Are UFC PPV buys declining? I examine the trends


Promoted to the Front Page by Anton Tabuena

I'm back on Bloody Elbow again, with one of those UFC research pieces you all hate to love. This one is looking at the UFC's Pay-Per-View history (and future), rather than being another of my usual fighter pay analysis pieces. Enjoy.

Common wisdom holds that 2010 was the high-point for the UFC, and PPV sales have been declining since. The fact UFC 161 only drew 150,000 buys, a new low, proves that. Right? Wrong.

The UFC's modern-era (UFC 57 onwards) buyrates actually read something like this:

Mid-Late 2006, buyrates average in the 500ks.
in 2007 buyrate averages drop to a little over 400k per event.
in 2008 that recovers slightly to a little under 500k per event.
Early 2009 explodes and by mid 09 the average is in the 700k per event range.
In Early 2010 the average tumbles to 400k, on the back of a bad run of 8 PPVs.
By mid-late 2010 the average hits mid 700k, matching 2009's highest average.
Late 2010 is dropping slowly, the average down to 600k by year end.
2011 drops averages to the lowest of the modern era, the mid 300k range.
2012 begins the recovery process, getting averages back over the 400k range.
2013 continues this, with averages as of 162 approaching the 500k range.

UFC Buyrate 06 to13 MMASentinel

We can see this in more detail if we just examine 2009 - 2013.

UFC Buyrate 09to13 MMASentinel

Until this point, 2013 had actually been very steady. Rather than being indicative of a worrying trend, UFC 161 is a momentary blip in an otherwise good year. If the trends continue, the UFC should be approaching 2010 levels again by mid-late 2014.

Don't worry, chicken little. The sky isn't falling.

Fan of good research, bad puns and MMA snark & sarcasm? Then follow me on twitter @iainkidd.
You can also find my latest articles, interviews and research over at MMA Sentinel.

\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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