December 2, 2016
The 12th and final episode of TUF 24 drew 386,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night. The season drew an average live viewership of just 343,000.
In the TUF final, Tim Elliott prevailed over Hiromasa Ogikubo to become The Ultimate Fighter. While the show’s concept this season was unique, Elliott’s win was leaked months ago and TV guides listed Elliott’s name as Demetrious Johnson’s opponent before Wednesday’s episode showed the final.
This season did much worse than last fall’s TUF 22 which featured coaches Faber and McGregor. Still, last fall seemed like low ratings with an average live rating of 522,000. But, this season’s average was lower. Even the ATT v. Blackzilians TUF season (TUF 21) drew a better season average with 393,000 over the 12-episode season. I thought the TUF 24 fights were entertaining but whether it was the fact that people knew the ultimate result or that they are tired with the concept, live viewership is decreasing.
November 30, 2016
UFC Fight Night 101 drew 686,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1 per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims which preceded the main card drew 654,000.
The main card (10:00-12:56 am ET) was headlined by Robert Whittaker taking on Derek Brunson. Whittaker won via first round stoppage. The event drew 342,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The 2 hour prelims (8:00-10:00pmET) drew 296,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The ratings are somewhat surprising considering the UFC weigh-ins on FS1 Friday drew a very good 297,000 viewers which is above average for a weigh-in on the network.
Notably, the Kovalev-Ward replay on HBO drew more viewers, 834,000 (391,000 in A18-49), than during the main card. Also, the live fight of Lomachenko-Walters drew more viewers (761,000, 347,000 A18-49) than the live UFC event.
It was the first time in a while that boxing on either HBO or Showtime drew better than a UFC event on FS1. It was a free preview weekend for the premium cable channels which may be a reason although I am not sure if the Nielsen numbers include those not subscribed. Still, good numbers for HBO, while the UFC event numbers were lower than the Fight Night average. It is interesting that the main card and prelims were so close in viewership numbers.
November 29, 2016
The penultimate episode of TUF 24 drew 304,000 viewers on FS1 this past Wednesday per Sports TV Ratings. It was the first time that the series scored over 300,000 viewers in 3 weeks.
The episode featured 2 semifinal fights which leads to the reveal of the winner of TUF 24 and faces Demetrious Johnson this Saturday. In the first fight of the episode, Hirmasa Ogikubo defeated Alxandre Pantoja. In the second episode Tim Elliott defeated Eric Shelton. This sets up the final between Ogikubo and Elliott.
Per Sports TV Ratings, the event drew 155,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The ratings are down from last year’s 528,000 for TUF 22 Episode 11. The ratings are good for this season especially when you consider that the episode was on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
November 22, 2016
UFC Fight Night 100 drew 769,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1. The prelims which preceded the main card on Saturday night drew 532,000 viewers.
The main card, which saw Ryan Bader defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, drew 374,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The prelims drew 261,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
Peak viewership for the event was 881,000 from 11:00-11:15pmET. The main card aired from 9:00-12:19am ET.
The ESPN College Football game between Clemson and Wake Forest won the time slot from the UFC as it drew over 2 million viewers between 7-10:20pm ET.
The event was up 3% from the corresponding Saturday last year (UFC Fight Night 78) as that event drew 750,000 viewers. Notably, the prelims for UFC Fight Night 78 did much better with 732,000 viewers. The event is down from UFC Fight Night 98 earlier this month.
However, it did better than Bellator 165 although the two events at the same time were close (BMMA 597,000). The last time the two organizations had televised events on at the same time UFC Fight Night 50 (which featured Ryan Bader versus OSP) edged out Bellator. The UFC event drew 911,000 viewers while the Bellator card drew 667,000.
November 22, 2016
Bellator 165 drew 597,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night. The main event featured Michael Chandler versus Benson Henderson for Chandler’s lightweight title.
Chandler won via decision. The event went up against UFC Fight Night 100 which aired at about the same time on FS1. The Bellator event aired from 9p-12:08am ET on Spike TV. Per Sports TV Ratings, it drew 307,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
The event did fairly well against UFC on the same night. The UFC event from Brazil drew 769,000. According to sources, the Bellator event should pick up some DVR viewers when those numbers are announced. It was the second straight event in which a Bellator event has increase over the prior event.
