May 27, 2015
The UFC 187 Prelims on FS1 drew a viewership rating of 780,000 per Nielsen sources. The ratings reflect a modest increase from last month’s UFC 187.
The Prelims featured John Dodson taking on Zach Makovsky with Dodson getting the win. The viewership from the adult 18-49 demo was up from last May as it drew 453,000 viewers (vs. 382,000 last May).
2015 UFC PPV Prelims
UFC 182 – 1,030,000
UFC 183 – 1,546,000
UFC 184 – 1,205,000
UFC 185 – 1,003,000
UFC 186 – 710,000
UFC 187 – 780,000
The ratings do not compare to the first 4 UFC Prelim cards of the year but Saturday’s show was a modest 9% improvement from April’s card. The NBA and NHL Playoffs probably contributed to the ratings as both leagues started games in the second hour of the UFC Prelims broadcast.
May 26, 2015
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time we take a look at UFC 187 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with two title fights on the card.
Cormier wins Light Heavyweight title
Despite getting knocked down in the first round, Daniel Cormier dominated Anthony Johnson eventually getting a submission over the exhausted Rumble in the third round. Johnson was visibly gassed by the second round and Cormier took advantage of Johnson when the fight went to the ground. It’s a great story, as the 36 year-old Cormier finally earned the Light Heavyweight Championship after the UFC stripped Jon Jones of the title.
Cormier gets Ryan Bader next and while Bader’s post-fight press conference antics may have drawn some sparks, not many think Bader has a chance against Cormier. The real question will be whether Jon Jones will be back by the end of the year for another fight with Cormier. Perhaps in New York?
Weidman destroys Belfort
Chris Weidman established his dominance in the middleweight division by dispensing of Vitor Belfort. Weidman had been critical of the drug testing leading up to the fight and made a comment about Belfort’s testosterone levels at the weigh-ins and perhaps that spurred him to KO Belfort.
Weidman should face either Luke Rockhold or Jacare Souza next. The native New Yorker hopes that his next fight take place in the state if it is made legal in Albany next month.
Attendance and Gate
UFC 187 was the best event in Vegas (considering attendance/gate) this year outdoing UFC 182 and 183. It was announced at the post-fight press conference that the event drew 12,615 for a gate of over $5.1 million.
The numbers are very good despite tickets still being available through Ticketmaster on Friday night and the secondary market “get-in” price softened during fight week (i.e., the demand went down).
Fight night bonuses were awarded to Travis Browne, Andre Arlovski, Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier. Browne and Arlovski earned Fight of the Night while Weidman and Cormier drew the Performance of the Night. All received the standard $50,000 bonus.
The Octagon sponsors included Bud Light, the movie “Entourage,” MusclePharm, Harley Davidson, Air Force Reserve. Fram, MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Draft Kings, Bud Light and Monster Energy Drink had the center of the Octagon.
Draft Kings had the fighter prep point. Harley Davidson sponsored the fighter arrivals. Rumble Johnson sported a pink bowtie upon arriving to the arena while Daniel Cormier wore sponsor DipYourCar.com.
Donald Cerrone indicated in an interview that he would be losing $60K in sponsor money due to the Reebok deal. At least for one more fight, Cerrone was able to rep his array of sponsors including Monster Head Phones, DipYourCar.com, E-Z Go, Qore24, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Monster Energy Drink, Budweiser, Greenlee, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Red Digital Cinema. It appears that having Kevin Harvick’s agency representing Cerrone has helped him with sponsors as the Cowboy has a lot of them. Cerrone will likely be able to keep official UFC sponsors, but he will be losing out on the others unless he can coordinate agreements outside of the Octagon and UFC fight weeks.
Fear the Fighter owner, John Makdessi, did not wear his clothing brand but was sponsored by Topps.
Joseph Benavidez was sponsored by Sling Shot. In the link, you can see what the product does. Very interesting sponsor for Benavidez.
Odds and ends
The UFC Prelims were threatened to be shuttled to FS2 due to an extra innings MLB game but it abruptly ended right before the first Prelim fight started. Despite a 5 or 6 minute delay in broadcasting, no fights were lost on the FS1 broadcast.
With the NBA and NHL Playoffs starting during the last hour of the UFC Prelims, it will be interesting to discover the ratings for the event.
Best shot of this set of Embedded episodes: Anthony Johnson sitting next to an old woman in the waiting room of a colonics center.
