Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks
Friday, June 29, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- UFC Fight Night 10 Draws 1.2 Rating; Brutal Knockouts Handled Poorly Yet Again
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The live broadcast of UFC Fight Night 10 on Tuesday, June 12th drew an overall rating of 1.2. With a line-up that was considered to have perhaps the least marquee value of any live UFC event on Spike TV to date, the overall rating has to be considered a success.
The main event of UFC Fight Night 10 featured Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout, both of whom were coming off of losses in their last UFC fights. The star in the semi-main event, Jon Fitch, had a UFC record of 5-0 going into the bout, but not a single one of his fights had ever aired on UFC television, and only one of them had ever aired on UFC pay-per-view. While hardcore MMA fans recognize Fitch as one of the top ten welterweight fighters in the world, Fitch's constant placement on the UFC's preliminary undercards means that the casual fans who make up the bulk of the UFC's TV viewership likely had no idea who Fitch was prior to this fight.
With all of these facts in mind, the UFC and Spike TV may have been concerned that UFC Fight Night 10 would draw the UFC's lowest ratings to date, but it did not, at least not in terms of overall viewership. The overall rating of 1.2 managed to stay a tenth of a ratings point higher than the UFC's least-watched live fight special to date (the November 2006 finale of The Ultimate Fighter 4 drew an overall rating of 1.1). In addition, it was two-tenths of a ratings point higher than Spike TV's primetime average rating of 1.0.
Ratings in Key Demographic Continue to Slip
However, in the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, UFC Fight Night 10 did indeed draw the UFC's lowest ratings ever for a first-run event premiere. There have been two live specials in the UFC's history on Spike TV, dating back to early 2005, that have drawn ratings lower than 2.0 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. UFC Fight Night 9 in April 2007 drew a rating of 1.6 in this demographic, and UFC Fight Night 10 drew a 1.5 rating in this demographic.
The UFC and Spike TV both depend on this key demographic to attract new advertisers and retain current advertisers, so a drop in overall viewership might actually be preferred over the drop in 18-to-34-year-old male viewership that UFC programming on Spike TV has been experiencing in both live specials and the premieres of pre-taped Ultimate Fighter episodes.
In the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, a slightly broader group that is the UFC and Spike TV's second most-targeted demographic, UFC Fight Night 10 drew a rating of 1.5, putting the show in a three-way tie for the all-time low mark among live UFC fight specials on Spike TV. The other two specials in the three-way tie for last place among live UFC events are April 2007's broadcast of UFC Fight Night 9, and November 2006's broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale.
UFC Fight Night 10's Ratings vs. Previous UFC Ratings
Compared to the UFC's average-to-date for fight specials headed into this event, UFC Fight Night 10 was not able to approach the previous shows' average ratings.
The UFC's average-to-date for its previous fifteen fight specials was a 1.7 overall rating, and UFN 10 drew a 1.2 overall rating.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the UFC's average-to-date was a 2.8 rating, and UFN 10's rating in this demographic was 1.5.
In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, the UFC's average-to-date was a 2.2 rating, and UFN 10's rating in this demographic was 1.5.
A March Through the UFN 10 Broadcast, Including Brutal Knockouts and Ratings for Individual Fights
The two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night 10 opened up with Drew McFedries' quick knockout victory over Jordan Radev in a fight that drew an overall rating of just 0.7. The first two or three fights on any live UFC broadcast on Spike TV are almost always the least-watched, but even the first fights on the broadcast still manage to hit the 1.0 mark on the vast majority of occasions.
After this fight, when Radev was still unconscious in the ring, the UFC continued what is now a long-standing, de-facto policy of cutting away from the unconscious fighter and not acknowledging the fighter's condition for the rest of the broadcast. The UFC did this on two occasions in 2005 when Terry Martin and Tra Telligman were each brutally knocked out, and then the same thing happened for a third time when Sean Salmon was knocked out cold by Rashad Evans in January 2007. This is the equivalent of an NFL player going down from a big hit and not moving for several minutes, but the camera on the television broadcast cuts to a crowd shot or commercial break, and then the injured NFL player is never or shown or acknowledged again for the rest of the broadcast.
The UFC could not send the next scheduled fighters out to the Octagon while Radev was still receiving medical attention inside the cage, but they were also apparently insistent on keeping with the de-facto policy of not acknowledging the unconscious fighter. So, 16 minutes after the end of the McFedries-Radev fight, a pre-taped preliminary fight between Anthony Johnson and Chad Reiner aired.
The Johnson-Reiner fight also ended in a quick and brutal knockout, as Johnson knocked Reiner out and the fight drew a 1.1 rating. Ironically, while Jordan Radev was still being treated by medical personnel in real time, the UFC also chose not to update or acknowledge the unconscious Reiner's condition for the rest of the broadcast.
After Radev was taken to the backstage area, the next live fight pitted Jon Fitch against Roan Carneiro in a fight that started nine minutes after the Johnson-Reiner bout finished airing. Fitch defeated Carneiro by submission, and the fight drew a 1.0 rating. While that rating could certainly be considered a disappointment, it's not a complete surprise that the fight didn't pop a rating, given the fact that it was Fitch's first ever exposure on a UFC event on Spike TV.
At this point in the broadcast, with two of the three main card bouts having concluded before the end of the second round, there was plenty of time to fill, so the decision was made to air the preliminary fight between Thiago Tavares and Jason Black, as main-eventers Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout made their final preparations backstage. As is usually the case with the UFC's live fight specials on Spike TV, the viewership level increases significantly over the course of the last hour. Thirteen minutes after the end of the Fitch-Carneiro fight, Tavares' impressive submission victory over Black hit the airwaves, and the fight drew a 1.4 rating.
Twenty minutes after the Tavares-Black bout finished airing, Fisher vs. Stout to got underway, and the two fighters had an exciting stand-up battle that Fisher won by unanimous decision. The main event fight drew a 1.6 rating, making it the most-watched fight of the night.
