TUF 27 Episode 3 on FS1 draws 246,000 viewers

May 3, 2018

The Ultimate Fighter 27 episode 3 drew 246,000 viewers Wednesday night on FS1 according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It was the highest-rated show of the young season.

The season’s average is a meager 210,000 viewers.  The feature fight of the telecast saw Luis Pena defeat Jose Martinez, Jr. via unanimous decision.

The DVR ratings are in for this season and Episode 1 drew 296,000 viewers which was a 67% increase from its Live + SD rating.  Episode 2 drew 298,000 viewers which was a 62% increase.

Payout Perspective: 

It’s clear that this season is not going well in terms of live viewership.  Based on the first two-episode DVR numbers, it’s clear that this series is becoming much more of a show that fans will record for later viewership.

UFC Fight Night 128 draws 956,000 viewers, prelims 284,000

April 24, 2018

UFC Fight Night Atlantic City drew 956,000 viewers on Saturday night on FS1 according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The prelims, which preceded the main card on FS1 drew 561,000 viewers.

The main card featured Kevin Lee’s win over Edson Barboza after doctor stoppage.  The event drew 537,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo for a 0.55 rating.  The prelims featured fight saw Ryan LaFlare get a unanimous decision victory over Alex Garcia.  The prelims drew 284,000 in the A18-49 demo and a 0.35 rating.

Notably, the card went up against Boxing on Showtime featuring Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas.  However, that fight did not seem to draw a lot of fans away for the UFC event.

The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 169,000 viewers and the post-fight show drew a robust 297,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

It’s the second highest Fight Night main card ratings this year.  The pacing, as always for FS1 events, was very slow although there were some interesting finishes in matches mixed in.  The ratings are good considering the lack of any real known stars on this card aside from Frankie Edgar.

TUF 27 Episode 1 draws 200,000 viewers

April 19, 2018

The debut of The Ultimate Fighter 27 featuring coaches Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic on FS1 drew 200,000 viewers Wednesday.  The telecast is the lowest debut yet for the TUF franchise.

Last spring’s TUF 25 drew 288,000 viewers with coaches T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt.  This fall’s TUF 26 drew 308,000 with coaches Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez.

Payout Perspective:

The episode went up against the NBA Playoff game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets on TNT which was the highest telecast on cable Wednesday night drawing over 3.4 million viewers.  Even with the competition, it’s clear that the TUF franchise is one where you have to look to the DVR numbers to see how many people are really tuning in.  The declining live numbers reflect the shift in how viewers watch this franchise.

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.

UFC 223 Prelims draw 892,000 viewers

April 10, 2018

The UFC 223 Prelims drew 892,000 viewers on FS1 according to Neilsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event preceded Saturday’s UFC 223 PPV.

The feature fight of the UFC 223 Prelims was Karolina Kowalkiewicz’s split decision victory over Felice Herrig.

The event drew 0.33 in the A18-49 demo and 0.49 in the male 18-49 demo.

In addition, the pre-fight show which preceded the Prelims on FS1 drew 373,000 viewers.  The post-fight show drew 138,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event did better than UFC 221 and is near the ratings for UFC 220 and 222.  The other ancillary ratings on Saturday for UFC 223 were on par with other pre and post-fight shows this year.

 

UFC 222: Payout Perspective

March 7, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 222 which took place at the T-Mobile Area in Las Vegas.

Cyborg easily handles Kunitskaya

Cris Cyborg took care of Yana Kunitskaya as the UFC women’s Featherweight champion earned the TKO victory in round 1 of their championship bout.  The former Invicta champ earned a takedown in the beginning seconds of the bout and had a couple fleeting moments of offense before being overwhelmed by Cyborg.  It was clear that Kunitskaya did not want to do anything with Cyborg’s striking and was an easy victory for the champion.

In a division that does not have many challengers, Cyborg may fight  Amanda Nunes in a “superfight” or go after Megan Anderson.

Ortega KO’s Edgar for next title shot Brian Ortega made his presence known in the Featherweight division with an impressive KO of Frankie Edgar.  The durable former lightweight champ went down for the first time.  He had never been submitted or was stopped before in his UFC career.

