UFC Fight Night St. Louis draws 1.285 million viewers; prelims 1.079 million

January 17, 2018

UFC Fight Night St. Louis drew 1.285 million viewers on FS1 Sunday per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims drew 1.079 million viewers on FS1.

The event surpassed last year’s event which took place on the same Sunday of the MLK Holiday weekend in January.  The event, which featured BJ Penn-Yair Rodriguez drew slightly over 1 million viewers and 824,000 for the prelims.

The event featured Jeremy Stephens taking on Doo Ho Choi.  Stephens stopped Choi in the second round for the win.  On the prelim card, James Krause defeated Alex White via unanimous decision.

According to ShowBuzz Daily, the main card drew 0.48 in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims drew 0.38 in the A18-49 demo.

In addition, the post-fight show drew 342,000 viewers and 0.14 viewers in the A18-49 demo.  The pre-fight show drew 147,000 viewers and 0.06 in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims on Fox Deportes drew 104,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are a good sign for the company as the card on its face was underwhelming but still drew 1.28 million viewers for the main card and over 1 million for the prelims.  It could be that people were looking for something to watch and there was not a great alternative.  Still, the ratings are promising moving into the new year.

2017: The year in boxing

January 6, 2018

2017 was a great year for boxing which saw some great fights and the spectacle that was Mayweather-McGregor.

The year started off with the talk about Mayweather-McGregor as the UFC’s lightweight champion stirred the pot by going on a rant on Instagram where he wrote “F*** the UFC.”  Dana White warned that if Conor went on without the UFC it would be an “epic fall.”

January also saw Al Haymon get a court victory with a dismissal of Golden Boy’s Antitrust lawsuit.  In a ruling which did not include oral argument, the Judge determined that Golden Boy did not come fort with genuine issues of fact to support its claims.  Most importantly, and a word of caution for the Plaintiffs in the UFC Antitrust lawsuit, the Judge reiterated that the antitrust laws protect competition, not competitors.

Although Golden Boy suffered the loss in court, it inked a deal with ESPN with 42 fights airing on ESPN starting in March 2017.  As the prevailing party, they requested legal costs in the amount nearing $35,0000.  Golden Boy appealed the dismissal but it appears that the sides resolved the case as the appeal was dismissed by agreement of the parties.

The Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin/World of Boxing lawsuit went to trial in February and it did not take long for a jury to decide that Povetkin took Meldonium after January 1, 2016.  However, the case continues with the parties litigating the other claims as well as the issue who receives the millions of dollars that has been placed in escrow.

Wilder was also sued by rival Dominic Breazeale for a hotel melee.  The case was thrown out as the episode happened in Alabama but Breazeale sued in California.

Showtime Boxing had the highest rating of 2017 with Adrian Broner taking on Adrian Granados drawing 779,000 viewers.  The fight also aired on Twitter as the service continued to expand its offering of streamingClaressa Shields became the first female boxer to headline an event on premium network television. In March.

The GGG-Daniel Jacobs PPV drew between 130-150K PPV buys.  GGG’s next PPV appearance against Canelo would draw much higher as the draw drew 1.2 million buys.  The fight also had a higher price tag than usual:  $79.99 HD.  A rematch for May 2018 seems imminent.

March saw the second highest-rating for network viewership as Keith Thurman faced Danny Garcia in the battle of unbeatens on CBS.  The fight drew 5.1 million viewers while the overall telecast drew 2.7 million viewers.

After going through a lot of money, the viability of the PBC obtaining a media rights deal was brought into question.  Its deal with Spike TV ended but the organization found a home on FS1.

In 2017, it seemed as those everyone applied for a boxing license:  Conor, Nate Diaz, Cyborg…

Anthony Joshua faced Vladimir Klitschko in one of the biggest fights of the year.  The event aired live on Showtime and tape delay on HBO.

May’s Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. PPV drew 1.3 million buys and its replay on HBO drew 769,000 viewers.

In May, we took a look at where was Boxing’s next PPV star.  Aside from Canelo Alvarez, there are several contenders to be the next star on PPV including Anthony Joshua.

In June, The Money Fight was announced.

Also in June, Top Rank announced that it had a deal with ESPN to air fights with the first one being Manny Pacquiao fighting Jeff Horn in Australia on July 1st.  The debut earned big numbers as Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Horn.

The Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev II PPV in June drew between 130-135K PPV buys.

July saw a 4-city tour to promote the Mayweather-McGregor bouts.  It was an ambitious tour that fans clamored to be a part.  It was announced that the PPV price would be $99.95 HD.

