Bellator 172 peaked at 1.2M viewers

February 23, 2017

Bellator 172 this past Saturday on Spike TV drew 873,000 viewers in DVR +3 ratings per Nielsen.  The event peaked at 1.2 million viewers.

This past Saturday featured Patricky Freire and Josh Thomson as the original main event was scrapped due to an injury to Matt Mitrione.

Bellator
Overnight A18-49 Peak DVR + 3
Bellator 170 1,374,000 703,000 1,850,000 1,500,000
Bellator 171 720,000 310,000 1,100,000 795,000
Bellator 172 807,000 407,000 1,2,00,000 873,000

UFC Fight Night 105 draws 907,000 viewers, Prelims draw 760,000

February 22, 2017

UFC Fight Night 105 drew an average of 907,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday night per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims which preceded the event drew 760,000 viewers.

The main card featured Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne in the main event.  Lewis earned the victory with a stoppage of Browne.  The 2 hour prelims event featured four fights including Carla Esparza and Randa Markos.

The main card drew 435,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo while the prelims drew 330,000.

Payout Perspective:

The FS1 fight card had stiff competition on Sunday night as it went up against the NBA All-Star game which aired on both TNT (drawing over 6.5M viewers) and TBS (over 1.2M viewers0.  The 907K is not far off from last month’s Sunday night event featuring BJ Penn.  That event, UFC Fight Night 103, drew 1.090 million viewers with the prelims garnering 824,000.  Not a bad showing considering the competition on Sunday night.

Bellator 172 draws 807,000 viewers

February 22, 2017

Bellator MMA drew 807,000 viewers on Saturday night on Spike TV per Sports TV Ratings.  The event also drew 407,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.

The main event was to be Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko but that fell through just hours before the show was to start.  The event went on with Josh Thomson taking on Patricky Freire in the main event.  Pitbull stopped Thomson in the second round in his home town.

Payout Perspective:

Certainly, you have to think that Bellator expected more from this event but with the late cancellation and no Fedor, 807,000 viewers seems pretty good.  It went up against NBA All-Star Saturday night on TNT which drew over 5.6 million viewers as well as Showtime Boxing during a free preview weekend.

Rousey to guest star on NBC series

February 22, 2017

MMA Junkie reports that Ronda Rousey will be back on television guest starring on the NBC crime-drama series “Blindspot.”

Rousey will play a female prison inmate.  The backstory of her role here:

Rousey will be playing DEVON PENBERTHY: a female prison inmate who grew up in a working-class family from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and is serving time for transporting weapons across state lines. She is a tough, athletic woman who knows how to fight and handle a weapon.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe we are seeing Rousey’s next career taking shape.  Despite losing this past December, her Hollywood agency is still seeking opportunities for her outside of the Octagon.  It will be interesting to see whether or not her last two fights and her shunning the spotlight will negatively impact her persona as she moves away from fighting.

UFC 208 Prelims draw 824,000 viewers

February 14, 2017

The UFC 208 Prelims drew 824,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night.  The event aired from 8-10pm ET on Saturday preceding the PPV.

The event drew 420,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.  The show peaked at 1,046,000 viewers during the main fight of the telecast: Belal Muhammad’s win over Randy Brown.

Also of note related to UFC 208 programming, the weigh-ins drew just 80,000 viewers on FS1 from 6-7pm on Friday.

The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 259,000 viewers (142,000 in A18-49 demo) from 6:30-8pm ET.  The post-fight show drew 207,000 viewers (111,000 in A18-49 demo) from 1:06-2:06amET.

Payout Perspective:

If you wanted to draw any parallels here, UFC 206 Prelims in December drew 777,000 viewers.  206 drew 150,000 PPV buys.  UFC 204 in October drew 678,000 viewers and ended up with 290,000 PPV buys.  While it’s not an exact science, the prelims have been used as one of the indicators for PPV buy rates.  Realistically, it may mean the actual PPV does somewhere between 200-350K PPV buys.  I would believe it being on the lower end of this.

