TUF 22 Episode 5: 498,000

October 8, 2015

The 5th episode of TUF 22 drew a Live plus Same Day viewing rating of 498,000 viewers on FS1.  The event went up against the MLB playoff game between Chicago and Pittsburgh as well as the opening night of the NHL on NBC Sports Network.

In the fight of the episode Saul Rogers defeated Billy Quarantillo via unanimous decision.

Per Sports TV ratings, MLB on TBS (8-11pm ET) drew 8.3 million viewers with a 2.6 rating in the adult 28-49 demo.  The Rangers/Blackhawks (8:30-11pm ET) game on NBC Sports Network drew 925,000 viewers and a 0.4 rating.

The replay of TUF 22 the same night (10-11pm PT) drew an additional 58,000 viewers.UFC TUFF 22 Ep 5

Payout Perspective:

Tough night for TUF going up against baseball with two big markets involved as well as the start of the NHL season.  Suffice it to say that MMA fans of TUF in Chicago likely DVR’d this episode.  Despite the ratings, it did better than last spring’s TUF 21 5th episode (340,000) and just slightly less than TUF 20’s 5th episode last fall (509,000).

Bellator announces famous PRIDE announcer for Bellator: Dynamite 1

September 11, 2015

Bellator MMA teased the addition of a legendary MMA figure to the Bellator: Dynamite 1 event a few weeks back. Yesterday, they announced the addition of former PRIDE announcer and MMA legend Lenne Hardt via the apropos usage of SoundCloud.

Bellator: Dynamite 1 is scheduled to take place on September 19th from SAP Center in San Jose, CA and will feature the LHW title bout between Tito Ortiz vs Liam McGeary as the main event.  Bellator: Dynamite 1 will also hold a one-night Four Man LHW Tournament in addition to Glory kickboxing bouts in a unique ring plus cage arena setup announced for the event.


Payout Perspective:

This is not the first time Scott Coker has paid homage to his Japanese roots.  Back in 2011-2012, just before Strikeforce was sold to Zuffa, Coker and match-maker Rich Chou were the composers of the now famed Strikeforce HW GP, which included HW fighters such as Fedor, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski, and Brett Rogers.

Also planned for the event was the addition of Lenne Hardt, but scheduling conflicts prevented Scott Coker and Lenne Hardt to come to an agreement. Bellator: Dynamite 1 is the second chance Coker and Hardt had been looking for since their first failed attempt back in the Strikeforce era.

PBC on ESPN draws 1.217M viewers

September 1, 2015

ESPN reports that PBC on ESPN featuring Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares Saturday night drew an average audience of 1,217,000 viewers and peaking with 1,641,000 viewers.

Santa Cruz defeated Mares via majority decision.  The peak occurred in the 12:00-12:15 am quarter hour.  The event officially aired from 10:00 – 12:12 am thus the peak came at the very end.  The rating makes it the largest boxing audience on ESPN since February 1998.

ESPN Deportes averaged a 1.3 Hispanic Household rating and 355,000 Hispanic viewers making it the highest-rated and most-watch boxing telecast to air on ESPN Deportes.  The telecast peaked from 11:15-11:30pm with 453,000 viewers.


July 11th – Thurman-Collazo: 800,000 viewers

August 1st – Garcia-Malignaggi: 1.073M viewers

August 29th – Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares: 1.217M viewers

Only a preseason NFL Football game on the NFL Network between Pittsburgh and Buffalo did better than PBC per Sports TV Ratings.

Payout Perspective:

PBC ran unopposed this past Saturday as the last two PBC events on ESPN ran opposite UFC PPVs.  The event reflects the huge Hispanic audience for boxing.  The fight received much more buzz than the last two on ESPN and based on the ESPN Deportes ratings, it was the most-watch on the network.

UFC Fight Night 73 draws 1.159M viewers; Prelims 306K

August 11, 2015

UFC Fight Night 73 drew an average viewership of 1.159M viewers on FS1 Saturday night according to Sports TV Ratings.  The event made it the third-most watch UFC Fight Night of 2015.

In addition, the Fight Night Prelims which aired prior to the main card drew 306,000 viewers from 8-10pm ET.  The main card, which aired from 10pm-1am featured Glover Texeira and Ovince Saint Preux with Texeira taking the submission victory.

The main card was the second-most watched cable sporting event on Saturday night next to NASCAR on NBC Sports Network earlier in the day.

