UFC on Fox 29 attendance, gate and bonuses

April 14, 2018

UFC on Fox 29 took place in Glendale, Arizona and delivered with its main event of Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

The main event which saw Poirier pull out a third-round stoppage in a back and forth fight drew Fight of the Night for the evening.  Alex Oliveira surprised Carlos Condit with a guillotine submission and Adam Wieczorek submitted Arjan Bhullar with an omoplata.

The event drew 11,382 for a gate of $1.09 million.  Last January’s UFC Fight Night 103 11,589 for a gate of $913,373.  UFC on Fox 13 drew 15,350 for a live gate of $1.5 million. The bonuses, attendance and gate were announced post-event.

Payout Perspective:

The last Fox event in Arizona drew 2.27M viewers in December 2014.  The main card had almost a 30-minute overrun for a very good slugfest between Poirier and Gaethje.  Oliveira’s upset victory over Condit was also entertaining.  With Fox running the Prelims on the same network as the main card, we should see better ratings for the Prelims and hopefully UFC on Fox 29 can draw over 2 million in overnight ratings.

UFC 223: Payout Perspective

April 13, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Payout Perspective.  This time we take a look at UFC 223 which took place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Iaquinta fills in to take on Khabib

The main event was to be Tony-Khabib and then Max Holloway and Khabib, but eventually Al Iaquinta, who was to face Paul Felder, filled in to the main event spot.  As one might expect, Khabib’s wrestling was too much for Iaquinta despite some moments that may have had him in trouble.  Khabib called out Georges St Pierre for November’s big 25th Anniversary show this fall.  Whether or not we will ever see Tony-Khabib remains a mystery and then there’s the potential for a huge fight against Conor McGregor once his legal issues are sorted out.

Namajunas defeats Jedrzejczyk in rematch

Rose Namajunas proved that her first win against Jedrzejcyk was not a fluke as she won most of the exchanges with the former champ to retain her title.

Attendance, Gate and Bonuses

The event at the Barclay’s Center drew 17,026 for a gate of $3,007,108.12 according to the UFC announcement post-event.

$50,000 bonuses went to Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Chris Gruetzemacher, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Kyle Bochniak. The Canadian with the fanny pack had an impressive submissive victory over Evan Dunham.  Gruetzemacher defeated Joe Lauzon via corner stoppage after 2 dominating rounds and Zabit and Bochniak stole the show with a back and forth affair.  Zabit still did more to win the fight but Bochniak put up a game effort.

UFC Prelims and other ratings

The UFC Prelims drew 892,000 viewers.  It was up 23% from the UFC 210 Prelims last April per Nielsen.  The Prelims had an average minute audience of 7,131.  The Prelims peaked on FS1 with 1,057,000 viewers in the last quarter of the telecast.

In addition, the UFC Prefight show drew 373,000 viewers and the Postfight show garnered 138,000 viewers.  On Friday, the weigh-ins on FS2 drew 47,000 and the replay later that night on FS1 drew 128,000 viewers.

The Conor McGregor Show

After Khabib Nurmogomedov’s camp ran into Artem Lobov in the hotel during Fight Week, Conor McGregor and his crew came to UFC Media Day at the Barclay’s Center to get revenge.  As most know, it ended with McGregor trying to get onto Khabib’s bus and throwing a dolly through a window.  The fifth episode of Embedded had a first-hand account of the attack.  As a result, Michael Chiesa was cut on his forehead and Ray Borg had shards in his eye.  As a result, Chiesa’s fight with Anthony Pettis was called off and Ray Borg’s fight with Brandon Moreno was cancelled.  In addition, Artem Lobov was taken off the card for discipline purposes.  As a result, his opponent Alex Caceres was taken off the card as well.

Sponsorships

Motel 6 was once again in the Octagon as one might suggest that the company may be closer to being an official sponsor of the UFC.  In addition, HSS, AMC’s Into the Badlands, Gruntstyle.com, BodyArmor, MetroPCS, Modelo, Harley Davidson, 7-11, EA UFC 3, Toyo Tires and Monster had the center of the Octagon.

The UFC Prep Point was sponsored by EA’s UFC 3 with the tag line, “Become the GOAT”

The Embedded episodes were presented by AMC’s “Into the Badlands.”

Odds and Ends

Jimmy Smith, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik did a very good job on the broadcast.  Smith’s addition to the broadcast team has been seamless.