What became of the agent/manager meeting this week?
It was interesting that the UFC promoted the Periscope App as the promotion wanted fans to follow Dana White and his videos. Of course, many people are using Periscope to shoot video of the event itself. It will be the next big First Amendment issue in sports.
Joseph Benavidez announced he let go of his management team and fought the fight without a manager. His move could be a new trend in the future as the Reebok deal goes into effect.
UFC 187 drew 200K plus google searches last weekend. It was second in the U.S. on Saturday to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. In comparison, UFC 182 drew 400K searches and UFC 183 drew 500K searches.
While google searches are not definitive as to PPV buys, it is a good indicator. If that is the case, UFC 187 likely did not fare well. Even with two title fights, the buzz for this weekend was just ok. How much would have Jon Jones added to the card? If Weidman can remain healthy and fight on a consistent basis, he could be a PPV attraction. At this point, he’s a wait and see fighter. While the google searches indicate a low PPV buy rate, I am predicting it does somewhat better: 450-500K PPV buys.
May 22, 2015
The UFC announced that it has come to terms with the DISH Network to carry its PPV. The new agreement ends the one PPV hiatus from the network carrier of UFC PPVs.
The 14 million DISH Network subscribers will get their chance to order UFC 187 this Saturday.
The UFC and DISH Network had come to an impasse in negotiations which precluded it from the network to carry UFC 186. The network went on to announce that it would no longer carry any UFC PPVs. The contract between the two ended at the end of January and was briefly extended up until UFC 186 when the sides could not come together on a new contract.
Terms of the deal were not made public although a statement by UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik indicated that it will deliver UFC content to DISH “for years to come.”
This seems to be the standard procedure for DISH Network. It’s a game of chicken to see who will blink first and sometimes that means that there will be an impasse where a network (or in this case UFC PPVs) will be off of DISH for some time. While we do not have numbers as to how many DISH subscribers purchase UFC PPVs giving 14 million people (reported DISH subs) the opportunity to pay for UFC PPVs should help PPV buys and UFC revenue. Thus, this is good news for both the UFC and DISH.
May 21, 2015
The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 4 drew an overnight rating of 340,000 viewers for a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 category for adults per Sports TV Ratings. The rating was good enough to be the highest rated show on FS1 on Wednesday.
The show included an appearance by Anthony Johnson and featured a fight between Hayder Hasaan and Andrews Nakahara. Hasaan scored a stoppage for the first win by ATT.
Episode 1 – 490,000 live + Same Day
Episode 2 – 454,000
Episode 3 – 364,000
Episode 4 – 286,000
Episode 5 – 340,000
The season average climbed up to 387,000 which is below many other seasons of TUF. Of course, when put in perspective that it was the highest-rated show on FS1 for Wednesday, there is still value for the program. NHL and NBA Playoffs were at the top of sports on cable for Wednesday night with the Cavaliers/Hawks game receiving 6.84 million viewers.
May 20, 2015
The Ultimate Fighter 21 Episode 3 drew an additional viewership of 160,000 viewership in Live +3 ratings which brought the show up to 524,000 viewers according to Nielsen sources.
The average viewership bump for Wednesday’s show is at 174,000 viewers. The average Live +3 (or DVR +3 rating) is 573,000 viewers.
Episode 1 – 490,000, DVR +3 704,000; Gain +214,000
Episode 2 – 454,000, DVR +3 646,000; Gain +192,000
Episode 3 – 364,000, DVR +3 524,000; Gain +160,000
Episode 4 – 286,000, DVR +3 415,000; Gain +129,000
Payout Perspective: If we are to look at the bright side of these numbers, the same TUF episode is being played again during the week on FS1. Thus, the viewership should be more than this. Still, these numbers are poor compared to previous seasons.
May 19, 2015
UFC Fight Night 66 on Saturday morning from Manila, Philippines drew 575,000 viewers on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims which preceded the main card drew 246,000 viewers.
Per Nielsen sources, the card peaked with 718,000 viewers during the 1:15pm-1:30pm ET quarter hour. The main event featured Urijah Faber taking on Frankie Edgar with Edgar pulling out the unanimous decision. The card also featured the retirement match for Mark Munoz who gave a very emotional farewell before the Filipino fans.
