UFC 197: Payout Perspective

April 29, 2016

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  Better later than never, we write about UFC 197 taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with the return of Jon Jones.

Jones takes care of OSP

Jon Jones returned to the UFC octagon to handily defeat Ovince St. Preux via unanimous decision.  OSP was a late replacement for Daniel Cormier and did his best, but it was clear that he was in there against a far superior opponent.  OSP’s cardio was not ready for a 5 round fight and he wasn’t able to do much against Jones.  It seems unfair to criticize OSP since he stepped up on late notice.  But, he was given a chance and was unable to capitalize.

For Jones, it was a good fight to get back into fighting.  It was his first fight since January 2015.  Next is a showdown with Daniel Cormier as the main event for UFC 200.

UFC 197

Mighty Mouse is still good

Say what you will about Demetrious Johnson, there were two fighters on the card that you may argue are the best for pound in the world.  Only one looked like it.  Johnson dispatched of former Olympian Henry Cejudo in round one of the defense of his Flyweight title.

There is no one left in the Flyweight division for Johnson.  Perhaps a rematch against Dominick Cruz would be the most compelling fight to help Johnson draw an audience he deserves.

Attendance and Gate

The event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew 11,352 fans for a gate of $2.3 million as announced at the post-fight press conference.

Bonuses

Also announced the presser, the $50,000 bonuses went to Demetrious Johnson, Yair Rodriguez, Danny Roberts and Dominique Steele.

Ratings

UFC 197 Weigh-Ins on FS1: 184,000

UFC Pre-Fight Show on FS1: 218,000 viewers

UFC 197 Prelims on FS1: 835,000 viewers

UFC Post-Fight Show on FS1: 279,000 viewers

UFC 197 Payouts

Jon Jones led the roster making $500,000 (with no win bonus) followed by Demetrioius Johnson ($195,000).

The rest of the payouts are here.  The payouts do not include the Reebok sponsor pay.

Promotion of the Fight

Jon Jones almost did not make this fight as he was cited once again for a traffic infraction.  This time, it caused him to violate parole and spend a couple days in prison.  Ironically, Daniel Cormier pulled out of the fight soon after Jones’ legal troubles.  Instead of a Jones-Anthony Johnson showdown, the pick was Ovince St. Preux.

Henry Cejudo made pro-UFC comments about Conor McGregor.  He then clarified the comments which seemed a little more confusing.  The fact that he was the guy that said he would not fight in Nevada so long as Nick Diaz was suspended makes his comments this week uneven.  Granted, he’s entitled to his opinion and just because he’s supported Diaz does not mean he has to support Conor.

The Embedded episodes focused on the return of Jon Jones, OSP, Mighty Mouse and Cejudo.  It also included the Pettis brothers training at the same time as Jones in preparation for the fight.

Sponsorships

Reebok, Harley Davidson, EA UFC 2, Toyo Tires, MetroPCS, Monster Energy Drink, Bud Light, mobile app game Mobile Strike were in octagon sponsors with Monster taking the center.

Jon Jones had a Monster sponsorship patch in addition to his Reebok gear.  He also held a Monster can after the fight in an old school way of promoting the drink.

Some notables: Jon Jones wore his sponsor, nutrition products company, GAT during an open UFC workout and it was captured on Embedded.

Luke Rockhold was seen in the crowd at UFC 197 sporting an Adidas hat.  Prior to the Reebok deal, Rockhold had a deal with Adidas.  Of course, since the two companies are linked, there was likely no problem with Rockhold wearing the hat.

Odds and Ends

Was it odd or great promotion that Daniel Cormier served as the color commentator for the Jones-OSP fight?

Was it me, or did it seem like OSP did not believe he was going to win this fight?

Demetrious Johnson is on Twitch.  One would think that he could connect his video game interest with MMA fans for more popularity.

Former UFC lightweight champion, and the only UFC fighter to grace the cover a Wheaties box, Anthony Pettis has lost his last 3 fights.

