FanPost

Analyzing UFC PPV Sales in Events Held Outside North America

Analyzing UFC PPV Sales in Events Held Outside North America

Like most of you, I was very surprised when I read about UFC 134’s disappointing PPV buys. I was sure that a loaded card that featured Anderson Silva in a title fight, fan favorite Forrest Griffin, and known veterans Shogun Rua and Big Nog would do big numbers and break the UFC’s current streak of Sub 400,000 buy PPVs.

Yes, it’s true, Hurricane Irene most definitely had a part in the low PPV numbers, but even then, the sales are still disappointingly low. How many east coast homes that would have watched the PPV couldn’t because of the storm, 100,000? Maybe that’s being too generous. So even if you include the people affected by the storm the PPV would still only have done 370,000 or 400,000 buys. So that means that the storm isn’t the main cause of the low PPV numbers.

This got me thinking, and I started looking back at all the UFC events held outside of north America, and I came across a pattern of underwhelming PPV sales when an event was held outside of the US and Canada.

 

Here is a list of all the PPV events that the UFC has held in Europe, South America, Asia, and Oceania:

 

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As you can see the numbers are shockingly low even thou some of those cards had great main events. Since 2007 the average PPV sales per event has been 541,951 buys. None of the foreign cards have surpassed that number. In fact, the average PPV buys for the 9 cards held outside of North America is a measly 291,111 buys/per card. That is over a 250,000 buy difference. It can’t just be a coincidence.

 

Let’s break down each event.

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via upload.wikimedia.org

UFC 72                  Rich Franklin vs Yushin Okami                   Belfast, UK                         PPV Sales – 200,000

Analysis

At first glance 200,000 buys for this event isn’t too bad considering it was the UFC’s first PPV venture into Europe. The main event featured former MW champ Rich Franklin vs then unknown Yushin Okami. TUF fan favorite Forrest Griffin was also involved. In 2007 the average PPV sold 459,455 buys so this event did perform below average, although to be fair that was expected from a card with just 2 or 3 name fighters.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Rich Franklin’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 492,500 buys

Yushin Okami’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 0* (Yushin has never been a main event or co-main event fighter in a PPV in North America)

Forrest Griffin’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 660,833 buys

 

 

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UFC 80                  BJ Penn vs Joe Stevenson                            Newcastle, UK                  PPV Sales – 225,000

Analysis

This card barely outsold UFC 72 even thou it had a much bigger name (BJ Penn), and contained a title fight. This card also contained the rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum who were both top 10 HW’s at that point in time. In 2008 the average PPV sold 527,083 buys.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

BJ Penn’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 655,833 buys

 

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via upload.wikimedia.org

UFC 85                  Matt Hughes vs Thiago Alves                     London, UK                        PPV Sales – 215,000

Analysis

This card had its fair share of excuses for selling so low. The original main event of Chuck Liddell vs Shogun Rua had to be scrapped after both fighters got injured, and the UFC was left with Matt Hughes fighting on short notice against a then unknown Thiago Alves. This card also featured Michael Bisping and Nate Marquardt who have always been well known. In 2008 the average PPV sold 527,083 buys more than twice that of UFC 85.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Matt Hughes’ average PPV buys since 2007 – 603,800 buys

Thiago Alves’ average PPV buys since 2007 – 833,333 buys (this number is obviously inflated because of UFC 100)

Michael Bisping’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 895,000 buys (Bisping was the co-main event in both UFC 100, and UFC 114 which both did over 1 million buys)

 

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UFC 93                  Rich Franklin vs Dan Henderson               Dublin, Ireland                 PPV Sales – 350,000

Analysis

This was the 2nd of Rich’s many fights in foreign lands. This was the UFC’s first event in Ireland and honestly it did surprisingly well with 350,000 buys. It was still well below average compared to the average UFC PPV in 2009 which sold 616,923 buys. Shogun Rua also fought in this card, coming back from a long layoff due to knee surgery.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Rich Franklin’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 492,500 buys

Dan Henderson’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 962,500 buys (Dan only took part in 2 PPV’s in North America as the Main or Co-main event.)

Shogun Rua’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 518,000 buys

 

Ufc99thecomeback_medium

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UFC 99                  Rich Franklin vs Wanderlei Silva               Cologne, Germany          PPV Sales – 360,000

Analysis

This was Rich’s 3rd run at being the main event in the UFC’s first venture into a foreign country. Say what you want about Rich Franklin, but he is a company man. While fighters like Forrest Griffin dread leaving the US, Rich has fought almost exclusively in foreign countries, and let’s not forget all his fights at franklinweight as well. Rich and Wanderlei have both always been fan favorites so it’s no surprise that this is one of the best selling non-north American PPVs with 360,000 PPV buys. Still, the average for 2009 was 616,923, more than 250,000 buys over UFC 99. This card also featured the coming out party of Cain Velasquez who put a whopping on Cheick Kongo. Also, fan favorite Cro Cop fought on this card.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Rich Franklin’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 492,500 buys

