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Tag: pay-per-view

Is World Series of Fighting’s “Pay the Fighters Half” PPV Model Crazy Enough to Work?


(“Y’know Rousimar, it’s a shame how imbalanced the profit distribution is in this sport. Sometimes, it feels like we-OW OW OW OW OKAY I’LL STOP TALKING.” / Photo via Sherdog)

World Series of Fighting turned some heads yesterday — as in, we briefly looked up from our General Tso’s chicken — when the promotion announced that it will begin putting on pay-per-view shows beginning next year. In other words, the second-tier MMA promotion that very few of you watch on cable wants you to start paying for their shows. Make sense so far?

And, because WSOF has no superfights to sell you at the moment, the promotion is trying to generate interest through a unique financial arrangement: Half of the revenue that WSOF takes in through pay-per-view sales will go to their fighters. From the press release…

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 23, 2014) – In a radical move that could forever change the earning potential of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, World Series of Fighting (www.wsof.com) has announced that it will enter the pay-per-view business in the second half of 2015 with an unprecedented revenue sharing model that will pay 50 percent of all net revenue earned from live pay-per-view events it produces, to the fighters featured on the telecasts.

“This is a proud day for the sport of mixed martial arts and our organization and one that we hope will create a better opportunity for the fighters who put everything on the line every time they step inside the cage,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.

“Until now,” continued Sefo, “one of the main things holding this sport back from becoming even bigger than it is today has been fighter compensation and the inability of the sport’s top athletes to earn on par with top-level professional athletes in other sports.

“If fighters can’t earn a fair share of the money at the top,” said Sefo, “the fighters lose hope or become disenchanted with the sport, which impacts their commitment to training and preparing properly for title fights. That is about to change, thanks to this major step we are taking now fighters will train harder than ever to become a champion giving the fans some epic championship bouts to enjoy. We want to thank NBC Sports and NBC for giving us such an amazing stage to grow World Series of Fighting since its debut…

Additional details about World Series of Fighting’s 2015 pay-per-view launch will be announced soon.

It’s not bad for a publicity stunt. But can this revenue-sharing model actually work? Let’s do some quick math…

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Update: Bellator 120 Pulled Over 100,000 Pay-Per-View Buys [WHAAAAAT?]


(Looks like Bjorn is dick-ridin’ all the way to the bank. / Photo via TheExaminer)

Earlier this week, initial estimates pegged Bellator 120: Rampage vs. King Mo as earning 65,000 pay-per-view buys — a number that exceeded the basement-level expectations of most observers. But it turns out that Bellator 120 wasn’t just a moral victory. As first reported by Sherdog (and later confirmed by MMAFighting), Bellator’s inaugural pay-per-view card did over 100,000 buys, making it an unqualified success

Sherdog’s report was based on an anonymous source “speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release buy-rate data.” The source explained that the buyrate information will be readily available in Viacom’s SEC filings later this year.

In a statement released to MMAFighting, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney played it cool: “I won’t be discussing specific PPV buy rates, but what I can say is that with one of our main events falling out just seven days before our first PPV, a six figure plus buy rate is a good starting point. But, it’s just that, a starting point. My focus is to continue working with our partners at Spike to create the type of big event experience that we created on the 17th.”

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The Pay-Per-View Buyrate Estimates for UFC 169 and UFC 170 Are Not Awesome


(Ronda Rousey might actually be the biggest star the UFC has. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much. / Photo via Getty)

According to Dave Meltzer’s latest pay-per-view buyrate column on MMAFighting.com, the first two UFC PPV events of 2014 didn’t exactly blow the doors down.

Let’s start with UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber 2 on February 1st, which featured two championship fights (including a featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event), and a solid heavyweight feature between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir. That show took in just 230,000 buys, by Meltzer’s estimates — the lowest total for a UFC PPV since last summer, when UFC 161 and UFC 163 completely crapped the bed. It’s worth noting that the first time Urijah Faber and Renan Barao headlined a pay-per-view (UFC 149), it pulled in a nearly identical number. Maybe the California Kid isn’t quite the superstar we’ve made him out to be.