Ortega looked great and the high-level blackbelt also showed his striking ability.  A matchup against Max Holloway is next.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

UFC 222 drew 12,041 for a gate of $1,367, 672 according to the UFC.  The event took Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The last event in Vegas was UFC 219 in December which featured Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Holly Holm.  The event drew 13,561 for a gate of $1,760,628.74.

The bonuses were awarded to Brian Ortega, Alexander Hernandez, Sean O’Malley and Andre Soukhamthath each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC 222 event.

According to SeatGeek, the average resale price on the secondary market was $222.

Payouts

Cris Cyborg led the list of athletes Saturday night earning $500,000.  Brian Ortega earned $100,000 plus another for his win over Frankie Edgar.  Ortega also earned another $50,000 for his KO.

The rest of the payouts via NAC:

Cris Cyborg: $500,000 (no win bonus)
def. Yana Kunitskaya: $100,000

Brian Ortega: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Frankie Edgar: $195,000

Sean O’Malley: $44,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus)
def. Andre Soukhamthath: $19,000

Andrei Arlovski: $275,000 (no win bonus)
def. Stefan Struve: $77,000

Ketlen Vieira: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Cat Zingano: $35,000

Mackenzie Dern: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Ashley Yoder: $12,000

Alexander Hernandez: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Beneil Dariush: $48,000

John Dodson: $82,000 (includes $41,000 win bonus)
def. Pedro Munhoz: $34,000

C.B. Dollaway: $92,000 (includes $46,000 win bonus)
def. Hector Lombard: $62,000

Zak Ottow: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Pyle: $55,000

Cody Stamann: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Bryan Caraway: $21,000

Jordan Johnson: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Adam Milstead: $12,000

The Reebok payouts are listed here.  Notably, Edgar and Arlovski are in the rare 21 UFC bouts or more category garnering $20K.

Promotion of Event

The biggest promotional event was a joint endeavor with the city of Las Vegas and other sports helding events in the city this past weekend as the Ultimate Vegas Sports Weekend.  A “pep rally” was held at the Toshiba Plaza on the Wednesday before the fight.

Sponsorships

Modelo, Toyo Tires, Harley Davidson, MetroPCS, Monster Energy and EA UFC 3 were in the Octagon.  Notably, Dollar General was also present in the octagon.

Just a little over a month releasing its latest version of its video game, EA has reduced the price due likely to poor sales.  During the PPV, it advertised the sale.

The movie “Hurricane Heist” was given some airtime during the UFC broadcast.

Ratings

The UFC Prelims drew a respectable 905,000 viewers with the peak happening during the last quarter hour for Mackenzie Dern’s fight.  The event drew 11,009 viewers streaming.  Dern’s fight peaked at 1,076,000 viewers.

The prelim showed had a higher than normal viewership with 431,000 viewers on FS1.  The Post-Fight show drew 177,000.

Also on Saturday night, were two boxing telecasts on HBO and Showtime.  Deontay Wilder’s fight on Showtime drew an impressive 1,055,000 viewers on the network which beat out HBO’s fights featuring Sergey Kovalev.  The boxing events occurred during the PPV and did not compete with the FS1 Prelims.

Odds and ends

The biggest bit of business news coming out last week was that Amazon has signed on to stream UFC PPVs.  Similar to ordering via Fight Pass or UFC.com, it cost $64.99 and you have access to the PPV for 24 hours.

There were rumors that Conor McGregor offered to fill-in to save UFC 222.  Of course, this sounds like someone trying to stay relevant while taking time off.

Mike Pyle retired after his loss on Saturday.  A good career despite going out with a loss.

Mackenzie Dern has a lot to work on but the UFC is hoping she turns into another mainstream star similar to Ronda Rousey.

There were 7 Embedded episodes with 6 of those coming before Friday ended.  Most were done to promote potential new stars Dern, Sean O’Malley and Ortega,

Over 200,000 google searches for UFC 222 on Saturday night.  Same for Deontay Wilder.

Conclusion

All indications pointing toward this PPV doing between 340,000-380,000 PPV buys based on the prelim ratings, google trend searches and past history with Cyborg on PPV.  Not an exact science, but if this does mid-300s, you have to think this is a success considering that the card was built on one fight (Max-Frankie) that fell through.