Saturday morning fights are difficult to gage but FS1 and the UFC did a good job of promoting the early start (really early on the west coast). Faber-Edgar was a good matchup on paper and people tuned in to check it out. Also, the UFC picked a time without the NBA or NHL competing with it and the Preakness was later that day too.
May 19, 2015
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that Saturday night’s HBO Boxing event featuring Gennady Golovkin taking on Willie Monroe, Jr. drew an average HBO subscriber viewership of 1.338 million with a peak at 1.474 million.
GGG dropped Monroe throughout the fight eventually earning the stoppage in the 6th round. In addition, Flyweight Roman Gonzalez obliterated Edgar Sosa in two rounds scoring a KO. The fight drew 961,000 viewers with a peak at 1.018 million per Rafael.
Saturday’s performance was his second-best on HBO and the third-best rating this year (behind Klitschko and Canelo fights) for HBO boxing:
GGG Fights on HBO
November 2013 vs. Curtis Stevens 1.41M viewers (fight only)
July 2104 vs. Daniel Geale 984,000 viewers (overall show drew 758,000)
October 2014 vs. Marco Antonio Rubio 1.3M viewers (fight only)
February 2015 vs. Martin Murray 862,000 viewers (fight only)
On another note, TruTV’s boxing event which is used to promote the fights the next night drew 288,000 viewers on Friday. Considering that many people do not know of TruTV until NCAA tournament time, this is a very good showing.
The ratings for the fights which lasted a little over one hour reflect the fact that the sport is in a period of great interest. Furthermore, GGG is set to be a star based on his fight style. Perhaps more impressive is the flyweight fight which preceded GGG scored a high viewership rating. It shows that either fight fans believed that GGG would be the only fight on the telecast or they are interested in watching more of the sport.
May 18, 2015
The Ultimate Fighter 21 Episode 4 drew just 286,000 viewers on FS1 this past Wednesday. It’s the lowest rating this season for the show.
Episode 1 – 490,000 live + Same Day
Episode 2 – 454,000
Episode 3 – 364,000
Episode 4 – 286,000
The TUF 21 early average sits at a lowly 399,000 viewers.
A game 7 in the NHL between Washington-New York and two NBA playoff series likely spelled the poor ratings for the first showing of TUF 21. It’s clear that the focus for the network is that series does well overall (i.e., focus on DVR ratings) rather than look at the Wednesday night ratings. The concern for FS1 is that while it may pick up almost 50% viewership from its Live +SD average, it still is lower than the past seasons airing on the network.
May 18, 2015
Sports TV Ratings is reporting that Bellator 137 on Friday night on Spike TV drew an average viewership of 594,000 viewers. It drew a 0.2 rating in the 18-49 demo.
The ratings represent a 10 percent decrease from April’s Bellator 136. In the main event, Brandon Halsey defeated Kendall Grove via TKO in the main event although Halsey was stripped of the middleweight title for his failure to make weight.
Bellator Events in 2015
Bellator 132: 767,000
Bellator 133: 565,000
Bellator 134: 872,000
Bellator 135: 607,000
Bellator 136: 655,000
Bellator 137: 594,000
The average for 2015 sits at 677,000 viewers.
On another ratings note, boxing on TruTV received 288,000 viewers on Friday night.
Bellator went up against the NBA playoffs on Friday night but the viewership did not fall too far off its previous two showings. Halsey’s inability to make weight is unfortunate for Bellator as he could be one of those fighters that Bellator could groom into a known commodity for the organization. He still has the potential, but he will need to make weight if he is to regain the middleweight title.
May 12, 2015
MMA Mania reports that Glory 21 on Spike TV Friday night drew an average of 488,000 viewers which would make it the fifth highest-viewed card on Spike TV.
Glory Ratings on Spike TV:
Glory 11: 381,000 viewers
Glory 12: 476,000 viewers
Glory 13: 659,000 viewers
Glory 14: 495,000 viewers
Glory 15: 354,000 viewers
Glory 16: 498,000 viewers
Glory 17 – 487,000 viewers
Glory 18 – 352,000 viewers
Glory 19 – 542,000 viewers
Glory 20 – 359,000 viewers
Glory 21 – 488,000 viewers
The ratings are a significant improvement from April’s show. It draws the average up to 462,000 viewers for its Spike TV average. Looking at the ratings, it seems as though the ratings have been up and down every other show. We’ll see if this can improve heading into the summer.