In 2010, the UFC's total amount of PPV buys amounted to 9.3 million. This year, so far, the UFC has registered 3.6 million PPV buys. Now just looking at it with that framing, it looks like a huge drop off in PPV interest...almost devastating. But a closer examination proves that it may not be so horrible after all.
To start off, there is a difference of 5.7 million buys. We have 6 PPV events left this year: 134, 135, 136, 137, 139, and 140.
To match last years numbers, which were the biggest of any year, so it's hard to expect another increase, each remaining PPV needs an average of 950 thousand buys per card. That won't happen. Realistically, it's not feasible. It is a fact that 2011's total buys won't match or surpass 2010's
But comparing the numbers as of August to the total numbers from last year is sort of slanting it negatively. A more accurate comparison would be the current numbers for this year vs the same point last year.
Relying only on rough wikipedia numbers, I'll tabulate the UFC buyrates through this point last year. I'll stick with the previously reported 3.6 million for this year.
2010 PPV buys as of August 21st - 6.015 million
2011 PPV buys as of August 21st - 3.6 million
Now that is a big different, but not the staggering difference that the full 2010 numbers vs the incomplete 2011 numbers show.
An interesting note, for the remainder of the year from this point, 2010 had 5 PPV events while 2011 has 6 PPV events. That means 2011 will have an extra edge in catching up PPV wise. Because for the rest of the year, it has an extra PPV event.
Now, from this point to the end of 2010, there were 3.2 million more buys(per wikipedia numbers). To see just how much the rest of 2011 can potentially catch up, I think it's simplest to match up the PPVs remaining this year with their corresponding events from last year, according to similarity in event occurance.
UFC 134(August 27th) vs UFC 118(August 28th) - 128 did 570 thousand buys. Anderson Silva's last 2 headlining events did more then that. In fact, from 112, to 117, to 126, the # of buys for Silva's events have increased over the last event. Silva headlining with Forrest Griffin in the co-main drew 725 thousand buys. Both men won at that card. I imagine pairing them up in the main and co-main again could provide the same strong results. Silva vs Okami 2 is a weaker main event then Silva-Belfort, but Griffin vs Shogun 2 is a stronger co-main then Griffin-Franklin. I would also bet that the whole 'Rio' aspect will generate a small bit of extra interest as well.
Conclusion: UFC 134 outperforms UFC 118 by a fair amount.
UFC 135(September 24th) vs UFC 119(September 25th) - 119 did a fairly crummy 295 thousand buys. 135 is headlined by the light heavyweight title fight between Bones and Rampage. I really don't need to give any reasons why UFC 135 will smash UFC 119. Title fight between guys with fairly well-sized names and a noteworthy undercard. Bones and Rampage's last headliners both outperformed 119, the two together will have no problem generating more buys together then they could do alone.
Conclusion: UFC 135 outperforms UFC 119 easily.
UFC 136(October 8th) vs UFC 120(October 16th) - 120 was a free event and thus had no buys. UFC 136 is essentially the 'extra' event in the schedule this year. So it's buyrates will essentially all be a bonus towards closing the gap with last year. It certainly does help that UFC 136 is an absolutely stacked card with two title fights and a big #1 contender match. Trilogy fights sell, multiple title fights sell, a name like Florian fighting for a title again sells, an outspoken character like Sonnen vs a war hero like Stann sells, and a KO machine like Guillard battling Lauzon to secure himself in the title picture sells.
Conclusion: Obviously there is no competition buyrate wise, but 136 will be a well performing card.
UFC 137(October 29th) vs UFC 121(October 23rd) - 121 did just over 1 million buys. The only person capable of coming close to matching what Lesnar does is GSP, who is headlining this card. His last headliner did 800-900 thousand buys. Nick Diaz is a much more exciting, popular, and compelling fight for GSP then Shields. On top of that, 137 is a stacked card, with a big #1 contender match between Penn and Condit.
Conclusion: UFC 137 falls short of UFC 121's buys, but not by a whole lot. In the wider scale, the buys of 136 and 137 together, the two October PPVs of 2011, will definitely outdo the PPV buys from 121, the sole PPV in October 2010.
UFC 139(November 19th) vs UFC 123(November 20th) - 123 did 500 thousand buys. Velasquez vs Dos Santos for the heavyweight title is a much better main event then Rampage vs Machida for contendership. #1 contender fight between Bowles and Faber will also help out. The promotion of this event during the first Fox card should also help.
Conclusion: UFC 139 outperforms UFC 123 be a fair amount.
UFC 140(December 10th) vs UFC 124(December 11th) - 124 did 785 thousand buys and was headlined by GSP. We know nothing of UFC 140, but we do know it will not be headlined by GSP or Lesnar, for that matter, who is returing in the new year. The only rumor is the mumbling of Overeem being signed to headline this event in a #1 contenders match. No telling how that might draw, I would think pretty good, but not GSP good.
Conclusion: UFC 140 doesn't do quite as well as UFC 124
Final Thoughts - 2011 has an overall stronger final 3rd of the year then 2010, making up for some of the ground lost earlier in the year...but not enough to catch up completely. 2011 falls short of 2010's total PPV buys, but not by an embarassing amount at all.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.