The 1.6 rating for Fisher vs. Stout was higher than every single fight on the UFC Fight Night 9 broadcast, but it was lower than every single fight on the UFC 70 broadcast on Spike TV, and lower than all-but-one of the fights on the UFC Fight Night 8 broadcast. Ironically, that one fight on the UFN 8 broadcast was Spencer Fisher's previous fight, a TKO loss to Hermes Franca that drew a 1.5 rating. Stout's previous fight on Spike TV, a submission loss to Kenny Florian in June 2006, drew a 1.8 rating.
Ratings Comparison: UFC vs. WWE vs. IFL vs. WEC
Even though UFC Fight Night 10's ratings were among the lowest in the UFC's history on Spike TV for a live event broadcast, the Zuffa-owned UFC is still in a different ballpark when compared to other MMA promotions.
The UFC's top competitor for TV ratings amongst current MMA promotions is the IFL. The first ten original episodes of the IFL's "Battleground" series on MyNetworkTV averaged 998,000 viewers, compared to 1,524,000 viewers for UFC Fight Night 10. The Zuffa-owned WEC promotion recently aired its first live event on Versus Network, and the two-hour broadcast averaged 416,000 viewers.
UFC Fight Night 10 also marked the first time since August 2006 that a live UFC fight special went head-to-head with first-run WWE programming. The latest edition of WWE's Tuesday night program "ECW" (which is "ECW" in name only) on the Sci Fi Network out-drew UFC Fight Night 10 in overall rating (1.7 to 1.2) and overall viewers (2,400,000 million to 1,524,000), but the UFC actually beat WWE in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. Even the UFC's record low rating of 1.5 was enough in that demographic to beat WWE's rating of 1.2 in the same demographic.
Head-to-Head Network Competition; Other UFC-on-Spike Ratings
Airing head-to-head with the first hour of UFC Fight Night 10 on network television from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Tuesday, June 12th, ABC's presentation of "NBA Finals: Game 3" drew a hugely disappointing overall rating of just 5.1 in the hour. The NBA Finals on ABC lost handily to the NBC variety show "America's Got Talent," which drew an overall rating of 7.9 in the hour. Meanwhile, a repeat of "The Unit" on CBS drew a 4.7 overall rating, and a repeat of "House" on Fox drew a 4.2 overall rating.
Airing head-to-head with the second hour of UFC Fight Night 10 from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM on June 12th, the second hour of "NBA Finals: Game 3" drew a slightly better 5.7 overall rating on ABC. However, it embarrassingly lost to repeat programming, as a rerun of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" on NBC drew a 6.1 overall rating. A repeat episode of the documentary news series "48 Hours Mystery" on CBS was not far behind with a 5.1 overall rating.
Leading into the 9:00 PM start of UFC Fight Night 10 on Spike TV, a repeat of UFC Unleashed aired from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM and drew a disappointing overall rating of just 0.5, continuing the trend of UFC Unleashed's decreased ratings.
After the conclusion of UFC Fight Night 10, the hour-long special "Countdown to UFC 72" aired on Spike TV from 11:00 PM to 12:00 AM and drew an overall rating of 0.8. Thanks in large part to the UFC lead-in, this was higher than the overall rating of 0.7 that was drawn by the premiere of "Countdown to UFC 71" and the overall rating of 0.5 that was drawn by the premiere of "UFC All Access: Quinton Jackson."
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- TUF Ratings Slump, but Still Dominate Boxing; PLUS: Liddell on Letterman Ratings
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The final three regular season episodes of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew overall ratings in the low 1's, concluding a season that was the least-watched in the history of The Ultimate Fighter. However, the UFC still managed to completely dominate a live boxing broadcast on Versus Network that went head-to-head with the eleventh episode of TUF 5.
Episode Ten of The Ultimate Fighter 5 featured the final two quarter-final fights of the season's 16-man tournament. The episode premiered on Thursday, June 7th and drew an overall rating of 1.1, which was down slightly from the previous episode's 1.2 overall rating. In the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode Ten drew a 1.4 rating, which was also down slightly from the previous week's 1.5 rating in that demographic.
Episode Eleven of TUF 5 featured the first of two semi-final tournament bouts. The episode premiered on Thursday, June 14th and drew an overall rating of 1.3, which was up from the previous episode's 1.1 overall rating. Episode Eleven also out-drew Episode Ten in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, 1.7 to 1.4, while still finishing well below TUF 4's ratings averages in the same demographic.
The final regular season episode of TUF 5 featured the second of two semi-final tournament bouts. With Episode Ten serving as its lead-in, Episode Eleven premiered on Thursday, June 14th at 11:00 PM and drew an overall rating of 1.0, which is tied for the lowest-rated premiere episode in TUF history when airing on its normal night. The episode drew a rating of 1.5 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
TUF Demolishes Boxing Head-to-Head
Overlapping with The Ultimate Fighter 5's eleventh episode on Thursday, June 14th, the newest live installment of "Versus Fight Night" on Versus Network was thoroughly trounced by TUF in the ratings. While Spike TV is available in approximately 90 million homes and Versus is available in approximately 70 million homes, that is certainly not enough to explain the huge disparity in viewership between TUF and the live boxing broadcast.
The two-hour boxing broadcast on Versus aired from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM and featured former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman in the main event. While Episode Eleven of TUF 5 drew an overall rating of 1.3, the two-hour broadcast of Versus Fight Night drew an overall rating of 0.2.
As for the overall number of viewers, Episode Eleven of TUF 5 averaged 1,718,000 viewers, while Versus Fight Night averaged 227,000 viewers. The disparity is far greater in the younger male demographics, due to the fact that the average age of Versus Fight Night's audience was 60 years old.
In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Eleven of TUF drew a 1.5 rating, while Versus Fight Night drew a rating of 0.1.
