April 21, 2017
The Ultimate Fighter 25 debut on FS1 drew 288,000 viewers per ShowBuzz Daily. The rating is the lowest-ever for the TUF franchise. T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt serve as the coaches this season.
Prior to Wednesday night’s episode, the lowest-rated debut was last season’s TUF 24 which posted 370,000 viewers.
The two-hour premiere aired on FS1 on Wednesday.
I am actually interested in this season but the ratings continue the downward trajectory of the TUF Franchise. A couple seasons back, FS1 execs noted that TUF should be seen as more of a DVR-viewed show rather than a live event. Still, the ratings show a decline. With WME-IMG cutting costs the company will need to weigh the benefit of TUF’s use versus the expense it takes to produce the show. FS1 does need content for its network so there is some need for it but could the ratings make execs reconsider.
April 21, 2017
An update from last Friday’s Bellator 177 has the event peaking at 859,000 viewers per Nielsen. In addition Bellator Kickboxing last Friday peaked at 452,099 viewers on Spike TV.
Bellator 177’s viewership drew 595,000 viewers in DVR+3 ratings. Bellator drew 577,000 viewers in overnight plus same day ratings. Kickboxing’s adjusted viewership increased to 321,000 viewers. It drew 295,000 viewers and 118,000 in the A18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings.
April 12, 2017
ESPN reports that Spike TV will no longer air Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV which ends a two-year partnership to air PBC on Spike TV.
In March 2015, Spike TV launched “Friday Night Lights Out” with Glory Kickboxing, Bellator MMA and PBC with Haymon’s company as the big add to the network. According to Spike TV, a third-year option was negotiated was not included in the final contract.
Notably, Spike TV was not happy with the quality of PBC cards aired on Spike TV and the network wanted to commit to Bellator MMA.
The last PBC on Spike TV card aired this past January. The network stated that it is willing to revisit PBC and/or a boxing event but it looks like its combat sports programming will be limited to Bellator MMA.
It’s interesting that Spike was frank about the quality of PBC cards. Most of PBC cable cards are now airing on FS1. The best PBC on Spike TV did on the network was its March 2015 debut when it drew 869,000 viewers. The ratings have struggled to grasp a consistent audience with its events on Spike TV. The network, which ended its relationship with Glory, now seems to be making a concentrated effort into Bellator MMA. Will this equate into a push for bigger ratings and more sponsors? We shall see.
April 11, 2017
The UFC 210 Prelims drew 723,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Sports TV Ratings.
The featured fight of the prelims saw Myles Jury returned to win via TKO over Mike de la Torre. The event drew 357,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.
In other shoulder programming surrounding the UFC 210 PPV, the prefight show drew 268,000 viewers. The show was only 17 minutes long due to the MLB overrun. It drew 101,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo. The beginning of the prefight show (4:00pm-4:52pm PT) was shown on FS2 where it drew 42,000 and 20,000 in A18-49. Also, the post-fight show on FS1 drew 160,000 viewers and 80,000 in A18-49. The show lasted from 10:13pm-11:13pm PT.
The ratings are the lowest of the year. Looking back, they are the lowest since October for UFC 204 Prelims. While Prelims are not always an indicator of PPV success, it is hard not to think that this event was one for hardcore fans and those who were missing MMA.
April 10, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. This time around we take a look at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York
Cormier “makes” weight, retires Johnson
Daniel Cormier lost 1.2 pounds in less than 5 minutes at the weigh-ins and made weight after missing on the first attempt. Despite no one really addressing this marvel, Cormier making weight ensured a championship match in which he dispatched Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in 2 rounds.
Instead of using his strength of stand-up and striking, Johnson attempted to take down and grapple the far superior wrestler in Cormier. He was not listening to his corner and when Johnson was faced with some adversity, he tapped out.
Johnson promptly retired after the match stating that he had made a commitment to another job. At 33, Johnson leaves the sport at the peak of his MMA career. But, one has to wonder how invested he was in this fight if he knew that he was going to retire no matter what after it.
For Cormier, he went professional wrestler-mode in his post-fight interview in the Octagon as he went after Jimi Manuwa and Jon Jones. While it appears, he is embracing the booing that is happening, he still has Jon Jones in his head.
With Cormier having to nurse a broken nose and getting married in May, it appears that a showdown with Jones will not happen in July at International Fight Week but maybe August at its earliest.
