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By Zach Arnold | March 5, 2013
A summary from a Sunday radio interview on Sherdog:
The early estimate for the UFC 157 PPV buy rate is in the 400,000-500,000 range, more or less in the middle of that range. Dave claims UFC budgeted itself for 250,000 PPV buys for the Anaheim Pond event, hoping that Ronda would draw around what the smaller fighters like Jose Aldo & Frankie Edgar draw. Drawing 250,000 PPV buys is fine, 300,000 is good, and 400,000 is very good.
“A big success” even though “it’s still Liz Carmouche in the main event.” Both women made north of $150,000 USD in terms of money from the fight.
When Dave first saw the original PPV barker ad for the UFC 157 show (the now infamous Rousey mean/smile combo ad), he said it hit him that it’s two girls fighting and that it wasn’t going to draw so well. The early ticket sales in Anaheim were around 4,000 sold for $600,000 at the gate. However, unlike normal UFC business trends, the event ended up sold out and had more momentum for the close.
While the amount of paid tickets sold and gate wasn’t as high as a typical big UFC show is concerned, there were a few reasons for this. The first reason is that Los Angeles/Anaheim is a very tough market for UFC to draw big numbers in. Second, “there was fear” when they put Ronda Rousey on top of the Anaheim Pond card. When the early indications showed slow ticket sales, “they had to be scared” that a ton of empty seats would have Ronda look like a flop to the masses. Over 7,000 tickets were sold in the last couple of weeks. The momentum for the fight surged greatly two weeks before the event and Ronda Rousey being a Southern California girl made it a big deal.
Dave thought the fight would draw 200,000-300,000 PPV buys tops, similar to what Frankie Edgar or Jose Aldo draw. Instead, it drew much stronger numbers.
“She’s gonna be a good PPV draw.”
Dave claims that DirecTV is stating that no other UFC PPV show has ever sold more buys for the High Definition telecast than UFC 157 drew. The early web PPV buys UFC got for the show led them to think the show would draw 300,000 PPV buys but momentum grew and then they started feeling that the show could hit the 500,000 PPV buy mark.
The belief is that Ronda was able to attract a different kind of PPV audience — one more affluent and female. However, the live audience at the Anaheim Pond was still 80% guys and pretty much standard UFC event far.
Jack Encarnacao asked where Ronda Rousey ranks as a UFC PPV draw, given that she’s a bigger attraction than Frankie Edgar, Dan Henderson, Urijah Faber, and Ben Henderson. Dave said Rousey/Carmouche out-drew Anderson Silva/Stephan Bonnar and was parallel to the Jon Jones/Vitor Belfort fight. The fight had some novelty appeal and drew way more media coverage than any other UFC fight.
“I suspect Ronda (will be) no worse than the #5 draw in the company if she continues to win.” Dave says that one UFC company source believes Ronda can draw 700,000 PPV buys a fight if she continues her winning streak over the next year. Dave says it’s a “wait and see” situation regarding whether or not Ronda can regularly draw more than 400,000 PPV buys per fight. However, if she loses…
“Will the people stay with her when she’s lost once?”
Ranking UFC’s top 5 PPV attractions: Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez, and Ronda Rousey. Each fighter appeals to a certain fan base. St. Pierre appeals to Canadians. Jones is the superstar, dynamic athletic. Anderson Silva attacts tons of Brazilian fans. Cain appeals to Hispanics. Ronda appeals to female fans and non-traditional UFC fans with cash to burn.