One might think that it can't get any worse than 1.5 to 0.1, but it can, as evidenced by the ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. In that key demographic, Episode Eleven of TUF drew a 1.7 rating, and Versus Fight Night did not even register as a 0.1 rating in the demographic. Technically, the two-hour broadcast of Versus Fight Night averaged a rating of 0.03 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.
Ratings for Individual Fights on Episodes 10, 11, and 12 of TUF 5
As for the ratings that were drawn by individual fights on the final three episodes of TUF 5, Episode Ten featured Nate Diaz' submission victory over Corey Hill in the tournament quarter-finals. The Diaz-Hill aired early in the episode and drew a 1.1 rating. Diaz' previous fight, which was a submission victory over Robert Emerson, had drawn a 1.3 rating. Hill's previous fight, which was also a victory over Emerson (by judges' decision), drew a 1.3 rating as well.
Episode Ten also featured Manny Gamburyan's unanimous decision victory over Matt Wiman in the last of the tournament quarter-final bouts. The Gamburyan-Wiman fight aired during the second half of the episode and drew a 1.2 rating. Gamburyan's previous fight was a submission victory over Noah Thomas, and it drew a 1.4 rating. Wiman's previous fight was a technical submission victory over Marlon Sims, which drew a 1.2 rating.
The first semi-final tournament bout aired on Episode Eleven, as Manny Gamburyan defeated Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision. The fight itself drew a 1.3 rating, up slightly from the 1.2 rating that was drawn by Gamburyan's quarter-final fight against Matt Wiman. Lauzon's previous fight was a TKO victory over Cole Miller, which drew a 1.4 rating.
Episode Twelve featured the last of the tournament semi-final matches, as Nate Diaz defeated Gray Maynard by submission. The fight drew a 1.0 rating, down slightly from the 1.1 rating that was drawn by Diaz' quarter-final bout against Corey Hill. Maynard's previous fight was a submission victory over Brandon Melendez, which drew a 1.3 rating.
Liddell Episode of Letterman Draws Strong Ratings
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell appeared on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Thursday, June 7th, and the episode drew a 3.6 overall rating.
It was the most-watched episode of the week for "The Late Show," which drew a 3.5 overall rating on Monday of that week, a 3.0 rating on Tuesday, 3.5 on Wednesday, and 3.2 on Friday.
The June 7th episode also out-drew the next week of "The Late Show," as the show's highest rating from June 11-15 was 3.4. However, the June 7th episode of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" still topped Letterman's rating of 3.6, as Leno drew an overall rating of 4.1 on the same night, head-to-head with the episode of Letterman that featured Chuck Liddell.
TUF's Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head with Episode Ten of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on Thursday, June 7th from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, the cancelled drama series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" continued its march towards oblivion, as it drew an overall rating of 3.1 on NBC. The first game of the NBA Finals on ABC drew a hugely disappointing 5.6 overall rating, and it actually lost to repeat programming head-to-head, as a rerun of the crime drama series "Shark" drew a 6.3 overall rating on CBS.
Airing head-to-head with Episode Eleven of TUF 5 on Thursday, June 14th from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a new (burn-off) episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" drew an overall rating of 3.0 on NBC. Meanwhile, the fourth and final game of the NBA Finals on ABC drew an embarrassing 5.6 overall rating, which was the same rating that Game 1 drew one week earlier. The NBA Finals once again lost to repeat programming head-to-head, as a rerun of "Shark" on CBS drew an overall rating of 5.8.
On both June 7th and June 14th, the NBA Finals broadcast was just the fifth most-watched TV show of the evening. On both Thursdays, the NBA Finals broadcasts lost not only to repeats of "Shark," but also to repeats of "CSI" and new episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"
Leading into Episode Ten of TUF 5 on Spike TV was the pro wrestling show "TNA Impact," which drew an overall rating of 1.0 on June 7th.
Leading into Episode Eleven of TUF 5 on Spike TV was "TNA Impact," which drew an overall rating of 1.1 on June 14th. Episode Twelve of TUF 5 then aired immediately after Episode Eleven.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Penn vs. Pulver Preview Special to Air on Versus Network?
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
In a strange development, the 30-minute countdown special for the upcoming fight between BJ Penn and Jens Pulver will actually air on Versus Network tonight (June 22nd), despite the fact that the show is specifically designed to promote a Saturday night broadcast that will be airing on Spike TV, not Versus.
The 30-minute special, entitled "Bad Blood: Penn vs. Pulver," premiered on Monday night, June 18th at 11:30 PM on Spike TV. Barring a last-second schedule change or the NHL Draft running past its allotted timeslot (7:00 PM to 10:00 PM), the Penn-Pulver preview special will air on Versus tonight at 11:00 PM Eastern Time, less than 24 hours before the fight between Penn and Pulver begins on Spike TV. Versus does not have a staggered feed for different time zones, so an 11:00 PM Eastern start time is 10:00 PM for the Central time zone, 9:00 PM for the Mountain time zone, and 8:00 PM for the Pacific time zone.
Zuffa's contract with Spike TV specifically states that Spike TV is the exclusive basic cable home of UFC programming. While the contract, which expires in mid-2008, does not preclude the UFC from signing a deal with a premium cable network such as HBO or a broadcast network such as CBS, it does prevent the UFC from signing a deal with Versus, ESPN, or any other basic cable network for the duration of the contract. So, in order for the Penn-Pulver special to be cleared to air on Versus, Spike TV would have had to specifically approve it.
When asked about the unusual nature of this arrangement, a Spike TV spokesperson told MMAWeekly, "It is unusual, but a great way to promote our finale to a potentially new audience. [The special] is also available on SpikeTV.com and iFilm."
With the generally low ratings of Versus, it does not seem as though Zuffa has much to gain from airing the special on Versus, unless one takes into consideration the fact that there happens to be a pay-per-view event airing at the same time that will be co-promoted by Zuffa competitors EliteXC and Strikeforce.
