UFC 208: Payout Perspective

February 14, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition we take a look at the UFC’s second PPV in New York. This time at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

New champ of new women’s division

Germaine de Randamie narrowly defeated Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s Featherweight Division.  The decision did not go without controversy as de Randamie won 47-48 but was not deducted a point after two clear shots after the bell.  Joe Rogan was apoplectic that the referee did not deduct one point on the second shot after the bell.

Regardless, the title goes to de Randamie.  She has offered up a rematch with Holm due to controversy but one would think that Cyborg gets the next shot if she is given a retroactive TUE.

Silva turns back the clock, Brunson

Anderson Silva showed he still has it with a victory over Derek Brunson.  Perhaps Silva won via show but Brunson seemed too tentative.  It was a very emotional scene for Silva post-fight as he has come to terms with his role as a fighter that will not compete for a title.

Attendance
The Barclay’s Center was a sellout for UFC 208 with 15,628 fans for a live gate of $2,275,10.  It was the highst grossing sporting event in arena history.

Bonuses

There were only 3 bonus winners since there was only one finish.  Dusin Poirier and Jim Miller won for Fight of the Night while Jacare earned a Performance Bonus for stopping Tim Boetsch.

In tying in a sponsor, the UFC tweeted out the winners and included a link to Netflix’s new realtiy show Ultimate Beastmaster.  It sounds like American Ninja Warrior.

Notably, Anderson Silva co-hosts the Brazilian version of Ultimate Beastmaster.

Promotion of the Fight

Holly Holm appeared on “Live with Kelly” to promote the event.

There was no sponsor for the Embedded series this time around and perhaps sponsors knew that this was going to be a dud this time around.

Sponsorships

The usual sponsors were in the cage including MetroPCS, Harley Davidson, Toyo Tires, Budweiser, Halo Wars 2, the movie Fist Fight, Netflix’s The Ultimate Beastmaster and Monster Energy had the center.

Also, Microsoft’s Halo Wars 2 had the fighter prep point.

The movie Fist Fight starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube was featured during UFC 208.  They also included a tweet associated with the event.

Odds and ends

It was the first time, in a long time that a PPV did not have Mike Goldberg as Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier joined Joe Rogan.  The three still need seasoning.  If it was up to me, I would like Dominick Cruz in place of Cormier.

New walkout song for The Spider.  Hard not to associate him with DMX’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  But, the song that replaced it was performed by his son Kalyl.

Dana White went on Instagram during UFC 208.

Jacare Souza should get the next shot at Bisping.  Period.

Tony Parker, whose San Antonio Spurs played the New York Knicks on Sunday.  The Spurs lost.

UFC 208 drew over 200,000 google searches on Friday.  Anderson Silva drew 50,000 on Saturday.  Likely, the searches for Silva occurred after news that he had won.  So, it’s likely those aren’t due to wanting to buy the PPV.

Conclusion

It’s hard to think that this will be a big buy rate.  None of the fights were compelling from a causal viewer standpoint.  UFC 206 had over 200K google searches this past December and I think that 208 will do a similar buy rate.  Look for this event to do between 150,000 to 175,000 buys.

EA UFC 2 releases this week

March 16, 2016

Electronic Arts, Inc. announced the release of EA Sports UFC 2 this week.  The new video game features the largest roster for an official UFC game.

Via UFC press release:

“This game is an authentic representation of the UFC brand experience, bringing the excitement of the Octagon to life for all fight fans,” UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products, Tracey Bleczinski said. “From the walkout, incorporating the new UFC Fight Kit, to the intensity of being face-to-face with the top combat sports athletes in the world, this game has it all.

As we know, Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor are on the cover and it will be available on Xbox One and Playstation 4.

A review of the video game (written by the UFC) is here.

Payout Perspective:

The game is finally here.  Not only have we seen the UFC game advertised on signage in the Octagon, Conor McGregor appeared on Conan to advertise the game.  The UFC hopes the use of Rousey and McGregor on the cover boost sales.  The last EA Sports version of the UFC game did poorly as it only posted 278,000 copies sold in the first month precipitating a price drop.  We will see if the advertising push helps sales this time around.

