $125,000 win bonus)
def. Walt Harris: $28,000

Mara Romero Borella: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Kalindra Faria: $12,000

Beneil Dariush: $48,000*
vs. Evan Dunham: $40,000*

Cody Stamann: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Duquesnoy: $23,000

Bobby Green: $24,000*
vs. Lando Vannata: $25,000*

Poliana Botelho: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Pearl Gonzalez: $10,000

Matt Schnell: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Marco Beltran: $14,000

John Moraga: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Magomed Bibulatov: $17,000

Brad Tavares: $74,000 (includes $37,000 win bonus)
def. Thales Leites: $57,000

The official Nevada Commission’s pay sheet had Godbeer receiving his show money.  Notably, the Nik Lentz-Will Brooks fight was scrapped due to an illness which hospitalized Lentz.  Although the Nevada Commission may not have paid Brooks, a social media post infers that he was still compensated.

The commission did not have purse payments for Lentz, Brooks and Derrick Lewis.

Promotion of the Fight

With the horrible events that happened the Sunday before the fight the event hype was muted for obvious reasons.  Dana White did not have any fight hype on his twitter timeline until Wednesday.  The Embedded episodes that usually kick off the week were held until that Wednesday.  With this event being a hard sell even before the tragedy, the lack of last minute buzz certainly did not help the buys for this event.

Sponsorships

Although not exactly related to this event, it was announced this week that longtime sponsor Bud Light would be replaced in the U.S. by Modelo Especial staring in 2018.

We are starting to see a lot subtler sponsor promotion on the Embedded series as we see the fighters getting their Reebok gear and visiting the UFC Performance Institute.

Aside from Budweiser, Toyo Tires, Metro PCS, Performance Inspired, Harvey Davidson, 7 Eleven and Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  One may have noticed that 7 Eleven had its own signage post whereas in past events it shared one with Monster Energy.  It also had the prep point.  The twitter hashtag Vegas Strong was also in the Octagon.

Odds and ends

It was a different opening for the UFC 216 PPV as Dana White invited over 1,500 first responders to the event and brought some of the survivors of the devastating shooting to the octagon.  Everlast, from House of Pain fame, also sang “America the Beautiful.”  There were cold openings for both the Exclusive Fight Pass Prelims and the Prelims on FX.

The festivities were strained by Dana White’s public scorn for Jason Aldean.  He claimed that Aldean did not want to perform (Aldean was the performer on stage during the shooting).  But, he showed up on Saturday Night Live the same night.  Let it go Dana.  It’s petty to mess up a nice night by getting mad at this.

Derrick Lewis and Fabricio Werdum were taken off last minute with Walt Harris taking the fight against Werdum.  The good news is that Godbeer was paid despite being taken off the card.  Brooks was not although his social media account infers he may have been compensated by the UFC.

Prelims were on FX this time around to compensate for College Football on FS1.  It drew just 653,000 viewers Saturday night.

The commission had some explaining to do with the one hour allowance for Kevin Lee to cut the pound he was over.  Apparently, the rules allow it for championship fights.

There was also the issue of how the UFC Anti-Doping Policy allowed exemptions to Kalindra Faria and Mara Romero Borella.  Yet, it took Andrea Lee off the card due to her prior issues with drug testing.

It appeared as though the upper bowl of the T-Mobile Arena was cordoned off which reflects the attendance was low for the event.  Ticketmaster had seats available up until Friday (and likely Saturday) of the event with the get-in price going for $55.

The UFC sold Vegas Strong T-shirts with 100% of the proceeds going to victims of the shooting on October 1st.

The PPV ended before 10:00pm on the west coast and the broadcast crew was forced to stretch instead of trying to fill in a fight from earlier in the evening.  It did provide some comedy as Daniel Cormier had problems with his headset cords.

There were over 500,000 searches for UFC 216 on Saturday.

Conclusion

This will be one of the lower-purchased PPVs of 2017.  While Lee and Ferguson is a good fight, it is not one you’d pay $60 to see as the main event.  Johnson is one of the greatest fighters ever, but fans do not want to pay to watch him fight.  While it was a good night of fights, its hard seeing this event doing more than 170,000 PPV buys.

UFC 216 Prelims draws 653,000 viewers on FX

October 10, 2017

The UFC 216 Prelims drew 653,000 viewers on FX Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event drew 0.24 in the A18-49 demo per ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast featured the Fight of the Night with Bobby Green and Landon Vannata and the main feature saw Cody Stamann upset Tom Duquesnoy.

The prelims were switched to FX due to college football on FS1.  The prefight show on FX drew 324,000 viewers on FX and 0.12 in the A18-49 demo.  The abbreviated post-fight show on FS1 from 1:41am to 2:00am ET drew 221,000 viewers and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The last time the Prelims were on FX this year, it was UFC 211 when it drew 1,184,000 viewers.  The fights were interesting but with college football and MLB playoffs in full swing it appears that the prelims were low on the list of what to watch for Saturday night.

Bellator 184 draws 437,000 viewers on SpikeTV

October 9, 2017

Bellator 184 drew 437,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The ratings are the lowest for 2017 on Spike TV.