Zuffa has a well-established history of aggressively counter-programming on Spike TV with extended UFC marathons whenever a competitor runs a major televised event. While one could argue that it's strictly a series of coincidences, the UFC has happened to schedule marathons of UFC programming on Spike TV to air head-to-head with the WFA pay-per-view in July 2006, the Pride USA pay-per-view in October 2006, the first EliteXC event in February 2007, the second EliteXC event earlier this month, and the K-1 Dynamite pay-per-view earlier this month.
Now that Zuffa owns the WEC and has WEC programming on Versus Network in addition to having UFC programming on Spike TV, the UFC now has two different cable networks that it could theoretically use if it wanted to counter-program against a competing MMA show. Versus stands to benefit from this arrangement because the Penn-Pulver preview special will likely out-draw the show that Versus was originally planning to air in the timeslot.
So, in addition to UFC programming airing on Spike TV tonight, the Zuffa-owned WEC will be airing a Friday encore of WEC WrekCage at 10:00 PM on Versus, and that will be followed by the Penn vs. Pulver preview special at 11:00 PM on Versus. Both shows will be going head-to-head with the EliteXC/Strikeforce pay-per-view event, which also starts at 10:00 PM.
There's nothing unusual about a replay of UFC Fight Night 10 airing on Spike TV tonight, as the UFC has aired UFN replays on Friday nights for several weeks. However, tonight's airing of WEC WrekCage is somewhat unusual, as it is the only Friday night airing of WEC WrekCage on the schedule for the next six weeks; and tonight's airing of the Penn-Pulver preview special is highly unusual, as it will mark the first time ever that a preview special for a Spike TV event will be airing in its entirety on a competing cable network.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- K-1 Dynamite Attendance Breakdown
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The final attendance figures for last weekend's K-1 Dynamite show have been released by the California State Athletic Commission. As is often the case with attendance figures, there are two groups of figures: The figures that are 100% official and verifiable, and the figures that are claimed by the promoters of the event that are not verifiable or fully documented.
Starting with the basics, the seating capacity of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is 92,000. The total number of tickets printed for K-1 Dynamite was 75,332. Out of the 75,332 tickets printed, the number of those tickets that were not sold, used, or given away was 18,975.
Verified Paid Attendance vs. Non-Verified Paid Attendance
The verified paid attendance number for K-1 Dynamite was only 3,674, which generated $203,090 in revenue. This includes just 94 of the tickets that were sold for $250, and just seven of the tickets that were sold for $1,000. The fact that these 3,674 tickets were sold to consumers is something that was tracked and verified by Ticketmaster.
FEG, the promoters of the event, paid $2,342,500 to buy 39,083 tickets to its own event. The fact that FEG bought that specific amount of tickets for that specific price is something that was tracked and verified by the California State Athletic Commission, which charged FEG the appropriate taxes for purchasing 39,083 tickets to its own event.
It is FEG's claim that after they (FEG) purchased 39,083 tickets to the event for $2,342,500, FEG then turned around and sold exactly 39,083 tickets to consumers for $1,602,610. This is the part that is not independently verifiable.
In terms of the taxes that FEG has to pay the California State Athletic Commission, FEG only has to pay taxes on the amount of $2,342,500. The claim that FEG re-sold all 39,083 of those tickets for $1,602,610 is not something that affects the taxes that FEG owes in any way, so the figures cannot be independently verified by the California State Athletic Commission.
The fact that FEG did indeed purchase 39,083 tickets to its own event does not set any kind of paid attendance record, as "paid attendance" figures are created by paid ticket sales to actual fans who come to events. To use a college football analogy, if a game were held in a 150,000-seat stadium, and the host college purchased all 150,000 tickets without selling any of those tickets, and zero fans showed up to the game, the number of fans in attendance with paid tickets would be zero, not 150,000.
There is no way of knowing whether or not FEG actually did re-sell all 39,083 of the tickets that it bought for its own event. FEG might have sold those tickets to fans, or FEG might have given away many of those tickets to fans for free.
In the Japanese media, FEG has been claiming that the attendance was 54,000, and that has not been supported in any way by the numbers that have been released by the California State Athletic Commission.
In addition, FEG reported to the CSAC that it gave away 13,600 tickets as free "comp" tickets, but there is no documentation regarding what happened to those 13,600 tickets after they were given away. Furthermore, out of all the thousands of people who were documented passing through the turnstiles at the L.A. Coliseum on the night of the event, only six people passed through the turnstiles with tickets that were marked as free "comp" tickets. It would seem to be peculiar that 13,600 tickets would be given away and then less than 0.1 percent of those people would show up to the event.
While this would seem to call into question the veracity of FEG's claims, the fact remains that there is no way to know for sure how many tickets were actually sold to fans for the K-1 Dynamite event. The unverified number is 42,757 (or 54,000 in the Japanese media), but the number of tickets that were verifiably sold is still 3,674.
The verified paid attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States is still held by the Strikeforce event that was held in San Jose, California on March 10, 2006. The verified paid attendance for that event was 17,465.
The second highest verified paid attendance for an MMA event in the United States is held by UFC 68, which took place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3, 2007. The verified paid attendance for that event was 17,358.
Verified Total Attendance vs. Non-Verified Total Attendance
A somewhat more clear picture of the total attendance for the K-1 Dynamite event is gained because the California State Athletic Commission verified the actual number of people who got their tickets clicked at a turnstile and walked into the venue. That number was 18,340.
While it was possible to gain entry into the venue without getting a ticket clicked at a turnstile, those fans are by definition not officially counted. As reported by Sam Caplan, who writes for CBS Sportsline and Five Ounces of Pain, the California State Athletic Commission "had someone whose sole job it was on Saturday [June 2nd] to handle tracking the number of fans entering the Coliseum."
So, as with the paid attendance figures, there is no way of definitively knowing the total number of fans in attendance, but the documented, verifiable number is 18,340. It would seem to be peculiar that there would be 18,340 fans who passed through ticket turnstiles and entered the venue if FEG did indeed sell over 39,000 tickets to fans as it claims.