Wanderlei Silva’s average PPV buys since 2007 –650,000 buys

Cain Velasquez’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 775,000 buys

Cro Cop’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 397,500 buys

 

Ufc110_poster_medium

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UFC 110                Antonio Nogueira vs Cain Velasquez      Sydney, Australia            PPV Sales – 240,000

Analysis

The UFC’s first venture into Australia was in my opinion a successful one. The card was packed with great fights, and great, well-known fighters. The main event featured a fight between two great heavyweights Big Nog and future champ Cain Velasquez. Other big names that fought on this card were Cro Cop, Keith Jardine, Ryan Bader, Joe Stevenson, Wanderlei Silva and Michael Bisping. Surprisingly thou the card only sold 240,000 buys, making it the lowest selling PPV ever since June of 2008. One would think that the time difference between the US and Australia led to the low PPV sales, but people forget that the event aired at 10:00 PM EST on Saturday night in the US. They held the event Sunday afternoon in Australia just to accommodate US viewers, and even then there were only 240,000 buys, way less than the 2010 average of 619,000 buys.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Cain Velasquez’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 775,000 buys

Big Nog’s average PPV buys since 2007 –615,000 buys

Wanderlei Silva’s average PPV buys since 2007 –650,000 buys

Michael Bisping’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 895,000 buys (Bisping was the co-main event in both UFC 100, and UFC 114 which both did over 1 million buys)

 

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UFC 112                Anderson Silva vs Damian Maia                                Abu Dhabi, UAE                PPV Sales – 500,000

Analysis

This is the UFC card that stands out from the rest. It sold 500,000 PPV’s making it the best selling UFC event held outside of the US or Canada. The event’s surprising PPV sale success should be contributed to the fact that there were 2 title fights, and 3 of the UFC’s biggest draws (Anderson, BJ, and Matt Hughes) took part in this card. I imagine had Vitor not dropped out and been replaced by Maia, this show could have sold more. What’s funny is that even thou this is probably the most hyped and the most successful of the 9 PPV’s mentioned here it was one of the worst cards in recent history. At 500,000 buys this was the closest event to surpass the yearly average PPV buys, it was 619,000 in 2010.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Anderson Silva’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 511,111 buys

BJ Penn’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 655,833 buys

Frankie Edgar’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 460,000 buys

Matt Hughes’ average PPV buys since 2007 – 603,800 buys

 

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via upload.wikimedia.org


UFC 127                BJ Penn vs Jon Fitch                                        Sydney, Australia            PPV Sales – 260,000

Analysis

For some reason this event sold more than UFC 110 despite having less name fighters, and a less interesting main event. BJ Penn fought Jon Fitch, and Michael Bisping fought Jorge Rivera. So far in 2011 the average PPV has sold 437,500 buys, this average is the lowest since 2005.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

BJ Penn’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 655,833 buys

Jon FItch’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 566,666 buys

Michael Bisping’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 895,000 buys (Bisping was the co-main event in both UFC 100, and UFC 114 which both did over 1 million buys)

 

Ufc_134_poster_medium

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UFC 134                Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami               Rio de Janiero, Brazil     PPV Sales – 270,000

Analysis

This event is still fresh in our minds so I won’t go too much into it, but like I said before, with such a stacked card who really thought that this would sell below 400,000? I know I didn’t. I think that if you had the same card but put it in Vegas or Montreal or Toronto this PPV would have sold much better. There is no excuse for selling only 270,000 PPVs.

Fighters PPV Averages (all averages are excluding these 9 cards)

Anderson Silva’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 511,111 buys

Shogun Rua’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 518,000 buys

Forrest Griffin’s average PPV buys since 2007 – 660,833 buys

Big Nog’s average PPV buys since 2007 –615,000 buys

 

Conclusion:

I honestly don’t know what to say. I can’t come up with one solid explanation as to why every single PPV held outside North America underwhelms in PPV buys. It can’t be the time difference since all of these events except UFC 112 have been aired live at 10:00PM or 9:00PM in the US. It’s funny how the only PPV that didn’t air at its usual time was UFC 112 (which aired at 1:00 PM ET) turned out to be the one with the most PPV sales. It also isn’t that these cards aren’t stacked. I don’t care what you say cards like UFC 80, UFC 110, UFC 112, and UFC 134 were full of great fights and fighters yet they still they sold much less than most cards held in the US or Canada. Could it be that American fans care less about a PPV if it isn’t held on North American soil? I honestly don’t know what the answer is. All I know is that the data shows that PPV’s held outside of North America don’t do as well as PPVs held in the US or Canada.

 

 

Well, I hope you all enjoyed my ramblings, and were able to process all the numbers that I was throwing around. I tried to make it as simple as possible while still conveying my ideas and observations. If you have any questions about the numbers please feel free to post them.

I have learned that most people don’t read entire fanposts if they are this long, so I don’t expect all of you to read everything so I’ll end with this; HLaa;ljlkfjai;efiQ$#%sadf9e#D. :D

 

 

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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