UFC Fight Nights through 73

UFC Fight Nights 2015
Main Card Prelims
UFC Fight Night 59 1,700,000 908,000
UFC Fight Night 60 913,000 775,000
UFC Fight Night 61 1,200,000 813,000
UFC Fight Night 62 617,000 280,000
UFC Fight Night 63 389,000 304,000
UFC Fight Night 66 575,000 286,000
UFC Fight Night 67 813,000 713,000
UFC Fight Night 68 950,000 782,000
UFC Fight Night 70 (prelims on FS2) 909,000 223,000
UFC Fight Night 71 801,000 543,000
UFC Fight Night 72 508,000 292,000
UFC Fight Night 73 1,159,000 306,000

Payout Perspective:

Saturday’s UFC event is a reason why FS1 wants the promotion on its network.  The UFC delivered with high ratings for the main card which brought the average up to 877,000 for all televised Fight Nights in 2015.  Last year, only 2 events exceeded 1 million viewers.  UFC Fight Night 73 featured fringe fighters that most casual viewers would not know.  Thus, not a big reason to tune in.  One might conclude that the reason so many people tuned in was that it was live and a UFC event.   A positive for FS1 and the UFC.

Bellator CEO jabs at UFC pre and post PPV

May 18, 2014

Saturday night was a very interesting night of MMA for Bellator as its inaugural PPV was entertaining but depending on whom you talk to, came with questionable judging.  In its lead-up to the event, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Junkie it plans to have future PPVs.

As he has been doing throughout the PPV hype, Rebney took subtle shots at the UFC.  For instance,  Rebney took a shot at the UFC by indicating its PPVs would be quality rather than quantity.

“You’re never going to see our organization where we’re in a position where we’re just force-feeding one every two to three weeks. It’s never going to happen. We’ll do big, significant pay-per-view events.”

He reiterated this at Bellator’s post-fight press conference.

He has taken other shots at the UFC in lead-up to the event including criticizing Zuffa for the reason that MMA is still not legal in New York (via Latin Post).

Payout Perspective:

It’s clear that Bellator is not relying on the PPV model for its business but does the foray into the platform make sense for the company?  From the company’s perspective, having a big event 2-3 times a year would be an interesting piece to add to its content as the company could build its seasons on Spike TV around the potential for PPV.  We could certainly see a lot more build with tournament finals culminating on a PPV broadcasts as well as interesting rematches from the seasons airing on PPV.  We can foresee Rampage-Tito and Alvarez-Chandler/Brooks as headliners for the next PPV.  But will fans have the appetite to pay $44.95 for another MMA PPV?

As for Rebney’s jabs at the UFC, it is fine but if he is going to criticize the UFC, he probably should know the attendance and gate of his first PPV event.  This is something Rebney did not reveal to the media post-fight as he stated he did not know. Certainly, this will be something that the UFC will mention when asked about its PPV.

UFC on Fox Sports Ratings (1/06 – 1/19)

February 4, 2014

MMAPayout will be covering in detail the FOX – UFC TV deal, quarterly and weekly, in order to analyze the performance of both properties throughout the lifespan of the TV deal. In this edition, we will be looking at the UFC on FOX sports network ratings for the week of 1/06 – 1/19.


 Week: (1/6 – 1/12)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (1/08):
– Big East Basketball: 73,000 viewers (7:00-9:00 PM)
– Best of UFC 2013: 160,000 viewers (9:00-11:00 PM)
– Fox Sports Live: 50,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Friday Night Block (1/10):
– Daytona Preseason: 320,000 viewers (1:00-5:00 PM) **
– Crowd Goes Wild: 55,000 viewers (5:00 – 6:00 PM)
– FOX Football Daily: 43,000 viewers (6:00 – 7:00 PM)
– Daytona Preseason: 130,000 viewers (7:00 – 8:00 PM)
 UFC Reloaded: 367,000 viewers (8:00-11:00 PM) *
– Fox Sports Live: 38,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

* = FS1 highest viewership of the week… ** = FS1 second highest viewership of the week.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– Ultimate Insider (1/11) on FS1 drew 48,000 viewers.
– Best of UFC 2013 (1/8) on FS2 drew 52,000 viewers. ^
– Best of PRIDE FC (1/06) on FS2 drew 13,000 viewers.
– Golden Boy Boxing (1/06) on FS1 drew 113,000 viewers.
– Supercross (1/11) on FS1 drew 283,000 viewers.

