PBC on FS1 Saturday night draws 159K viewers another 74K on Fox Deportes

November 6, 2019

PBC on FS1 Saturday night averaged 159,000 viewers and an additional 74,000 viewers on Fox Deportes per Nielsen.

The FS1 telecast peaked from 12:15 am-12:30am with 198,000 viewers.  Notably, this was prior to the main event in Las Vegas featuring Canelo Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev as DAZN paused their event to await the finish of the UFC feature fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.

Also airing Saturday night were PBC studio specials promoting the upcoming Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz fight.  The Fox PBC Face-to-Face averaged 590,000 viewers from 12:21am-12:51am and PBC’s Fight Camp averaged 365,000 viewers from 12:51am-1:21am.

The telecast featured Brian Castano as he defeated Wale Omotoso in a battle between super welterweights.  Castano earned the victory.

Payout Perspective:

There was a lot of boxing on Saturday night including PBC on FS1, Top Rank on ESPN and the DAZN card featuring Canelo.  Not to mention the UFC card which sparked controversy for DAZN’s decision to wait for the card to end to begin the main event.  While the PBC ratings on Saturday was comparatively low, there is still general interest in the buildup for the Wilder-Ortiz fight.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 635,000 viewers Saturday

November 5, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on Saturday night drew 635,000 viewers on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast drew 268,000 in the A18-49 demo.

The telecast which aired during the UFC 244 PPV on ESPN+ and the Canelo-Alvarez undercard on DAZN featured Miguel Berchelt as he stopped Jason Sosa in the 4th round.  The battle between the junior lightweights took place at the Dignity health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Recent Top Rank on ESPN Ratings

10/19 Top Rank Boxing 635,000

8/17 Top Rank Boxing 471,000

7/13 Top Rank Boxing 530,000

6/28 Top Rank Boxing (Fri) 490,000

6/8 Top Rank Boxing (Sat – Fury Prelims on ESPN2) 493,000

5/25 Top Rank Boxing 556,000

5/11 Top Rank Boxing 740,000

5/4 Top Rank Boxing 480,000

Payout Perspective:

Identical ratings from the October 19th Top Rank Boxing telecast on ESPN.  On a night with UFC, PBC on FS1 and DAZN, 635,000 for this event has to be considered promising.  With the perceived debacle by DAZN to hold the main event until after the UFC card, boxing fans could have turned into this event on ESPN.

UFC 244 on ESPN2 draws 910,000 viewers

November 5, 2019

The UFC 244 Prelims on ESPN 2 this past Saturday drew 910,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It drew 495,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The telecast featured Johnny Walker facing Corey Anderson in a battle of Light Heavyweights vying for a shot at Jon Jones.  Anderson surprised Walker as he stopped the young, up and comer in the first round.

The event at Madison Square Garden is a precursor to the big main event featuring Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.

The prelims, which tend to predict the success of the PPVs, missed the vaunted 1 million viewers which is an unofficial benchmark for event success.  The last time a prelims recorded over 1 million viewers was July’s UFC 239 with Jon Jones headlining the annual International Fight Week event.

Payout Perspective:

The PPV buy rates and prelim ratings don’t mesh as they used to pre-ESPN although this time around you might assume that the number of people that paid for the PPV is comparable to UFC 239.  The amount of promotion behind the BMF belt, selling Masvidal and Diaz as the toughest in the UFC probably equated to a big uptick in buys.

Top Rank Boxing on Friday draws 635,000 on ESPN

October 21, 2019

Top Rank Boxing on Friday night drew 635,000 viewers for its event on ESPN.

The event featured light heavyweights Artur Beterbiev and Alex Gvozdyk.

Beterbiev stopped Gvozdyk in the 10th round and becomes a top choice for the winner of the Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev winner November 2nd.