Mousasi defeats Weidman on Knee
Someone needs to explain the rules to me again. Gegard Mousasi defeated Chris Weidman after it was determined that a knee was legal despite the former UFC middleweight’s attempt to put both hands down to become a grounded opponent. If you are a grounded opponent, you cannot be kneed. The doctor at ringside determined that Weidman could not continue. Weidman is appealing the decision, but if it stands this makes 3 losses in a row for Weidman as it seems the once next big thing is at a crossroads in his career.
Weidman is still a name and you can envision him headlining the UFC card in Long Island this July but you have to wonder where will he be in the UFC middleweight hierarchy. He’s not going to be released. But, will he be a name for a card or an actual contender for the middleweight title.
Mousasi has another impressive name on his win resume and should be moving toward a title shot against Michael Bisping.
UFC 210 was announced as a sellout at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. The event set a sporting event record for the venue with 17,110 for a gate or $2 million. Certainly, the economic impact to the area is one of the reasons why businesses wanted to legalize MMA in the state.
Bonuses went to Gregor Gillespie, Charles Oliveira, Shane Burgos and Charles Rosa. Gillepsie and Oliveira drew Performance bonuses while Burgos and Rosa drew the Fight of the Night. All received $50,000 bonuses.
Certainly, Cormier or Cynthia Calvillo could have earned the Performance bonus too.
Promotion of the Fight
It was the first major PPV in upstate New York since UFC 7 and the city of Buffalo honored the UFC for coming. Despite being a New England Patriots fan Dana White posed with some Buffalo Bills. The Bills were all over UFC 210.
— UFC (@ufc) April 7, 2017
The local news did a writeup on White.
The UFC sent direct messages (DMs) on twitter to those that follow its twitter feed about UFC 210. To some, it also asked for people to RTs.
The Embedded series followed Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Johnson for most of the series. It also briefly looked at Cynthia Calvillo and Pearl Gonzalez. Notably, there was no looks at Cormier’s weight-cut and his issues. MMA Fighting did memorialize the weight-cut for Weidman.
Also of interest, that Daniel Cormier was wearing a pair of Air Jordans on an episode of Embedded this time around. As we know, the UFC is sponsored by Reebok.
The usual sponsors were in the octagon including Harley Davidson, Reebok, Budweiser, 7-11, Toyo Tires, Metro PCS, UFC Fight Pass and Monster Energy had the center of the octagon. There were no other
Chris Weidman and Daniel Cormier both had Monster Energy patches on their fight kits.
Odds and ends
The Pearl Gonzalez story drew over 100,000 google searches on Friday after she was initially told she could not fight due to her breast implants. However, after the UFC spoke with the athletic commission and got in contact with her doctor, she was given the go ahead to fight. Thus, for White to chastise media on FS1 mischaracterizes the black letter rule which was due to her breast implants, Gonzalez could not fight. His lashing out at the media seems to be a reflection of how sensitive he is about criticism.
Maybe this is too much conspiracy theory but I wonder if the reason NASCAR denied having a partnership with Bellator was due to the fact it was featured on the UFC 210 Countdown this past week. The episode shows Anthony Johnson attending a NASCAR event. At the same event, we also see Donald Cerrone.
Patrick Cote’s retirement was touching. Unfortunately, it did not end in a win like Mark Munoz or Urijah Faber but I thought the taking off the gloves and the UFC allowing him to talk despite being the loser was nice. Certainly, Cote’s retirement was not too surprising.
On the other end, everyone was stunned with Anthony Johnson’s retirement. It’s better to leave early than to stick around too long so I think this may be best for Johnson if he no longer has his heart in the game. Perhaps that explains why Johnson seemed to give up in the second round.
Urijah Faber into the UFC Hall of Fame this year was a no-brainer.
UFC 210 Countdown on FS1 Sunday night drew 99,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.
The Prelims on Saturday started on FS2 due to the Yankees-Indians game going long on Fs1.
Try leaning over on something while weighing yourself on a scale and you will have performed the “towel trick.”
There were over 500,000 google searches for UFC 210 on Saturday night.
I would not expect this PPV to draw more than 300,000 buys. Daniel Cormier-Anthony Johnson is not a fight that would draw a casual viewer despite being for a title. Although, Mousasi-Weidman is a nice co-main for hardcore fans, it would not draw someone either. We did have lull of weekends without UFC action so some might be wanting to see some fights. Thus, the PPV buy rate probably falls into the realm of the hardcore base plus some other scattered fans hungry for MMA action.
March 16, 2017
UFC Fight Night 106 this past Saturday on FS1 drew 946,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 860,000 viewers.