^ FS2 viewership high for the week.

Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals (1/6 – 1/12):
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 168,000 (last week: 182,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 25,000 (last week: 13,000)


 Week: (1/13 – 1/19)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Wednesday Night Block (1/15):
– UFC Tonight: 123,000 viewers (3:00-4:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night Pre-fight Show: 89,000 viewers (4:00-5:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night Prelims: 220,000 viewers (5:00-7:00 PM)
– UFC Fight Night: 629,000 viewers (7:00-10:00 PM) *
– Ultimate Fighter Nations: 371,000 viewers (10:00-11:00 PM) **
– Fox Sports Live: 259,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

UFC on Fox Sports 1 Friday Night Block (1/17):
– Barrett-Jackson: 242,000 viewers (2:00-9:00 PM) 
– Ultimate Fighter Nations (repeat): 109,000 viewers (9:00-10:00 PM)
 UFC Main Event: 200,000 viewers (10:00-11:00 PM)
– Fox Sports Live: 40,000 viewers (11:00 PM – 12:00 AM)

* = FS1 highest viewership of the week… ** = FS1 second highest viewership of the week.

Other Key Programming Notes :
– PAC-12 College Basketball (1/16) on FS1 drew 318,000 viewers.
– Ultimate Insider (1/19) on FS1 drew 41,000 viewers.
– UFC Unleashed (1/14) on FS2 drew 46,000 viewers.
– Barrett-Jackson (1/14) on FS2 drew 106,000 viewers. ^
– Best of PRIDE FC (1/13) on FS2 drew 22,000 viewers.
– Golden Boy Boxing (1/13) on FS1 drew 143,000 viewers.
– Supercross (1/18) on FS1 drew 284,000 viewers.

^ FS2 viewership high for the week.

Fox Sports 1 & 2 Weekly Totals (1/13 – 1/19):
– Fox Sports 1 Primetime Viewership: 206,000 (last week: 168,000)
– Fox Sports 2 Primetime Viewership: 26,000 (last week: 25,000)

Ratings provided by Nielsen TV Ratings & Fox Sports.


Payout Perspective:

From January 6 to January 12,  the primetime viewership for FS1 dropped to a lowly 168,000 viewers, a decrease from 182,000 viewers the previous week.  In December, primetime viewership on FS1 declined from 514,000 to 144,000, which is roughly a 72% drop. Without any live UFC events this week, FS1 viewership numbers fell below 200,000 once again. The highest rated program for the week was UFC Reloaded, which drew 367,000 viewers.  The most watched non-UFC program this week was Daytona Preseason which drew 320,000 viewers. Supercross produced another good number as well as it drew 283,000 viewers on Saturday.

Fox Sports 2 primetime viewership the week increased from 13,000 the previous week to 25,000, which is typical due to the small viewership numbers for the network. The FS2 high for the week was Best of UFC 2013 on Wednesday at 1AM, which drew 52,000.

UFC programming only claimed 4 out of the top 10 most watched programs on FS1 for the week, though they claimed the most watched event for the week on FS1 from UFC Reloaded, which drew 367,000 viewers.


From January 13 to January 19,  the primetime viewership for FS1 was 206,000 viewers, an increase from the 182,000 viewers it drew the previous week. With a live UFC events this week, FS1 viewership numbers just climbed over the 200,000 mark once again. The highest rated program for the week was UFC Fight Night, which drew 629,000 viewers and the Ultimate Fighter Nations debut, which drew 371,000.  The most watched non-UFC program this week was Pac-12 Basketball, which drew 318,000 viewers. Barrett-Jackson live on Sunday drew 287,000 viewers while Supercross produced another good number, drawing 284,000 viewers on Saturday.

Fox Sports 2 primetime viewership the week increased from 25,000 the previous week to 26,000, which is the typical range due to the small viewership numbers for the network. The FS2 high for the week was Barrett-Jackson, which claimed a viewership high of 106,000 on Tuesday, but also took second (95,000), third (85,000), and fourth place (80,000) for most watched on the network. Coming in fifth is the highest rated UFC show on FS2 for the week, which was a UFC FS1 Fight Night repeat, drawing 68,000 viewers.

UFC programming only claimed 5 out of the top 10 most watched programs on FS1 for the week, even though they claimed the two most watched event for the week on FS1 with the live UFC Fight Night event (629,000) and the debut of TUF Nations (371,000).