November 17, 2016
The Ultimate Fighter 24 Episode 10 drew an average viewership of 247,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night per Sports TV Ratings.
It was the lowest-rated episode this season. The episode drew 147,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
Eric Shelton defeated Ronaldo Candido via unanimous decision and Tim Elliott tapped Matt Schnell in the first round. Shelton and Elliott advance.
A third consecutive week with lower ratings. It is a substantial decrease from last fall’s TUF 22 Episode 10 which registered 499,000 viewers. NBA Basketball featuring the Raptors-Warriors and Grizzlies-Clippers on ESPN were the top cable sports programs on Wednesday night. We’ll see if TUF can break the streak of decreasing ratings in the last two episodes.
November 15, 2016
The UFC 205 Prelims drew 1,801,000 million viewers on FS1 Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings. It is the second-highest rated UFC Prelims on FS1 this year and third-highest all-time on the network.
The UFC 205 Prelims featured Frankie Edgar taking on Jeremy Stephens in the last fight of the prelims on FS1. It also had Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Michael Johnson in a lightweight matchup.
The event drew 1,106,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.
The show had very good matchups and we see the correlation between Conor McGregor shows and the rise in ratings for the FS1 prelims. One should expect a huge PPV buy rate as a result.
November 14, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition we take a look at UFC 205 taking place at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
McGregor wins lightweight title from Alvarez
Conor McGregor once again backed up his talk as he stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round to win the UFC lightweight title. He now holds the featherweight and lightweight titles.
It was rather easy work for McGregor who displayed his power and showed no fear against Alvarez including dropping his hands and putting them behind his back.
McGregor cut a promo which included calling the UFC “cheap” for not providing him two belts immediately and apologizing to no one.
In all likelihood, McGregor’s next fight will be at 155 and he’ll likely have his choice of Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmogomenov.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 13, 2016
The champ champ pic.twitter.com/iprUKL0Ldx
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 13, 2016
Woodley, Wonderboy goes to a draw
Sometimes you have to wonder about coaching. Tyrone Woodley dominated Stephen Thompson in the first round on the ground and you could argue that his dominance deserved a 10-8 1st round. Yet, he neglected to attempt another takedown throughout the rest of the fight. Instead, Thompson was able to utilize his length and standup to stifle Woodley standing with the exception of a couple shots in the 4th round that almost stopped the fight.
An immediate rematch seems like the most logical thing although it seems unfair to a patient Demian Maia.
Jedrzejczyk dominates Kowalkiewicz
Joanna successfully defended her strawweight title with a 49-46 unanimous decision over Karolina Kowalkiewicz. It was a one-sided, 5 round fight with Kowalkiewicz winning a couple skirmishes but Jedrzejcyk earning 4 rounds.
Joanna Violence does not know who’s next but she plans to fight sometime mid-2017.
Attendance and Gate
UFC 205 eclipsed the previous record gate from UFC 129 in Toronto of $12 million. The Madison Square Garden debut drew $17.7 million with 20,427 in attendance according to a UFC official post-fight.
Conor McGregor, Yoel Romero, Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson earned the bonuses. McGregor and Romero won performances of the night and Woodley and Thompson won for Fight of the Night.
Promotion to the Fight
The UFC went all out for its debut including an ESPN Car Wash and various articles in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. There was local as well as national coverage promoting the event.
The Embedded episodes gave us a glimpse of the fighters getting ready for the fights focusing on the 3 championship fights. You have to wonder with all of the episodes at hotels the UFC does not have a partnership with a hotel chain.
Budweiser sponsored the 6-episode Embedded series. It also had the fighter prep point. Notably, Twinzz.com and IconicFace.com were in the Octagon as well. Both made appearances at UFC 204 in England. Twinzz.com is a hat manufacturer while IconicFaceoff.com appears to be a fantasy sports web site.
