Friend of our site


MMA Headlines


UFC HP


Bleacher Report


MMA Fighting


MMA Torch


MMA Weekly


Sherdog (News)


Sherdog (Articles)


Liver Kick


MMA Mania


Bloody Elbow


MMA Ratings


Rating Fights


Yahoo MMA Blog


Search this site



Latest Articles


News Corner


MMA Rising


Audio Corner


Oddscast


MMA Dude Bro


Sherdog Radio


Eddie Goldman


Liver Kick Radio


Video Corner


Fight Hub


Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index


To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site


Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback


Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Media thoughts coming off UFC conference call (and UFC 100 buyrate discussion)

By Zach Arnold | July 31, 2009

Print Friendly and PDF

Dave Meltzer comments on UFC’s Friday conference call with the media about the Fedor negotiations falling through:

“And I got to say that you know one thing that I got to say about you know everyone talks about crazy Russians and stupid Russians and all that stuff, but if [M-1’s] goal is to get him over in this country without him fighting anyone I mean Dana White’s done a hell of a job because I mean they have made this, he’s made this into such a big thing publicly, you know this week I mean it’s been the big story this week and everything and I mean it’s not just the Internet, I mean it’s hit you know ESPN and you know major you know news you know things, LA Times and it’s going you know and it will hit more today coming off of this press conference because that was clearly the thing and I mean you know they built up they built up his name without having to you know fight anyone. I mean, you know, and again I don’t want to be one of these guys, I mean there’s a thing about Fedor, I don’t want to downplay his accomplishments, I would call him the greatest from a historical standpoint I would call him the greatest MMA fighter of all time because of what he has accomplished and his record and all that. However, you know, this is a rapidly changing industry and he hasn’t fought a #1 contender in four years and so to um you know call him #1 today um you know it’s a big difference between would you favor him, I’d favor him a fight against any heavyweight because until he’s beaten because I’m that impressed with his fighting, but is he the best fighter in the world? I mean you know I don’t know that you can even necessarily say because, you know…”

Speaking of Dave, he is claiming that the UFC 100 PPV buyrate is 1.72 million. For the sake of pontification, let’s assume that number is close enough to being accurate. 1.72 million PPV buys at an average price tag of $50 USD per PPV purchase is $86 million USD. With both standard definition and HD versions of the PPV (available for $10 extra), let’s round up the PPV figure to $90 million USD. Now, on a conservative level, let’s say that UFC gets 40% of the PPV revenue. That’s $36 million USD. Then add in the revenue from the live gate at a little over $5 million USD. Throw in the revenue from closed circuit and bar showings. Let’s say that the overall take for UFC is $43-44 million USD. That’s a lot of money to make on one show.

Granted, there will be plenty of costs (including the millions given out to the headliners on the show along with their $3 cut per each PPV buy given that the buyrate broke all records). However, UFC’s take at the end of the day after everyone gets paid will still be very, very healthy. It was already a safe assumption to think that UFC would have a nice take home at the end of the day, but the numbers in the end paint an even rosier picture for Zuffa.

One other stat to look at – Spike TV has a major role in pushing both UFC and TNA on their channel. TNA’s PPV buyrates are in the 12,000-20,000 range. UFC, with their excellent countdown special for Lesnar vs. Mir, drew over 1.7 million PPV buys. For those keeping score at home, the UFC 100 buyrate is 85 times larger than what TNA does on a good day for a PPV. Adding salt to the wound is that TNA gets 2 hours each week of prime-time exposure plus a weekend replay of their show and it still means nothing to their bottom line.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro-Wrestling, TNA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “Media thoughts coming off UFC conference call (and UFC 100 buyrate discussion)”

  1. James says:

    Was that a joke in the quoted part with all “you knows”?

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    No, I accurately transcribed what he said.

    I got a lot of heat for transcribing what Mike Swick said in an interview when he said all the you knows. I mean, sure, if people want me to edit out ums, you knows, uh, etc. I’d be more than willing to do it, but it would have to apply to every interview I transcribe.

  3. James says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think you did that on purpose on nothing… He also said “I mean” close to 15 times.