Recent Top Rank on ESPN Ratings

8/17 Top Rank Boxing  471,000

7/13 Top Rank Boxing 530,000

6/28 Top Rank Boxing (Fri) 490,000

6/8 Top Rank Boxing (Sat – Fury Prelims on ESPN2) 493,000

5/25 Top Rank Boxing 556,000

5/11 Top Rank Boxing 740,000

5/4 Top Rank Boxing 480,000

Payout Perspective:

In comparison to what the ratings have been on ESPN, Friday was a good night of viewership. Despite not a lot of promotion for the telecast, the viewership for the time and placement on the network seems like a win.

UFC Fight Night Boston main card draws 805K viewers Friday night

October 21, 2019

The UFC Boston card on Friday night drew 805,000 viewers on ESPN2 Friday night according to Nielsen per ShowBuzz Daily.

The Prelims drew 396,000 viewers for its 3-hour telecast prior to the main card.  The Prelims began at 6pm ET and 3pm on the west coast.  According to ShowBuzz Daily it drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

The main card featured Chris Weidman as he took on Dominick Reyes in his light heavyweight debut.  Unfortunately for the former middleweight champion, he was stopped in the first round by the up and coming contender.  The 3-hour main card received 0.33 in the A18-49 demo.  It was the same A18-49 rating as the college football game between Syracuse and Pittsburgh on ESPN.

Payout Perspective:

For a Friday night UFC event, the ratings are pretty good when you consider that many casual fans associate Saturday night with UFC fights.  Perhaps a bit unexpected competition was the Houston-New York Game 5 of the MLB Playoffs on FS1 which drew over 5.6 million viewers.  The playoff games were moved back a day due to rain on Wednesday.  The main card did rank 6th in cable ratings for the night.

PFL Playoffs 2 on ESPN2 draws 126,000 viewers

October 21, 2019

The Professional Fighters’ League drew 126,000 viewers on ESPN2 Thursday night for its second night of playoffs from Las Vegas.

The PFL playoffs last week from the Mandalay Bay featured the quarterfinals of the Featherweight and Lightweight divisions.  Fighters advancing to New York had to fight twice with some fighting on the Prelims and then on the Main Card to allow at least some time in between fights.  Purses for the show can be found here.

The event did slightly better than some of the regular season Prelim cards which aired on ESPN this past summer. Notably, last week, the first set of playoffs on ESPN2 didn’t register in the top 150 of cable programming for the night.

Payout Perspective:

The viewership likely was buried due to MLB Playoff baseball featuring the Yankees and Astros, NFL Thursday night football and then College Football on ESPN.  Still, one would have hoped that the ratings would have been a little more considering PFL is in the thick of its playoffs.

ESPN and DAZN neck and neck in top-grossing sports apps

August 22, 2019

According to John Ourand’s eblast newsletter on Wednesday, ESPN and DAZN remain the top-grossing sports apps worldwide.  The key difference between the two apps is that 99% of ESPN’s revenue is from the U.S. while DAZN’s only receives 27% from the U.S.

Ourand cites data from Sensor Tower which notes that ESPN has around $9.4 million in user spending which is 7x growth from last July.  DAZN nearly had $8.8 million representing 7.5x growth.

DAZN came onto the market in the U.S. this past September while ESPN+ emerged in the spring of 2018.  DAZN’s growth centers around its boxing offerings in addition to some Bellator-exclusive coverage as well as Combates Americas.  ESPN’s digital platform includes a vast amount of content including Top Rank, UFC and PFL.

Payout Perspective:

The obvious takeaway here is that DAZN is still establishing itself in the U.S. market.  One might deduce that its key signings of Canelo Alvarez, GGG and Anthony Joshua will help its subscription base.  Alternatively, it signed a deal with MLB with moderate success. One might expect DAZN catching up with ESPN in user spending if it is able to lockdown key fights for the platform.  Notably, it fared well when Canelo Alarez faced Daniel Jacobs this past spring with so many new subscriptions and viewers.  Alternatively, ESPN may be looking into international expansion.  With most of its revenue generated from the U.S. market, it might be a time to look into expansion.

