(Being the ‘King of PPV’ has its perks. Photo via CombatLifestyle)
It is no wonder Dana White called Georges St. Pierre the “King of Pay Per View” (PPV) on a conference call tuesday. UFC 154, which featured the return of the welterweight champion, succesfully defending his title against interim champ Carlos Condit, did anywhere between 680,000 to 700,000 buys, according to Dave Meltzer.
Meltzer has used industry sources to report PPV buy estimates reliably and accurately for years. In his latest column for MMA Fighting, Meltzer says that the St. Pierre vs. Condit event was the third-highest performing PPV for the organization this year, behind only UFC 148 which featured Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II, and UFC 145 which was headlined by Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans.
Both UFC 148 and 145 were centered on intense and well-publicized rivalries. UFC 154′s success can likely be attributed more singularly to the personal popularity of the returning Georges St. Pierre. As Meltzer explains:
“The company’s biggest event of 2012 is believed to have been UFC 148, headlined by Anderson Silva’s middleweight title defense over Chael Sonnen, that did an estimate of 925,000 buys, the company’s best showing since 2010. The latter two matches were the result of strong rivalries between two of the company’s biggest stars, whereas the Condit fight had no real grudge match aspect and Condit was not an established draw.”
St. Pierre’s last three fights did higher numbers, but were all either grudge matches (in the case of his rematch with Josh Koscheck and defense against Dan Hardy) or a part of an historic event that garnered intense media coverage (as was the case with his fight against Jake Shields, which took place at the UFC’s record-setting debut event in Toronto). Meanwhile, highly competitive fights between non-trash-talkers continue to get slept on when it comes to PPV buys — which says a lot about how important storylines are in this sport.
Check out Meltzer’s full column for more numbers and a look towards the possible match-ups in GSP’s future, and how those might look in business terms.