Winner of Aldo-McGregor gets spot on EA UFC cover

December 5, 2015

The winner of the Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor fight at UFC 194 next Saturday will earn the open spot on the new EA Sports UFC game coming out this spring.  It was announced prior to UFC 193 that Ronda Rousey would be one of the UFC fighters on the cover.

The announcement comes going into one of the biggest weeks of the year for the UFC.

Dana White made the official announcement on the Thursday morning edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Do you agree with Darren Rovell?

Payout Perspective:

I would have assumed that McGregor would be the overall choice to be on the cover with Rousey.  But, if he loses, then you would have two fighters coming off losses on the cover.  Thus, the winner of the title fight between Aldo and McGregor will get the cover.  The move should provide some value for EA Sports as it enters fight weeks as a method of activation around the event.  One would suspect that many are hoping a McGregor win as that would provide two of the most recognizable faces in the UFC.

UFC 193: Payout Perspective

November 16, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  In this edition, we take a look at the happenings taken place down under in Melbourne, Australia as Holly Holm upset Ronda Rousey to win the women’s bantamweight title.

Holm, game plan takes out Rousey

No one would have thought this would have been the ending.  But, a headkick knocked out Ronda Rousey and the aura of invincibility was over.  Holly Holm, who hovered around an 8-1 to 12-1 underdog depending on where you looked, outclassed Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.  Holm’s game plan trumped Rousey’s athletic ability.  Moreover, Rousey’s boxing was exposed and it was clear that she was exhausted at the end of Round 1.

For Holm, it was the culmination of a long-term plan that had her and her trainers preparing for Rousey even before she was in the UFC.  Her management fought tooth and nail with UFC management in negotiating her signing with the company.  Turns out it was worth it.

As for Rousey, her loss seemed to satiate the thirst of every Rousey hater.  Everyone was quick to tweet with glee her loss and KO.  As is with most MMA fighters that gain more popularity than the others, MMA “fans” began to despise Rousey.  The good news for them is that she lost and MMA fans will turn their attention to Conor McGregor in December silently hoping for him to lose as many have those tweets ready for their timeline.

UFC Melbourne

Joanna Champion still Champ

It was not a dominant performance, but Joanna Jedrzejcyzk retained her 115 pound title with a unanimous decision over Valerie Letourneau.  Letourneau came down 20 pounds to fight at 115 pounds and you have to think that it might have played a factor.  Overall, it was an entertaining fight with Joanna retaining her title.

Attendance and Gate

It was a record setting night for the UFC as the announced attendance was 56,214 with a gate of $6.8 million (U.S.).  It did better than UFC 129 which drew 55,724 in Toronto.  However, the gate did not exceed the 55,724.

As Darren Rovell tweeted, there were many comps for the event although the UFC no longer reports on the number.

Bonuses

This was a little curious as Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey and Kyle Noke earned the $50,000 bonuses.  Holm won for both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night. Noke earned a Performance of the Night Bonus. Rousey drew a Fight of the Night bonus although you might argue that she didn’t deserve it for her part in the fight.  Certainly, there were other fighters (e.g., Ben Nguyen) that could have received a Performance of the Night Bonus instead of Rousey receiving one for FOTN.

Promotion of the Fight

Ronda Rousey went on Good Morning America in late August to announce her fight with Holly Holm.  Originally scheduled for January 2nd, the event was moved up in part to replace the main event of UFC 193 as well as attempt to set a new UFC attendance (and gate) record at Ethiad Stadium.

Perhaps the best video promotion for a UFC event was produced for UFC 193.  It debuted on Ellen’s web site which featured a younger Ronda Rousey learning martial arts with the underlying message that women could do anything.

A lengthier feature was shown after the UFC 193 PPV.

You might recall Dana White announced in a phone interview Rousey-Holm was moved from January 2nd to November 14th on a Friday night on ESPN. The date was moved up due to the usual injury issues.

