Report: ESPN to pay for additional UFC media rights valuing overall deal at $1.5 Billion

May 22, 2018

Variety reports that ESPN has added additional events to its agreement with the UFC which now values the overall deal at $1.5 billion over the course of the multi-year pact.

The latest news all but ensures that Fox, which secured the rights to WWE’s Smackdown on Monday, is done with the UFC after its 7 year runs at the end of 2018.

According to the Variety report, the deal adds 15 more fights to the existing deal for a total of “30 fights” covered under the overall deal.  Presumably, when they mean fights, it refers to events rather than just an individual fight on the card.

In April, the UFC and ESPN+ reached a deal for the promotion’s digital rights for $750 million.  This deal, which seemingly worked in lockstep to the WWE deal announced Monday, is for events on ESPN’s linear channels and ESPN+.  The UFC will still have PPV and its Fight Pass streaming service.

Payout Perspective:

The new report indicates another $750 million for the remaining media rights of the UFC.  The $1.5 billion figure over a 5-year period means the UFC will receive approximately $300 million a year over the course of the accord.  This is a very good deal for the UFC when you consider that they were being offered $175-$200 million for media rights (although its not clear if that included digital rights).  While it might not be as robust as the WWE’s latest deal which has them receiving money from NBCUniversal and Fox, it is a grand improvement on their last deal with Fox.

Lomachenko-Linares draw 1.024M on ESPN

May 15, 2018

ESPN Top Rank Boxing Saturday night scored 1.024 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The feature bout saw Vasiliy Lomachenko stop Jorge Linares.

The event began earlier than most main events with it starting around 6:30pm on the west coast.

The event scored 0.35 in the A18-49 demo.  It drew 0.51 in the M18-49 demo.

The event drew less than Lomachenko’s December showdown with Guillermo Rigondeux as that fight drew 1.73M viewers.  The December matchup started later in the night and was proceeded by the Heisman Trophy Presentation.  Still, Lomachenko-Linares outdrew the rest of the combat sports going on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are a positive even though they were less than December’s fight.  The glut of combat sports on Saturday night and the earlier start time probably contributed a little to the lower number.  For those on the west coast, it was a little surprising to see the card starting at 5pm and the main event happening in the 6pm hour.  This may have helped those on the east coast but for those on the west coast it may have been hard to catch.

Report: UFC nearing next TV deal?

April 17, 2018

Variety reports that ESPN and Fox Sports are coming together to bid for the television rights for the UFC.  The companies will split the UFC TV package and we will see 15 fight events moving to new subscription streaming service ESPN+.

ESPN, according to sources, ESPN is willing to pay $120-$180 million per year.  Fox currently pays $120 million per year.

The number of fights from Fox would “decline slightly” according to the report.

Last spring a Sports Business Journal article indicated that the UFC was looking for a rights package of $450 million per year.  The Variety article notes that it reportedly sought $300-$400 million per year.

But the ratings decline on Fox are glaring.  The article states that Saturday-night broadcasts fell 22% from the previous year.  This past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 29 barely surpassed 2 million viewers after the overrun.  The “UFC Fight Night” on FS1 averaged 795,000 viewers this year which is reportedly down 17%.

Payout Perspective:

If the rumored deal comes to fruition, it will represent a shakeup for UFC TV that will likely affect UFC Fight Pass.  In passing, articles on the media deal have indicated that the digital platform has approximately 400,000 subscribers.  With the launch of ESPN’s new OTT platform, the UFC will contribute to the variety of content offered.  But, this may mean a loss of exclusivity for Fight Pass which may have to rely on its library to keep its subscription base as MMA fans will have another bill to pay.

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN draws 407,000 viewers

March 27, 2018

Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 407,000 viewers Saturday night.  The event headlined by Jose Martinez and Alejandro Santiago garnered 104,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The telecast aired about the same time as the Elite Eight game between Florida State and Michigan.  The NCAA game on TBS drew 9.713 million viewers and 3.9 million viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Also, on Saturday was HBO Boxing with an afternoon telecast that replayed again on Saturday night.

Payout Perspective:

As with the HBO telecast, Saturday was a hard afternoon/night to compete with NCAA basketball as both boxing events did not draw that many viewers.

ESPN scores highest cable boxing ratings in 2018 thus far

March 14, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN drew over 1 million viewers for its Saturday night telecast featuring Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg scored 1,082,000 on Saturday night.

The 123-minute telecast drew a 0.37 rating in the A18-49 demo.  According to Nielsen, the Andy Vences-Erick De Leon fight was the highest-rated boxing event on cable for 2018 with a 0.8 share.

The lead-in for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN was the ACC conference championship tournament game between North Carolina and Virginia which led to the highest-rated show on cable TV for Saturday night with over 3.4 million viewers.

(h/t:  ShowBuzz Daily)

Payout Perspective:

Clearly, the ESPN deal is helping Top Rank with exposure of its product.  The ratings for its programming are aided by the lead-ins.  This time around it was the ACC Championship game featuring two top programs which likely helped keep people tuned into the next thing on ESPN that night.  Saturday night exemplified this affect since for most casual fans, we did not know these fighters.  It did go up against Showtime’s event which aired at about the same time but it fared much better.