Cody East, the fighter found by Dana White, was stopped by Walt Harris in round 1 on the Early Prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Even without Conor McGregor appearing at this event, it seemed like the biggest news was his “retirement” and then the UFC taking him off of 200.

Conclusion

There were only 50,000 google searches for UFC 197 nationwide the Friday before the event.  This does not bode well if we are to assume the searches relate to interest and the interest relates to PPV buys.  Jon Jones is not a standalone PPV star like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey.  OSP is not someone anyone knew.  Moreover, Mighty Mouse is not a PPV draw.  This event likely ends up with 350,000 PPV buys as many had predicted.

Bellator Kickboxing’s debut draws 346,000 on SpikeTV

April 29, 2016

Bellator Kickboxing last Friday drew an average rating of 346,000 on Spike TV per Nielsen.  The debut of the promotion’s kickboxing followed Bellator 153.

Notably, per Nielsen the first hour of Bellator Kickboxing averaged 464,000 viewers and peaked with 730,000.

Payout Perspective:

The debut of Bellator’s foray into kickboxing promotion did well considering it was late at night following a two hour plus Bellator card.  The broadcast did slightly lower than the average for Glory on Spike TV (in 13 events on the network, it averaged 426,000 viewers).  We shall see if Bellator can fare better than Glory did on Spike.

TUF 23 Episode 2 draws 387,000 viewers

April 28, 2016

The second episode of TUF 23 on FS1 drew 387,000 viewers Wednesday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  It is a drop of approximately 20% from its debut.

TUF drew 228,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

In the second episode of the season, Khalil Rountree  faced Syndicate MMA teammate Cory Hendricks.  Hendricks submitted Rountree in the first fight in the house.

We also saw the friction between coaches Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha.

Bellator 152

Payout Perspective:

Not the best ratings start to a season.  The 387,000 viewers is the lowest episode 2 on FS1 thus far.  The NBA and NHL playoffs.  The Charlotte-Miami and Houston-Golden State games on TNT were the two top-rated sports events on cable

Update on Bellator 153 ratings

April 28, 2016

We have an update on the ratings from Bellator 153 last Friday night.  According to Nielsen, the Benson Henderson’s promotional debut against Andrey Koreshkov drew 973,000 viewers peaking at over 1 million.

The fight, which aired between 10:13-11:00pm ET, on Spike TV Friday night drew 973,000 peaking with 1.1 million viewers at 10:57pm.

It should be noted that Bellator 153 saw a jump in viewership once the NBA Playoff game between the Pistons and Cavaliers ended.  Per Nielsen, Bellator viewership on Spike TV jumped from 495,000 to 753,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The Cleveland/Detroit game was the second-highest rated game of the night next to the San Antonio/Memphis game which preceded it on ESPN.  While we probably should not draw a direct correlation between NBA viewers and Bellator viewers, it is interesting to note the spike of viewers tuning into Spike TV.  Despite his loss, the 973,000 viewers and over 1 million peak viewership is good news for the debut of Benson Henderson and Bellator.  It shows that the former UFC lightweight champ is still a draw.

UFC “takes over” Good Morning America Wednesday

April 26, 2016

The UFC will have a distinct presence on the Wednesday, April 27th edition of ABC’s “Good Morning America.”  The appearance is lead-up to the sale of tickets for UFC 200.

According to the UFC, Chuck Liddell, Miesha Tate, Paige VanZant and Dana White will be among the UFC stars announced to make appearances between 7-9am during the show.

VanZant is currently a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

Payout Perspective:

Could we see a fight announcement for UFC 200 during the show?  The first UFC appearance on the Disney-owned network (ESPN is also owned by Disney) occurred last year when Ronda Rousey announced that she would fight Holly Holm.  It’s a good promotional appearance for the UFC as tickets to its biggest event go on sale this week.

UFC 197 Prelims: 835,000 viewers

April 26, 2016

The UFC 197 Prelims drew an average rating of 835,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1.  The event was the lowest since UFC 192 in October 2015.