UFC 208: Payout Perspective

February 14, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at the UFC’s second PPV in New York. This time at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

New champ of new women’s division

Germaine de Randamie narrowly defeated Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s Featherweight Division.  The decision did not go without controversy as de Randamie won 47-48 but was not deducted a point after two clear shots after the bell.  Joe Rogan was apoplectic that the referee did not deduct one point on the second shot after the bell.

Regardless, the title goes to de Randamie.  She has offered up a rematch with Holm due to controversy but one would think that Cyborg gets the next shot if she is given a retroactive TUE.

Silva turns back the clock, Brunson

Anderson Silva showed he still has it with a victory over Derek Brunson.  Perhaps Silva won via show but Brunson seemed too tentative.  It was a very emotional scene for Silva post-fight as he has come to terms with his role as a fighter that will not compete for a title.

Attendance
The Barclay’s Center was a sellout for UFC 208 with 15,628 fans for a live gate of $2,275,10.  It was the highst grossing sporting event in arena history.

Bonuses

There were only 3 bonus winners since there was only one finish.  Dusin Poirier and Jim Miller won for Fight of the Night while Jacare earned a Performance Bonus for stopping Tim Boetsch.

In tying in a sponsor, the UFC tweeted out the winners and included a link to Netflix’s new realtiy show Ultimate Beastmaster.  It sounds like American Ninja Warrior.

Notably, Anderson Silva co-hosts the Brazilian version of Ultimate Beastmaster.

Promotion of the Fight

Holly Holm appeared on “Live with Kelly” to promote the event.

There was no sponsor for the Embedded series this time around and perhaps sponsors knew that this was going to be a dud this time around.

Sponsorships

The usual sponsors were in the cage including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Budweiser, Halo Wars 2, the movie Fist Fight, Netflix’s The Ultimate Beastmaster and Monster Energy had the center.

Also, Microsoft’s Halo Wars 2 had the fighter prep point.

The movie Fist Fight starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube was featured during UFC 208.  They also included a tweet associated with the event.

Odds and ends

It was the first time, in a long time that a PPV did not have Mike Goldberg as Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier joined Joe Rogan.  The three still need seasoning.  If it was up to me, I would like Dominick Cruz in place of Cormier.

New walkout song for The Spider.  Hard not to associate him with DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  But, the song that replaced it was performed by his son Kalyl.

Dana White went on Instagram during UFC 208.

Jacare Souza should get the next shot at Bisping.  Period.

Tony Parker, whose San Antonio Spurs played the New York Knicks on Sunday.  The Spurs lost.

UFC 208 drew over 200,000 google searches on Friday.  Anderson Silva drew 50,000 on Saturday.  Likely, the searches for Silva occurred after news that he had won.  So, it’s likely those aren’t due to wanting to buy the PPV.

Conclusion

It’s hard to think that this will be a big buy rate.  None of the fights were compelling from a causal viewer standpoint.  UFC 206 had over 200K google searches this past December and I think that 208 will do a similar buy rate.  Look for this event to do between 150,000 to 175,000 buys.

UFC 208: Will you buy it?

February 10, 2017

UFC 208 will be the third time that the company has held a show in the state of New York since it legalized professional MMA last fall.  Are fans interested in this PPV?

In the main event, Holly Holm takes on Germaine de Randamie for the new UFC women’s featherweight title.

Also, Anderson Silva returns to action taking on Derek Brunson.

UFC 208 will be the second time a UFC card was headlined by women without Ronda Rousey as one of the main eventers.  The other, UFC 200, featured Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate.  Of course, that was by necessity with Jon Jones being pulled from that event.

One must surmise the UFC had hoped for another title fight (possibly Diaz-Conor III) to headline this card with Holm as a strong semi-main.  With McGregor taking a prolonged paternity leave and Nate Diaz trying out boxing since he claims the UFC put him on ice, fans get the matchup for a new title.

Perhaps this slot was to be for Cris “Cyborg” Justino.  But, she was flagged by USADA.

So, it comes down to Holly Holm.  While Germaine de Randamie might be a promising fighter, she has only 2 fights since 2015.

