Dana White: FOX reason why Gustafsson is fighting on Fight Pass for Americans

March 10, 2014

Before the Ultimate Fight Night 37 London card, Dana White held one of his infamous pre-fight scrums where he tried to clear up some of the misconceptions regarding Fight Pass, including why Alexander Gustafsson ended up fighting on Fight Pass after a huge fight against Jon Jones on PPV last year.

Link: TheMMAReport, Abbey Subhan (YouTube)

Dana White addressing Fight Pass to the UK MMA media:

“First of all, the fight is being distributed to 350 million possible viewers [lists all countries available]. In the UK, the entire card will be on BT Sport and the main event for the first time ever here will be on Channel 5, open TV to everybody… The Americans have to pay for it on Fight Pass.  So the reason that this happened is, we added 10 more fights, we went to FOX and try to see if FOX would pick up these 10 more fights, and they didn’t.  So that’s why we put these on Fight Pass. They create their budgets at the beginning of the year and it wasn’t in their budget to pick up these fights. You know, not to say they don’t pick them up later, or whatever could happen with the deal, but that’s what happened. So, it’s either no one gets to see them or you put them on Fight Pass.  So, I hope that clears up some of the questions about Fight Pass… and anybody else and the rest of the world and countries I didn’t call, that I didn’t say a minute ago, they get it on Fight Pass too. Which of course all these people in other countries are pumped to pay for it on Fight Pass, whereas the Americans who are used to getting these fights for free, some of them are a little twisted, but whatever, what are you going to do.”

 

Payout Perspective:

These pre-fight scrums have historically produced some of the more interesting tidbits and have shed some light into what goes on behind the scenes of their business.  This was no different as Dana White specifically mentions that their mainstream television network partner, FOX, chose not to pickup these extra 10 UFC events, hence why UFN 37 and some more future fights will end up on Fight Pass instead of one of the FOX sport networks for American MMA fans.  That decision alone will cost avid UFC fans 10$ a month, or an extra $120 a year in addition to the already existing cost of UFC PPVs (13 PPVs in 2014).  If you add up the cost of Fight Pass and PPV events, the total cost of being an American MMA fan (not including your cable bill or attending live events) is around $900 dollars.  As a contrast, NFL, MLB, and NBA let their fans subscribe to season subscription packages that only cost around $200-250 dollars, which is only about 25% of the cost of an American MMA fan in 2014. In fact, just buying 4 UFC PPV events would exceed the entire season’s cost of all major sports.

The other part of White’s statement that sticks out is the difference in the relationship between UFC and FOX compared to UFC’s  previous relationship with Spike TV.  FOX picked up the UFC as a sports property to be aired on their sport networks.  Other sports have a fixed number of events that never change. You make a deal for a number of events and that’s what you air.  FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 have to balance all their sport properties, and lets face it, the more mainstream sports such as NASCAR, MLB, and even NCAA Basketball will get priority on FS1.  The UFC was able to add events on a whim in the past and Spike TV was more than happy to do it as they didn’t air any other sports or conflicting programming that would also give them good ratings.

This is not the case now that the UFC is on a sports network.  It’s also the reason why something that doesn’t have full promotional support, such as TUF Nations, is getting bounced around between FS1 and FS2 and has bottomed out at below 100,000 viewers.  The next season of TUF on Fox Sports 1 will be crucial for the UFC to see if they can regain the momentum picked up last season.  With the addition of Fight Pass, their current product is currently scattered between FOX, FS1, FS2, PPV, and Fight Pass (subscription), which has been argued as a necessity for UFC international expansion to be a success. But at the same time, it also leaves a portion of its American fan base, as Dana White put it, a bit “twisted”. UFC and FOX failed to come into an event agreement for 2014 that other networks around the world were able to make, and because of that, American fans are left to foot the bill.

FOX Sports 1 Releases 2014 MLB Schedule, UFCs Impact?

February 27, 2014

Today, FOX released their upcoming MLB on FOX 2014 schedule, which will occupy many upcoming Saturdays for the next few months. Will this impact UFC programming on Saturday nights?