    No surprise that TNA does peanuts compared to UFC. The product is complete garbage and pro wrestling will likely never have another boom period with MMA on the fight sport landscape.

  4. Chuck says:

    James;

    No, Dave Meltzer actually speaks like that. He does a lot of “you knows”, and “ums” and “I means”, etc. It’s annoying to read in a transcripts, I know.

    Anywho, speaking of TNA ppv buyrates, it looks like TNA Slammiversary this past June only got about 7,000 buys. If that’s true, then that is RIDICULOUSLY low. Oh, and TNA’s buyrate high? 70,000 or so buys for TNA Genesis 2006, which had the first Kurt Andgle vs. Samoa Joe match in November 2006. And they never got a number anywhere close to that. Since then the only ppv that got anywhere near that number was TNA Lockdown 2008 in April 2008 which got about 45-50,000 buys. TNA’s tv ratings are pretty good, but their PPV numbers are embarrassingly low.

    Oh, I forgot to mention the main event of Lockdown 2008 was, once again, Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe. That was the match where Kurt Angle wore the MMA trunks with the 6 oz. gloves and overall the match had an MMA flavor to it. The corwd couldn’t stand it until the last eight or so minutes where they wrestled more of a regular wrestling match. overall it was a great match. And no it wasn’t really like a UWFi, RINGS, etc. match.

  5. David M says:

    Why would anyone over the age of 12 ever want to pay 40 dollars for WWF ppv? It is all fake; the only people who buy WWF ppvs are children and losers.

    MMA has entirely killed pro wrestling’s ppv audience–by high school age now kids know about MMA and once you have seen mma you can’t watch WWF again because it looks so fucking stupid and fake in comparison. As mma becomes more and more mainstream, kids will start watching it younger and younger, and WWF will be entirely fucked.

  6. Chuck says:

    David M,

    That is an entirely unfair thing to say. So what if pro wrestling is fake? It can be entertaining, and many people like watching match psychology and wrestlers telling stories in their matches. Do you see high flying moves and picture-perfect suplexes and slams in MMA? No you don’t. It’s apples and potatoes (yes, I meant that).

    That is almost like saying no one under 45 watches boxing because it’s old and archaic compared to MMA. Again, it’s an unfair statement to its respective fanbase.

  7. jr says:

    Can you imagine Bob Carter’s face when the 7,000 ppv figure came out?

  8. Alex Sean says:

    First and foremost I think Zach deserves a lot of credit here for being one of the only worthwhile MMA writers to not only not immediately buy in to the Zuffa Propaganda and grab his pitchfork but also the only one I’ve seen to call these people out on their willingness to do so.

    Also, to David M, it’s a little ridiculous to argue Pro Wrestling against MMA when MMA has historically been very tied not only with pro wrestlers (Ken Shamrock, Nobuhiko Takada, Kazushu Sakuraba for example) but has had it’s share of rigged fights as well. Both products appeal to virtually the same demographic for the same exact reason. Just because one is predetermined doesn’t mean any of that changes. If so, why do people watch action movies when you can watch high speed chases on Cops? Why read books when you can read a newspaper? The fact that one thing is fiction and one thing is (for the most part) non-fiction doesn’t mean they don’t appeal to the same people for the same reason.

  9. Zack says:

    Alex…don’t forget Don Frye having the honor of getting to wrestle Inoki in his retirement match.

    It’s funny how emotional everyone has been recently, going back to the whole Cro Cop thing. I’ll agree that Zach has done a real good job just stepping back and commentating on it without getting tied up in all the silly drama.

    “Maybe I have missed some of your posts on how some the internet media is obssessed with bringing down Zuffa. ”

    Who specifically?

  10. Alex Sean says:

    I always remembered the Vader match being his final but it appears I was wrong. However that’s another great example, Zack.

    The emotional response is the result of pure propaganda, no more, no less. You can go back to Nazi Germany or even modern America with anti-drug and cigarette ads. The key is both what you say and how you say it.