The main card, airing from 10pm-1:04am on Saturday, featured Kelvin Gastelum defeating Vitor Belfort drew 531,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo. The prelims drew 379,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
|UFC Fight Night 2017|
|Event||Main Card||Main Card A18-49||Prelims||Prelims A18-49|
|UFC Fight Night 103||1,090,000||612,000||824,000||361,000|
|UFC Fight Night 104||1,158,000||590,000||834,000||420,000|
|UFC Fight Night 105||946,000||531,000||860,000||379,000|
The ratings reflect a decrease from the main card in the last two Fight Nights but the prelim viewership is up overall from this past Saturday. Notably, this time last year, UFC Fight Night 85 drew 1,149,000 (prelims drew 766,000) for Frank Mir-Mark Hunt in the main event. For a card from Brazil that did not have too much in terms of names (aside from Vitor Belfort), the ratings are pretty good.
March 7, 2017
The UFC 209 Prelims drew 1,033,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night per Sports TV Ratings.
According to Sports TV Ratings, the event drew 510,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
In the featured fight of the prelims Marcin Tybura defeated Luis Henrique Barbosa. The prelims also featured two very good come-from-behind victories by Iuri Alcantara and Darren Elkins. The event peaked at 1,183,000 in the 9:15-9:30pm quarter hour.
In addition, the UFC weigh-ins on Friday night drew 210,000 viewers on FS1 and 97,000 in the adult 18-49 demo.
The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 453,000 viewers and the post-fight event on FS1 drew 205,000 viewers and 126,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo.
UFC PPV Prelims 2017
Based on the ratings of the prelims and the ancillary telecasts, I may have underestimated how this PPV does. Over 1 million viewers on a night where boxing and basketball were on network television is very good considering the competition.
March 7, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective. In this edition, we take a look at UFC 209 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Woodley wins rematch with Wonderboy
The last seconds of the last round were really the most exciting part of this tactical fight. There was not a lot of action for the first four rounds and Woodley’s flurry at the end of round 5 may have been the most
Teymur defeats Vannata in FOTN co-main
Replacing Khabib Nurmogomenov and Tony Ferguson was a daunting task and Teymur and Vannata put on a respectable fight. Obviously, most MMA fans would have liked Khabib-Ferguson.
The get-in price as of Friday, was $62 on the secondary market although there were a lot of tickets available on Ticketmaster. The lowest price on Ticketmaster as of Friday was $95. Vivid Seats noted that most tickets on the secondary market were from California.
The event drew 13,150 for a gate of $2,385,230 at the T-Mobile Arena. It was by far the lowest out of the 4 events at the new arena. However, the other 3 (200, 202, and 207) had big names attached to those events.
The bonuses went to Darren Elkins, Iuri Alcantara, David Teymur and Lando Vannata. Elkins earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his come-from-behind win against Mirsad Bektic. Alcantara won via kneebar against Luke Sanders. Teymur and Vannata earned Fight of the Night.
Woodley earned $500,000 as he earned $400,000 to show and another $100,000 to win.
Stephen Thompson earned $380,000 for his narrow loss to Woodley.
Khabib lost out on $500,000 to show. Tony Ferguson was awarded his show purse of $250,000 but lost out on his chance to his win bonus of $250,000.
The other salaries are as follows as disclosed by the NAC (via MMA Junkie)
David Teymur: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Lando Vannata: $25,000
Daniel Kelly: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Rashad Evans: $150,000
Cynthia Calvillo: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Amanda Cooper: $17,000
Alistair Overeem: $750,000 (no win bonus)
def. Mark Hunt: $750,000
Marcin Tybura: $72,000 (includes $36,000 win bonus)
def. Luis Henrique: $16,000
Darren Elkins: $92,000 (includes $46,000 win bonus)
def. Mirsad Bektic: $21,000
Iuri Alcantara: $68,000 (includes $24,000 win bonus)
def. Luke Sanders: $12,000
Mark Godbeer: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Daniel Spitz: $12,000
Tyson Pedro: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Paul Craig: $12,000
Albert Morales: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $10,000
Promotion of the Fight
The Embedded series seemed to focus on getting to know Khabib Nurmogomenov. They showed him a lot during the series including going to see Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, it did not turn out well for Khabib. It also gave us a glimpse of the return of GSP. Once again, there was no sponsor for the series.
The UFC Countdown show airing Sunday night on FS1 drew 80,000 viewers. I wouldn’t look too much into this as many fans watch it online instead of just the show.