The Money Fight drew huge numbers and was a big financial success.  We wrote about it here.  The event had streaming issues on both UFC Fight Pass and Showtime platforms.  As you might expect, there were lawsuits which are still matriculating through the court system.

Despite the big event, HBO ran an event featuring Miguel Cotto and it did well considering as it drew 730,000 viewers.

Capitalizing on the publicity of The Money Fight, announced an ESPN deal which will include airing its fight library on an OTT service that will launch in 2018.

Austin Trout sued the WBO which included claims under the Ali Act.  The case was moved to federal court in Puerto Rico where the WBO is seeking to dismiss the case and move it to arbitration.  The case will be an interesting look as to whether the court will allow a claim under the Ali Act will go to arbitration.

In September, Magomed Abdusalamov settled with the state of New York for $22 million for injuries sustained in a fight in 2013.  Abdusalamov was left with a brain injury and paralysis due to improper conduct and lack of training by the New York State Athletic Commission.

A huge ESPN fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux drew 1.73 million viewers.  The overall telecast drew 1.487 million viewers.

In December, Showtime announced Mayweather-McGregor drew 4.3 million domestic PPV buys.  This is off from the 6.7 million Dana White had stated.  After hearing of the announcement, White took issue with Showtime’s numbers.

One of the bigger stories to watch going into 2018 is the announcement by Dana White that he will be promoting boxing.  Zuffa Boxing, a t-shirt worn by White during The Money Fight press tour, was a hint that White was up to something.  White made it official late in the year.  He indicated that he was meeting with Floyd Mayweather.  Despite stating that he will never work with Showtime again, he said he would be willing work with other promoters with the exception of Bob Arum.

UFC 219 Prelims draw 914,000 viewers

January 3, 2018

The UFC 219 Prelims on FS1 drew 914,000 viewers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims featured Khalil Rountree against Michal Oleksiejczuk with the Polish light heavyweight picking up the victory.

The event drew 0.32 in the A18-49 demo.  The prelims scored the 4th highest rating for 2017 out of 12 aired prelims.

Also of note, the prefight show on FS1 drew 209,000 viewers from 6:39pm to 8:00 pm ET and 0.08 in the A18-49 demo.  The post-fight show drew 119,000 viewers from 1:04am to 2:15am ET and 0.05 in the A18-49 demo.

The prelims drew 76,000 viewers on Fox Deportes.

Payout Perspective:

While it pales in comparison to last December’s UFC 207 which drew 1,511,000 viewers, the 914,000 viewers is a strong rating for a relatively uninspiring prelim card.  Notably, the prelims aired about the same time as the Orange Bowl on ESPN which drew over 11 million viewers.  We shall see if the viewership translated into PPV buys.

UFC 218 replay on FS1 Christmas Eve draws 357,000 viewers

December 27, 2017

The Christmas Eve replay of UFC 218 drew 357,000 viewers per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured the main card of the PPV event earlier this month.

Last year’s Christmas Eve replay on Fox drew astounding 4.72 million viewers.  This year, the special presentation aired on FS1 despite the fact that the NFL games on Sunday may have brought the replay similar ratings to last year.

However, the 90-minute presentation on FS1 drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo in addition to the 357,000 viewers.  The telecast featured Max Holloway’s domination of Jose Aldo as well as Francis Ngannou’s KO of Alistair Overeem.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe it was because it was Sunday night and on FS1 that we saw a large decrease over last year’s surprising ratings for the December replay.  It would be nice to see this Christmas Eve replay to return to the Fox network although we have seen one of the worst years for the UFC on Fox in terms of ratings.

UFC 218 on FS1 Christmas Eve

December 24, 2017

UFC 218 will replay on Christmas Eve on FS1.  The main event featured Max Holloway successfully defending his Featherweight title against Jose Aldo.

The event also featured the brutal KO of Alistair Overeem by Heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou and Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje.

Last year, Fox replayed UFC 206 on Christmas Eve highlighting certain entertaining fights.  The results drew 4.7 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Perhaps due to NFL Football, Fox is not airing UFC 218 on the network.  We will see if the UFC can capitalize on last year’s Christmas Eve success.  I would think we might see a downtick from last year’s 4.7 million since its on FS1 but I would think you may see a nice viewership rating.

PBC on FS1 Friday night draws 276,000 viewers

December 18, 2017

PBC on FS1 Friday night drew 276,000 on Friday night according to Nielsen per ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured the return of Jessie Vargas as he defeated Herrera via unanimous decision.  Prior to Friday night, Vargas last fought Manny Pacquiao in November 2016.  Notably, Vargas has a victory over Sadam Ali, the fighter that upset Miguel Cotto in his retirement match.