Qalo, a wedding ring manufacturer that touts silicone rings for the active person was a sponsor in the Octagon last night. It worked with Chris Weidman in leadup to UFC 205.
In addition, Monster Energy Drink had the center as well sharing a corner with 7-Eleven. MetroPCS, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, Geico and Budweiser.
The upcoming movie, “Bleed for This,” the story of boxer Vinny Pazienza was featured during the PPV. The movie was introduced by Michael Bisping.
Tyron Woodley and Conor McGregor sported the Monster logo on their Reebok kits.
Reebok introduced New York-specific UFC 205 merchandise for this event. It also sold Conor McGregor-specific shirts including a “I Whoop People for Truckoads of Cash” shirt.
Odds and Ends
Probably the best UFC Prelims ever as the fights could be its own PPV. Look for it to eclipse the record-setting ratings of UFC 200.
Are MMA purists ok with the WWE-style promotion that McGregor has provided for this event? The fur coat and faking like he was going after Alvarez with a folding chair seems very much spectacle than reality.
Miesha Tate’s retirement seemed out of nowhere. She was still a top-ranked fighter but maybe she sees other opportunities on the horizon.
There should be a rule that all interpreters should not have man-buns as Yoel Romero’s did.
Kevin Gastelum did not make weight once again which eliminated his fight with Donald Cerrone from the card.
Despite the talk about blue chip sponsors partnering with the UFC, there were no big surprises. Budweiser the only real change although Bud Light has been a part of the UFC sponsorship.
One of the storylines from the newfound regulations in New York is the requirement that combat sports promoters needing to provide $1M coverage for brain injury for each fighter on the card. The UFC paid $1,675 per athlete which came out to $40,200 for UFC 205. Boxing promoters have been outspoken in speaking out against this measure which was a part of the law that would legalize MMA in the sport.
Apparently, Bruce Buffer knew he was reading the wrong decision in the Woodley -Thompson fight. However, he can only read what is on the judge’s scorecard. This is why he left the cage to confer with the judges.
No Trump at UFC 205, but there were other luminaries in the crowd including Demi Lovato and Odell Beckham, Jr. (the NY Giants WR also made a cameo in meeting Tyron Woodley on an episode of Embedded.)
Does McGregor really demand an ownership stake in the UFC, or is this just pure hype and bluster?
UFC 205 pulled over 2 million google searches on Saturday night which usually means a healthy PPV buy rate. Also over 1 million searches on Saturday were Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. Rousey searches likely due to the unveiling of the very good promo for her return on Friday, December 30th.
This event should flirt with the PPV record of 1.6 million PPV buys. Certainly, college football and the fact that many fans purchase the event at UFC.com could detract from the overall number. However, with 3 title fights on the main card including the company’s biggest PPV star, Conor McGregor, we should see a PPV buy rate around 1.5-1.7 million PPV buys
November 10, 2016
The Ultimate Fighter 24 episode 9 drew 252,000 viewers on FS1 Wednesday night. It’s the lowest-rated episode of the season per Sports TV Ratings.
In addition, the adult 18-49 demo was up slightly. The ratings are substantially down from TUF 22’s Episode 9 which garnered 495,000 viewers and TUF 23 which drew 409,000 viewers.
It’s the second straight week with a season low in ratings. On the bright side, the Adult 18-49 demo was up. This season is losing a lot of interest as highlighted by the ratings.
November 8, 2016
UFC Fight Night 98 drew 860,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday per Sports TV Ratings. The rating is almost a 25% increase from last month’s event.
It should be noted that last month’s event, UFC Fight Night 97, took place an hour later than most fight nights. This past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 98 aired from 10:02pm to 1:33am ET and scored 498,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo.
The prelims, which preceded the main card aired from 8:00pm to 10:02pm drew 668,000 viewers and 372,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.
Per Fox Sports PR, the main card peaked with 997,000 viewers.
The card from Mexico City had some good fights and an excellent main event. However, it was below the year average. Although it’s unlikely it made a dent into the ratings, there was the Pacquiao fight on Saturday night as well as College Football in prime time on both ABC (Nebraska-Ohio St.) and CBS (LSU-Alabama).