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How much will raising the UFC 168 PPV price tag impact the buy rate?

By Zach Arnold | December 16, 2013

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A lot, a little, or no impact?

Here’s the fight card as it currently stands:

There was some advertising for the 12/28 show on the Fox broadcast on Saturday night, but I was surprised that the PPV didn’t get plugged more. Then again, I also thought that the Fox broadcast show would draw some eyeballs with no college football competition. Instead, the curse of the small guys struck again as far as killing the ratings:

Any advertising is better than none, but between the poor ratings for Saturday’s event in Sacramento and the way the Ultimate Fighter season played out with Ronda Rousey, I am not sure this is what Zuffa envisioned as far as the way they would close out the year. One of the tools UFC used so effectively in the past to generate PPV sales was their Primetime series. However…

So, a couple of questions about UFC raising the PPV price for the NYE show:

1) Dana White says that the price increase was Lorenzo Fertitta’s idea and that if you an issue with it, invite a couple more friends over to help pick up the tab.

Is the price increase going to be limited to NYE PPVs (e.g. dynamic pricing as MMA Payout spelled out) or…

2) Is UFC considering increasing the price of PPVs with Ronda Rousey on the top of cards because of their heavily male audience wants to watch her in HD, so make ’em pay for it? Would that be brilliant & capitalistic, sexist & exploitative, both, or neither?

And if the pricing increase works, does any extra money go towards Ronda & her opponents? If the price increase hurts the buy rate, does that mean Ronda and her opponents make less money?

It reminds me of the debate as to how much of the UFC fan base is made up of women. A Fox suit told Sherdog a few months ago that it was 20%. Dave Meltzer estimates that it is 30%. Dana White was pushing a much larger number.

If the price increase is going to be for Ronda’s fights, I get the logic — although I think it’s kind of over the top but, hey, if they can pull it off… more power to them.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 7 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

7 Responses to “How much will raising the UFC 168 PPV price tag impact the buy rate?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) The increased price tag will decrease buys slightly, but Zuffa will still probably make more money overall from it.

    2) Flyweights don’t sell. They can’t headline a PPV. They don’t bring interest to FOX. Once the new shine of the females wears off, the UFC is going to be stuck with 4 or so divisions they can’t sell to the public. What is the UFC thinking by headlining these FOX cards with Lightweights and below? They should be putting fights like Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva on FOX. They just have no clue what the fans really want.

    3) Miesha Tate seems like a nice woman. The fans should be nicer to her. Hmmmm…. Miesha Huddle…. Has a nice ring to it!

    4) The UFC really doesn’t understand their audience. They keep on making mistakes that are costing them both short and long term. Not to mention they are turning the sport into boxing with now 10 divisions.

    5) The FOX rating is beyond bad. Not only did it have no major college football competition (as you pointed out)…. A huge chunk of the nation was inside because of a giant snow storm. Based on those two facts they should have done closer to 5 Million….

    • MMAontheReg says:

      I agree with everything 45 Huddle said.

      The UFC completely lost touch with everything the average fan wants, likes and will pay for.

  2. diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Well I imagine not much, i’m sure they see the hd buyers as dedicated(not to mention very popular people with lots of friends with money) the ufc doesn’t release anything in blu-ray(except for the best of show) in order to maintain revenue from the HD ppv. Otherwise a lot of people would wait to buy the blu-ray for 1/3 the price. Back in the day the ufc vhs release was about two years or so after the ppv making the ppv a must buy. That relegated the ufc vhs to a niche market wrestling fans and limited video store rentals.
    Now a days with limited video rental stores and less revenue/promotion from that and internet streaming, it’s probably kept the ppv revenue stagnant. Its not a stacked card worth the extra that mr Fertita requires for this ppv, and its a “one time thing” so its likely there was a promise made to someone/people that this would make a certain $ amount before the years end.

    • Bix says:

      The relative lack of UFC Blu-Ray has nothing to do with protecting HD PPV revenue. The Blu-Ray titles just haven’t sold that well; WWE is cutting down on them for presumably the same reason.

  3. Tradition Rules says:

    Tate tweets about toy drive for kids, UFC fans respond with “Can I eat your tits” & “Please sit on my face”. Classy

    Great way to represent MMA as fans,… not mention making men look like we haven’t evolved beyond being neanderthals…


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