PFL 6 draws 138,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network

August 18, 2018

The Professional Fighter’s League on NBC Sports Network drew 138,000 Thursday night in its sixth event in the current season format.  The event improved upon PFL 5.

PFL 6 took place in Atlantic City and was capped by an impressive 18 second ref stoppage by Rey Cooper III to earn the number 1 seed in the welterweight playoffs.

Also on the telecast was Kayla Harrison as she earned her second pro victory in the third round over Jozette Cotton.

PFL 1: 116,000 viewers

PFL 2: 150,000 viewers

PFL 3: 146,000 viewers

PFL 4: 101,000 viewers

PFL 5: 112,000 viewers

PFL 6: 138,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

Good ratings for a tough night of programming on cable as the NFL Preseason is back and the top cable telecast on Thursday night was ESPN’s game between the NY Jets and Washington.  FX’s Snowfall (923,000) and A&E’s Nightwatch Nation (1.437M) are among the shows that drew higher viewership in the same time slot.

PFL 5 on NBC Sports Network draws 112,000 viewers

August 6, 2018

The PFL on NBC Sports Network drew 112,000 viewers on Thursday night.

The event featured Nathan Schulte defeating Jason High in a lightweight matchup.

PFL 1: 116,000 viewers

PFL 2: 150,000 viewers

PFL 3: 146,000 viewers

PFL 4: 101,000 viewers

PFL 5: 112,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event increased from a season-low of 101,000 viewers.  The ratings are still not on par with WSOF ratings.  We will see if viewership will increase before PFL gets to the playoffs.

PFL finds new TV deal with familiar partner

January 29, 2018

The Professional Fighter’s League is back with NBC Sports Network as part of a one year revenue sharing deal according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

Previously the World Series of Fighting, the organization went through a regime change and renamed itself the PFL.  This year it will offer a league setup with the promise that fighters on its roster will get regular fights and offer a league-style makeup for its six weight divisions culminating with a $10 million prize for fighters at the end of the year.

The article indicates that Jon Miller, NBC Sports Networks’ head of programming reached out to the new PFL heads as he has previously worked with PFL Executive Chairman Russ Ramsey and PFL President of Event Production Carlos Silva. Miller was also fond of CEO Peter Murray, who Miller worked with at the NFL and Under Armour.

In addition to NBC Sports network, Facebook has agreed to pick up the streaming rights for the PFL which include events that are not carried by NBCSN and will carry the first three hours of a PFL event before NBCSN takes over.

Payout Perspective:

The deal appears to be better than the previous WSOF “time buys” in which the organization purchased time from NBCSN.  Although no financial terms were not disclosed, it would seem that revenue sharing would mean that at least a portion of the advertising dollars and sponsorships from the televised event would go back to the network.  This may give a little more incentive for NBCSN to promote PFL.  The online streaming proved to be successful with the organization’s fans with PFL’s one event last year.  We still don’t have a solid date for the PFL to start but with this news, we should expect it happening sooner than later.

PFL: Everett draws 153,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network

August 4, 2017

The Professional Fighters League put on its second event in Everett, Washington on Saturday night.  The main card which aired on NBC Sports Network drew 153,000 viewers per Nielsen.

The event featured undefeated Andre Harrison as he soundly defeated Stephen Rodriguez in the main event.  The telecast also featured Jake Shields and Yushin Okami.  Both UFC vets handled their opponents soundly.

The event included a 20-minute overrun and drew 0.59 in the A18-49 demo and .87 in the M18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

The first PFL event in early July drew 291,000 viewers.  The event took place on a Friday and not a Saturday.  This past weekend’s event took place on a busy night for combat sports as UFC 214’s Prelims and PPV aired on the same night as did Broner-Garcia.

The Ratings Buffet for week ending August 4th

August 4, 2017

It was an active week for The Ratings Buffet as Saturday saw three live events and Mayweather replays on ESPN2 are starting to surface in anticipation of later this month.