The face value of the tickets that passed through the turnstiles was $1,529,530, but again, there is no way of knowing how much of that amount came from fans who actually bought tickets and how much of that amount came from tickets that FEG purchased itself and subsequently gave away to fans.
The verified total attendance record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States is still held by UFC 68, which took place in Columbus, Ohio on March 3, 2007. The verified total attendance for that event was 19,079.
The verified total attendance of 18,340 for the K-1 Dynamite event is now the second highest in U.S. MMA history. The event that previously had the second-highest verified total attendance for an MMA event in the U.S. was the March 2006 Strikeforce event in San Jose, California. The verified total attendance for that event was 18,265.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- K-1 Dynamite Fighter Salaries
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for K-1 Dynamite USA, which took place on Saturday, June 2nd in Los Angeles, California. The event was co-promoted by Showtime/EliteXC and FEG, the parent company of K-1.
The following figures are based on the fighter salary information that FEG and Showtime/EliteXC are required by law to submit to the state athletic commissions.
Although MMA fighters do not have collective bargaining or a union, the fighters' salaries are still public record, just as with every other major sport in the United States. Any undisclosed bonuses that FEG and Showtime/EliteXC also pay their fighters, but do not disclose to the athletic commissions, are not included in the figures below.
All of the fighters on this particular card had flat salaries with no win bonuses, with the exception of the four fighters who competed on the live Showtime broadcast (Jake Shields, Ido Pariente, Jonathan Wiezorek, and Tim Persey). Shields and Wiezorek each won their bouts, so they are the two fighters on this card who had win bonuses.
Gesias "JZ" Calvancanti was fined 20% of his purse for failing to make the contracted weight of 155 pounds. This fine amounted to $9,000, half of which went to the California State Athletic Commission, and half of which went to Calvancanti's opponent, Nam Phan.
Johnnie Morton's entire purse of $100,000 is being withheld for the time being by the California State Athletic Commission, as a result of Morton's refusal to take a post-fight drug test. Morton has also been indefinitely suspended by the CSAC for refusing to take his drug test.
In the listings below, "Main Event Fighters" are defined as fighters who compete in the main event of a show and/or compete in a title fight on a show. "Preliminary Match Fights" are fights that are taped before a television or pay-per-view show goes on the air, regardless of whether or not those fights aired on the telecast or pay-per-view broadcast.
Main Event Fighters
-Brock Lesnar: $500,000 (defeated Min Soo Kim; no win bonus)
-Min Soo Kim: $30,000 (lost to Brock Lesnar)
Main Card Fighters
-Royce Gracie: $300,000 (defeated Kazushi Sakuraba; no win bonus)
-Johnnie Morton: $100,000 (lost to Bernard Ackah) (purse is being withheld for the time being due to refusal to take drug test)
-Melvin Manhoef: $50,000 (lost to Dong Sik Yoon)
-Jonathan Wiezorek: $40,000 (defeated Tim Persey; includes $25,000 win bonus)
-Kazushi Sakuraba: $30,000 (lost to Royce Gracie)
-"Mighty" Mo Siliga: $30,000 (defeated Ruben Villareal; no win bonus)
-Ruben Villareal: $30,000 (lost to "Mighty" Mo Siliga)
-Jake Shields: $24,000 (defeated Ido Pariente; includes $12,000 win bonus)
-Dong Sik Yoon: $20,000 (defeated Melvin Manhoef; no win bonus)
-Tim Persey: $20,000 (lost to Jonathan Wiezorek)
-Bernard Ackah: $5,000 (defeated Johnnie Morton; no win bonus)
-Ido Pariente: $2,500 (lost to Jake Shields)
Preliminary Match Fighters
-Gesias "JZ" Calvancanti: $36,000 (defeated Nam Phan) (original purse was $45,000 and he was fined $9,000 for failing to make weight)
-Nam Phan: $29,500 (lost to Gesias "JZ" Calvancanti) (original purse was $25,000 and he also received $4,500 from Calvancanti's fine)
-Hideo Tokoro: $15,000 (defeated Brad Pickett; no win bonus)
-Katsuhiko Nagata: $15,000 (defeated Isaiah Hill; no win bonus)
-Brad Pickett: $8,000 (lost to Hideo Tokoro)
-Isaiah Hill: $2,500 (lost to Katsuhiko Nagata)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $1,287,500
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Royce Gracie Tests Positive for Steroids
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Royce Gracie has tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone Metabolite, according to the California State Athletic Commission. In a highly anticipated rematch, Gracie defeated Kazushi Sakuraba by unanimous decision at the K-1 Dynamite show on June 2nd in Los Angeles, California.
Gracie has been suspended for approximately 12 months from the date of the fight (through May 30, 2008). He has also been fined $2,500, which is currently the maximum penalty allowable in California and which represents approximately 0.8 percent of Gracie's $300,000 purse. Gracie has 30 days to appeal his suspension and seek a disciplinary hearing if he so chooses.
When asked yesterday if the official fight result would be changed to "no decision" if any fighter wins a fight in California and then tests positive for steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, the California State Athletic Commission's Bill Douglas told MMAWeekly, "Currently, our rules do not support overturning a decision based off the drug test results. However, Armando [Garcia] and I are meeting with the AG [Attorney General] next month to begin the process of modifying the existing laws to incorporate those rules for the future. Should everything move along like I anticipate, I would expect to see the changes in place by the end of the year."
If K-1/FEG or any other MMA company with a license to promote shows in California were to allow Gracie to fight anywhere in the world during his CSAC drug suspension, that company could face revocation of their license to promote shows in California.
The same is true for any MMA promotion that uses Hong-Man Choi or Antonio Silva, both of whom were denied licenses to fight in California on medical grounds, due to tumors near their pituitary glands (which are located in the brain).
The CSAC's Bill Douglas tells MMAWeekly that if a company places a "denied" athlete such as Choi or Silva in a fight, "We have a problem. If the promoter is licensed with California and they knowingly placed a 'denied' athlete in a fight, then the promoter is looking at having their promoter's license suspended, they are looking at a fine, or they could possibly have their promoter's license revoked."
