Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outside the Octagon: UFC's Lack of PPV Power in 2014

This year so far has not been a good one for UFC and Pay per View events.  After four PPV events this year, the buy rate is only at about 1.2 million.  This rate is very low and if it continues the UFC could have their lowest PPV buy rate in seven years.  There are still 10 PPV’s left this year, but all signs point to the UFC having a bad year. 

One reason that I believe this year has been so bad for the UFC is the lack of star power.  In the past the UFC has thrived on using their stars to headline and help sell PPV events.  Those stars in the past have been Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre, and Jon Jones.  Silva will likely not be fighting this year because he is still recovering from his leg injury.  St. Pierre is still retired and doesn’t seem like he is going to change his mind anytime soon.  Finally, Jones just fought a few weeks ago and had the highest buy rate for any UFC this year at 350,000.  That buy rate isn’t even that high.  Silva and St. Pierre’s last two fights each all had over 200,000 more buys than Jones fight.  Jones will probably fight at least one more time this year and if I was Dana White I would make that a good card to help increase buys.  

Another reason I think that the PPV numbers have been so low is because of how often there are fights.  When the UFC was at its peak PPV fights were maybe once a month.  This would get the fans excited since they had not seen a fight in a while.  Now, almost every weekend there are fights going on.  Fans might be getting bored with the constant fights and it takes away from the PPVs.  Finally, the growth of other leagues like Bellator may be taking away from the PPV.  Fans may like the tournament style of Bellator more than the UFC’s style.  

The UFC is going to need to do something big in order to change their fate this year.  They need to create a super fight but this is hard with guys like Silva and Cain Velasquez out for the foreseeable future and St. Pierre retired.  Jones and Velasquez would be a good fight but that won’t happen anytime in 2014.  If they can’t get a super fight, UFC has to stack a card with a few title fights.  If Velasquez can return for 2014, the UFC should put both Jones and his title defense on the same card.  A card like that would have potential to draw close to a million buys.  

Hopefully the UFC will do something that can help get the fans engaged again.  If they can’t, the UFC may continue to have off years like 2014 continually.  Dana White always has tricks up his sleeve so I am sure we will see something big over the next seven and a half months. 

 Greg Monforte is a Drexel University Sport Management pre-junior from South Jersey.  Currently he works at Not Just Pizza in Sicklerville, NJ and Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia where he has social media and marketing responsibilities.  Greg is also the SMTSU Director of Marketing & Outreach.  Follow Greg on Twitter @Greg_Monforte.
Connect with Greg Monforte on LinkedIn. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your reasons for the drop. I think it's really a combination of the two. Their star power is currently down a little bit, and pairing that with all of the events really spreads their little star power thinner than usual. It would be interesting to get an update on where UFC is with their Fox Sports contract given that this has been a reason for the increase in events.