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2014 FOX SPORTS/FOX SPORTS 1 MLB REGULAR-SEASON BROADCAST SCHEDULE

(Note: Schedule Subject to Change – Times Refer to On-Air)

Saturday, April 5

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, April 8

8:15 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, April 12

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Saturday, April 19

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Detroit Tigers

8:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, April 26

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at New York Yankees

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, May 3

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals

Saturday, May 10

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, May 15

12:35 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds

Saturday, May 17

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees

Saturday, May 24

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, May 31

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox
Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, June 7

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, June 14

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Atlanta Braves

Saturday, June 21

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians

10:05 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, June 28

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs

Saturday, July 5

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Texas Rangers at New York Mets
San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

Saturday, July 12

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

7:00 PM ET – FOX
Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Texas Rangers

Tuesday, July 15

2014 MLB All-Star Game from Target Field – Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, July 19

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Saturday, July 26

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals

Tuesday, July 29

8:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Texas Rangers

Saturday, August 2

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Saturday, August 9

1:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles

Saturday, August 16

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, August 23

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals

7:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday, August 26

8:10 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

Saturday, August 30

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday, September 6

1:00 PM ET – FOX
San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

4:00 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees

Saturday, September 13

1:00 PM ET – FOX
Atlanta Braves at Texas Rangers
New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles

8:10 PM ET – FOX Sports 1
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks

Saturday, September 20

FOX/FOX Sports 1
TBD

Saturday, September 27

FOX/FOX Sports 1
TBD

 

Payout Perspective:

Since the launch of FOX Sports 1, they have touted MLB on the network in addition to NASCAR and the UFC.  April 5th will now be the official debut of MLB on the network, which will finally place a big traditional sport on the network.  An afterthought to now airing baseball from April to September is what will happen to UFC programming on Saturdays? From a look at the schedule, FS1 will feature at least one, sometimes two MLB games on Saturdays, which happens to be when the UFC airs either their own events or prelims as lead-ins to their PPV events.

From Fox Sports point of view, this is the reason why they created Fox Sports 2, where they can keep the bigger sport on FS1 and move the clashing programming onto FS2.  The question is how much, if any, UFC Saturday programming will be moved to FS2 in the several few months?  The UFC also has the option to air their programming on Fight Pass, which would be a great selling point for the service, but both FS2 and Fight Pass would significantly decrease the exposure and reach of the product.

UFC on Fox 10: 3.2 million viewers

January 31, 2014

MMAPayout has learned from Nielsen sources that UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs Thomson did a 1.9 national rating and an average of 3.2M viewers.

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The 3.2 million viewersship number was upgraded greatly from the initial overnight rating of 2.55M viewers, which did not factor in the overrun and West Coast viewership. UFC on FOX 10 ratings are +12% from UFC on FOX 9: Johnson vs Benavidez (1.8 rating, 2.8M) last quarter, but are -21% from UFC on FOX 6: Johnson vs Dodson (2.43 rating,  4.22M), which aired in Q1 of last year.

For the night, UFC on FOX 10 finished second in total viewers to CBS but was first in the A18-49 demo with a 1.47 rating and in the M18-49 demo doing a very healthy 2.05 rating. Winning the A18-49 demo despite only doing a 0.89 rating in the Women 18-49 demo really shows how strong their pull is with the Male 18-49 demographic.

The prelims for UFC on FOX 10, which aired on FS1 before the FOX portion, drew 713,000 average viewers.

***

UFC on FOX Ratings:

UFC on FOX  1: 5.70M viewers (3.1 rating)
UFC on FOX  2: 4.70M viewers (2.6 rating)
UFC on FOX  3: 2.42M viewers (1.5 rating)
UFC on FOX  4: 2.44M viewers (1.4 rating)
UFC on FOX  5: 4.40M viewers (2.5 rating)
UFC on FOX  6: 4.22M viewers (2.4 rating)
UFC on FOX  7: 3.70M viewers (2.2 rating)
UFC on FOX  8: 2.38M viewers (1.5 rating)
UFC on FOX  9: 2.80M viewers (1.8 rating)
UFC on FOX 10: 3.22M viewers (1.9 rating)

Average UFC on FOX Viewership: 3.6M viewers.

 

Payout Perspective:

This is now the second lowest rating for an NFL season promoted UFC on FOX event, only edging out the previous UFC on FOX 9.  The problem with the last two numbers is that the next couple of shows will not have the benefit of the  NFL season promotion from FOX, which historically indicates that the numbers will dip considerably.

The lack of UFC stars due to injury, retirement, or leaving to sign with Bellator has left the UFC with a limited supply of stars, which has recently impaired the booking of headliners.  The next UFC on FOX event, UFC on FOX 11, will be held in Orlando, Florida on April 19th. That event will be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum, which indicates that no titles will be on the line but perhaps can be promoted as a #1 contender bout for the UFC HW title.