UFC 241 PPV Prelims draw 817,000 viewers

August 21, 2019

The UFC 241 PPV Prelims drew 817,000 viewers on Saturday night on ESPN according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event was the 5th most-watched telecast on cable and did better than two NFL Preseason game in the A18-49 demo.

The UFC PPV Prelims drew a 0.33 share in the A18-49 demo which ranked better than two NFL Preseason games on the NFL Network Saturday.

The Prelims featured Khama Worthy as he defeated Devonte Smith in the first round.  The event peaked at 949,000 viewers during the fight.

Payout Perspective:

While the event did better than the NFL Preseason in the A18-49 demo, it also ranked sixth among the 8 PPV Prelims that have aired on ESPN this year.  This is disappointing considering that UFC 241 looked to be the biggest event thus far this year.  Yet, despite the big feel of the main card, the prelims were an afterthought this time around.  The low ratings seem to break away from the normal belief that a high PPV Prelim rating means a good PPV buy rate.

UFC 241: Payout Perspective

August 19, 2019

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at a very successful UFC 241 from The Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Stipe KOs Cormier to regain Heavyweight title

Stipe Miocic regained the UFC Heavyweight title with a KO of Daniel Cormier late in the 4th round.  DC had looked like the better fighter through most of the 4 rounds but Miocic’s strategy of body shots took its toll on Cormier leading to the KO.  Cormier had been leading on all cards at the time of the stoppage.

Despite the loss, Cormier has had a tremendous career and showed all class in what could be his last fight in the Octagon.  Personally, I think he still has a couple more fights in him before he retires.  It would seem as though a rematch would be the most logical thing to do although Miocic could wait to see the winner of the Walt Harris-Alistair Overeem fight or another fight with Francis Ngannou.

Diaz returns to defeat Pettis

The biggest question going into UFC 241 was determining how Nate Diaz would look like with 3 years off.  The answer was sensational.  Diaz looked fresh and used his dirty boxing tactics to stifle Anthony Pettis.  Showtime did break his foot during the fight but Diaz was clearly the dominant fighter tonight.

Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal for his next fight in what many believe would be a great fight to see.

Attendance and gate

For the first time, an MMA event in California drew over $3 million as UFC 241 drew $3,237,032 with 17,304 in attendance according to the UFC post-event.  It bested the previous record, UFC 214 by nearly $1 million.  Earlier in the week, SeatGeek noted the secondary market was up for this event.


The $50,000 bonuses went to Stipe Miocic, Khama Worthy, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.  Miocic and Worthy earned Performance Bonuses for their respective stoppages and Costa-Romero was a sight to behold with both fighters unloading big shots. Costa won by decision in the end.


The California State Athletic Commission disclosed the payouts from the event.  Stipe Miocic topped the payouts with $750,000

Stipe Miocic: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Daniel Cormier: $500,000

Nate Diaz $250,000 (no win bonus)
def. Anthony Pettis: $155,000

Paulo Costa $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
def. Yoel Romero: $150,000

Sodiq Yusuff $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Gabriel Benitez: $40,000

Derek Brunson $190,000 (includes $95,000 win bonus)
def. Ian Heinisch: $25,000

Khama Worthy $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devonte Smith: $23,000

Cory Sandhagen $154,000 (includes $77,000 win bonus)
def. Raphael Assuncao: $79,000

Drakkar Klose $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Christos Giagos: $28,000

Casey Kenney $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Manny Bermudez: $20,000

Hannah Cifers $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Jodie Esquibel: $10,000

Kyung Ho Kang $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Brandon Davis: $21,000

Sabina Mazo $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Shana Dobson: $12,000


UFC sponsors in the Octagon included Toyo Tires, Roar Sports (“Aurora Canabis”), Motel 6, Devour, PariMatch, PokerStars, The Rock’s latest movie, “Hobbs and Shaw,” Nemiroff, Modelo, P3, Devour, Monster and Circle K shared an Octagon post and Monster Energy had the center.

