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 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.

TUF 14 Episode 9: 1.4 million viewers

November 17, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that episode 9 of TUF 14 received an average of 1.4 million viewers. It scored an overall 1.1 household rating, as well as a 1.44 rating among men ages 18-49 and a 1.71 among men 18-34.

Episode 1: 1.5 million
Episode 2: 1.6 million
Episode 3: 1.3 million
Episode 4: 1.5 million
Episode 5: 1.5 million
Episode 6: 1.6 million
Episode 7: 1.5 million
Episode 8: 1.4 million
Episode 9: 1.4 million

Payout Perspective:

This week’s episode included the customary “coach’s challenge” which involved skeeball at the Ghost Bar. I frankly thought it was one of the weaker coach’s challenges until Bisping fell off the table. It would not have been funny if he would have hurt himself and would have had to pull out of the Dec. 3rd fight with Miller. A slight decrease in the last couple weeks but the ratings have been overall consistent.

UFC on FOX 11/12 Network Coverage and Schedule

November 12, 2011

FOX Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill, FOX Sports Co-President Eric Shanks & FUELTV General Manager George Greenberg joined forces with UFC President Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta earlier today to preview coverage of the first ever UFC heavyweight title bout on network television between defending champion Cain Velasquez and No. 1 contender Junior dos Santos.


This historic bout airs LIVE exclusively on FOX Saturday, November, 12 (9:00 PM ET).   FUELTV airs the LIVE weigh-in on Friday, November 11 (7:00 PM ET) and a two-hour special prefight show Saturday, November 12 (7:00 PM ET) featuring analysis from a champions’ roundtable and exclusive interviews from the red carpet arrivals of celebrities and athletes attending the historic fight.

Saturday, Nov. 12:
3:00 p.m. ET — Cain Velasquez: Brown Pride, episodes 1-3 on FOX Deportes
4:45 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX prelims live on Facebook and
5:30 p.m. ET — Weigh-ins re-air on FUEL TV
6:00 p.m. ET — UFC Primetime re-air on FUEL TV
6:00 p.m. ET — Re-air of Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar on FOX Deportes
7:00 p.m. ET — UFC prelims live on FOX Deportes
7:00 p.m. ET — Pre-fight show on FUEL TV, hosted by Glazer, along w/ Kenny Florian & Stephan Bonnar
9:00 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX broadcast, hosted by Curt Menefee, along with Dana White, Brock Lesnar & Joe Rogan. Mike Goldberg and Rogan will call the heavyweight title fight.
10 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX post-fight show on FUEL TV, hosted by Glazer, along with Florian and Bonnar


Saturday’s UFC on FOX Red Carpet Celebrity List:

Michael Strahan (FOX NFL SUNDAY)
Odette Annable (House)
Harry Shum, Jr. (Glee)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Howie Mandel (Mobbed)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Lamorne Morris (New Girl)
Hannah Simone (New Girl – pictured)
Jesse Spencer (House)

Joelle Carter (Justified)
Walton Goggins (Justified)
Nick Searcy (Justified)
Nick Kroll (The League)
Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy)
Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy)
Dorian Brown (Wilfred)
Jason Gann (Wilfred)
Fiona Gubelmann (Wilfred)

Danny Kass (Adventures of Danny & The Dingo)
Luke Trembath (Adventures of Danny & The Dingo)
Bas Rutten (Punk Payback with Bas Rutten)
Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla (Strangers in Danger)
Zack “Catfish” Yankush (Strangers in Danger)
Charlie Andrews (Knights of Mayhem)

Jim Brown (NFL Legend – pictured)
Brad Penny (MLB pitcher)
Kelly Slater (Professional Surfer)

Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters)
David Arquette
Travis Barker
Gina Carano (Haywire)
Claire Coffee (Grimm)
Ryan Guzman (Step Up)
Gilles Marini (Brothers & Sisters)
Nicole Murphy (Model)
Ronnie Mund (The Howard Stern Show)
Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist)
Mickey Rourke (Immortals)
Matt Sanders (Avenged Sevenfold)
Karina Smirnoff (Dancing with the Stars)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Nick Swardson (Jack and Jill)
Kenny Wormald (Footloose)
Neon Trees

Michael Bisping
Carlos Condit
Dominick Cruz
Chuck Liddell
Gilbert Melendez
George St. Pierre
Brian Stann

Link: Yahoo Sports

M-1 Global Challenge 27: 185,000 viewers

October 20, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that ratings for M-1 Global Challenge on Showtime Friday night scored an average of 185,000 viewers. The event drew a 0.6 household rating.