UFC on Fox 10 overnight ratings: 2.55 million

January 26, 2014

Television By Numbers reports the overnight ratings for UFC on Fox 10 on Saturday night.  The 10th show on Fox scored an overall viewership of 2.55 million with an average of 1.1 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic.

The event which aired in primetime on the east coast slated from 8:00-10:00pm also had about a half hour overrun which is not equated in this rating.  UFC on Fox 10 won the overnight ratings battle among the networks.

Saturday night network television was not too competitive as the UFC went up against reruns of Mike and Molly, Two and a Half men and NCIS on CBS, a children’s movie, “Flushed Away” on ABC and a Shaun White special in preparation for the Olympics on NBC.

List of UFC on FOX overnight ratings:

- UFC on FOX 1: 5.7 million average viewers, 3.1 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2011).

- UFC on FOX 2: 4.57 million average viewers, 2.2 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q1 2012)

- UFC on FOX 3: 2.25 million average viewers, 1.0 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q2 2012)

- UFC on FOX 4: 2.36 million average viewers, 0.9 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q3 2012)

- UFC on FOX 5: 3.41 million average viewers, 1.6 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2012)

- UFC on FOX 6: 3.77 million average viewers, 1.7 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q1 2013)

- UFC on FOX 7: 3.3 million average viewers, 1.6 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q2 2013)

- UFC on FOX 8: 2.08 million average viewers, 0.9 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q3 2013)

- UFC on FOX 9: 2.41 million average viewers, 1.0 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2013)

- UFC on FOX 10:2.55 million average viewers, 1.1 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q1 2014)

Payout Perspective:

Despite a less than stellar card, the UFC chose the right night to run live programming on the network.  The overnight numbers outdid the past two UFC on Fox live events.  Notably, the last two Fox events featured Demetrious Johnson in the main event.  But Benson Henderson, another Fox television favorite, this was the lowest rating for him in the main event (UFC on Fox 5, 3.41M/UFC on Fox 7, 3.3M)

MMA Payout will have more on the ratings as information comes out.

UFC on Fox 10 attendance, gate and bonuses

January 26, 2014

MMA Junkie reports the attendance, gate and bonuses for Saturday night’s UFC on Fox 10 from The United Center in Chicago.

The event drew 10,895 for a live gate of $863,655 according to the announcement at the post-fight news conference. The attendance is the lowest in the past three Januarys.

Via MMA Junkie:

The UFC has visited Chicago’s United Center for three straight Januarys the weekend prior to the NFL’s Super Bowl, which also airs on FOX. UFC on FOX 2 in January 2012 drew an official attendance of 16,963 for a $1,270,960 gate. Only 1,091 (6.4 percent) of the tickets issued for that event were distributed as comps. UFC on FOX 6 in January 2013 drew an announced attendance of 16,091 for a live gate of $1.27 million, strikingly similar to UFC on FOX 2 the year prior.

In addition the bonuses were announced for last night event with the bonus winner receiving $50,000 each.

Fight of the Night:  Sergio Pettis-Alex Caceres

KO of the Night:  Donald Cerrone

Submission of the Night: Alex Caceres

Bruce Leeroy scored a double bonus for his last round sub of Pettis.

Payout Perspective:

The attendance figures for Saturday was somewhat expected considering the lack of star power for this event.  While Benson Henderson is a top lightweight in the division, Dana White, by his own admission considers Bendo a “grinder” which infers not an exciting fighter.  The rest of the television card was good from the hardcore UFC fight fan perspective but not something a casual viewer would tune in and stay on Fox to watch.

UFC on Fox 9: 2.8 million viewers

December 18, 2013

MMA Fighting reports UFC on Fox 9 did a 1.8 national rating and received a total of 2.8 million viewers after further calibration to include overrun and west coast viewership.

The overnight ratings received an average viewership of 2.41 million viewers.  According to MMA Fighting, the show’s strongest markets were Tulsa, which did a 3.7, and Sacramento, which did 2.8.

As pointed out with the initial ratings, it’s the lowest rated UFC on Fox event held during football season.  Since its partnership with Fox, the UFC has experienced a bump in its network shows when the NFL is promoting its shows on Sundays and during its college football games.

The UFC lost its time slot among network programming to children’s shows (Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman) and a rerun of the much-talked about live “Sound of Music” featuring Carrie Underwood.