UFC 223 drew 200,000 searches on Sunday after the event.  Wrestlemania 2018 drew over 1 million searches.

Kyle Bochniak was introduced as being a pit fighter.  It was the first time I heard someone having a discipline as a pit fighter.

Conclusion

According to The Wrestling Observer’s early estimates, the UFC 223 buy rate is higher than the UFC 222’s 210K-260K estimate but lower than UFC 220’s 350K viewers.  This has to be seen as a good since the main event was uncertain even a day before the event.  If the event ends up around 300K viewers, you might infer that many viewers already were purchasing the PPV regardless of the main event and you might argue that the women’s bantamweight co-main event drew many to purchase the card.

UFC 223 Prelims draw 892,000 viewers

April 10, 2018

The UFC 223 Prelims drew 892,000 viewers on FS1 according to Neilsen via ShowBuzz Daily.  The event preceded Saturday’s UFC 223 PPV.

The feature fight of the UFC 223 Prelims was Karolina Kowalkiewicz’s split decision victory over Felice Herrig.

The event drew 0.33 in the A18-49 demo and 0.49 in the male 18-49 demo.

In addition, the pre-fight show which preceded the Prelims on FS1 drew 373,000 viewers.  The post-fight show drew 138,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

The event did better than UFC 221 and is near the ratings for UFC 220 and 222.  The other ancillary ratings on Saturday for UFC 223 were on par with other pre and post-fight shows this year.

 

UFC on Fox 28 draws 1.82M viewers in overnight ratings

February 25, 2018

UFC on Fox 28 drew 1.8 million viewers on Fox Saturday night’s fast overnight ratings.  Despite stiff competition from the NBA and the Olympics the event was able to stave off its worst ratings since being shown on the network.

The event drew 1.82 million viewers, a 0.6 rating in the A18-49 demo and a 3 share according to Television By Numbers.  The ratings do no include the overrun into the 8pm PT hour.

The telecast featured Jeremy Stephens taking on Josh Emmett in a featherweight matchup.  Stephens KO’d Emmett to earn the victory.

The UFC on Fox went up against the Winter Olympics on NBC, the NBA on ABC and a rerun of Big Brother on CBS in the first hour and a 48-Hours rerun in the second.  Both replays on CBS outdid the two hours of MMA on Fox.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000 2,046,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000 2,107,000
UFC on Fox 27 1,590,000 1,770,000
UFC on Fox 28 1,820,000

Payout Perspective:

The low ratings were expected.  If there is any solace is that it improved on last month’s dismal UFC on Fox ratings.  It also improved from PBC on Fox ratings last week.  Up against the Olympics which drew over 9 million viewers and NBA basketball chipped away at any sort of casual viewership.

What should the UFC expect in negotiating the next media deal?

February 22, 2018

Earlier this week, Deadline.com posted a story asking whether the UFC could still attain a TV deal to their liking despite less-than-stellar ratings.

Notably, in the article it reveals that UFC Fight Pass has 400,000 subscribers for its digital service.  Previously, the number has never been posted publicly.  The article notes that prior to Endeavor’s purchase it had 330,000 subscribers.  Thus, for whatever reason you might attribute, it has increased since the new ownership took over.

The UFC indicated last spring that it would be looking for an annual TV rights fee of $450 million per year which is a huge increase from the $165 million per year average of its current 7-year deal.  Reports have Fox offering $200 million per year to renew with the network.  This would be significantly lower than anticipated by the company.

But, the overarching issue with the UFC is that due to the number of cards it produces, ratings are decreasing.  Gone are the days of anticipating a big PPV event as there are ones every month (now at an increase of $65 per event).  If PPVs are not to you liking, the UFC has events almost every weekend on FS1 and an occasional event on UFC Fight Pass.  The glut of events are necessary to fulfill its obligations with its network partners and fighters but the lack of stars is a glaring issue.

Gone are the Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor.  Even the current champions such as Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier do not garner PPV buys as a Conor McGregor PPV.  Notably, this past Sunday’s UFC Fight Night peaked halfway through the telecast for Sage Northcutt.  The chiseled 21-year-old is a polarizing figure in the UFC as he’s commanded pay higher than his peers despite not being as skilled.  But, clearly, his look and “aw schucks” persona attracts a casual fan base that other fighters do not.