    Let’s say for a second that the offer as it was said by Carmichael Dave and then reprinted a million times was legitimate. Now imagine M-1 Global has both the public image as well as the *ahem* online resources the UFC does and has their own Carmichael Dave say that M-1 made a counter offer that agreed with UFC’s stance on Sambo tournaments and earnings and the UFC turned it down. The exact same reaction would have happened just instead of it being toward M-1, it’d have been toward the UFC.

    Neither, however, is the truth. The truth is that both promotional bodies want to be respected as promotional bodies. The difference here is while M-1 is willing to work on equal terms with the other promotional body, the UFC will not. Regardless, neither are necessarily the “bad guy” here.

  11. liger05 says:

    TNA’s PPV buyrate’s are nothing to do with the UFC. TNA is just plan garbage!!

  12. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The $50-60 range is too high for UFC PPVs.

    Comcast has been charging $44.95 for the PPV, regardless of whether you want it in HD or SD. Is anyone charging more than that in the US?

  13. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Also, I thought that we had conclusively determined in a prior thread that:

    1. The “leaked” PPV numbers were probably bullshit.
    2. Even the real numbers aren’t important to the general public anyway.

  14. Mark says:

    I can’t believe in 2009 we still get “But, but, but, it’s FAKE! Why are you watching something that’s fake?” Yes, we’re all well aware. I won’t defend WWE since it sucks, but until MMA starts working in highspots and other things you can’t do in a real fight, pro wrestling will always have an audience. And hopefully they won’t be stupid enough to do a worked version of MMA style, because most of that looks awful. A few guys in ROH and TNA have tried to do it, and it’s pointless because you can go watch a real fight if you want to see full-guards and ground n pounding (or pound n grounding according to Michael Cole.) They should actually go overboard on offering moves and stunts impossible in MMA to compete.

  15. David M says:

    “That is an entirely unfair thing to say. So what if pro wrestling is fake? It can be entertaining, and many people like watching match psychology and wrestlers telling stories in their matches. Do you see high flying moves and picture-perfect suplexes and slams in MMA? No you don’t. It’s apples and potatoes (yes, I meant that).

    That is almost like saying no one under 45 watches boxing because it’s old and archaic compared to MMA. Again, it’s an unfair statement to its respective fanbase.”

    For starters, I was a huge pro wrestling fan until like 18 or so. I started watching UFCs that I got at Blockbuster when I was in middle school, so I am not basing my age range of when people stop watching WWF on myself. I am basing it on lots of people I know who just entirely lost interest in WWF and became UFC fans. I don’t think it is the same demographic; certainly there is some overlap in that many kids who watch pay for WWF ppvs also watch some mma, but once you become a serious fan of mma (read: ordering ppvs), I dont know anyone who still buys WWF ppvs.

    Maybe Zach or someone can help us, but I would be willing to bet that the WWF’s ppv numbers have gone down some the last few years, and you would have to be quite dense to think that was unrelated to UFC’s rise.

    “Also, to David M, it’s a little ridiculous to argue Pro Wrestling against MMA when MMA has historically been very tied not only with pro wrestlers (Ken Shamrock, Nobuhiko Takada, Kazushu Sakuraba for example) but has had it’s share of rigged fights as well. Both products appeal to virtually the same demographic for the same exact reason. Just because one is predetermined doesn’t mean any of that changes. If so, why do people watch action movies when you can watch high speed chases on Cops? Why read books when you can read a newspaper? The fact that one thing is fiction and one thing is (for the most part) non-fiction doesn’t mean they don’t appeal to the same people for the same reason.”

    Im not arguing pro wrestling against MMA; Im saying that I believe that many MMA fans graduated to that sport from pro wrestling. The fact that some mma’ers were pro wrestlers previously is entirely tangential to this discussion. As I replied to the previous poster, there is some overlap in that some people who consider themselves hardcore WWF fans also watch some UFC, but my general impression from knowing lots of hardcore MMA fans is that they are not pro wrestling fans at all.

    Your analogies are off-point here because WWF holds itself out as real (I know, not to shareholders), whereas when you go buy a movie ticket, you know what you are seeing is fake. Little kids who watch pro wrestling think it is real, but realize that movies are fake.