Poker Stars also had the outside the Octagon standing area for the coaches.  Body Armor was all over the place last night including the drinks and stools for the event.

Devour had the fighter prep point.  It was also on most of the Reebok fighter kits including shorts and walkout shirt. Notably, it was not on Cormier’s fight kit as he had the Monster, “M” on his gear.

Trifecta Nutrition presented the 7 Embedded Episodes.

Daniel Cormier signed a deal with cbdMD as it was announced during fight week.

Odds and Ends

Nate Diaz ascended to superstar status at UFC 241.  If he was not already a star after defeating Conor McGregor at UFC 196, he reminded people after a 3-year absence why he believes he’s the best in the fight game.  Notwithstanding, you can argue that the UFC made some concessions due to Diaz’s new leverage.  As Embedded showed, he didn’t have to wait around at weigh-ins, he stayed in Corona del Mar near the Wedge (pretty posh neighborhood near Newport Beach) and he lit up a blunt (later clarified as a CBD cigarette from his business) at open workouts.  Yet, the UFC and ESPN went along with it.

The UFC is better with Nate Diaz than it is without him and Dana White admitted that he is a “needle mover.”

As part of the media strategy to reintroduce Diaz to the masses, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning writer, John Branch, wrote a piece about him which highlighted the fighter’s anti-hero attributes.

During UFC 241, there was a lot of hype for next month’s UFC 242 taking place in Abu Dhabi. As a part, it relived the Conor-Khabib matchup from last October.

Nate Diaz had a bunch of unintentional funny comments during his post-fight presser.  Including this one:

There were many notable fighters in the crowd including boxer Terrence Crawford and various UFC fighters but no one drew the most heat than Colby Covington and his MAGA gimmick.

The best part of the Embedded was the “push-up pump” Romero did before getting his photos taken.

The Costa-Romero fight earned Fight of the Night.  During the first round, Romero used the “hey look over there” gimmick to buy time and nail Costa with a punch.  The winner talked about it after.

In spite of his loss, Daniel Cormier showed class in the face of adversity.  Embedded showed his busy schedule in promoting the fight which included throwing out the first pitch at the Angels game, a spot on Access Hollywood and other media.  It also showed the various businesses that he has which will take care of him after his fight career.


UFC 241 drew over 2 million google searches on Saturday which likely equates to a very good buy rate.  The return of Nate Diaz likely spurred the influx of interest coupled with the Heavyweight fight between Cormier and Miocic.  Something in the range of 400-450K PPV buys from ESPN+ would be a good estimate.

UFC on ESPN 5 draws 680K for afternoon show

August 6, 2019

UFC on ESPN 5 from Newark, New Jersey Saturday afternoon drew 680,000 viewers on the network per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims which preceded the main card on Saturday drew 523,000 viewers.

The main card featured Colby Covington as he took on Robbie Lawler.  Covington defeated Lawler via unanimous decision.  The main card drew 350,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.45 overall share.  The prelims drew 234,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo and a 0.37 share.

The prelims began at 12pm ET with the main card following at 3pm ET.  Officially, the prelims had a 20-minute overrun into the main card on ESPN.

In comparison to other sports programming on Saturday afternoon.  The Big3 Basketball League on CBS drew 555,000 viewers at 1pm ET.  ABC’s XGames broadcast drew 570,000 viewers and a 284,000 in the A18-49 demo in the 1pm ET time slot.  The Yankees-Red Sox game on FS1 drew 587,000 viewers in the 1pm ET window.  It drew 155,000 in the A18-49 demo.

UFC on ESPN events (main card/prelims)

UFC on ESPN 1          1.463M/988K

UFC on ESPN 2          828K/480K

UFC on ESPN 3          1.091M/543K

UFC on ESPN 4          957K/548K

UFC on ESPN 5          680K/523K

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are the lowest for a UFC on ESPN event although this was the only event airing during the afternoon.  If there’s any good news, it’s that the A18-49 demo was strong in comparison to other sports such as the Yankees-Sox game or the XGames.

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