ESPN Top Rank Boxing Saturday night scores highest overnights this year

March 11, 2018

Saturday night’s ESPN Top Rank event drew the highest overnight ratings (in terms of market rating) for 2018 according to the network.  It was the prelim fight between Andy Vences and Arick De Leon that scored a 0.8 metered market rating.

Last week’s Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz drew a 0.7 rating on Showtime and 1.055M viewers.    The main event of Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg drew a 0.7 rating.

The visual spectacle of the fights fought outside under a canopy while rain came down in Southern California was nice.

The ratings will come out on Monday.

Payout Perspective:

It was a pretty big night on Saturday with an event on Showtime and the ESPN event.  The Valdez-Quigg fight was especially entertaining with Valdez earning the unanimous decision.  One might expect the ESPN fights to draw over 1 million viewers based on the market share according to ESPN.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 741,000 viewers Saturday night

February 7, 2018

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 741,000 viewers according to Nielsen (via ShowBuzz Daily).  The event drew 0.21 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The event featured Zurdo Ramirez as he defeated Habib Ahmed in the 6th round to successfully defend his World Boxing Organization super middleweight title.  In addition, Jerwin Ancajas, dubbed as the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao stopped Israel Gonzalez in defense of his International Boxing Federation super flyweight title.

Payout Perspective:

The event came on ESPN slightly late due to the NCAA men’s basketball game between Michigan State and Indiana.  It did not do as well as November’s event which drew 1.487M viewers.  Still, it did well considering the card were for those well-versed in boxing as the fighters on the telecast did not carry much casual viewer cache.

Loma-Rigo draw 1.73M viewers on ESPN Saturday night

December 12, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 1,730,000 million viewers.  It is the second-highest rating for Top Rank since partnering the network in July.

The event featured Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux in the main event.  Loma easily earned the victory when the Cuban challenger quit on the stool due to a hand injury.

The highest-rated event was the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight which averaged 2.8 million viewers and peaked at 4.4 million.  Although there was no peak viewership disclosed for Saturday’s event (yet), the Loma-Rigo fight likely had the highest peak viewership since Pacquiao-Horn.

According to Nielsen, via ShowBuzz Daily, it drew 0.59 viewers in the A18-49 demo and 0.84 with males in the 18-49 demo.  It drew 0.52 in the A18-34 demo.

The telecast was preceded by The Heisman Trophy Presentation which drew 2,175,000 and 0.58 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings for an event featuring two fighters in the 130-pound division.  It’s rare that you find a lot of interest in a fight involving fighters in the smaller weight divisions but Lomachenko and Rigondeux were Olympic gold medalists and Loma is considered one of the best in the world.  The true test will be to see if Top Rank can continue to put on fights that will increase visibility for its boxers.

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN draws 1.487M viewers Saturday night

November 14, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Saturday night drew 1.487 million viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The main event saw Jose Ramirez defeat Mike Reed in a junior welterweight matchup.  The victory keeps Ramirez in line for a shot at the title vacated by Terrence Crawford.  In addition, Artur Beterbiev beat down Enrico Koelling to win the vacant IBF World Light Heavyweight title and remains undefeated.

Surprisingly, the ratings rank 2nd behind the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.  The event’s lead-in was the Alabama-Mississippi State game which drew over 7 million viewers.

Headliners for Top Rank on ESPN since July 2016 and the telecast overall rating:

7/1/17:  Pacquiao-Horn – 2.812 million

8/19/17:  Crawford-Indongo – 965,000

8/05/17:  Lomachenko-Marriaga – 728,000

9/23/17:  Valdez-Servania – 706,000

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are a success for Top Rank as the fighters on the card are not really known to the casual boxing fan.  Still, the placement on ESPN after a big college football game likely aided the ratings in this case.  It is hard to think that this telecast did far much better than one with Terrence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko on it.

Ratings Buffet for week ending September 29th

October 2, 2017

The Ratings Buffet for the week ending September 29th.

Friday

ESPN:  Top Rank Boxing 11:42pm-1:22 am ET : 706,000 viewers, 0.25 A18-49

ESPN 2:  Top Rank Boxing 11:29pm-11:42 pm ET: 455,000 viewers, 0.17 A18-49

FXX: UFC Fight Night Prelims 7:00pm-8:00pm ET: 139,000 viewers, 0.06 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Prelims 8:00pm-10:00pm ET:  416,000 viewers, 0.15 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Main Card 10:00pm-1:00am ET:  502,000 viewers, 0.20 A18-49

FXX:  UFC Fight Night Post-Show:  1:00am-2:00am ET:  158,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

Saturday

Spike TV:  Bellator 183: 598,000 viewers, 646,000 DVR+3, peak 966,000 viewers,

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.081M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.121M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 2.568M viewers

Tuesday

USA WWE Smackdown 8:00pm-10:00pm ET 2.542M viewers, 0.82A18-49

Wednesday

FS1 TUF 26 Episode 1 10:00-11:00pm ET 220,000 viewers, 0.07 A18-49

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 78,000 viewers, 9pm ET 32,000

Thursday

 

PopTV: Impact Wrestling, 8:00pm-10:00pm 264,000 viewers, 0.06 in A18-49

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