Despite the ratings stagnation, Deadline.com, notes that this should not be confused with money issues:

As with the NFL or other sports leagues whose ratings are faltering, the linear TV trajectory should not be confused with overall financial performance. Endeavor has a more global footprint than the Las Vegas-based Fertittas and has made international deals and sought to boost licensing, sponsorship and distribution prospects. Modelo came aboard as a sponsor and Monster Energy renewed its commitment.

Yet, with the announcement by Dana White that he is starting Zuffa Boxing, the question of whether the UFC has peaked is a natural question.  While boxing was thought to be dead several years ago, it has regained a foothold.  Recently, Brin-Jonathan Butler wrote a piece indicating that its boxing that may save the UFC’s doldrums as opposed to their positions several years ago.

Via Deadline.com

“Everyone now knows that the bloom is off the rose,” a major sports rights stakeholder told Deadline. “It has become a lesser, watered-down product and there is an array of other options for viewers, especially the core UFC demo.”

The question is how will the UFC adapt to the changing landscape.  While it still draws in a healthy share of the young male demo, that demo that started with the company in the 2000s is getting older.  Butler cites a Sports Business Journal article from last June which shows that the UFC has had the biggest change in viewership in the median age of its base between 2006-2016.  The increase saw it go from 34 years of age to 49 years of age.  Remember, median is not the average age.  Boxing’s median age is also 49.

Can it roll with the punches like boxing?

One of the suggestions made in the article is to evaluate a possible digital deal even without a network tie.  Twitter, Amazon, YouTube and Yahoo have been linked to the streaming of sporting events.  With the success of the NFL streaming on a digital platform, the possibility for the UFC to go strictly digital is out there.  But, as pointed out in the article, this might seem as a slight for the company and a demotion from the deals secured by other major sports organizations.  One question posed by a Syracuse professor and former ESPN exec is if Fox re-ups with the UFC, can it “repackage the package.”  This would infer that distribution would occur differently than it presently is with the current TV package.

With Fox securing Thursday Night Football earlier this year for more than $3 billion, one has to wonder if there’s anything left in the budget for the UFC.  There is Turner Network Television, but with an antitrust case ongoing over its merger with Time Warner, any deal may have to wait.  NBC Universal might be an option and so might ESPN.  With a new streaming service rolling out later this year, it might be an option.  But, its unlikely the UFC  will want to be OTT only and will it need to envelope its current digital network into a deal.

Payout Perspective:

Maybe Zuffa was projecting the worth of its worth or wishful thinking but it would seem as though $450 million deal it had touted in an Sports Business Journal feature this past November may not come to fruition.  It’s clear that the traction for a deal is waning considering its ratings and meager PPV buy rates for 2017. Certainly, Mayweather-McGregor was stellar, but if you look at the pure UFC product, it took a step back in ratings and PPVs.  Of course, they are still making money and with the sponsorship deals and popularity overseas there is still room to grow.  But, will networks see the same value?

UFC Fight Night Austin draws 893,000 viewers on FS1; Prelims draw 675,000

February 21, 2018

UFC Fight Night Austin on Sunday night drew 893,000 viewers according to Nielsen. The prelims which preceded the main card drew 675,000 viewers on FS1.

On Fox Sports Go and FOX Now the main card telecast had an average minute audience of 13,959. Peak viewership for UFC Fight Night was 1,078,000 viewers between 9:15-9:30pm which was for the Sage Northcutt fight.

The main event for the UFC Fight Night telecast was Donald Cerrone versus Yancy Medeiros with Cerrone getting the first round stoppage.

The main card drew 0.46 in the A18-49 demo. The prelims on FS1 drew 0.30 in the A18-49 demo.

Notably, the weigh-ins on Saturday afternoon on FS1 drew 261,000 viewers making it the 4th most-watched weigh-ins in FS1 history.

The pre-fight show on FS1 drew 131,000 viewers while the post-fight show drew 202,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Hard not to ignore that the main card peaked during Sage Northcutt’s controversial victory over Thibalt Gouti. Northcutt is someone that the casual fan wants to watch. Even with a pretty interesting main event in Cerrone-Medeiros, many tuned in to watch Sage and then turned the channel. The ratings are good considering it went up against the NBA All-Star game and the Winter Olympics.

UFC on Fox 26 draws 1.78M viewers

December 17, 2017

UFC on Fox 26 drew 1.78 million viewers on Fox Saturday night according to Television By Numbers.  It is the second lowest rating ever for the UFC shows on Fox for its two-hour block on the network.