K-1 has announced that Choi will be fighting on a K-1 event in Hong Kong on July 29th, which could jeopardize K-1's ability to hold any additional shows in California in the future.
Previously, as reported by MMAWeekly's Ken Pishna, the California State Athletic Commission released information verifying that former NFL star Johnnie Morton's pre-fight drug test had come back positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
Morton's punishment has not yet been handed down, but he may face revocation of his license to fight in California. Because he refused to take his post-fight drug test, Morton's $100,000 fight purse has been temporarily withheld until disciplinary action is determined.
Prior to Gracie and Morton's positive test results, heavyweight fighter Tim Persey, who fought on the EliteXC portion of the event televised on Showtime, tested positive for methamphetamine. He was subsequently fined $1,000, equal to five percent of his $20,000 fight purse, and suspended for six months.
The following fighters tested negative for all banned substances at K-1 Dynamite: Brock Lesnar, Min Soo Kim, Kazushi Sakuraba, Bernard Ackah, Jake Shields, Ido Pariente, Jonathan Wiezorek, Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante, Nam Phan, Katsuhiko Nagata, Isaiah Hill, Hideo Tokoro, Brad Pickett, Siala "Mighty Mo" Siliga, Ruben "Warpath" Villarreal, Dong Sik Yoon, and Melvin Manhoef.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Tim Persey Tests Positive for Methamphetamine
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Tim "Big Perm" Persey, who fought on the Showtime/EliteXC portion of last weekend's K-1 Dynamite USA event, has tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the Los Angeles Times and the California State Athletic Commission.
Persey has been suspended for six months by the California State Athletic Commission, although he will have a chance to appeal his suspension and request a disciplinary hearing if he wishes to do so. Persey has also been fined $1,000 for his positive drug test. His salary for the fight was $20,000, so the fine of $1,000 represents five percent of his salary.
Persey is a heavyweight fighter who had an MMA record of 8-1 coming into his fight against Jonathan Wiezorek in the first Showtime-televised fight of the K-1 Dynamite USA event on June 2nd in Los Angeles, California. Wiezorek defeated Persey by TKO when the referee stopped the fight in the second round due to a series of strikes on the ground that Persey was unable to defend.
Persey was added to the K-1 Dynamite USA card when Wiezorek's original opponent, Antonio Silva, had to pull out of the fight.
Silva's withdrawal from the fight was a result of medical issues that were never officially announced, but the L.A. Times reported, "A source familiar with the medical results of [Hong-Man] Choi and [Antonio] Silva said each was found to have pituitary gland tumors."
Such tumors are frequently a sign of a disease called Acromegaly, which can result in serious illness or death if the tumors are not surgically removed.
When Silva had to withdraw from the card, Persey agreed to replace Silva and fight Wiezorek on short notice. Persey's previous fight in EliteXC took place on the company's February debut event, at which he knocked out Bo Cantrell in an non-televised preliminary bout. Barring an appeal, Persey's disciplinary suspension expires in early December.
Persey's positive test for methamphetamine is the second drug testing issue to arise from last weekend's K-1 Dynamite event. Previously, former NFL player Johnnie Morton refused to take his post-fight drug test and was indefinitely suspended by the California State Athletic Commission as a result.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter Ratings Slip in Week Nine
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The ninth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.2 on Thursday, May 31st. The previous week's episode, which was promoted around the street fight between show contestants Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas, drew a slightly higher 1.3 overall rating.
Spike TV's primetime average last week was a 1.1 overall rating, which is just 0.1 lower than TUF 5's average-to-date.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Episode Nine drew a 1.5 rating, down from the previous week's 1.7 rating. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, Episode Nine drew a 1.4 rating, down from the previous week's 1.6 rating.
The portion of Episode Nine that featured the tournament quarter-final match between Gray Maynard and Brandon Melendez, which Maynard won by submission, drew a 1.3 overall rating. This is an increase from Maynard's previous fight (a TKO victory over Wayne Weems) and Melendez' previous fight (a decision win over Andy Wang), as both of those fights drew 1.1 ratings.
Overall Ratings Close to Season 4; Key Demographic Ratings Significantly Lower than Season 4
At this point, if TUF 5 continues to draw overall ratings in the range of 1.2 every week, it will likely be tied with TUF 4 as the least-watched season of TUF to date, although it's going to be close. However, in the key demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, the gap is much wider and TUF 5 is by far the least-watched season of TUF to date in that demographic.
In terms of overall ratings, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.2 rating through its first nine episodes. At the same point in previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 1.6 overall rating, the second season was averaging a 1.4 overall rating, the third season was averaging a 1.7 overall rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 1.3 overall rating.
In the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.6 rating through nine episodes. At the same point in previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 2.1 rating, the second season was averaging a 2.5 rating, the third season was averaging a 3.0 rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 2.2 rating.
UFC Still Drawing Higher Ratings than Other MMA Promotions
Even as the least-watched season of The Ultimate Fighter, the ratings for TUF 5 are still higher than the ratings for the IFL and WEC.
While Episode Nine of TUF 5 drew an average audience of 1.6 million viewers on Spike TV, the IFL's Battleground series is averaging 998,000 viewers per episode on MyNetworkTV, and the WEC's live debut on Versus averaged 416,000 viewers.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
Airing head-to-head with Episode Nine of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on May 31st at 10:00 PM, a repeat of the drama series "Shark" on CBS drew a 6.5 overall rating. Over on ABC, the final few minutes of the National Spelling Bee and a repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" combined to average a 3.8 overall rating in the hour. The ratings for new episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" are typically much higher than the ratings for new episodes of "Shark," but that is not the case when both series are in reruns for the summer.
Airing on NBC in the 10:00 PM hour was a new episode of the cancelled series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and the show's 2.9 overall rating may have reminded NBC why they decided to cancel the show in the first place.