The UFC 197 Prelims featured Sergio Pettis as he defeated Chris Kelades.

UFC 197 Prelims

Payout Perspective:

For those wondering, UFC 192 featured Daniel Cormier taking on Alexander Gustafsson.  The ratings do not bode well if you believe there is a correlation between the Prelims show on FS1 and the PPV buy rate.  UFC 192 only did 250,000 PPV buys.  Perhaps the buzz dropped off of this event since Cormier pulled out.

Bellator 153: 618,000 viewers

April 25, 2016

Bellator 153 drew 618,000 viewers on Friday night on Spike TV according to Sports TV Ratings.  The rating is a modest 6% increase from last week’s tape delayed show Saturday night from Italy.

The main event was the highly anticipated promotional debut of Benson Henderson.  Unfortunately, the former UFC lightweight champion was dominated by current welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov.

The sports cable landscape was dominated by the NBA Playoffs Friday night as 2.6M viewers each watched the Pistons-Cavs and Spurs-Grizzlies on Friday night on ESPN.  Each game overlapped with the Bellator event.

Bellator 153 also drew 287,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

Bellator 153

Payout Perspective:

One would have hoped for a better rating with Benson Henderson’s debut.  You would have also hoped for a better fight from Henderson but Koreshkov was just better at 170.  Excluding Bellator 149’s tentpole rating of 1.96M viewers, the average viewership this year over 5 events is 653,000 viewers.

UFC on Fox 19 final overnight rating and prelims

April 21, 2016

UFC on Fox 19 Saturday drew an average rating of 2.5 million viewers on Saturday according to Nielsen.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Fox drew 1.4 million viewers.

The main card peaked with 2.8 million viewers.

The prelims which featured Michael Chiesa submitting Beneil Dariush drew a 0.9 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 2 share.  It improved from last April’s UFC on Fox Prelims by 13%.  It was the third time that the prelims for a UFC on Fox event aired on Fox.

The final overnight ratings for the main card is slightly off last April’s UFC on Fox 15 Prelims which drew 2.7 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are good considering this card was hit hard with removals including a fight (Islam Makhachev-Drew Dober) that was taken off after the weigh-ins.  The ratings show the relative stability in knowing what to expect with these cards.

Bellator 152 on Spike TV draws 580,000 viewers

April 19, 2016

Bellator 152 drew an average of 580,000 viewers  on Spike TV Saturday according to Sports TV Ratings.  It was the first Bellator event overseas as the card took place in Turin, Italy.

In the main event of the broadcast, Patricky Frieire defeated Eimilson Souza.

The event, which lasted from 8:00-10:02pm PT, drew 271,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.

Saturday night’s ratings reflect a 25% decrease from Bellator 151.

Bellator 152

Payout Perspective:

The event occurred on a busy night for sports as it went up against playoff basketball and hockey.  In addition, there was the replay of Pacquiao-Bradley (which drew 750,000 subscribers) and UFC on Fox earlier on in the evening.  MMA Payout will have more on the ratings later this week.

PBC on NBC draws 1.24M viewers in overnight ratings

April 17, 2016

Premier Boxing Champions posted its worst ratings on NBC drawing just 1.24 million viewers in overnights per Television By Numbers.

The card featured Errol Spence, Jr. against Chris Algieri with Spence scoring the victory.

The event, which aired from 8:30-11pm ET drew a 0.3 rating in the adult 18-49 demo and a 1 share.

The PBC on NBC December 12th card drew 1.85 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

On the other end of the watching spectrum, while the UFC on Fox won the night in the A18-49 demo, PBC on NBC put on its worst rating since airing on the network.  This has to be a big disappointment considering it is trying to push young stars like Errol Spence, Jr.  The overnight ratings reflect show that despite the shuffled UFC card, it has established a set audience that will watch the event regardless of the matchups.  As for boxing, it has yet to produce something like this to maintain ratings.

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