ONE signs television deal with Turner Sports

December 11, 2018

ESPN reports that ONE Championship has signed a three-year broadcast deal with Turner Sports.  According to the report by Ariel Helwani, the deal for the Singapore-based company begins on January 1, 2019.

The company will have 24 events to air live on TNT beginning next year and on its digital platforms including B/R Live.  Financial details were not announced.

The first televised event is schedule for January 19, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The company had promised a North American deal earlier this year.  It has made some significant signings with former UFC fighters including Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson (technically via “trade”) and most recently Sage Northcutt.  It also signed Miesha Tate as a ONE exec.  With those moves, it seemed as though the company was ready for a big move.

Turner Sports had been in discussions for the UFC media rights and one point and it appears that the company sought to expand its live content.  B/R Live most recently aired the Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods one on one golf round the Friday after Thanksgiving.  However, the attempt to market it on PPV was a bust with technical glitches causing the match to be aired for free and refunding those that paid $19.99 to watch.

Payout Perspective:

This is an interesting venture for Turner Sports as TNT has a much broader base than Fox Sports or Paramount.  As of this past September, TNT is received in approximately 89.573 million homes.  In comparison, Fox Sports 1, where the UFC currently resides is in 83,290 million homes.  Paramount Network, home of Bellator, is seen in 80,240 million homes.  NBC Sports Network, home of the PFL, is in 83,404 homes. Notably, ESPN, the future home of the UFC, came in at 85,988 million.

 

In my opinion, the signing of ONE Championship is more for the B/R Live digital content than it is for TNT.  The company is trying to expand its digital reach and signing a deal with ONE Championship gets it into the sport.  Aside from its anchor sports of NBA and golf, TNT airs esports on Friday night to steady, but not outstanding ratings.  Yet, it maintained a viewership base of younger viewers.  This will be an interesting signing and we will see if the casual viewer will acclimate to ONE.

Bellator 209 peaked at 574,000 viewers

November 21, 2018

Bellator 209 peaked at 574,000 viewers on The Paramount Network per Nielsen.  The tape-delayed event from Israel drew 448,000 viewers in DVR + 3 ratings.

The event featured Patricio Freire as he defeated Emmanuel Sanchez.

The Live + SD viewership of the event on Friday drew 381,000 viewers.

The DVR numbers did not add much to the event which is unfortunate but expected considering this was a tape-delayed event.

Tape-delayed Bellator 209 on Paramount draws 381,000 viewers

November 19, 2018

Bellator MMA Live 209 drew 381,000 viewers on the Paramount Network according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The telecast was also available via digital streaming service DAZN.

The event was tape-delayed from Israel and featured Patricio Freire as he defeated Emmanuel Sanchez for Friere’s Featherweight title.

The event drew 0.13 in the A18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

You can certainly stick the blame for the ratings on the one-day tape delay.  The ratings this year for Bellator have been disappointing.

Bellator 208 draws 521,000 viewers on Paramount

October 17, 2018

Bellator 208 on Paramount Saturday night drew 521,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event featured Fedor defeating Chael Sonnen in the last semi-final of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

It was the second of back-to-back nights for the promotion.  The event also aired on DAZN.

In addition to Fedor and Sonnen, Benson Henderson defeated Saad Awad.

Payout Perspective:

Although 521,000 viewers does not seem that impressive, it is the best viewership since Bellator 199 this past May.  One might infer that there were more viewers since DAZN was an optional way to view the event.  The viewership suggests that Fedor is still a draw for many MMA fans.

Bellator 207 draws 416,000 viewers on Paramount Friday night

October 15, 2018

Bellator 207 on the Paramount Network Friday night drew 416,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  It was the first of back-to-back shows on the network.

The event featured the semi-finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix as Ryan Bader made easy work of Matt Mitrione to make his way to the finals of the tournament.