Airing in the 9:00 PM hour on Spike TV prior to The Ultimate Fighter, the pro wrestling show "TNA Impact" drew an overall rating of 0.9.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- WEC's Debut on Versus Network Draws 0.4 Rating
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
The debut broadcast of World Extreme Cagefighting on Versus Network drew an overall rating of 0.4 on Sunday, June 3rd. The event was the WEC's fourth since being purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa last December, and it was the first time that the WEC or any other MMA promotion has aired on Versus.
Airing from 9:00 PM to 10:54 PM, WEC 28 averaged 416,000 total viewers. The broadcast's 0.4 overall rating was matched by its 0.4 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the show drew a rating of 0.7.
Formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network, Versus is available in approximately 70 million U.S. households. Spike TV and most other cable networks are available in slightly more than 90 million U.S. households. Broadcast TV networks such as CBS and NBC are available in approximately 111 million U.S. households.
WEC's Ratings Already Approach NHL's Ratings
While the WEC's ratings pale in comparison to the average ratings for the UFC, the same could be said for any show on Versus. The network's highest-profile property, the National Hockey League, has drawn lackluster ratings not only for the regular season, but also for the playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals.
In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, WEC 28 actually out-drew the two games of this year's Stanley Cup Finals that aired on Versus. Both of the Stanley Cup Finals games drew 0.6 ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, while WEC 28 drew a 0.7 in that demographic.
The first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals on Versus drew overall ratings of 0.8 for Game 1 and 0.7 for Game 2, as compared with 0.4 for WEC 28. In terms of overall viewership, the difference between the WEC and the NHL is not as big as the overall ratings might suggest, as there were more viewers per household for the WEC. Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Versus averaged 769,000 viewers; Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Versus averaged 576,000 viewers; and WEC 28 on Versus averaged 416,000 viewers.
When coverage of this year's Stanley Cup Finals moved over to NBC starting with Game 3, the result was the lowest overall rating for any primetime broadcast in NBC's history. The game drew a 1.1 network rating on NBC, which is slightly lower than the low point of Vince McMahon's ill-fated XFL in early 2001.
WEC vs. EliteXC vs. IFL vs. UFC vs. NBA
The average audience of 416,000 people for WEC 28 on Versus is slightly higher than the average audience of 365,000 viewers who tuned in for the premiere of EliteXC on Showtime back in February. The ratings for EliteXC were considered excellent for Showtime, given the fact that the premium cable network is available in just 15 million U.S. households, whereas Versus is available in 70 million households.
The average audience for IFL Battleground in its first ten original episodes on MyNetworkTV was 998,000 viewers, which compares favorably with the NHL's average for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals (673,000 viewers) and the WEC's live debut on Versus (416,000 viewers). As a broadcast TV network, albeit a struggling broadcast TV network, MyNetworkTV is available in approximately 105 million U.S. households.
Of course, other live sporting events held by such organizations as the UFC and NBA are in a different league when it comes to overall viewership levels.
The most recent live UFC broadcast on cable television was UFC 70, which drew a 1.8 overall rating and 2.8 million viewers on April 21st.
The most recent live NBC broadcast on cable television for which final ratings are available was Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which drew a 4.8 overall rating and 5.6 million viewers on May 31st.
WEC WrekCage and Tapout Also Premiere on Versus
Leading into the live WEC broadcast on Versus was the premiere of WEC WrekCage, featuring WEC fight footage and a UFC Unleashed-like format. The first episode of WEC WrekCage drew an average audience of 189,000 viewers and an overall rating of 0.2. The two most recent airings of UFC Unleashed on Spike TV drew overall ratings of 0.4 on May 8th and 0.7 on May 15th.
The series premiere of the reality show Tapout, featuring the people behind the well-known MMA clothing line, aired immediately following WEC 28. Tapout drew an average audience of 286,000 viewers and an overall rating of 0.3. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, Tapout drew a rating of 0.5, which is just short of the 0.6 rating that the first two games of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals averaged on Versus.
Head-to-Head Network TV Competition
Airing head-to-head with the first hour of WEC 28 on June 3rd from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM, a repeat of "Cold Case" on CBS drew a 6.3 overall rating. The final hour of the movie "Bad Boys II" drew a 3.3 overall rating on Fox. A repeat of "Desperate Housewives" on ABC lagged far behind the top spot with a 2.7 overall rating, as "DesperateHousewives" typically draws much lower ratings for its repeats than most shows. Coming in a distant last place on the Big Four networks was a repeat of the NBC drama series "Friday Night Lights," which drew a 1.5 overall rating.
Airing head-to-head with the second hour of WEC 28 on June 3rd from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a repeat of "Without a Trace" drew a 6.0 overall rating. Fox doesn't air national programming in the 10:00 PM hour, and NBC moved ahead of ABC for second place among the Big Four networks. A repeat of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" drew a 2.7 overall rating on NBC, while a repeat of "Brothers & Sisters" drew a 2.3 overall rating on ABC.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Fighter Salary Breakdown for WEC 28
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
MMAWeekly has obtained the fighter salary information for WEC 28, which took place on June 3rd, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event was the WEC's fourth since being purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa, and it was also the WEC's live debut on cable television channel Versus.
The following figures are based on the fighter salary information that Zuffa and the WEC are required by law to submit to the state athletic commissions, including the winners' bonuses.
Although MMA fighters do not have collective bargaining or a union, the fighters' salaries are still public record, just as with every other major sport in the United States. Any undisclosed bonuses that Zuffa and the WEC also pay its fighters, but do not disclose to the athletic commissions (specifically, pay-per-view bonuses for the top pay-per-view main event fighters, which would not apply since this event was not on pay-per-view), are not included in the figures below.
In the listings below, "Title Match & Main Event Fighters" are defined as fighters who compete in the main event of a show and/or compete in a title fight on a show. "Preliminary Match Fights" are fights that are taped before a television or pay-per-view show goes on the air, regardless of whether or not those fights aired on the telecast or pay-per-view broadcast.