Via MMA Junkie:

The event was the third M-1 Challenge show to air on Showtime. M-1 Challenge 24 drew 189,000 viewers earlier this year, and M-1 Challenge 26 drew 161,000 viewers in July. The three shows now have averaged 178,000 viewers on the premium-cable channel.

By comparison, the Strikeforce Challengers series on Showtime has averaged 207,000 viewers per event in 2011.

Payout Perspective:

Good numbers for the promotion especially with its Friday night time slot. Still lower than Strikeforce Challengers  average numbers, but as pointed out by readers, the M-1 average matches Bellator 54. It will be interesting to see what Showtime will do with Ken Hershman leaving for HBO and Zuffa in talks with the network about its future on Showtime. M-1 could be an alternative for Showtime if Zuffa leaves and it decides to remain in the MMA business.

Top 2011 MMA Television Ratings (So Far)

October 4, 2011

On November 12th, the UFC’s debut on FOX will no doubt break the television ratings record for 2011, and quite possibly the all-time record of 4.3 million viewers held by Elite XC on CBS, which is to-date the most watched MMA event in history.

So far in 2011 (as of October 4th), the UFC’s March 26th Fight Night 24 broadcast on Spike TV featuring Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Phil Davis is the ratings leader with 2.2 million viewers. It was the highest rated event since the September 2009 broadcast of UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard, which had 2.5 million viewers.

The February 5th UFC 126 Prelims, also broadcast on Spike TV comes in second with 2 million viewers. The televised fights included Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly and Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa. The event coincided with the UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort Pay-Per-View.

The third ranked televised event was UFC Fight for the Troops 2, that took place January 22nd on Spike TV and was headlined by Melvin Guillard vs. Evan Dunham and co-headlined by Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague. The event garnered an audience of 1.85 million viewers.

I also gave Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva an honorable mention. The event, which was broadcast February 12th on Showtime only chalked up 741,000 viewers, however, Showtime is only available to 1/4 of the households Spike TV is in. This event was watched by 2.98% of Showtimes total available viewership as opposed to UFC’s number 1 event seen by 2.20% of Spike TV’s total viewership.

It’s no surprise that the top rated MMA television shows all were broadcast on Spike TV, a network that’s in close to 100 million (99,947,000) households, which has 86% market coverage in the United States. The UFC’s other broadcast partner, Versus, is in approximately 76 million households (66% coverage). MMA programming on Versus only broke the 1 million viewer mark three times since 2008, UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs Jones, WEC 34 and WEC 41. It will be very interesting to see what happens in terms of ratings, when the UFC moves to FOX in just over a month.


UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis
March 26, 2011
Viewers: 2,200,000
2.20% of total Spike TV Households (99,947,000)

UFC 126 Prelims
February 5th, 2011
Viewers: 2,000,000
2.00% of Spike TV Households (99,947,000)

UFC Fight For the Troops 2
January 22nd, 2011
Viewers: 1,850,000
1.85% of Spike TV Households (99,947,000)

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva
February 12th, 2011
Viewers: 741,000
2.98% of Showtime Households (24,833,000)

SafeAuto Insurance commercial features Clay Guida

July 8, 2011

Clay Guida is featured in a SafeAuto Insurance television commercial. Guida, playing himself, “convinces” an uninsured driver sign up for SafeAuto.


(H/t:  MMA Mania)

Payout Perspective:

Its been a pretty big year for SafeAuto Insurance in its first year of sponsoring fighters in the UFC as well as its signage making appearances in the UFC octagon. Its stable of UFC fighters continues to expand with Clay Guida being one of the most popular fighters wearing the SA logo. The commercial is great for the sponsor as well as plays up the humorous side of Guida’s personality. With his trademark hair, Guida seemed like a natural in the commercial. This could mean more opportunities outside of the Octagon for “The Carpenter.”

SafeAuto Insurance is an example of how a mainstream company has taken advantage of its sponsorship with the UFC. Not only is it sponsoring fighters and the UFC, but it is integrating this into its advertising.

UFC 129 Prelims: 1.5 million viewers

May 3, 2011

MMA Junkie reports that the UFC 129 Prelims scored a strong 1.5 million viewers on Spike TV.  The prelims aired an hour earlier due to the change in the PPV start time. 

Via MMA Junkie:

The ratings were up solidly from UFC 128’s ” UFC Prelims” special, which netted 1.3 million viewers. The UFC 129 special also earned a 1.3 rating among men 18-49 and 1.5 among men 18-34. Both were tops in their timeslot among cable stations.