Holding an event on a weekend when so much attention was focused on the Super Bowl gives the UFC a convenient excuse as to why UFC 169 may have underperformed. But it still doesn’t bode well for the promotion’s ability to sell pay-per-views for events headlined by male fighters under 155 pounds. UFC 169 featured Renan Barao, Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo — the only absent sub-155 star was Dominick Cruz — and they still barely cleared the UFC Mendoza Line of 200k buys.

The good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) is that Ronda Rousey is a bigger draw completely on her own than Barao, Faber, and, Aldo put together…

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Random Thoughts on the UFC’s Decision to Increase the UFC 168 PPV By Five Dollars


(Lofty claim that is later revoked + at least two f-bombs = another classic DW soundbite.)

If you follow any other MMA site(s) besides CagePotato — which, why? — then you might have heard that the UFC is planning on raising the pay-per-view price of UFC 168 from $44.95/$54.95 HD to $49.95/$59.95 HD. You also might have been directed to the above clip, taken from a media scrum prior to UFC 96, in which Dana White declares that he “will f*cking go on record right now and say I will not raise pay-per-view.”

Whether the five dollar increase will only apply to UFC 168 or to all future UFC PPVs is still up in the air, but the increase has raised a few questions amongst the staff here at CagePotato, so we figured we’d lay out our qualms with the price hike, then let you, our esteemed readers, weigh in. Join us after the jump to get in on the discussion.

Random Thought #1: Does This Mean That the Price of Subpar PPVs Will Go Down?

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[VIDEO] Wanderlei Silva Responds to Chael Sonnen


(Video via WandFightTeam Youtube)

It doesn’t look like Wanderlei Silva is interested in retiring just yet. The former Pride champion and perennial bridesmaid Chael Sonnen are eager to face one another but UFC President Dana White recently seemed to put the kibosh on the match up because he didn’t want to make the fight a pay per view bout and give Silva percentages of the buy rates – something often done for big stars.

“[Silva] said he won’t fight [Sonnen] unless he gets PPV [points] so I guess he’s gonna retire,” White told MMA Fighting.

You can see what we think about that nonsense here, and in the video above you can see, hear and feel what Wand himself thinks. In the video, we get the Wanderlei standard lines – that Sonnen is disrespectful, a less accomplished fighter than champions like himself, Anderson Silva and Shogun Rua, and that he cowardly says things on twitter and in front of cameras that he wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face. You know, well established facts about Chael P. Sonnen.

However, in the video we get all those undoubtedly sincerely-felt expressions from Silva in a seemingly forced and corny presentation. There’s a spot light, horribly bland stock metal guitar music and Silva telling fans to let Dana White know they want to see the fight. Clearly, this is Silva’s way of proving that there is interest in the bout and that White should reconsider giving him back-end money for a potential Sonnen vs. Silva pay per view main event.

Listen, Wanderlei has accomplished more in MMA than Sonnen ever has or likely will, has legions of fans for the way he conducts himself in and out of the ring and already called Sonnen out in the only way that matters – face to face. He’s also taken ungodly amounts of damage throughout his career and should have retired for his health half a decade ago.

There is no need for Wanderlei to fight Sonnen – who still appears in his prime and has avoided excessive damage with a career filled with screaming and tapping out – especially because he has a chance to go out on a win. Silva’s last fight was a brutal affair where he stopped and retired Brian Stann in what is the front-runner for nastiest fight of 2013.

But Silva is the master of his own fate and makes clear above that he wants to fight Sonnen just as much as Sonnen wants to fight him. Some of our favorite Silva quotes from the video after the jump:

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Counterpoint: How Bellator’s PPV Venture Will Benefit All MMA Fighters


(Photo via Sherdog)

By Brian J. D’Souza

Bellator’s planned November pay-per-view headlined by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz is what it is: two once-great names that are way past their “best before” date. Fans, media and pundits were faster to criticize the match than a Jewish mother criticizing her own kids.