The event was a reward for the province as a law which prohibited cagefighting was lifted.  With opposition still abound in the area, the attendance at the event (albeit with some comped seats) was still strong. USA Today reported on the “stir” in Australia with opposition to the sport of MMA.  Rousey spoke with local media about the controversy.

UFC Embedded, the video series, aired on Fox the Saturday before the fight.  Usually, it’s online but with a Rousey fight, it seemed to demand more visibility.  Also, Ruby Rose was the narrator for the series.

Rousey was also on the front page of the NY Times Sunday Styles Section in October.  This was one of several media obligations which catered to women.  It will be interesting to see if Holly Holm can continue this trend and appeal.

Sponsorships

In the octagon, we had a couple international UFC sponsors as well as the usual mainstays.  Unibet, Xbox’s Tomb Raider, DraftKings, Wargaming.net, Bud Light, the upcoming film, “Creed,” Bud Light, Reebok and Monster Energy Drink had the center. Unibet had the fighter prep point.   Holly Holm was sponsored by Unibet and announced a new deal with GRRRL Clothing.

Odds and Ends

Since it always comes back to gambling.  The betting line on Holm in Vegas and the aftermath:

 

Donald Trump weighed in on Ronda Rousey tweeting that he was glad that she lost because she is not a nice person.  I didn’t know they knew each other. 

EA Sports announced that Rousey would be on the cover of its latest UFC game coming out this spring.  Was it a video game cover curse?

Should we read into the fact that Ronda’s mother was not at the fight a sign of discontent with her?  It is a long plane ride to Australia for sure, but her mother has already been there for her fights.

Rousey’s hang up during a UFC 193 Conference Call was an act of unprofessionalism despite the question asking about Travis Browne.  Even worse, the excuse that her “phone died” just insults everyone’s intelligence.  You mean, the UFC and/or Rousey’s management could not have given her a phone to finish the call?

At the end of Episode 3 of the Embedded series, Rousey uses an analogy about being bankrupt.  All the while, it shows her hitting mitts with Edmund.  His bankruptcy filing occurred this summer and comes to a head this month.  This issue had not been a problem in the past, but with the news surfacing now, it all makes it more of a deal. 

Letourneau was informed by USADA that Hector Lombard could not corner her for her fight as Lombard’s participation would have violated the new anti-doping policy.  Lombard, who admitted to using PEDs earlier this year would fall under the “prohibited association” rule of the UFC anti-doping policy. 

Lenny Fresquez, the agent/manager for Holly Holm, won six figures betting on her client.  There’s something that seems unsettling with a manager that is already making off of her client for representation to bet money on her client.  Sure, it’s legal and acceptable, but is there a conflict of interest?  

Notably, Fresquez said that Holm has 2 more fights under her existing contract.

FS1 could not carry the post-fight show until late due to the Pac-12 game between Utah and Arizona going to double OT.  Most of the post-fight was on FS2.

The PPV went over the 3 hour mark which is a rarity.

It was interesting that not much was made of the fact that one of the biggest cards in UFC history and it was headline by two women’s title fights.

In anticipation of a Rousey “vine” like finish, the UFC sent out a reminder to media outlets that you would be in violation of Zuffa’s copyright of the PPV.  It appeared as though the Huffington Post Sports twitter feed was allowed to post the finish (as it did).  Still, others posted the finish online.  In protection of its copyright (and in order for people to buy the PPV), the UFC wanted to deter people from posting their videos.   

Certainly a Rousey-Holm rematch seems ripe for July’s UFC 200.

Conclusion

It was interesting that despite Ronda Rousey google searches hitting 500,000 on Friday, there was a slight downturn (note: in the link the google trends embedded link is constantly changing over time which I think is pretty cool) in searches right around the time after the weigh-ins.  But, the searches jumped back up on Saturday afternoon.  What does this mean about PPV buys?  Who really knows?  But, if we are to look into the past history of Rousey fights, one might think this still does well.  I would predict 750,000 PPV buys. 