The prelims rank fourth out of the 18 UFC Prelims broadcast. UFC 126 (February 2011) tops the list with an average of 2 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Despite the time change, the prelim rating was solid. The show itself featured two great bouts. The success of the UFC Prelims could be the hype for the largest show in the UFC history. Still, the UFC Prelims were sandwiched between the Facebook fights and the main card and did very well.

Fight Camp 360 on CBS: 0.3 rating

May 1, 2011

Television by the Numbers reports that the third and final episode of Fight Camp 360: Pacquiao vs. Mosley airing on CBS on Saturday received a lowly 0.3 rating for the 18-49 adult demographic. The one hour special ended the trilogy of episodes hyping the bout next Saturday night.

The first and third episodes ran on CBS. The first episode garnered a 0.5 rating for a Saturday morning time slot. The second episode, as with all three episodes, ran on Showtime.

NASCAR on Fox running opposite Fight Camp received 1.5/1.6 rating winning the time slots (8-8:30 and 8:30-9pm) for the evening. Also, UFC 129 could have taken away some fight fans from the broadcast.

Payout Perspective:

I doubt that the poor ratings will impact the PPV buy rate simply because Manny Pacquiao is a huge draw and, unlike MMA PPVs, big boxing events are few and far between per year. Thus, the casual boxing fan would be more likely to drop $65 on the PPV. Nevertheless, one might argue that the past-his-prime Mosley will not be a challenge for Pacquiao. As the Fight Camp series shows, Pacquiao seems focused and ready for this fight.

 In my opinion, I was impressed with the Fight Camp series. It was more of a vehicle for Pacquiao than it introduced Mosley to the audience. While HBO 24/7 infused a blaring soundtrack and narrator to move the viewer along, Fight Camp let the characters tell the story. There was less of an emphasis to create a storyline (i.e., internal struggles in the Pacquiao camp) and more on showing the behind-the-scenes of each camp. It also seemed as though Pacquiao was comfortable in front of the camera which helped. Also, the old footage of a young Pacquiao (and young Buboy) was interesting to see.

Bellator 42 ratings: 199,000 viewers

April 26, 2011

MMA Junkie reports Bellator rebounded from its worst ratings of the season hitting an average of 199,000 for its Easter weekend offering. Bellator 42 on MTV2 included a solid 180,000 viewers for its replay.

Via MMA Junkie:

In addition to the 199,000 viewers who tuned in for the live broadcast, 180,000 tuned in for an immediate replay on MTV2. That’s a 59 percent increase over Bellator 41, which drew 132,000 for the first airing and 107,000 for the replay.

 The first-run season-four ratings include:

  • Bellator 35 ratings: 200,000 viewers
  • Bellator 36 ratings: 230,000
  • Bellator 37 ratings: 173,000
  • Bellator 38 ratings: 150,000
  • Bellator 39 ratings: 174,000
  • Bellator 40 ratings: 218,000
  • Bellator 41 ratings: 132,000
  • Bellator 42 ratings: 199,000

Payout Perspective:

The yo-yo continues for Bellator ratings. It’s a pleasant surprise considering the Easter holiday and the fact that Bellator was going up against another boxing event on Showtime. Bellator head Bjorn Rebney has maintained that the ratings will eventually come with the goal of establishing its core audience. He also stated that MTV execs are happy with the overall viewership for its Saturday night time slot.

TapouT introduces new phone

April 18, 2011

TapouT is partnering with MetroPCS in rolling out a new “Tapout”-edition Huawei Ascend cell phone. The phone includes preloaded virtual training ceneter videos and wallpaper.

To promote its release, TapouT is traveling cross-country and blogging about its journey. Here is its visit to ATT.

The TapouT crew visits American Top Team Gym in Coconut Creek Florida from Sanctioned by TapouT on Vimeo.


The Huawei Ascend’s Tapout edition will be available within the next few weeks, MetroPCS said in a statement. The Tapout Ascend will cost $199 with $50 instant rebate, and that’s without a contract. In addition, two mixed-martial-arts fighters, will visit select MetroPCS stores to promote the handset and the Tapout brand. MetroPCS is offering an additional 20 percent off of Tapout merchandise and a free trip for those who buy the phone.

Payout Perspective:

This past weekend we featured an MMA phone app and today is an MMA-themed phone. Its another sign of the burgeoning popularity of MMA as it moves into different markets. The promotional tour is an interesting idea as the TapouT guys travel around to promote the phone and visit MMA gyms. The tour is reminiscent of Tapout’s show on Versus in 2007-2008.

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