The ratings, via Television By Numbers, do not reflect the overrun from the main event of Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos.

The event drew a 0.6 share and a 3 rating In the A18-49 demo.  The ratings here are the same as those it drew in July for UFC on Fox 25.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnight Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000 2,046,000
UFC on Fox 26 1,780,000

Payout Perspective:

With the NFL airing on Saturday night opposite the UFC on Fox, and not a big-named event, it was clear that this could be one of the lowest-rated UFC on Fox ever.  It was the second-lowest with July’s event being the least-watched ever.  The event was the least-watched in terms of overall viewers in its  network time block Saturday night but had the highest rating among adults 18-49.  The inclusion of the overrun may get it to 2 million viewers for the overall telecast but we won’t know until later this week.

Bellator 189 draws 439,000 viewers on Spike

December 4, 2017

Bellator 189 drew 439,000 viewers on Spike TV Friday night per Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily.

The event featured Julia Budd defending her Featherweight championship against Arlene Blencowe.  It was Budd’s first title defense as she defeated Blencowe for the second time.

The event took place in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Payout Perspective:

The UFC edged out Bellator on Friday night with its TUF Finale.  Bellator ratings were down slightly from last week’s event in Israel.  The event did not draw as much interest as the UFC which might be due in part to the TUF season and the lack of promotion for the Bellator event.  This is the 6th event this year which has drawn less than 500,000 viewers.

 

UFC on Fox 25 draws 1.64 million viewers

July 23, 2017

UFC on Fox 25 drew 1.64 million viewers (according to TV By Numbers) making it the lowest overnight ratings for the company since it began airing fights on Fox.  Despite the news, it tied with NBC’s Dateline for biggest rating for Adults in the 18-49 age range.

UFC Fight Night featured Chris Weidman taking on Kelvin Gastelum in the main event from Long Island, New York.  Notably, their fight was not calculated in the overnight ratings because it started in the overrun.

In terms of overall viewership, UFC on Fox was last in its time slot among the other network shows.  It did draw a 0.6 share among Adults 18-49 and a 3 share making it the best in its 2 hour time slot.

UFC on Fox Ratings
Overnights Live + SD
UFC on Fox 1 5,700,000
UFC on Fox 2 4,570,000
UFC on Fox 3 2,250,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 4 2,360,000 2,400,000
UFC on Fox 5 3,410,000 4,400,000
UFC on Fox 6 3,770,000 4,220,000
UFC on Fox 7 3,300,000 3,700,000
UFC on Fox 8 2,040,000 2,380,000
UFC on Fox 9 2,410,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 10 2,550,000 3,220,000
UFC on Fox 11 1,990,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 12 2,020,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 13 2,270,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 14 2,820,000 3,049,000
UFC on Fox 15 2,430,000 2,745,000
UFC on Fox 16 2,290,000 2,800,000
UFC on Fox 17 2,280,000 2,781,000
UFC on Fox 18 2,430,000 2,685,000
UFC on Fox 19 2,130,000 2,500,000
UFC on Fox 20 2,440,000 2,975,000
UFC on Fox 21 2,200,000 1,983,000
UFC on Fox 22 2,690,000 3,178,000
UFC on Fox 23 2,020,000 2,189,000
UFC on Fox 24 1,740,000 1,996,000
UFC on Fox 25 1,640,000

 

Payout Perspective:

 This year’s July card did not match last year’s 2.44 million from UFC on Fox 20.  We will see if the added ratings from the overrun will boost the show to over 2 million viewers.  This makes 2 weeks in a row where Fox has aired a live combat sporting event and it has not produced ratings.

UFC 213 Prelims are the lowest this year

July 11, 2017

The UFC 213 Prelims on FS1 drew 657,000 viewers Saturday Night per Nielsen.  It’s the lowest-rated Prelims this year.

The feature fight for the Prelims was Travis Browne taking on Oleksiy Olynik with the Russian winning via rear naked choke.   Per Nielsen it drew 0.24 in the A18-49 demo.

The post-fight show 1:12am-2:12am ET  on FS1 drew 206,000 viewers while the pre-fight show 4pm-5pm ET scored 219,000.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings are ominous for an event that usually draws well.  The last two Prelims for International Fight Week drew 1.7 million (UFC 200) and 847,000 (UFC 189) respectively.  UFC 200 drew over 1 million

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