Payout Perspective:

The official numbers confirm that this card underperformed.  Obviously the injuries played a part.  We will see if its next network fight in January can lift the ratings.  For those wondering, UFC on Fox 10 on January 25th will feature network mainstay Benson Henderson versus Josh Thomson.  The card will take place the week before the Super Bowl.

UFC on FOX 9 Overnight Rating – 2.41 million viewers

December 16, 2013

The headline from “TV by the Numbers” this morning said it all – “‘Frosty the Snowman’ & ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ Knock Out ‘UFC on FOX’”. TV by the Numbers  reports that UFC on Fox 9 overnight ratings scored a 1.0 rating/3 share (in the adults 18-49 demo) for an average viewership of 2.41 million viewers.

A comparable event to UFC on FOX 9 is UFC on FOX 5, which also aired in Q4 last year.  That event was headlined by Ben Henderson vs Nate Diaz and drew  3.41 million average viewers with a rating of 1.6 in adults 18-49.

List of UFC on FOX overnight ratings:

- UFC on FOX 1: 5.7 million average viewers, 3.1 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2011).

- UFC on FOX 2: 4.57 million average viewers, 2.2 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q1 2012)

- UFC on FOX 3: 2.25 million average viewers, 1.0 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q2 2012)

- UFC on FOX 4: 2.36 million average viewers, 0.9 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q3 2012)

- UFC on FOX 5: 3.41 million average viewers, 1.6 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2012)

- UFC on FOX 6: 3.77 million average viewers, 1.7 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q1 2013)

- UFC on FOX 7: 3.3 million average viewers, 1.6 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q2 2013)

- UFC on FOX 8: 2.08 million average viewers, 0.9 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q3 2013)

- UFC on FOX 9: 2.41 million average viewers, 1.0 rating in the A18-49 demo. (Q4 2013)

 

Payout Perspective:

The ratings were below the expected numbers for an event which was promoted during the NFL season. This rating does not include the overrun, but it was so small that it should have almost no impact to this event.  The rating is an increase from UFC on FOX 8, which drew an overnight rating of 2.08 million viewers and a 0.9 in adults 18-49.

UFC on FOX 9  also lost the adults 18-49 target demo for the night to CBS, which aired Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (4.87 million, 1.4 A18-49) and Frosty the Snowman (5.22 million, 1.5 A18-49) during the same time slot.

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (11/11 – 11/17)

November 22, 2013

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC  TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal.  In this week’s edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 11/11 – 11/17.

FOX-Sports-Logo

 

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (11/13):
- The Ultimate Fighter (repeat): 130,000 viewers
- The Ultimate Fighter (new episode): 561,000 viewers

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Saturday (11/16):
- UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Prelims: 998,000 viewers (prelim record).
- UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Post Fight Coverage: 249,000 viewers.

Other Key Programming Notes :
- UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Live Weigh-ins (11/15) on FS2 drew 21,000 viewers.
- UFC Presents Mark Hunt (11/17) on FS1 drew 27,000 viewers and 51,000 on FS2 for the replay.
- UFC Tonight (11/13) on FS2 drew 29,000 viewers (aired on FS2 due to CBB game on FS1).
- Ultimate Insider (11/17) on FS1 drew 48,000 viewers (usually airs on Wednesday block).
- UFC 167 Primetime Ep. 3 (11/11) on FS1 drew 95,000 viewers.

Note: UFC’s regular Wednesday night block programming did not air on FS1 due to the Big East college basketball game, which drew 67,000 viewers. The college basketball game was the lead in to the shortened UFC programming block this week.

***

 Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals:
- Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 289,000 (last week: 630,000)
- Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 9,000 (last week: 16,000)

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.

 

Payout Perspective:

Two weeks ago, Fox Sports 1′s achieved its most successful week in terms of viewership. This week, without having two UFC events and a blockbuster college football game all on the same week, differed greatly.  The primetime viewership for FS1 fell from 630,000 to 289,000 viewers, or 54%.  FS2 also had a dramatic decline from 16,000 to 9,00, or 43%. Of course, this is not unusual for a sports network, where it is not enough to have the license to a certain sport or league, but also airing the games/fights that people want to watch.

Other key notes from last week was the UFC 167 Primetime special, which wrapped up the three part series by drawing 95K viewers.  That puts the average viewership for the series at 97,000 viewers.  With costs estimated between $1-2M per primetime special, you have to wonder whether drawing an average of 100,000 viewers is enough.  The purpose of  the Primetime special, back when it was on Spike TV anyways, was to convert viewers into PPV buyers.  Spike TV’s Primetime’s would typically be in the 500K-1M range. With a mere 100,000 viewers on average, and a big portion being hard-core fans who are already ordering the event, the ROI (return on investment) should be carefully analyzed going forward.  UFC 168 next month is also set to have a three-part primetime special.