Holm is on a 2-fight losing streak which included losing the title to Miesha Tate in March and then dropping a decision to Valentina Shevchenko in late July.

However, the latter fight, which aired on Fox, scored the highest rating for a summer show since the company has been on Fox.

Her main event loss to Shevchenko peaked at over 4.6 million viewers with the broadcast averaging near 3 million viewers.  Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in November 2015 to tear down the former undefeated champ’s mystique and essentially end her career.

But, is her appeal enough to draw on PPV?

Anderson Silva’s drawing power is now past its prime and marketing efforts are behind the Holm-de Randamie fight.

There are signs that this event will not draw.  There is no sponsor for the Embedded series, which have been lackluster to say the most.  UFC 208 is not trending online and the peak viewership of the weigh-ins on YouTube was comparable to that of UFC 206.  The event featuring Jose Aldo and Max Holloway drew 150,000 buys and was the lowest rate for 2016.

It appears that UFC 208 will be on par with UFC 206 as its truly a card for the hardcore UFC fans.

Shields to be first female boxer to headline on Showtime

February 9, 2017

USA Today reports that Claressa Shields will be the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television as she will be the main feature on Showtime’s ShoBox series on March 10th.

Shields was featured in the WSJ last November where they drew comparisons to her and boxing as Ronda Rousey was to women’s MMA.  She made her pro debut on the undercard of Kovalev-Ward and is thrust into the spotlight in March.

She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.  Due to her Olympic success, she earned a $40,000 a year stipend from USA Boxing along with her own room at the training center in Colorado Springs.  She also receives meals, training and health insurance.

Turning pro is a gamble considering women boxers make little.  However, her pedigree meant that she earned $50,000 in her first pro fight.

She meets Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in the main event from Detroit next month.

Payout Perspective:

This was a calculated gamble by Shields and her management team.  Women’s boxing does not receive the publicity as women’s MMA.  Notably, two women headline this Saturday’s UFC PPV.  Shields looks to be the new face of women’s boxing.  Certainly, she is getting paid better than most women MMA fighters.  But her pay is not the norm for women’s boxers.  For Showtime, which usually lags behind HBO in boxing ratings, Shields may bring much-needed interest for its ratings.

Spike TV to rebrand to Paramount TV

February 8, 2017

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Spike TV will be rebranded as the Paramount Network.  A formal announcement will happen on Thursday during Viacom’s quarterly earnings call.

Kevin Kay, the SpikeTV head is expected to stay on with the rebranding according to the report.

Rebranding could begin as early as 2018.

The network’s target demo has been young males.  The UFC started on Spike before it signed its television deal with Fox.  It was the birthplace for The Ultimate Fighter.  It currently airs Bellator MMA programming.

Payout Perspective:

It’s not known whether the rebranding will mean a refocus on programming.  But, whenever there are rebranding efforts, there’s a likelihood that it means that there will be changes to make the network more attractive to a greater group of people.  With more cord cutters and alternative means of viewing programs, network executives are attempting to change with the new normal.

UFC Fight Night 104 draws 1.158M viewers, Prelims 834,000

February 7, 2017

UFC Fight Night 104 drew 1.158 million viewers on Saturday night on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims which preceded the main card drew another 834,000 on FS1.

Sports TV Ratings indicates that the main card (airing from 10pm-12:59am ET) which featured the return of The Korean Zombie as he KO’d Dennis Bermudez drew 590,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims, which aired from 8-10pm ET drew 420,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The main card peaked at 1.286 million viewers during the 11:15-11:30pm quarter hour.

The ratings are less than the 1.3M viewers that watched UFC Fight Night 82 last Super Bowl weekend.  You may recall that event was taken off PPV and made an FS1 card and featured Johny Hendricks-Stephen Thompson.  The prelims drew 1.093M viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Despite being lower than last year, the 1.158 million is strong considering the main card featured KZ-Bermudez.  Obviously looking at the attendance, this card resembled more of a lower-tier Fight Night card than a bigger draw.

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