EA announces Ronda Rousey on cover of UFC video game

November 14, 2015

Ronda Rousey will be the first woman athlete to be on the cover of an EA Sports video game as it was announced that she will be on the cover of EA Sports UFC 2.  Rousey along with a yet to be named UFC fighter will be on the cover of the game that is scheduled to be release this spring.

Payout Perspective:

As most could probably deduce, Conor McGregor makes the most sense as the other fighter on the cover. Perhaps that announcement will be made during fight week leading up to UFC 194.  If nothing else, Rousey’s marketing power should aid the sales of this video game.  The last EA UFC video game suffered from poor reviews and sales which forced a price drop only after a month after its release.  We will see if Rousey’s brand can help sales with this version of the game.

EA Sports UFC giving away Bruce Lee for free during holidays

December 24, 2014

It seems that EA Sports is channeling their inner Holiday spirit and has decided to give away arguably it’s most iconic character in the game, Bruce Lee, as a free download to game owners for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.

 

Payout Perspective:

EA Sports UFC continues to do as best as it can to support it’s customer base after the rocky launch.  Since the launch, which caused many to stray away from the game, EA Sports UFC developers have continued to listen to community feedback and have continued improved the game.  This time around, Bruce Lee, who was initially a free character for those who pre-ordered the game, will be available as a free downloadable character during the following dates:

– Xbox Live: December 22, 2014 to January 5, 2015

– Playstation Network – North America: December 22, 2014 to January 5, 2015

– Playstation Network – All Other Territories: December 23, 2014 to January 5, 2015

During this time period, all variations of Bruce Lee/The Dragon will be available for download including:

Bruce Lee – Bantamweight Division
Bruce Lee – Featherweight Division
Bruce Lee – Lightweight Division
Bruce Lee – Welterweight Division
Bruce Lee – Weightclass Bundle (all four divisions)

It was also recently announced that EA Sports UFC will now be a free game for those that subscribe to EA’s Access paid subscription program, which is currently only available for Xbox One.  The price for EA Access is $5 a month, or $30 a year and also has other games such as Battlefield 4, Madden 25, FIFA 14, and Need for Speed Rivals, and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & Holiday Shopping Guide (2014)

November 28, 2014

In the spirit of the holidays, MMAPayout would like to share some great Black Friday and Holiday deals for our readers who have held off on their shopping to save a couple of bucks. Please feel free to share any other deals you find in the comments section. Enjoy!

EA Sports UFC:

EA_UFC_2014_Cover

Sony PS Store – $13.99 (with PS+), $19.99 (without PS+) for PS4 – (Digital Copy)

Microsoft Store – $13.20 (with Xbox Live), $39.99 (without Xbox Live) for Xbox One – (Digital Copy)

Amazon – $29.99 for PS4, $33.56 for Xbox One – (Physical Copy)

What makes this a great deal is that EA has not stopped supporting the game since the initial launch back in June. With slow sales and the fact that most video game companies don’t typically continue to update their game after the first few months, it has been a welcomed surprise how much work EA has continued to put into the game.

Not only have they continued to release patch after patch to fix the initial broken game-play, which negatively impacted its critic scores, but they’ve also continued to add more UFC fighters and content.  With that said, EA just recently announced that they will be releasing UFC Legends DLC in December.

 

WWE 2K15:

Sony PS Store – $39.99 on PS3, $59.99 on PS4 – (Digital Copy)

Microsoft Store – $29.99 on Xbox 360, $59.99 on Xbox One – (Digital Copy)

Amazon – $47.42 for PS4, $59.96 for Xbox One – (Physical Copy)

 

MMA/Boxing Apparel and Gear:

Site: www.ufcstore.com
Coupon Code: BLKFRI15 and BLKFRI20
Discount: 15% off (over $50) and 20% off (over $100)
Duration: Now

Site: www.ufc.tv
Coupon Code: FNF25 on November 24th, none needed on November 26th.
Discount: 30% off Fight Pass and 1 year subscription to UFC Mag w/ purchase of 1 year subscription
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: www.tapout.com
Coupon Code: BF25
Discount: 25% off, free shipping orders over $75
Duration: Now