In more positive news, the UFC 167 prelims viewership of 998,000 was huge success for the UFC on FS1, considering the networks limitations.  It now stands as the second most watched UFC program on FS1 since the August 17th debut on the network.  This was a good sign for the event as a whole, and could shine some light on the PPV buy projections, though the two have shown in the past not to have a direct correlation.

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (11/4 – 11/10)

November 15, 2013

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC  TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal.  In this week’s edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 11/4 – 11/10.

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UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (11/6):
- Ultimate Fight Night: Fight For the Troops Prelims: 250,000 viewers
- Ultimate Fight Night: Fight For the Troops: 641,000 viewers
- The Ultimate Fighter (new episode): 583,000 viewers

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Saturday (11/9):
- Ultimate Fight Night: Belfort vs Henderson: 722,000 viewers.

Other Key Programming Notes (Fox Sports 2):
- Live Weigh-ins (11/8) for UFN: Belfort vs Henderson event on FS2 drew 7,000 viewers.
- Post Fight (11/8) for UFN: Belfort vs Henderson event on FS2 drew 17,000 viewers.
- Live Weigh-ins (11/5) for UFN: Fight For Troops: Kennedy vs Natal event on FS2 drew 2,000 viewers.
- Post Fight (11/5) for UFN: Fight For Troops: Kennedy vs Natal event on FS2 drew 11,000 viewers.

Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals:
- Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 630,000 (FS1 record)
- Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 16,000

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.

 

Payout Perspective:

Last week was Fox Sports 1′s most successful week yet in terms of viewership numbers. For one, it finally aired programming that dethroned the UFC on FS1 Shogun vs Sonnen debut on 8/17, which drew 1.782M viewers. Thursday nights game between Oklahoma and Baylor drew an amazing 2.11M viewers on Fox Sports 1.  Due to the high viewership numbers for College Football, NASCAR (602,000 high for the week), and airing two UFC events in one week (not including TUF), it all led to Fox Sports 1 celebrating it’s most successful primetime viewership so far in its short lifespan.

UFC 165 and 166 PPV buys disappoint

October 30, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that UFC 165 and UFC 166 PPV buys are lower than expected.  The poor showings are disappointing as the UFC expected to finish strong to end the year.

According to Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, UFC 165 did somewhere between 300,000 and 325,000 PPV buys. Numbers have not been released for UFC 166 but indications according to MMA Fighting are slightly higher than UFC 165.  This would mean that two (Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez) of the company’s biggest stars presumably failed to draw at least 400,000 PPV buys.

UFC 166 went up against an HBO Boxing event which featured a replay of the Marquez-Bradley PPV, MLB Playoffs and college football.  The prelims ratings scored only 628,000 viewers which did not bode well for the main card.

The MMA Fighting article indicates that a possible reason for UFC 165’s buy rate is due to the Mayweather-Canelo fight the week before.  That PPV was priced at $75 and was heavily, heavily promoted.  For the casual PPV buyer, paying another $45-$55 on top of the $75 is pretty steep for a month on a cable bill.  Realistically, if there was a choice, many would go with the Mayweather fight.

Payout Perspective:

Is it a trend or bad luck that two of the biggest draws for the UFC did their lowest PPV number as a headliner in consecutive months?

The UFC had hoped to close out 2013 with four consecutive strong PPVs  with its biggest stars starting with UFC 165 (Jones), UFC 166 (Cain-JDS), UFC 167 (GSP) and UFC 168 (Silva-Weidman, Rousey-Tate).  It had hyped these PPVs with a worldwide tour but based on the first two PPVs, the UFC may have to rethink its expectations on buy rates.  Certainly, the tickets are moving for the last two events and 167 and 168 will end in sellouts.  But this does not necessarily equate to buys.

There is an argument that the promotional vehicles (or lack thereof) for these PPVs have contributed to the low PPV buy rates.  It’s a plausible argument.  FS1 is still in its infancy stages.  This can be reflected by the low ratings for the UFC 165 Primetime shows which had its highest viewer output at 158K viewers.  But that does not address the fact that the UFC is still getting a lot of time on Fox’s NFL broadcasts.  The question is whether there should be more done to promote these events through Fox and/or elsewhere.

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