By: Chris Taylor
This past weekends UFC 150 card proved that having a title fight as the main event for a pay-per-view card no longer guarantees a million dollar-plus gate. Infact, the gate for UFC 150 was the worst for a PPV event since 2007 and it would appear that the pay-per-view buys for the Edgar vs Henderson rematch did not fair much better.
Via Dave Meltzer:
After the show, White also noted that they were expecting to take a hit on PPV. He received word that DirecTV went down all night so people with that provider were unable to purchase the show. Since he was at the show, he was probably only getting sketchy details. I was able to get the show on DirecTV with no problem. But there was an issue. Apparently if you automatically ordered through your remote in much of the country, there was no issue. However, if you tried to order by phone or by computer, there was a problem with the system that made it impossible, although the issue was apparently fixed in time for the replay show. We received a lot of feedback from DirecTV subscribers, split almost 50-50 between those who were able to see the show, and those who couldn’t, and many wanted to see it and gave up, not buying the replay. It was significant enough that it cost them a fairly significant number of buys that they would have gotten. But probably not enough to change it from a low number to even close to an average number.
Very early numbers indicate about 190,000 North American buys (this is not a direct buy number or even a strong estimate but just a very preliminary figure). While nobody going in expected big numbers, that would still be below most expectations. As we always say, there is significant potential margin of error this early, but suffice to say this show probably did not do well. We’ll have a better read on this in two weeks. But other indicators were down. Google searches, which usually have a decent correlation to where buys are usually not far from double searches, fell from 1 million for UFC 148 (which makes that correlation look bad but half of those were searches related to watching Anderson Silva shoulder Chael Sonnen at the weigh-ins, and for the show itself it was 500,000, which comes close enough to the correlation) and 100,000 for UFC 149 while this show was just over 50,000. But that shows DirecTV issues or not, the interest level in this show was well below normal.
Overall the UFC 150 card was a good show. The main event did not have much in the way of fireworks but it was a decent fight that went down to the wire in terms of who would be victorious. The co-main event was one of the most exciting one minute performances in recent memory, as Guillard stunned “Cowboy” Cerrone early, but soon after Donald would land a headkick followed by a right hand that put the “Young Assassin” away. The other main attraction of the evening featured Jake Shields fighting hometown favorite Ed Herman in a fight that was slightly more entertaining than watching paint dry.
UFC 151 is set for September 1st and it is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson. The co-main event of the evening features Jake Ellenberger taking on Jay Hieron. Ellenberger is coming off a loss to Martin Kampmann while Hieron returns to the UFC for the first time in 7 years. Will UFC 151 do better than this past weekends event in terms of gate and PPV buys? What are your thoughts Penn Nation?