 

UFC on Fox 28 draws 1.82M viewers in overnight ratings

February 25, 2018

UFC on Fox 28 drew 1.8 million viewers on Fox Saturday night’s fast overnight ratings.  Despite stiff competition from the NBA and the Olympics the event was able to stave off its worst ratings since being shown on the network.

The event drew 1.82 million viewers, a 0.6 rating in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share according to Television By Numbers.  The ratings do no include the overrun into the 8pm PT hour.

The telecast featured Jeremy Stephens taking on Josh Emmett in a featherweight matchup.  Stephens KO’d Emmett to earn the victory.

The UFC on Fox went up against the Winter Olympics on NBC, the NBA on ABC and a rerun of Big Brother on CBS in the first hour and a 48-Hours rerun in the second.  Both replays on CBS outdid the two hours of MMA on Fox.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000 2,046,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000 2,107,000
UFC on Fox 27 1,590,000 1,770,000
UFC on Fox 28 1,820,000

Payout Perspective:

The low ratings were expected.  If there is any solace is that it improved on last month’s dismal UFC on Fox ratings.  It also improved from PBC on Fox ratings last week.  Up against the Olympics which drew over 9 million viewers and NBA basketball chipped away at any sort of casual viewership.

UFC 221 Prelims on FS1 draw 697,000 viewers

February 13, 2018

The UFC 221 on FS1 drew 697,000 viewers Saturday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast featured Dong Hyun Kim earned a split decision over Damien Brown.

Also on the telecast, Israel Adesanya stopped Rob Wilkinson, Alex Volkanovski stopped Jeremy Kennedy and Justin Formiga submitted Ben Nguyen.

The two-hour telecast drew 0.21 in the A18-49 demo.

Also, the post-fight show on FS1 drew 188,000 viewers.  The 52-minute wrapup show which started a little after 1:00 am on the east coast drew 0.08 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

Predictably, the event drew lower than UFC 220 last month.  This is likely due to the Olympics as well as the less-than-stellar hype for this PPV.  This ratings may mean that the PPV buys did not do well domestically despite the local excitement for the event in Perth.

UFC Fight Night 125 draws 839,000 on FS1; Prelims on FS2 361,000

February 6, 2018

UFC Fight Night 125 on FS1 drew 839,000 viewers on Saturday night according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The Prelims, which aired on FS2, drew 361,000 viewers.

The main card was highlighted by Lyoto Machida defeating Eryk Anders via split decision in the main event.  The prelims feature bout saw Sergio Moraes defeat Tim Means via split decision.

The post-fight wrap-up show on FS1 drew 231,000 viewers and 0.09 in the A18-49 demo from 10:26pm-11:26 pm PT

The Prelims rating on FS2 improved over this past October’s UFC Fight Night 119 prelims when it was also pre-empted on FS1.  Notably, that post-fight show drew 265,000 on FS1.

Payout Perspective:

The main card ratings improve upon October’s UFC card in Brazil which drew just 558,000 viewers for Machida against Derek Brunson.  The card went up against the NBA on ABC and boxing on ESPN.  Good ratings for the Prelims as well for it being on FS2 due to college basketball.

UFC 220: Payout Perspective

January 22, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time, we take a look at UFC 220 taking place at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Miocic handles Ngannou

Stipe Miocic defeated Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision in what was an easy win for the defending champion.  Despite Ngannou’s punching power, he did not have any cardio or any type of grappling acumen to defend himself against Miocic.  This is confounding since this was the obvious test for the challenger since most of his fights are standing up.  Ngannou had no defense to the ground game by Miocic and was visibly exhausted most of the fight.

Truly a disappointing showing for Ngannou who was thought to be ready for his shot.  Obviously, he is a one-dimensional fighter at this point.  The good news is that he is still a very good one-dimensional fighter.  He just needs to extend his grasp of MMA and more cardio.

For Miocic, it truly was a very good game plan.  Even when he was not doing anything to Ngannou, he was leaning on him getting him tired.

Dana White indicated that a Daniel Cormier-Miocic fight would be a good matchup although DC confirmed that he would like to see his stablemate, Cain Velasquez get a shot by the end of the year.

