Meltzer breaks down UFC, WWE, boxing PPV buys


Dave Meltzer surveys the PPV landscap, and notes that the pirates are not winning - UFC, WWE, and boxing all saw an increase in average buys per show.

For WWE, there was a decline going all the way through 2010. But 2011 was up slightly, and due almost entirely to two shows that involved the return of 'The Rock'. In 2012, the company did 3,926,000 buys in 12 shows.

Boxing remains heavily reliant on Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao. While there are potential replacements to their throne, none are proven.

For UFC, the total number of buys was down largely because they ran 13 pay-per-view events in 2012 that generated approximately 5.7 million buys, as compared to 16 the previous year that did approximately 6.4 million. The overall average rose from about 400,000 buys per show to an estimated 438,000.

UFC can't pull the kind of numbers Pacquiao and Mayweather do for their big fights, but they are more consistent. Of the top 15 PPV draws, ten came from UFC, four from boxing, and one from WWE.

UFC President Dana White, did say numbers were down last year, blaming it on injuries destroying so many main events. Injuries hurt not just the depth of nearly every show, but actually killed two planned shows.

Georges St-Pierre is the top pay-per-view draw in the sport, because unlike Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, his shows always do well, regardless of the opponent. Part of that is his appeal in Canada, where he holds the pay-per-view records for any sport.

Ronda Rousey, who faces Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23 in Anaheim, Calif., is expected to get press in places that in the past rarely give UFC major coverage. But... no woman's main event has ever drawn more than 125,000 buys in any form of combat sport or entertainment.

Read entire article...

TOP FIVE SHOWS OF THE YEAR (Based on North American buys):
1. Boxing - May 5 - Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto 1,500,000
2. Boxing - December 8 - Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 1,150,000
3. UFC 148 - July 7 - Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 925,000*
4. WWE WrestleMania - April 1 - The Rock vs. John Cena 715,000
5. UFC 145 - April 21 - Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans 700,000*
5. UFC 154 - November 17 - Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit 700,000*
5. Boxing - June 9 - Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 700,000
*The UFC is a privately-held company and does not release PPV numbers. Dave Meltzer is the leading figure in the MMA space at estimating UFC PPV buys.


tags: UFC   WWE   Ronda Rousey (detail)  Dana White   

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Recent Comments »

GtheMVP site profile image  

2/2/13 8:35 PM by GtheMVP

Did,'t wrestlemania this past year draw over a million?

MMALOGIC site profile image  

2/2/13 4:38 PM by MMALOGIC

it was a short term blow... but the 90m a year eased it a bit.  with fs1 launching this summer long term this could have been the best move zuffa has ever made. most sports properties have been gobbled up for very long terms... Fox has no choice but to promote the heck out of the UFC to make fs1 work.   the 90m a year could eventually shoot up to 200m to 300m a year. if the UFC ends up pulling on FS1 anywehere near the numbers they were pulling on spike they're gonna get a huge bump in pay...  with fox pushing the UFC and building up it's sponsor base all the major players like espn, nbc sports, and cbs will be at the table if the rights ever come up.... but Fox will likely renegotiate way before that.

MMALOGIC site profile image  

2/2/13 4:27 PM by MMALOGIC

yeah, they're hitting their stride now... all they needed to do was place tuf on a better night, and place the fight nights back on saturdays to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately now they have to move again from fx to fs1. long term this will likely be better as they can focus most of their content on an accessible network instead of spreading it out too thin. but it will be another short term blow.  they can soften the blow if they can get big fox to replay tuf at 11pm like they did last week.  they pulled 1.179 million viewers on saturday night with the tuf replay. if they can get fox to replay tuf on tuesday nights at 11pm, with the first run airing on fs1 on wednesday nights at 10pm they should do very well. they are missing an accessible hub like they had on spike.  if they can recreate that on fs1 they'll be golden. if you count up all the fx and fuel fight nights, fox prelims, ppv prelims and first run ppv replays you got a weekly event series of live or premium fights you can air every saturday.  you got tuf on wednesdays 10pm which is the best time slot for it.  which could lead into countdowns, etc... fs1 can become spike on steriods, airing more consistent and accessible weekly ufc content than spike ever had. fx can never replace spike because they dont have the timeslots to properly support the UFC, and fuel isnt in enough homes. if you concentrate most of the first run content on fs and support it with 4 big shows and tuf replays on big FOX it will be very successful.

PrettyBoy site profile image  

2/2/13 4:00 PM by PrettyBoy

Dave I'm pretty sure was getting paid by the UFC in some capacity until the fall out. After which UFC numbers have declined significantly. What a quinky dink.Bob Arum/ Golden Boy everyone laughed at The claims UFC 100 did 1.5 million buys. The show had barely over a 5 million dollar gate. UFC numbers were drastically inflated for the majority of their rise. Just as Inviticas are being now... Its the same publicity stunt. They made a 5 year campaign trying to claim they were the successor to boxing and put their heads down the second Golden Boy offered to do an independent audit. You think they would willing back down from the chance to rub it in boxing face?

Zomby site profile image  

2/2/13 3:03 PM by Zomby

Meltzer is a man of integrity, I doubt he would lie about the numbers.

Kirik site profile image  

2/2/13 2:42 PM by Kirik


Chromium site profile image  

2/2/13 2:40 PM by Chromium

Dave Meltzer has contacts in the PPV industry going back over 15 years. If he ever lowballed the UFC's numbers, I'm pretty sure Dana White would quickly call him on it. I seriously doubt he's inflating them either, he has no reason to.This is one area where he's a legitimately reliable source pretty much without peer.

junobeach site profile image  

2/2/13 2:36 PM by junobeach

Dave Meltzer is the foremost authority on guessing ppv numbers

Chris27 site profile image  

2/2/13 2:22 PM by Chris27

I would bet my life, gun to head that UFC 100 did over a million was teh biggest card, had Brock/Mir, GSP, was at the height of mma/UFC popularity in the US.So we are to believe Brock did a million buys vs Carwin and Cain and Rashad/Page did a mill but UFC 100 didnt?Anyone who actually believe that card did under a million buys is retarded, sorry but its true.

ssj site profile image  

2/2/13 2:17 PM by ssj

cool anecdotal story that proves nothing, bro.