    A better analogy btwn WWF and UFC would be the rise of reality shows that is coinciding with the decline of sitcoms. When you can see the real thing, fake isn’t better usually.

  16. Mark says:

    I agree that there won’t be a boom period for pro wrestling for a while, as what spurred 1996-2001 for pro wrestling was adults coming on board when WCW and WWE started borrowing the original ECW’s adult material for storylines. Before then you had a bunch of Hulk Hogan-era retreads with cartoon gimmicks about giant truck drivers, loveable garbagemen, crazy plumbers, and cowboys. Then WCW went a more adult direction with the nWo angle and WWE got desperate enough to let Vince Russo have creative control and his ECW rip offs made adults stop feeling ashamed to watch pro wrestling because it wasn’t a kids show anymore. Although in Japan and Mexico adults never viewed wrestling as such, it’s an American thing.

    But I guess maybe McMahon realized his adult audience left for MMA, because it seemed right around the same time MMA got huge with TUF they regressed back into more kid-friendly territory with John Cena being the 21st century Hogan, Boogeyman and Hornswaggle doing idiotic “comedy” and Rey Misterio being pushed as some kind of Mighty Mouse superhero. TNA kept the more adult-format (obviously since “Attitude-Era” key figure Vince Russo is their head writer) and they’ve never been able to get better than a 1.5 rating on a good day, less than half of a bad WWE Raw rating.

    Now, that’s not to say wrestling is never going to be huge again. Things work in cycles in the wrestling industry with or without MMA. You could argue that they found a way to co-exist with boxing and while they never came remotely close to matching even with Wrestlemania what Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and later Oscar De La Hoya did on pay per view, they did well enough to be viewed as a success by all. It’s funny, there were a ton of pay-per-views viewed as “the biggest” like Starrcade 1997, Wrestlemania 3, Wrestlemania 2000, ect that aren’t even in the top 40 list on best pay per view events (overall counting MMA, boxing, special events and concerts) And the one that is top 20 is actually Wrestlemania 23 with Donald Trump that was an awful show that came while business was awful overall in 2007.

  17. Dave2 says:

    I don’t follow pro wrestling anymore (when I did, I watched TNA). But damn, I really feel sorry for TNA. They have been trying really hard to be a competent #2 vs. WWE but it looks like they haven’t made any progress within the last few years (since they got their Spike TV deal). Whatever they are doing, it’s not working. Do you think it’s possible that a decent #2 competitor could spring up for WWE? Or is the Pro Wrestling market way too small (because of many fans like me who left pro wrestling for MMA and never came back. Except for the occasional wrestling autobiography or documentary) at this point for that to be a possibility?

  18. Dave2 says:

    Btw Mark, is it really true that WWE has went a more kid-friendly direction lately? I was turned off the WWE because after 2001 the so-called “adult” type of stuff got stale and immature very fast. Honestly I think the kid-friendly direction is the best thing for WWE. I’d rather Honky Tonk Man, Brutus Beefcake and Junkyard Dog than The Godfather, Val Venis, necrophilia or (even worse) The Rock giving the Rock Bottom to British Bulldog onto a pile of dog crap. The Attitude Era may look great from a nostalgia angle for some (including me) but looking back at it now, it was full of a lot of immature drivel. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Mr. McMahon were golden characters (Steve Austin represents every man’s dream. To stick it to their boss) but most of the material of that era was junk that stops being entertaining after a certain age in adolescence.

  19. Mark says:

    Well, in comparison to what they were doing. They’re not as cartoony as the 1980s, but they do have more stupid crap tailored towards the younger crowd than any time since then. Although they do slip up and have stuff like skimpy bikini wrestling matches and a violent home invasion angle months ago. Vince said something along the lines of believing in cycles with age groups and knowing the audience is back to being young again like it was in the late 80s/early 90s. I guess he’s admitting the older crowd from ’95-’02 left for MMA without saying it. So really it’s kind of 60% friendlier 40% Attitude-remnents. Although I don’t watch too much of WWE anymore. I do make a point to Tivo TNA because Russo’s stuff is so awful it’s great, like watching a terrible B-Movie for yuks.