Friday

Spike TV: Bellator: NYC Replay: 539,000, 600,000 (DVR +3)

FS1:  UFC 214 Weigh-Ins 8pm ET: 245,000, Replay at 10pm ET 142,000

Saturday

FXX: UFC 214 Pre-Fight Show: 7:00pm ET

FXX: UFC 214 Prelims 8:00pm ET 866,000 viewers (peak at 1,072,000)

FS1: UFC 214 Post-Fight Show, 1:00 am ET 267,000 viewers

NBCSN:  PFL Everett:  9:00pm-11:20pm ET 153,000 viewers

Showtime:  Broner-Garcia 881,000 viewers (404,000 A18-49)

Showtime:  Charlo-Heiland 598,000 viewers (213,000 A18-49)

Sunday

FS1:  PBC on FS1 (Ortiz-Corral)  7pm ET 262,000 viewers

Monday

USA:  Monday Night Raw  9:00pm ET 3.275M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  8:00pm ET 3.194M viewers

USA:  Monday Night Raw  10:00pm ET 3.021M viewers

Tuesday

USA  Smackdown 8:00pm ET 2.569M viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing  9:30pm ET  159,000 viewers

ESPN2  Top Rank Boxing  8:30pm ET  176,000 viewers

ESPN2  Top Rank Boxing 10:15pm ET  147,000 viewers

Wednesday

El Rey:  Lucha Underground 8pm ET 104,000 viewers, 9pm ET 58,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Gatti) 9:30pm ET 232,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Judah)  9:00pm ET 200,000 viewers

ESPN2:  Top Rank Boxing Archives (Mayweather-Corrales) 8:00pm ET 145,000 viewers

 

PFL 1 on NBCSN draws 291,000 viewers Friday night

July 5, 2017

The debut of the Pro Fighters League: Daytona drew 291,000 viewers on Friday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The 143-minute telecast drew a 0.06 rating in t he A18-49 demo.

Under the World Series of Fighting name, the promotion last drew over 291,000 viewers on NBCSN at WSOF 10 when it garnered 365,000 viewers.  Its last event, WSOF 34, it drew 951,000 viewers when it appeared on NBC.

The main event for PFL featured Jon Fitch and Brian Foster with Fitch winning via submission.

The event took place at NASCAR’s Daytona International Speedway.  The race was cancelled due to rain and the fights were moved up as a result.  However, there were reports of issues with the mat and one has to wonder if the fights should have gone on due to the conditions.

Payout Perspective:

An inauspicious start to the new PFL.  There were only 4 fights on the card and that may have been good due to the weather.  Frankly, I thought the event took place on Saturday and not Friday night.  The lack of promotion and notice for the PFL is concerning as you would think that a debut would come with more fanfare.  NASCAR did promote the event but I wonder if there was enough buzz for the event.

Will PBC turn strategy into media rights deal?

April 24, 2017

Sports Business Journal (subscription recommended) reports on the current status of Premier Boxing Champions and its strategy of time buys across a broad landscape of networks.  The article looks at the ratings over the court of the innovative and risky experiment.

The hope was to turn the time buys into a lucrative “rights fees” deal.  This has not happened thus far.  Instead, the strategy has seemed to spread the brand thin and ratings have been sporadic.  Recently, Spike TV decided not to pick up its option for PBC stating that it would focus more on Bellator.

Per the article, there is still an opportunity for a rights fees deal but with the UFC shopping its rights package, there is some competition.  CBS might be a potential landing spot for PBC since it already has a tie-in with Showtime and has a $40 million budget for 2017.  In addition, there is the underutilized CBS Sports Network which could use additional live content.  In leadup to the last couple of PBC fights on CBS or Showtime, CBS Sports Network has shown previous fights of boxers that have upcoming fights on the networks which has served as good shoulder programming marketing the fighters.

One of the concerns for PBC is the lack of sponsors to spend consistently in the sport.  Showtime executive vice president and general manager of sports Stephen Espinoza notes that sponsors is where boxing is “living or dying.”  He believes there needs to be more education of sponsors to show that it has a valuable demo to deliver.

PBC has produced 54 cards in the last 12 months that aired across nine channels.  The highest average it has produced was 2.75 million viewers on CBS for two shows.  Its most-viewed show was a Sunday afternoon fight on NBC in August between Errol Spence-Leonard Bundu which aired immediately after the men’s basketball gold medal game.  The fight drew over 4.8 million viewers with a peak of 6.34 million.  More recently, last month’s Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia fight drew an average of 3.1 million viewers with the fight drawing 3.74 million and peaking at 5.1 million.  In February, the return of Adrien Broner on Showtime drew 779,000 of its network subscribers.