Woodley and Wonderboy did media rounds together to promote the fight. Woodley brought up the issue of race during the media rounds. Dana White dismissed this issue and while praising Woodley also called him a “drama queen.” Whether or not you believe Woodley, his courage to talk about a controversial subject when many UFC fighters tip-toe around being controversial for fear of being punished by the company.
The St. Louis Cardinals supported the Missouri-born fighter.
Woodley is a Monster Energy sponsored athlete as evidenced by the “M” on his fight kit and holding the Monster can in the Octagon post-fight.
7-11 used UFC 209 for sponsorship activation as it offered a free Slurpee or Big Gulp by simply texting a number.
In addition to 7-11, MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Budweiser and Monster Energy were in the Octagon.
The UFC continues its relationship with Netflix as this PPV it featured the series Ironfist.
The Sidekick Experience is a second screen experience where fans can go on the UFC Fan Page to watch Facebook Live of people talking about the fights.
Odds and ends
Maybe the best sponsor of Saturday night was actually Kung Fu Teas which was on the mat during the Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia Fight. It received great network exposure for a product I did not know existed. Also of note, Monster Headphones, a UFC sponsor, was in the ring for Thurman-Garcia.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would have placed the strap around Wonderboy had he defeated Woodley.
Bob Bennett showing up at the post-fight press conference to denounce a judge’s score in the main event sets bad precedent. It undermines his judges and brings into question close decisions. Press and fans will be looking to Bennett each time there is a questionable score.
There were over 500,000 google searches on Friday night for UFC 209 another 500,000 Saturday night and 100,000 for UFC may bode well for the final PPV buy rate.
The UFC and Dana White filed a Motion to Dismiss Mark Hunt’s lawsuit during fight week. Despite Hunt stating he was not thinking about it, one has to think it had to be on his mind a little bit. He is still being paid at a high level, $750,000. The pay puts him in the top 1-2% of UFC contracted fighters right now. This is something that the UFC will bring up during the lawsuit as it proceeds.
Perhaps unrelated to UFC 209, but Geico amplified its relationship with the UFC by having Cody Garbrandt star in its latest commercial.
The return of GSP and the announcement that he will take on Michael Bisping did alleviate some sting from the Khabib news. As for the press conference, what was the deal with Bisping being late and seemingly drunk? Very unprofessional for the champ.
This event was not going to do huge numbers but looked good from a hardcore MMA perspective as Khabib-Ferguson was a much-anticipated fight that was cancelled twice before this latest cancellation. It probably hurt some, but overall this PPV was not going to do big numbers. But, without Khabib-Ferguson, one would think this PPV does between 300-325K viewers.
February 22, 2017
UFC Fight Night 105 drew an average of 907,000 viewers on FS1 Sunday night per Sports TV Ratings. The prelims which preceded the event drew 760,000 viewers.
The main card featured Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne in the main event. Lewis earned the victory with a stoppage of Browne. The 2 hour prelims event featured four fights including Carla Esparza and Randa Markos.
The main card drew 435,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo while the prelims drew 330,000.
The FS1 fight card had stiff competition on Sunday night as it went up against the NBA All-Star game which aired on both TNT (drawing over 6.5M viewers) and TBS (over 1.2M viewers0. The 907K is not far off from last month’s Sunday night event featuring BJ Penn. That event, UFC Fight Night 103, drew 1.090 million viewers with the prelims garnering 824,000. Not a bad showing considering the competition on Sunday night.
February 14, 2017
The UFC 208 Prelims drew 824,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night. The event aired from 8-10pm ET on Saturday preceding the PPV.
The event drew 420,000 viewers in the adult 18-49 demo per Sports TV Ratings. The show peaked at 1,046,000 viewers during the main fight of the telecast: Belal Muhammad’s win over Randy Brown.
Also of note related to UFC 208 programming, the weigh-ins drew just 80,000 viewers on FS1 from 6-7pm on Friday.
The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 259,000 viewers (142,000 in A18-49 demo) from 6:30-8pm ET. The post-fight show drew 207,000 viewers (111,000 in A18-49 demo) from 1:06-2:06amET.
If you wanted to draw any parallels here, UFC 206 Prelims in December drew 777,000 viewers. 206 drew 150,000 PPV buys. UFC 204 in October drew 678,000 viewers and ended up with 290,000 PPV buys. While it’s not an exact science, the prelims have been used as one of the indicators for PPV buy rates. Realistically, it may mean the actual PPV does somewhere between 200-350K PPV buys. I would believe it being on the lower end of this.