Site: http://secure.gracieacademy.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 20% off, free shipping
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: http://www.ringside.com/
Coupon Code: BFRI25
Discount: 25% off
Duration: Now

Site: http://shop.wwe.com/
Coupon Code: FRIDAY
Discount: 80% off merchandise, 20% off orders, free shipping on orders over 15$
Duration: Now until Nov 29th

Site: http://www.rootsoffight.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 15%-50% off
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: www.62gear.com
Coupon Code: black
Discount: 20% off orders over $30. Free shipping orders over $50
Duration: Now through November 29th

Site: http://www.breakpointfc.com/
Coupon Code: BPBLACK
Discount: 30% off
Duration: Now through December 1st

Site: http://www.cagesidemma.com/blfrsa.html
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now through December 2nd

Site: www.combatcorner.com
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 40% off
Duration: Now

Site: www.gameness.net
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now

Site: www.mmawarehouse.com
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: 15-65% off
Duration: Now

Site: http://www.mmaoverload.com/
Coupon Code: n/a
Discount: Various sales
Duration: Now

Site: www.ringtocage.com/
Coupon Code: 30BFOFF14
Discount: 30% off, free shipping on order over $25
Duration: November 26th through December 1st

Site: http://rdxsports.com/
Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY
Discount: 20% off
Duration: Now until Nov 30th

Condit tattoo missing from UFC video game

June 20, 2014

Earlier this week, EA Sports released the latest UFC video game which includes many of your favorite UFC fighters including Carlos Condit.  However, gamers may notice that Condit will not have the lion tattoo that is on the side of his body for legal reasons.

As  the Wall Street Journal reports, the tattoo was removed from the video game as a precaution from infringing on any copyright issue that Condit’s tattoo artist may have with its use.  Previously, Condit’s tattoo artist sued defunct video game maker THQ for the unauthorized use of the tattoo in UFC Undisputed.  Long story short, Escobedo asked for millions, the Bankruptcy Court quantified the use to the sum of $22,500 (the amount Condit was paid for the use of his likeness).

Condit tattoo

The move to digitally airbrush Condit of his tattoo underscores a big issue the National Football League Players’ Association (and likely other leagues) is facing when it comes to player tattoos and digital rights.  One of the ways to protect itself from lawsuits is to have players get their tattoo artists sign releases.

Payout Perspective:

Authenticity is something that sports video games have and the inclusion of fighters’ facial features, hair style, mannerisms and even their tattoos are important. College football games have come under fire for similar issues and we may see the elimination of any identifiable feature your favorite college player may have in a game.   But that issue is a little different from the one here.  However, it is clear that If you are Carlos Condit, you might be concerned with the fact that your likeness is not exact, which may impact your overall future brand. That argument is a little far-fetched but the issue of re-imaging personas due to concerns about being sued is a slippery slope we may see in future video games.

EA Sports UFC Video Game Features “The Ultimate Fighter” & Sponsors

May 11, 2014

With just about a month away from the official release date, EA Sports has finally released details for the career mode in the video game. The big news here is the addition of The Ultimate Fighter as a prerequisite for fighters to enter the UFC, which is something THQ never incorporated into their UFC video game in the past.

 

Payout Perspective:

Its actually surprising that the UFC has not previously incorporated TUF into any of their previous video games.  There are many naysayers when it comes to TUF, whether it’s the stale format, the lack of talent the show produces, or the declining ratings. The addition of TUF to the video game once again illustrates what type of value the show still has for the UFC in their eyes. Not only is TUF how the UFC has previously reached out to casuals and has converted many of them to PPV buyers, but its also their number one tool they will utilize towards breaking into new international territories.  This is the reason why I have repeatedly argued that TUF is more important than most fans realize. Not only did it save the company from going bankrupt when it was $40M in debt almost ten years ago, but it continues to be a key component in their business model.  Of course, no one can argue that the effectiveness of the show hasn’t considerably decreased since the explosion of free MMA programming all over network and cable television. Especially now that the UFC is on free network TV after their FOX TV deal.

