UFC officially announces Sweden stadium show

November 13, 2014

The UFC announced that Alexander Gustafsson will face Anthony Johnson on January 24, 2015 in an arena in Gustafsson’s home country of Stockholm, Sweden for UFC on Fox 14.  It will be the first network show of 2015 and first outside of the U.S..

As most recall, UFC 129 was the first stadium show from Toronto, Canada to great success.  The promotion is leveraging Gustafsson’s popularity to fill the arena for this show as it anticipates 30,000 fans for the January event.

Via UFC press release:

The bout will take place in front of more than 30,000 fans at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm, marking just the second major stadium event in UFChistory and the first in Europe. The previous stadium event was the record-breaking UFC® 129 held at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada, as more than 55,000 fans watched Georges St-Pierre defeat Jake Shields.

The last three events in Sweden had the following attendance figures:

UFC on Fuel TV 2 (April 2012) – 15, 428, $2.23M gate

UFC on Fuel TV 9 – (April 2013) – 14,506, $2.7M gate

UFC Fight Night 53 – (October 2014) – 10,026, $1.1M gate

Payout Perspective:

A lot is being put on Gustafsson to sell this show.  As we’ve learned from UFC 180, this could backfire if he is forced out due to injury.  It’s not a title defense and while Gus may be popular in Sweden, it’s hard to think that he could sell a 30,000 stadium.  With Dan Henderson-Gegard Mousasi/Matt Brown-Tarec Saffiedine as the co-main events, it will bring name notoriety but it’s hard to think that this will draw Swedish fans.

ESPN signs Sonnen to analyst job

November 12, 2014

MMA Junkie reports that ESPN has hired former UFC star and Fox Sports 1 TV analyst Chael Sonnen.  Sonnen was let go from FOX after he failed a pre-UFC 175 drug test.

Per an ESPN press release, Sonnen will join ESPN as a UFC Analyst.  Per the release, he has signed on to “a multi-fight agreement as a studio and on-site analyst, providing expert pre-and post-fight insight on Sportscenter’s coverage of major UFC pay-per-view events.”  Sonnen will debut this Friday on the network to discuss UFC 180.

Payout Perspective:

If you disregard the drug issues, which ESPN seems to do here, Sonnen is an engaging TV figure and should bolster the network’s coverage of MMA.  Signing Sonnen could be a sign that ESPN will return to more coverage of the UFC.  It would make no sense for ESPN to mute Sonnen now.  He should be on as many platforms for ESPN to talk UFC and MMA in general.

UFC on Fox 12: 2.5 million viewers

July 29, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that Saturday’s UFC on Fox 12 main card received a Live plus Same Day rating of 2.5 million viewers.  The rating falls in line with Fox shows during the summer and is better than UFC on Fox 11’s rating this past April.

UFC on Fox 1: 5.7 million

UFC on Fox 2: 4.57 million

UFC on Fox 3: 2.25 million

UFC on Fox 4: 2.36 million

UFC on Fox 5: 3.41 million

UFC on Fox 6: 4.22 million

UFC on Fox 7: 3.3 million

UFC on Fox 8: 2.38 million

UFC on Fox 9: 2.9 million

UFC on Fox 10: 3.22 million

UFC on Fox 11: 1.98 million

UFC on Fox 12: 2.5 million

UFC on Fox 12 received a 1.5 rating and 3 share. The peak occurred during the main event overrun at 3,427,000 viewers.  The event featuring Robbie Lawler defeating Matt Brown was first in all of the key demos for the organization.  Men 18-34 (1.3), Men 18-48 (1.5), Men 25-54 (1.7) and Adults 18-49 (1.0).

ufc on fox 12

Payout Perspective:

The ratings improved slightly from the summer event for Fox the past two years.  Notably, Lawler was on the July 2013 show last year too.  And, even though there was a title fight in 2013, it was Demetrious Johnson.  It seemed like the Lawler-Brown fight had a little more interest.  It also may have helped that the prelims were on the network as well.  The prelims scored an average of 1.3 million and the audience built through the evening.

UFC on Fox 12 Prelims on FOX: 1.3 million viewers

July 29, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Nielsen source that the UFC on Fox 12 Prelims drew an average viewership of 1.3 million.  It was the first time that Fox had aired the prelims on its network.

The network exposure helped the prelims which preceded the main card.  The last fight before the main card had Jorge Masvidal defeating Daron Cruickshank by unanimous decision.

 UFC on Fox Prelims on FS1

UFC on Fox 9 – 613,000 (Dec. 2013)

UFC on Fox 10 – 713,000 (Jan. 2014)

UFC on Fox 11 – 521,000 (April 2014)

UFC on Fox Prelims on FOX

UFC on Fox 12 – 1.3 million viewers (July 2014)

Payout Perspective:

An MLB game was on FS1 at the time of the Prelims on Fox.  Certainly the UFC would prefer these fights occurring on the network rather than FS1 based on the viewership.  More than doubling your viewership (from April) for the prelims is great for the UFC but one would think it’s up to Fox if it wants to give up the time slot.  I’m not sure Fox would want to do this come December for UFC on Fox 13.