There’s no mystery as to why Bellator is entering the fold — the pay-per-view marketplace is where the profits are for MMA promoters. Yet as Yahoo’s Kevin Iole is fond of noting in one of his latest columns, the only entity in the 20-year history of MMA that has successfully pulled off profitable pay-per-view shows has been the UFC. Merely attempting to break even with a Tito-Rampage main event might be over-reaching on Bellator’s part.

Part of what Iole writes is true, including how Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is contradicting his previous statements about Bellator aiming to build stars from scratch rather than relying on former UFC fighters. But it is myopic of Kevin Iole to rail off biased theories about how the Bellator PPV is just a ploy in the legal drama between Bellator and Eddie Alvarez, who are feuding over the matching clause in Bellator’s contract. As Iole argues:

Bellator also looks petty by even putting on a pay-per-view show, because it is likely just a legal maneuver in its court case with top lightweight contender Eddie Alvarez. Alvarez attempted to sign a UFC contract, but Rebney contended Bellator matched the UFC offer and that Alvarez belongs to Bellator.

That’s for a court to decide, but it’s unconscionable for Bellator officials to tie up a young athlete in the prime of his career. But Bellator, which in the suit said it planned to feature Alvarez in a pay-per-view to compete against the UFC offer, now has to go forward.”

A talented fighter like Eddie Alvarez does deserve his chance in the UFC. Unfortunately, the cream does not rise to the top, especially in the fight game: Without the right management, political maneuverings and opportunities, it simply spoils unnoticed and unheralded on the sidelines. Where Iole misses the point over both the Alvarez situation, as well as the true significance of the Bellator PPV, has to do with the context that he explains these situations occurring within.

Bellator didn’t trip over itself to find Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson. They just happened to be the only available and marketable MMA fighters who fit into Viacom/Bellator’s plans. Interestingly, the Eddie Alvarez situation speaks directly to the reason why so few free agents exist in MMA, because of how Alvarez’s MMA contract essentially enslaved him to his promotion.

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UFC 159′s Pay-Per-View Numbers Prove That UFC 159 Was Pretty Much a Waste Of Everyone’s Time


(Jon…erg…just hear me out…*duff*…if we make it to round 2 *duff**duff*…I promise you no less than 20 thousand more buys. Jon?) 

At first glance, the pay-per-view numbers that just came in for UFC 159 don’t seem all that terrible. Truth be told, it would be near impossible to declare the event’s 550,000 estimated buys anything less than a success. However, when you realize that the sole reason the fight was booked in the first place was to cash in on the Chael Sonnen circus act, that 500k kind of pales in comparison to the 925,000 UFC 148 pulled in. In fact, it’s pretty much in line with the average Jon Jones-headlined pay-per-view, save his 700k-earning fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 145. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer reports:

Preliminary estimates for UFC 159, headlined by Jon Jones’ successful light heavyweight title defense against Chael Sonnen, indicate pay-per-view buys coming in between 520,000 and 550,000.

There was hope for bigger numbers in the days after the fight, due to the strong ratings of UFC 159 shoulder programming. The weigh-ins were the second-highest rated since Fuel began airing. The event also drew the highest ratings for post-fight coverage of a pay-per-view on Fuel. Prelim match ratings on FX were 32 percent above average.

The number would be the company’s second largest of 2013, trailing UFC 158, with Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, but ahead of the now No. 3 event of the year, UFC 157, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche.

So yeah, the event was a success by most standards, yet it only managed to pull in 70,000 more buys that Jones’ UFC 140 title defense against Lyoto Machida, who Jones once begrudgingly referred to as “my lowest pay-per-view draw of the year.” For some reason, this image seems to sum things up nicely.

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CagePotato Presents: A Comprehensive Breakdown of the UFC’s PPV Numbers (And How They Can Improve Them)


(“We will open the bidding for a UFC 149 pay-per-view purchase at $49.95. Do I hear $49.95? What if I said I’d thrown in this *authentic* jersey, completely free of charge? $49.95…anyone? OK, how about ten bucks?”) 