    Do you think it’s possible that a decent #2 competitor could spring up for WWE?

    I think it’s exactly like MMA is with the UFC. WWE is just too strong, to most people they ARE pro wrestling. You hear the “ultimate fighting” or “UFC” as a one-in-all term for MMA from casual fans, same with “WWF/E” and pro wrestling. TNA is only around because Panda Energy apparently likes pissing away money. But they’ve done nothing to give people a reason why you should watch them. They came close a few times to branding themselves as different from WWE, then they go and sign another ex-WWE wrestler and center the company around them. And why do you want to watch WWE castaways when you can see the real WWE? I guess their belief is this is what WCW did with Hogan/Savage/Hall/Nash to beat the WWE. But they’re missing the point that what really did them in was the totally-fresh (for America) invasion angle ripped off from UWF-i vs. New Japan or even Chosu’s Army. All it could take is one great idea that makes people want to watch. Unfortunately, nobody in TNA came come up with one.

  20. EJ says:

    “Also, I thought that we had conclusively determined in a prior thread that:

    1. The “leaked” PPV numbers were probably bullshit.
    2. Even the real numbers aren’t important to the general public anyway.”

    And people wonder why I have a hard time with Zach calling out certain media people, when you have an entire section of the mma media throwing out ridiculous Zuffa conspiracies.

    No one leaks ppv buyrates they come from the cable companies and estimates are just that estimated buyrates nothing more.

    The final numbers come months after the show airs, so if their higher or lower it’s not because someone is lying it’s because estimates aren’t 100% correct and never have.

  21. Dave2 says:

    Mark, Yeah I’m thinking it might be the best thing for TNA to concentrate on their new aces instead of relying on the old WWE aces. They might have more success pushing Samoa Joe and AJ Styles instead of Kurt Angle and Christian Cage. Because from what I’ve seen, pushing Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, Booker T, (what other big names I’m missing?), Team 3D (Dudley Boyz) isn’t working. I thought that once they brought in Kurt Angle TNA would take off but it looks like they have stagnated. Even the TV ratings stagnated for quite awhile last time I checked them. The PPV numbers look atrocious. With the UFC getting the lion’s share and WWE and boxing get the scraps, there’s nothing left for TNA or ROH. They need to stick to TV because I bet the PPVs aren’t making them any money.

    After 7+ years in the red, I’m surprised TNA is still around. Panda Energy has been around for probably at least 5 of those years and for whatever reason they still haven’t given up on TNA.

  22. Mr_Mike says:

    “Your analogies are off-point here because WWF holds itself out as real (I know, not to shareholders), whereas when you go buy a movie ticket, you know what you are seeing is fake. Little kids who watch pro wrestling think it is real, but realize that movies are fake.”

    The only time the WWE holds itself as real is when the performers are in character. They have a show to put on. There was a reality TV show called Tough Enough where the fact that pro wrestling was a show was evident. The WWE has also been calling itself “sports entertainment” since the 1980’s.
    Also, while everyone knows a movie is fake, the actors don’t act as if it’s fake during the movie. Say what you want about little kids, but pro wrestling fans know they’re watching an act and, still love it, for the same reasons as people enjoy fake moves, because they’re both entertaining.

  23. Alan Conceicao says:

    I don’t have much to add to this discussion, however:

    -Its hard to imagine the UFC’s popularity contiinuing to grow unabated for years into the future. I don’t deny the possibility, though. They’re really setting their own course right now through the history books.

    -Wrestling does not have to be a cyclical industry. The assumption was for years that there would have to be a “boom period” with no reason given. It seems clear to me that MMA, while a very different entity from pro wrestling, is taking enough future and current fans from it in its explosion of growth to potentially retard or completely end any chances of future booms for pro wrestling as we know it. Discussing boom periods for wrestling may be like talking about Roller Derby revivals, the comeback of the horse and buggy, and so on. Forms of entertainment die off sometimes.

Comments

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image