Payout Perspective:

The article notes that PBC is at a crossroads in its business model.  Based on the TV ratings, the time buy strategy has not been effective.  Despite the fact, the strategy has not produced desired results the article notes the last couple of events for PBC have produced good ratings highlighted by Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia on CBS.  We should see some decent ratings for Thurman-Andre Berto on Showtime this past Saturday.  Will PBC survive past 2017?  Better events, promoting its top fighters and maintaining a focused network strategy should help a turn around.  Of course, the networks and sponsors which would infuse PBC with an injection of money would help a business that has seeped money since the beginning.

Formerly WSOF, Professional Fighters League announces new structure for fighters

April 19, 2017

The World Series of Fighting is being repackaged as the Professional Fighters League.  The league will begin in January 2018 according to a press release sent out on Wednesday.

The inaugural season will run for 10 months and will feature seven different weight classes.  Similar to league play, fighters will compete in three regular season fights with the best records moving to a playoff and then a championship round.  There will be $10 million in prize money with $1 million going to each winner of the 7 divisions.  The remaining 3 divisions will go to regular season and playoff competitors.

The Washington Post have announced that a group led by several D.C.-area businessman are spearheading the re-launch effort.  Russ Ramsey, an investment banker and hedge fund manager along with venture capitalists Donn Davis and Mark Leschly are the co-founders of the Professional Fighters League.  Sports franchise owner Ted Leonsis is also an investor.  Leonsis owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards.  Also, members of the Lerner family who own the Washington Nationals are investors.

There is no current television deal as the NBCSN TV deal expires at the end of 2017 although according to MMA Fighting, talks are underway with several media outlets.  MMA Fighting obtained an email to fighters from Ray Sefo stating the change.  It also noted that every fighter will have regular fights (no less than 3 per year), they will receive a monthly paycheck and have the opportunity to be champion.

Payout Perspective:

The announcement was a surprise for fighters as none knew of the details of the new venture.  Of course, there are still more questions to ask.  First, are the fighters now employers?  Second, with the mandate that every fighter have at least three fights, how many former WSOF fighters be included on its roster.  Third, will fighters receive insurance.  Of course, what happens if a fighter is injured and cannot fight the rest of the year.  Will they continue to receive a monthly paycheck.

Obviously, the infusion of cash from the investors seems to be the reason for the newfound promises.  Of course, the big need is for a media rights distributor that will pay for the content with the hope that it can find key sponsorships to carry it through the inaugural season.  We shall see what happens.

WSOF draws 146,000 viewers

March 21, 2017

World Series of Fighting 35 drew 146,000 viewers on Saturday night on NBC Sports Network per Sports TV Ratings.

The event also drew 45,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

The main event featured Blagoy Ivanov defeating Shawn Jordan in a heavyweight matchup.

World Series of Fighting – 2017

WSOF 34 951,000 NBC
WSOF 35 146,000 NBC Sports

Payout Perspective:

The event was on the same night as the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and the GGG- Danny Jacobs PPV.  The event is on par with most of the events in 2016 and considering that there was not much buzz for this event the ratings are decent.

UPDATED: WSOF 34 draws 951,000 viewers, prelims draw 71,000 on NBCSN

January 4, 2017

World Series of Fighting drew 941,000 951,000 on NBC Saturday afternoon according to Nielsen.  The rating makes it the highest-rated televised WSOF event ever.

The preliminaries on NBC Sports Network drew 71,000 viewers per Sports TV Ratings.  The prelims aired from 11:30-1pm PT.  The main card aired on NBC from 1-3pm PT.

Notably, the WSOF event took place during the first NCAA College Football semifinal at the Peach Bowl between Washington and Alabama.  The game drew 18,397 million viewers on ESPN per Sports TV Ratings.

Also of note, the UFC 207 PPV post-fight replay on FS1 drew 76,000 viewers at 3-4am PT.

Payout Perspective:

The Saturday event bests the WSOF’s last time on NBC when it drew 741,000 for WSOF 11 on July 5, 2014.  This past Saturday’s event, which took place in New York, featured Jake Shields-Jon Fitch and Justin Gaethje-Luiz Firmino.  Considering WSOF was up against one of the national semifinals for college football, reaching close to 1 million viewers is a success.  Of course, the question of whether the WSOF can remain afloat in 2017 is another question.

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