According to Nielsen, the telecast drew 0.16 in the A18-49 demo.

The event was headlined by Darrion Caldwell taking the bantamweight title away from Eduardo Dantas.

Payout Perspective:

In all honesty, I forgot that this event was on this past Friday.  Whether it was my oversight or the lack of marketing for this card, there was not much made about the card despite a title fight.  Bellator’s telecast was followed by Bellator Kickboxing which drew only 250,000 viewers.  Not the best of night’s for combat sports on Spike TV.

TUF 26 Episode 6 draws 242,000 viewers

October 5, 2017

The Ultimate Fighter 26 Episode 6 drew 242,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast drew 0.06 in the A18-49 demo.  In the fight of the show Gillian Roberts faced Barb Honchak.  Honchak stopped Roberts via strikes from the top.

Notably, TUF 26 outdrew an NBA Preseason Game between the Denver Nuggets and LA Lakers on NBA TV.  That game drew 144,000 viewers starting in the same time slot.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings reflect a modest rise in the ratings.  The season average through six episodes stands at 239,000 viewers which would be an all-time low thus far.  The viewership is seeing a steady increase with its DVR viewership.

WME-IMG now free to solicit offers for new media rights deal

October 3, 2017

As we head into October it is worth noting that the exclusive negotiating period between WME-IMG and Fox to renew the UFC television contract came to an end.  WME-IMG will be free to solicit its television deal with others.

The UFC signed a 7-year deal with Fox in 2011 worth a reported $100 million per year (although others reported the deal at $115 million).  The current deal ends at the end of 2018.  The contract with Fox came with an exclusive negotiating window of 90 days which began this past July.

Last November, the UFC proclaimed that it was eyeing a $450 million per year deal for its next contract.  It will offer four annual broadcasts, six annual cable events and weekly programming as well as UFC Fight Pass.  It’s unlikely that the UFC will give up its PPV business with this upcoming deal.  Industry executives opine that the new deal will grant the winning bid more input into the matches and what will be a part of the UFC PPV events.

Payout Perspective:

It was likely that there would be no deal with Fox during this exclusive period as the new owners wanted to see what it could obtain in the open market.  With the possibility of bidders like Turner, CBS/Showtime, NBC and the wildcard that is Amazon out there, the UFC could be an attractive sports property.  But can it grab a $450 million deal?  It appears that the market for sports properties has dried up a bit and it’s hard to fathom that it can secure a $450 million deal (e.g., WWE’s media rights deal in 2014).  But, despite the low PPV buys this year and the volatility of the product (i.e., injuries and/or drug tests that may put off fights), it is still one of the better properties attracting the younger male demo.  We should see movement on this in the coming months.

Ratings Buffet for week ending September 29th

October 2, 2017

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending September 29th.

Friday

ESPN:  Top Rank Boxing 11:42pm-1:22 am ET : 706,000 viewers, 0.25 A18-49

ESPN 2:  Top Rank Boxing 11:29pm-11:42 pm ET: 455,000 viewers, 0.17 A18-49

FXX: UFC Fight Night Prelims 7:00pm-8:00pm ET: 139,000 viewers, 0.06 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Prelims 8:00pm-10:00pm ET:  416,000 viewers, 0.15 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Main Card 10:00pm-1:00am ET:  502,000 viewers, 0.20 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Post-Show:  1:00am-2:00am ET:  158,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

Saturday

Spike TV:  Bellator 183: 598,000 viewers, 646,000 DVR+3, peak 966,000 viewers,

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.081M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.121M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 2.568M viewers

Tuesday

USA WWE Smackdown 8:00pm-10:00pm ET 2.542M viewers, 0.82A18-49

Wednesday

FS1 TUF 26 Episode 1 10:00-11:00pm ET 220,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 78,000 viewers, 9pm ET 32,000

Thursday

 

PopTV: Impact Wrestling, 8:00pm-10:00pm 264,000 viewers, 0.06 in A18-49

Bellator 183 draws 598,000 viewers on Spike TV

September 26, 2017

Bellator MMA 183 drew 598,000 viewers on Spike TV Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured Benson Henderson as he took on Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.  Pitbull defeated Bendo via split decision dropping Henderson to 1-3 in Bellator.  Henderson’s only win was against Freire in August 2016 when Pitbull suffered a leg injury.

Payout Perspective:

Bellator did slightly better in the ratings this weekend that the UFC show from Japan on Friday night.  The 598,000 viewers is below the average of 2017 shows but is better than the two previous shows.  It also competed with college football and HBO Boxing on Saturday night.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Friday night draws 706,000 viewers

September 25, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Friday night drew 706,000 viewers on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured title defenses by Oscar Valdez and Gilbert Ramirez.

The ratings for the event are the best thus far for Friday night boxing on ESPN since the agreements with Golden Boy and Top Rank went into place earlier this year.

The Valdez-Genesis Servania ended the night of fights which started at 11:42pm ET.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are promising as these Friday night fights are used to promote up and coming fighters.  Those that tuned in to see Valdez-Servania saw a great action-packed fight.  Notably, Top Rank Boxing did much better than the UFC on FXX Friday night which drew just 502,000 viewers for its main card and 416,000 for the prelims.

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