For Ngannou?  Derrick Lewis, a guy who has had his own trouble with cardio was trolling the man from Cameroon last night and that might be a fun fight to see so long as it lasts just one round.

Cormier outclasses Volkan

Daniel Cormier proved that there are different levels of UFC fighter as he soundly handled Vokan Oezdimir and stopped him in the second round.  Cormier, still haunted by the ghosts of Jon Jones, gave a post-fight promo talking about getting his championship back.  Regardless of how much he tucks in his shirt to his pants and has a dad bod, he is still one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.  As he says, it’s not easy going against him.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

Boston fans came out for UFC 220 as the event was a sellout or close to it with the most fans-ever attending a UFC event at the TD Garden.  There were 16,015 fans in attendance with a gate of $2.45 million.  The gate was slightly less than UFC 118’s $2.8 million which had a main event of Edgar-Penn II.

The demand was down on the secondary market with the median price for tickets falling as of this past Thursday from $384 per ticket to $368 per ticket.  The get-in price on the secondary market was $136.  Ticketmaster had seats available although they were close to a sell out as of Friday.

The bonuses went to Cormier, Abdul Razak Alhassan, Calvin Kattar and Shane Burgos.  Each earned $50,000.  Alhassan and Cormier earned the Performance bonuses while Kattar and Burgos drew Fight of the Night.

Promotion of the Fight

This felt like a big event for the UFC as it tried to kick off 2018 on a high.  Embedded was front and center as the tool to promote the event via social media.  This time around, there were no sponsors attached to the event.  It did show a lot of the promotion (i.e., media obligations, ESPN interviews, appearances) in addition to the training the main camps endured.

One of the more unique opportunities was Daniel Cormier being interviewed for Complex Magazine regarding his shoe game.  As someone that is somewhat of a sneakerhead, this was a good way to tie in Cormier with a personal interest with the underlying goal of promoting UFC 220.

Sponsorships

It was the first time that Modelo was a part of a UFC PPV.  The beer maker took over for Bud Light as the “Official Beer” of the UFC.  It was front and center during the UFC Prelims as the studio shots had the logo prominently displayed.  It was also on the canvas and Octagon posts.

BodyArmor also made its first appearance on a UFC PPV with the stools, drinks and towels having the logo.

Although no announcement has yet been made, Wish Shopping may be the next sponsor to fall in line with the UFC.  The company, which features online shopping, was one of the sponsors for The Money Fight this past August.  It also sponsors the Los Angeles Lakers.  During the PPV, it sponsored the Fighter Descriptions.

Gruntstyle.com, MetroPCS, Body Armor, Toyo Tires, Performance Inspired, Modelo, EA’s UFC 3, Monster Energy had the center of the Octagon.  7-11 shared an Octagon post with Monster Energy.   The upcoming video game also had the fighter prep point.

MetroPCS offered its Periscope analysis during the event with Forrest Griffin, Demetrious Johnson, Tyron Woodley and Cody Garbrandt.

Performance Inspired also sponsored the UFC bonus announcements.

EA UFC3 offered up the video game versions of the main event participants.

Odds and Ends

As most know, the event went up against Bellator 192 on the reboot of SpikeTV now known as The Paramount Network.

Francis Ngannou, a native of Cameroon, had some choice words for the President.  I also wrote about it here.

The weirdest news out of this week was the internet feud between Daniel Cormier and professional wrestlers, The Young Bucks.  The two went back and forth before third parties decided to be jerks and both sides decided for cooler heads to prevail.

There were over 1 million google searches for UFC 220 on Saturday.  In comparison Bellator 192 had over 200,000.

UFC 220 was $5 more ($64.99) than PPVs last year.  If you wanted the 4K version it cost $74.99.

Luke Rockhold, a training partner of Cormier, trained in Florida with Volkan which caused somewhat of a stir but for the fact Rockhold immediately dispelled a myth of a fissure between himself and DC.

Conclusion

The google searches and promotion of the event leads me to believe that we should see a better than normal buy rate for this event.  While UFC 219’s mid-300s was a success despite the consensus feel that it was not, look for UFC 220 to do slightly better.  Perhaps the 350-375K range.

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