UFC contemplates expanding production arm

October 16, 2013

The Sports Business Journal (subscription required) reports that last month Dana White and UFC senior vice president of production and operations Craig Borsari began work to create non-UFC sports programming in hopes of it landing on Fox Sports.

Although nothing specific was provided, White said the programming would resemble the “Countdown” shows it does to hype PPVs.  The initial plan appears to have a UFC production staff in Vegas and establish a new group in Los Angeles.

The UFC has worked with Fox on the look of its broadcasts since it came aboard in 2011.  Although each is known for controlling most aspects of the broadcasts, it seems that both sides have been able to work together.  The UFC did away with its original opening, nixed prelim walkouts and allowed new camera angles. White is notorious for wanting control of all aspects of the UFC shows.  This was exemplified when he was turned off by Showtime execs for not taking input from him on a Strikeforce event.  Although maybe not the last straw in its relationship, it was probably one of the reasons that the UFC-Showtime relationship ended after the demise of Strikeforce.

No word as of yet when, and if, the UFC will begin producing non-UFC content.

Payout Perspective:

The need for content on its networks and the fact that the UFC has proven itself to be an asset on the new FS1 and FS2 has given the UFC an opportunity to expand.  The UFC should learn from the WWE’s failures in expanding into “entertainment” and work with industry pros rather than go off on its own.  The report doesn’t give specifics on what type of “non-UFC” content it is looking to produce, but it can be a great opportunity for the company as the expansion of the production arm could aid the UFC’s bottom line.

MMA Payout on Inside MMA on AXS TV tonight

October 4, 2013

MMA Payout will be on Inside MMA tonight on AXS TV discussing the implications of this week’s Court ruling in the Zuffa v. New York case.  Inside MMA will is on live tonight at 6pm-7pm (9pm-10pm on the east coast).

Couture and others to star in “Fightmaster: Bellator MMA”

February 5, 2013

Spike TV announced its upcoming MMA reality show which will feature Randy Couture, Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock and Joe Warren.  Enitled, “Fightmaster: Bellator MMA,” the show will feature four fight camps with the winner getting a chance to fight in the Bellator tournament and receive a $100K price.

Via Spike TV press release:

The 32 fighters, competing for a spot in the welterweight (170lb) tournament in the Fall of 2013, will live and train together in four camps led by the aforementioned legendary coaches.  This series is much more than just a tournament, as it will capture the reality of the competitors and the grueling training regimen it takes to become a world-class MMA fighter.

 The concept of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” is unprecedented in that the fighters control their own destiny.  They will choose which camp to train with and which opponent they want to fight next.  The premiere will feature 8 qualifying fights with each subsequent episode showcasing at least one fight.  The finale will be telecast live on Spike with the winner moving on to an upcoming tournament.  Bellator announcer Jimmy Smith will serve as host.

 “As the fighters’ control their own destiny, they will need to utilize strategy in and out of the cage if they want to succeed and advance each week,” said Sharon Levy, Executive Vice President, Original Series, Spike TV.  “The stakes are high and the wrong decision, whether it is picking an opponent you don’t match up well against or a coach and fight camp that you don’t work well with, can mean all the difference.”

 The series will delve into the fighters’ personal stories for a glimpse into the often arduous journey that led them to “Fight Master.”  Viewers will get to know the man behind the fighter, and follow them on their quest for victory.  These determined contestants come from all parts of the country with a wide variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds.  However, they all share the same goal – to learn from the sport’s finest trainers and earn a spot in the Bellator tournament.

Spike TV will telecast 10 one-hour episodes of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA.” Production begins in early February in Louisiana.  Two of television’s most acclaimed producers, eight-time Emmy® Award winner Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri of Profiles Television Productions, the visionaries behind “The Amazing Race,” serve as Executive Producers.  Andrea Richter serves as Executive Producer as well and Levy and Tim Duffy, Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Spike TV, will oversee the project for the network.

Payout Perspective:

Last week the big announcement was Randy Couture’s signing with Spike TV to become involved with Bellator.  Today, we found out more details including more names to work with Bellator.  The Greg Jackson involvement is intriguing considering White’s choice words for Jackson after the cancellation of UFC 151.  He will still corner GSP and Jon Jones in the UFC but it will be very awkward.  In the past, fighters from other organizations have cornered UFC fighters in fights but this will be different considering he’ll be working directly for a competing organization.