UFC on Fox 12 overnight rating: 2.02 million viewers

July 27, 2014

MMA Fighting reports that the overnight ratings for Saturday’s UFC on Fox 12 drew an average of 2.02 million viewers in overnight ratings.  According to Television By Numbers, it tied with NBC for highest rated show on network television in its time slot.

UPDATED 07/28/14:

UFC on Fox 12 scored an 0.8 in the 18-49 demo.  Although tied with NBC, it had more viewers.

The ratings only count for the 5:00pm-7:00pm (8-10pm) time slot and does not account for the 30 minute overrun when the bulk of the main event took place.  Its anticipated that the rating should go up with the inclusion of the additional time.

UFC on Fox 1: 5.7 million

UFC on Fox 2: 4.57 million

UFC on Fox 3: 2.25 million

UFC on Fox 4: 2.36 million

UFC on Fox 5: 3.41 million

UFC on Fox 6: 4.22 million

UFC on Fox 7: 3.3 million

UFC on Fox 8: 2.38 million

UFC on Fox 9: 2.9 million

UFC on Fox 10: 3.22 million

UFC on Fox 11: 1.98 million

UFC on Fox 12:  2.02 million

Payout Perspective:

The last two summer events were less than stellar and the ratings reflected this with UFC on Fox 4 (Vera vs. Rua) and UFC on Fox 8 (Mighty Mouse vs. Moraga) doing 2.36 million and 2.38 million respectively.  Saturday’s event had a little more interest with a fight between two fan-friendly fighters.  Before we scrutinize the ratings, we should probably wait for the overrun numbers as UFC on Fox 4 and 8 ratings include the overruns.  At this point, it’s unfair to critique the show since we may see it surpass the ratings of the last two summers.

UFC on Fox 11 ratings adjusted up to 2.5 million viewers

April 22, 2014

MMA Payout has learned from a Fox source that the Live plus Same Day ratings for Saturday’s UFC on Fox 11 event raised the initial overnight of 1.99 million to 2.5 million viewers.  The peak of 3.3 million viewers occurred during the main event between Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne.

The main event received a 2.0 rating with a 4 share and averaged 1.4 for Men 18-34 and a 2.0 with Men 18-49.  Per the Fox source, “[T]o put those demo ratings in better perspective, Saturday night’s Fox UFC Saturday Main Event would have placed within the Top Five Primetime programs of the week among the Broadcast Networks on Men 18-34 and within the Top 10 with Men 18-49.”

Saturday’s show drove Fox to win the male demos (Men 25-54 and Adults 18-49) in primetime among the networks and second to ESPN’s NBA coverage on cable.

In terms of the overall event it drew a 1.6 rating and a 3 share based on the adjusted ratings.  The Live plus Same Day includes the time slot overrun and the number of viewers who watched the event the same day but not live (i.e., via DVR).  The DVR +3 numbers will not be out until later this week.

Payout Perspective:

The significant bump was due to factoring in the overrun for the main event.  The numbers may not be pleasing overall but Fox likely is interested in how it is doing among its key demos (i.e., males and adults 18-49).  Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting pointed out that Fox events outside of the NFL and college football season have not done as well as those within football season due to the promotional push during football.  While the numbers are still at the bottom of the curve for UFC on Fox shows, it’s unlikely that network executives are going to pull the plug.

UFC on Fox 11 overnight rating: 1.99M viewers

April 20, 2014

Television By Numbers reports that the overnight ratings for UFC on Fox 11 received 1.99 million viewers for a 0.8 rating and 3 share for Saturday night.   It was the lowest rating for a UFC network show and was last in terms of average viewers in its time slot among network shows.

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)

UFC on FOX 11: 1.99M viewer (0.8 rating)

Average UFC on FOX Viewership: 3.45M viewers.

UFC on Fox Overnights

UFC on Fox Overnights

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are disappointing considering the card and the fact that the event was a sell out in Orlando.  Winning the time slot for network television was the annual Easter tradition of ABC showing of “The Ten Commandments.”  The movie scored 5.87 million viewers and 1.0 rating among adults 18-49 with a 4 share.  In terms of overall viewership, UFC on Fox 11 lost out to a rerun of Mike and Molly on CBS which received 2.20 million average viewers.

The numbers do not account for the overrun which was about 20 minutes but the first look at the ratings is definitely not what people expected.  It could be that the UFC is running too many shows together that viewers are either picking or choosing what to watch or just inundated with the amount of shows that they cannot keep track.  Yesterday’s network show was very entertaining yet was the lowest rated UFC show on Fox so far.  MMA Payout will keep you posted of adjusted ratings as they become available.

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.

FOX-Sports-Logo

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.

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