By Oliver Chan

Recently, after reading 12OzCurl’s article (well, just the opening paragraph) I came to a realization that the only reason why I’m here is because I’m Asian and Benny figures that must mean I’m good with numbers. So break out your abacuses…this shit is about to get real.

Today’s class? Variable pricing and whether or not this system should be adopted by the UFC in regards to the pricing of pay-per-view events. I’ll wait for everyone to decide whether or not to skip this article and go straight to the “Hot Potato” links.

Still with me? Probably not. But anyways, here we go.

For those that don’t know, Variable Pricing (or Dynamic Pricing as it is called) has been the main pricing strategies for airlines and hotels on how they price their own inventory.  Recently, the San Francisco Giants adopted this form of pricing in order to better optimize ticket sales for their events. The strategy is similar to that used by the hotel and airline industry where prices go up and down depending on current market conditions and historical trends. Did it work? Hell yeah it did. By using sell-out history from past games based on opponents, starting pitchers, weather, day of the week, evening versus afternoon, and of course, current supply, the Giants were able to significantly increase their ticket sales revenue to such a degree that other franchises are looking to adopt similar methods to pricing their games.

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Six Reasons Why MMA is Going to Change Forever in 2013


(Do women in the UFC represent a new path to the future, or business as usual? Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

By Brian J. D’Souza

There have been many landmark events in MMA history — the inception of the UFC in 1993, the debut of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005, the fall of PRIDE in 2007, and the acquisition of Strikeforce in 2011. As 2013 gets underway, it’s already becoming apparent that the sport is undergoing a series of events that will change it forever.

THE DISSOLUTION OF STRIKEFORCE

On March 12, 2011, Zuffa acquired Strikeforce. Although the San Jose-based promotion was subsequently stripped of many of its best fighters, television network Showtime opted to renew their broadcast deal with the promotion — until now. The January 13, 2013 show headlined by Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine will be the promotion’s death knell, as the name “Strikeforce” takes its final resting place in the cemetery next to Affliction, WEC, PRIDE, Elite XC, BodogFight, and the IFL.

There were obvious benefits in Zuffa stringing Showtime along as a broadcast partner of the increasingly-diluted Strikeforce brand: It kept Showtime from seeking a new promoter, independent of Zuffa, to partner with. Currently, promotions like Shark Fights, Legacy Fighting Championship, Invicta FC, and Xtreme Fighting Championships are in the running as potential broadcast partners for Showtime. For the winning promotion(s), mainstream television exposure on CBS might also be possible, just as CBS aired Strikeforce events in the past.

However, no matter which promotion Showtime airs, the most significant component of the deal comes down to what brand-name fighters can be acquired to get better ratings and more subscribers for Showtime.

THE RISE OF BELLATOR

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UFC 153 Pay-Per-View Buys Confirm That Squash Matches Are Totally Hot Right Now


(We’re sorry, Stephan, but unless those things are actual guns, you’re getting your ass kicked tonight.) 

In the days leading up to UFC 153, many of you (and by you, we mean the entire MMA Interwebz) had some less than favorable things to say about the pairing of Stephan Bonnar and Anderson Silva. As if the bookies hadn’t told us all we needed to know, the general consensus among fans seemed to be the evening’s main event was a “travesty, a sham, and a mockery” that “blasphemed the great sport of MMA” and was a “completely meaningless squash match” whose “insulting pairing” would be reflected in “the abysmal pay-per-view numbers it receives.” And those were the favorable comments.

But for every fifteen of you complaining, there were apparently five or more of you who were forced to stifle your true excitement over this matchup like a pedo at a tee-ball game, because if the early numbers are any indication, squash matches featuring unstoppable killing machines are the new superfights. According to several reports, the pay-per-view numbers for UFC 153 are in the range of 340,00 to 410,000 buys. These numbers not only exceeded expectation, but are not that far below September’s squash match of the month featuring Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort, which managed to clear over 450,000 buys despite having those little guys that no one cares about fighting in the night’s co-main event.

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