As for the show, we will see how it will distinguish itself from TUF.  The concept seems the similar to TUF.  It will be up to the producers to make it something viewers will want to see.

Payout Perspective: TUF Live on FX Debut Rating Breakdown

March 14, 2012

The Ultimate Fighter Live debut on FX drew an average of 1.28 million viewers, as previously reported on MMAPayout.We will now take a closer look at the quarterly ratings breakdown, viewership ratings pattern, and expectations coming into the show.

The UFC ratings press release labeled the ratings as a “strong start” to the series, and according to John Solberg of FX, “Transformers” and the UFC led the channel to a #1 ranking on Friday (prime time) for the A18-49 and A18-34 demographics. We will now take a closer look at the numbers in our Ratings Breakdown analysis.


TUF Live FX Debut Ratings Breakdown:

Viewership for First Hour (15 Minute Intervals):


Viewership for Second Hour (15 Minute Intervals):

Viewership for Third Hour (15 Minute Intervals):

Total Average Viewers: 1.28 Million


TUF Live FX Debut Comparisons (Same  Friday  Time Slot):

TUF LIVE Premiere (FX) – 1.28 Million Average Viewers

TUF Friday’s (Reruns on Spike TV) – 653,000 Average Viewers

Bellator 60 Live (MTV 2) – 169,000 Average Viewers


Historical Comparisons and Notes:

TUF Premiere Episode Averages Seasons 1-14:  2.0 million viewers

TUF 14 Premiere on Spike – 1.5 million viewers (lowest of the 14 seasons)

TUF 13 Premiere on Spike – 1.5 million viewers (lowest of the 14 seasons)

TUF 12 Premiere on Spike – 1.6 million viewers

TUF 11 Premiere on Spike – 1.9 million viewers

TUF 10 Premiere on Spike – 4.1 million viewers (highest of the 14 seasons)

TUF 1 Premiere on Spike – 1.7 million viewers


Expectations from the UFC:

From a Dana White interview MMAWeekly.com performed regarding the matter:

“Now that we’ve got this new platform, going on big Fox and FX, the amount of viewers that are going to watch, I mean this season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ with no promotion whatsoever is pulling between 1.5 and 1.8 million viewers (on Spike),” White said.

“We’ll more than double that when we go onto FX. I mean we’ll probably have more than 3 million viewers on FX watching the ‘Ultimate Fighter’.”

Expected Viewership: More Than 3 Million Viewers (Actual: 1.3 Million)


UFC’s Reaction:

Dana White’s answer after ratings were reported and asked if 1.3M was, as he tweeted, “:) sweet!”:

“yup!!! On a Friday night when our demo is out.”

White’s answer when asked by a fan if they could move their time slot away from Friday to improve ratings and not miss their demo:

“that’s when FX wants us on”


Payout Perspective:

There are a few things to point out here.  The most obvious and important one is the ratings pattern, which constantly declined throughout the show.  That is not a good sign for the UFC who was hoping to make a big splash for their debut episode on FX.  The second observation to point out here  is that TUF Live lost one third (33%) of their audience from start to finish, which also isn’t great.  The event was heavily promoted all over FOX properties and all over the internet, which makes the 1.3 million that much more disappointing.  It was also the lowest TUF season debut in the history of the series, although it did win the A18-49 and A18-34 demos as well as their head to heads with Bellator on MTV 2 and Spike’s TUF repeats.

The main complain that was loudly heard from the fans was that the show format just didn’t seem to work live.  There were many awkward moments with no commentary while the fights were going on and you heard talking and conversation from Dana White and the TUF coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber discussing their observations, but it just didn’t seem to work out. John Anik’s usage seemed particularly odd, as he could have been doing the play-by-play but instead was relegated to doing interviews and announcements.  Most casuals we received feedback from labeled the event as “2.5 hours of random guys fighting one rounders that someone was filming from some underground location”.

The positive here is that this will not be TUF’s normal format, and their 30 minutes of drama and 30 minutes of fighting should improve the quality of the show, but you have to wonder how many first time viewers will return after that many turned their TV sets to another channel.   It will be difficult to gain traction with the Friday night time slot, but FX has made it very clear that it only wants to show UFC content on Friday nights and Saturdays on their network.Again, the typical format should be much more favorable to the casual and TUF fans, so we will have to wait and see how the next few episodes do to see if fans come back and settle in.

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