The PBC post-show on FS1 drew 217,000 viewers.

The telecast drew slightly better than last Friday’s PBC event on FS1 which drew 236,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Friday night could be the night for PBC on FS1.  The NBA on ESPN drew the top ratings in the time slot but boxing could be a nice alternatives for those wanting an alternative to hoops.

HBO Boxing After Dark draws 576,000 opposite ESPN Top Rank event

December 14, 2017

HBO Boxing After Dark event Saturday drew 576,000 for its main event featuring Miguel Roman and Orlando Salido.  The event was opposite the big Lomachenko-Rigondeaux ESPN telecast.

Roman won via TKO in the 9th round over Salido.  The fight peaked at 618,000 viewers.  According to ShowBuzz Daily, Roman’s win over Salido garnered 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.

The main event occurred after the conclusion of the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight on ESPN.  The ESPN matchup drew the second-highest rating for a boxing event on ESPN this year.  The co-main event saw Kenichi Ogawa score an upset victory over Tevin Farmer with 513,000 viewers watching the fight.  The matchup peaked at 587,000 viewers and 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.  The first fight on the telecast was Francisco Vargas defeating Stephen Smith via technical-decision after Smith could not continue due to an injury.  The fight averaged 486,000 viewers with a peak of 540,000.  It drew 0.20 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

It seems unfair to compare the ratings for this telecast with the ESPN Top Rank event held the same night which drew 1.73M viewers.  The 576,000 viewers for the main event is not that bad considering it was overshadowed Saturday night and was for the hardcore boxing fan.

UPDATED: UFC Fresno ratings: main card peaks at start of telecast

December 13, 2017

Updated ratings information from UFC Fight Night Fresno on FS1 Saturday night show that the card peaked at 1,037,000 viewers from 10:15-10:30pm ET according to Nielsen.

The prelims peaked at 826,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night during the last quarter hour, 9:45pm-10pm ET according to Nielsen.

From our original post:

UFC Fight Night 123 drew 870,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night.  The Prelims which preceded the main card drew 707,000 viewers.

The main card featured Brian Ortega and Cub Swanson in the main event.  The 185-minute UFC Fight Night 123 drew 0.32 in the A18-49 demo.  The two-hour prelim card drew 0.21 in the A18-49 demo.

The post-show on FS1 drew 315,000 viewers.  The 60-minute show which started after the main card drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

The main card was up 16% in comparison to Q4’s UFC Fight Night average of 753,000 viewers.  On Fox Sports Go and Fox Now, the telecast average minute audience was 8,036.

Payout Perspective:

The updated ratings show that many that many people watched the end of the prelims and then the beginning of the main card and then the viewership went down from there.  The featured fight on the prelims was Alexis Davis pulling out a split decision against Liz Carmouche.  The first fight of the main card was a entertaining fight between Benito Lopez and Albert Moralex.  It could be due to the start of the Lomachenko-Rigo fight which started around 11pm ET (during the Eryk Anders-Marcus Perez fight).  Anders-Perez was the second fight on the main card.

UFC Fight Night 123 draws 870K viewers, Prelims draw 707,000

December 12, 2017

UFC Fight Night 123 drew 870,000 viewers on FS1 Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The Prelims which preceded the main card drew 707,000 viewers.

The main card featured Brian Ortega and Cub Swanson in the main event.  The 185-minute UFC Fight Night 123 drew 0.32 in the A18-49 demo.  The two-hour prelim card drew 0.21 in the A18-49 demo.

The post-show on FS1 drew 315,000 viewers.  The 60-minute show which started after the main card drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

On a night with many choices for combat sports, the UFC did well in the ratings scoring about the same average as these Fight Night cards.  It actually drew the best ratings for a Fight Night on cable TV since UFC Fight Night 116’s main card of 872,000.

PBC on FS1 draws 236,000 viewers on Friday night

December 11, 2017

On Friday night, PBC on FS1 drew 236,000 viewers.  The event featured Jean Pascal as he faced Ahmed Elbiali.

The event was the pre-cursor to the big boxing event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeux.

Former light heavyweight champion, Pascal stopped the previously unbeaten Elbiali.  After the fight, Pascal announced his retirement.

Payout Perspective:

Fair ratings for the event which featured a former champ in the main event.  Yet, this was an event mainly for the boxing fan and the 236,000 reflects this.

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