Along with the TUF, career mode will also allow the fighters to sign deals with UFC approved sponsors.  The video features the following sponsors: EA Sports, Affliction, RVCA, Musclepharm, Bruce Lee Enterprises, Training Mask, Topps, Alienware, Bony Acai, and Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery to name a few.  The number of sponsors for a fighter are directly correlated to their popularity and success during their career. Their unlocked sponsors allow fighters to fill up their sponsorship banner and use their gear in the game.

As for the fighters MMA skill set, they will build up experience points throughout their career which can then be used to evolve and level up a fighter. The more experience and evolution points, the more advance moves a fighter can unlock.  There are three ability categories for each fighter, which consist of Ground, Stand-up, and Physical. These abilities can then be applied to fighter game-plans which give a fighter performance boosts in those areas.  Career longevity will be calculated for a fighter depending on his/her fighting style. If you fight smart and don’t take too much damage, you will have a longer longevity as supposed to an exciting brawler who takes a lot of damage.

EA Sports unveils UFC release date, game cover, & details

April 15, 2014

Last year, EA Sports announced that Jon Jones would be on the cover of this year’s EA Sports UFC video game. Alexander Gustafsson also joined Jones after being voted in by the fans after defeating GSP in the finals. Below is the finished cover for the game.

EA_UFC_2014_Cover

Amazon.com currently lists the EA Sports UFC video game for the PS4 and Xbox One for $60 USD with a release date of June 17th. Here are the features for the game:

  • Real Damage: Every fighter knows that one good shot can ruin your day. EA SPORTS UFC introduces a non-linear damage system which can result in big damage coming from a single strike. The system produces a greater variety of cuts and contusions.
  • Dynamic Striking: A mixed martial artist uses the environment to his advantage and for the first time in a UFC game, you can too. A dynamic environment allows you to pull off jaw-dropping moves using the Octagon, including roundhouse kicks, superman punches and much more. Combine those abilities with the best striking technology in the industry and that one perfect strike could change the fight.
  • Real-Time Exertion: A UFC bout is one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet requiring mixed martial artists to give it their all with every movement. Real-Time Exertion brings each moment of that action to life in your gameplay experience. Through real-time vein popping, skin discoloration, muscle flex, as well as signs of fatigue setting in through the course of each round, you will witness the effort it takes to be one of the best fighters in the world.
  • Strategic Submission Battles: To own the belt, you have to be dominant on your feet and on the mat. EA SPORTS UFC re-invents the ground game to create a battle for position and control that captures the strategy of a submission battle. Like the real sport, in EA SPORTS UFC fighters will work through multiple stages as they work to advance or escape from a fight-ending submission.
  • Fighter Likeness and Facial Animations: EA SPORTS UFC will set a new bar for character likeness and emotion in gaming. For the first time in an EA SPORTS game, every single licensed athlete in the game has been created from high resolution 3D head and body scans to deliver revolutionary character likeness and authenticity. Powered by EA SPORTS IGNITE, new facial animation technology delivers more expression, emotion and will communicate greater sense of awareness and intelligence in the Octagon.

 

Payout Perspective:

The UFC’s debut from EA Sports is scheduled for June 17th, which is roughly about two months from press release.  Not much promotion has occurred for the game yet other than private demos and slow leaks of features and scans for the game.  That figures to change as we get closer to launch date.

E3 will take place on between June 10 and June 12, so just a week before the release.  Expect a big UFC presense during the event.  Also, it is expected that a EA UFC demo should be available before the release date, which would be available at E3 as well.  The UFC will also push the game’s release on the UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov PPV, though it’s a shame that event will likely receive little exposure.

A few weeks ago, MMAJunkie’s Mike Bohn did a developer Q&A with the EA UFC team, which is a very good read for those interested on the developers thoughts and their process to making the game.  There was also some controversy a week ago when it was announced that Bruce Lee would be a pre-order bonus in the EA UFC video game. The inclusion of the martial arts icon was not the issue, but the labeling of him as “the Father of MMA” in the game did appear to ruffle some feathers within the MMA community.

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