Also on the card, Sergei Kharitonov looked impressive in his KO of Roy Nelson.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings have to be a little disappointing considering this was one of the semifinals for their Heavyweight Grand Prix.  Saturday night’s event will be an interesting look to see with PFL and Top Rank Boxing on ESPN going on at the same time.

Bellator 205 draws 346,000 viewers on Paramount Network

September 24, 2018

Bellator MMA Live on the Paramount Network Friday night drew 346,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured A.J. McKee as he defeated John Macapa in the first round of their matchup via KO.  Bellator 205 took plaice at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Payout Perspective:

The event did better than Bellator 204, but its average is still down over last year. 2018 is averaging 462,000 viewers while 2017 averaged 614,000 viewers.

Bellator 204 peaked with Gallagher fight with 699K viewers on Paramount

August 22, 2018

Bellator 204 peaked for the James Gallagher-Ricky Bandejas fight with 699,000 viewers  on Paramount according to Nielsen.  The event drew 413,000 in DVR + 3 ratings.

The event drew 319,000 viewers in Live + SD ratings on Friday night.  The event featured Darrion Caldwell as he defeated Noad Lahat.  Gallagher was a top prospect and patterned himself after Conor McGregor.  But, he ran into Ricky Bandejas who scored the upset over Gallagher.

Payout Perspective:

The peak occurred prior to featured main event which reflects the interest in Gallgher as he is a McGregor disciple.  The ratings reflect a decline in viewership from the previous weeks which may be a concern.

Bellator 204 draws 319,000 viewers

August 20, 2018

Bellator 204 on the Paramount Network drew 319,000 viewers according to Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

Bellator 204 featured Darrion Caldwell as he defended his Featherweight title against Noad Lahat.  Caldwll won via TKO in the second round.  The telecast also featured the stunning upset of prospect James Gallagher as he was stopped by Ricky Bandejas in the first round.

Payout Perspective:

It was the second-lowest rating of the year for Bellator and brings down the average to 471,000 for 2018.  There has not been an event over 500,000 viewers since Bellator 199 in May.

Bellator 203 and Kicboxing ratings

July 19, 2018

Bellator MMA 203 on Saturday night drew 471,000 viewers on the Paramount Network.  Bellator Kickboxing drew 212,000 immediately after the MMA event from Rome.

Alessio Sakara’s first round TKO victory over Jamie Sloane scored the peak rating for the telecast with 702,000 viewers.  The main event saw Patricio Freire score a split decision victory over Daniel Weichel.

Bellator Kickboxing peaked with 409,000 viewers.  The main event saw Gabriel Varga defeat Kevin Ross via TKO in the first round to become the featherweight world champion.

Bellator 203 took place one night after Bellator’s event in the U.S.  On Friday night, the telecast peaked with 817,000 viewers with the main event featuring Julia Budd.

Payout Perspective:

It was a busy night for combat sports on Saturday and the ratings for Bellator are good considering the Pacquiao fight and UFC Fight Night.  Kickboxing ratings are always lower than MMA despite being its lead-in.  For Bellator, the ratings improve on its event the night before despite a Saturday tape-delayed event.

Bellator MMA 202 on Paramount draws 405,000 viewers

July 18, 2018

Bellator MMA Friday night on Paramount drew 405,000 viewers per Nielsen according to ShowBuzz Daily.

In the main event of the telecast, Julia Budd defeated Talita Nogueira via TKO to retain her Bellator Featherweight title.  Notably, Budd has not lost an MMA fight since a 2011 bout to Ronda Rousey in Strikeforce.

The event drew 0.12 in the A18-49 demo.  Through 12 events in 2018, the promotion is averaging 463,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

The event is the third consecutive with viewership under 500,000 viewers.  The ratings are lower this year as 10 out of the 12 telecasts have had ratings under 500,000.  The telecast featured former UFC fighter Michael MacDonald as he defeated Eduardo Dantas in a fight where both were hurt.  Perhaps the DAZN partnership will help get more eyes on the product.

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