Title Match & Main Event Fighters
-Urijah Faber: $20,000 (defeated Chance Farrar)
-Chance Farrar: $4,000 (lost to Urijah Faber)
Main Card Fighters
-Alex Karalexis: $10,000 (defeated Josh Smith)
-Rani Yahya: $10,000 (defeated Mark Hominick)
-Brian Stann: $8,000 (defeated Craig Zellner)
-Mark Hominick: $6,000 (lost to Rani Yahya)
-Craig Zellner: $2,000 (lost to Brian Stann)
-Josh Smith: $1,000 (lost to Alex Karalexis)
Preliminary Match Fighters
-John Alessio: $18,000 (defeated Alex Serdyukov)
-Brock Larson: $16,000 (defeated Kevin Knabjian)
-Cub Swanson: $8,000 (defeated Micah Miller)
-Alex Serdyukov: $6,000 (lost to John Alessio)
-Jeff Bedard: $6,000 (defeated Mike French)
-Charlie Valencia: $6,000 (lost to Brian Bowles)
-Brian Bowles: $4,000 (defeated Charlie Valencia)
-Micah Miller: $4,000 (lost to Cub Swanson)
-Mike French: $3,000 (lost to Jeff Bedard)
-Kevin Knabjian: $2,000 (lost to Brock Larson)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $134,000
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL Battleground Averages 0.7 Rating Through First 10 Episodes
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
With ten episodes of IFL Battleground having aired on the struggling broadcast television network MyNetworkTV, Battleground has also struggled to increase the audience that tuned in for its premiere, which drew an overall rating of 0.8.
Battleground has averaged an overall rating of 0.7 through its first ten episodes. This is actually equal to MyNetworkTV's primetime average from the network's inception in September 2006 through February 2007, which was the month before the IFL debuted on the network.
In the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, the first ten episodes of IFL Battleground have averaged a 0.7 rating, which is more than three times MyNetworkTV's previous primetime average of 0.2 in this demographic.
To that extent, IFL Battleground can be considered a ratings success. One of the primary reasons that MyNetworkTV picked up the show in the first place was to increase the network's anemic ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, and Battleground has done exactly that.
By just about any other measure, the show cannot be called a ratings success. An overall rating of 0.7 is not sustainable indefinitely – the ratings are going to have to increase eventually. Due to the boost that the show provides MyNetworkTV in the key demographic, the IFL will be given plenty of time by MyNetworkTV to demonstrate overall viewership growth.
IFL's Ratings Have Declined in Recent Weeks
The problem for the IFL in the past several weeks has been that the ratings have been moving in the opposite direction. Instead of gradually increasing over the course of the first couple months, as was the case with the ratings for The Ultimate Fighter when the UFC made its national TV debut on Spike TV, the ratings for IFL Battleground have been gradually decreasing.
The first three episodes of Battleground drew overall ratings of 0.8, 0.7, and 0.8. Episodes Four, Five, and Six each drew overall ratings of 0.7. Episodes Seven and Eight both drew overall ratings of 0.6.
On May 15th, the series bottomed out with a series-low rating of 0.5 for Episode Nine, which featured a combination of the "IFL Ring Card Girl Search" and a countdown of the IFL's greatest knockouts. Episode Ten on May 22nd rebounded slightly to an overall rating of 0.6.
Based on the overall ratings that MyNetworkTV was averaging in primetime before the IFL debuted on its airwaves, Battleground would need to draw ratings of 0.8 to increase the network's overall average, and it would need to draw ratings of 0.7 in order to at least not decrease the network's overall average. As it stands now, Battleground hasn't drawn an overall rating of 0.7 since April 23rd, and it hasn't drawn an overall rating of 0.8 since March 26th.
Even when IFL Battleground debuted on MyNetworkTV and drew much stronger ratings than the network previously drew on Monday nights, an article in Television Week noted that MyNetworkTV officials expected the IFL's ratings "to improve as more young men find the channel."
Through ten episodes, the IFL has averaged 998,000 viewers for each Monday night premiere episode of Battleground. In its first ten episodes on Spike TV, The Ultimate Fighter averaged 1,916,000 viewers for each of its Monday night premiere episodes. Like Battleground, the first season of TUF went head-to-head with a very competitive network sweeps period (February 2005 in the case of TUF; May 2007 in the case of Battleground).
MyNetworkTV's Continued Existence Provides Good News for IFL
There is some good news for the IFL in the face of its stagnant ratings. It was announced earlier this month that ill-fated Fox reality show "Paradise Hotel" is being revived and will start airing on MyNetworkTV in early 2008. Why is this good news for the IFL? Because it means that as plans stand right now, MyNetworkTV is still going to exist in early 2008, which had been a lingering question mark. The network has also ordered several other new shows, including a revival of the cancelled NBC reality series "Meet My Folks," a new Dr. Phil-backed reality show called "Divorce Wars," and several celebrity-themed specials produced by "Access Hollywood."
Throughout much of the 2006-2007 television season, which officially concluded last Wednesday night, it was widely believed within the television industry that MyNetworkTV might cease to exist before the 2007-2008 television season begins in September. The ratings were (and still are) low enough that many financially strapped local MyNetworkTV affiliates could conceivably draw better ratings with syndicated programming than they could draw with the national programming provided to them by MyNetworkTV.
In February, the network abandoned its disastrous initial strategy of having an all-telenovela format (airing original soap operas with new episodes every weeknight in primetime). In April, the network announced that it was discontinuing new episode production on all of its telenovelas and all other scripted programming, although it still plans to air previously-produced telenovelas on Wednesday nights for the next several months.
The network had been scheduled to bring back the novelas on Tuesday nights starting in early June, but those plans were scrapped. A recent article in Media Week stated, "[MyNetworkTV president Greg] Meidel said the decision to not bring the novelas back on Tuesday nights was made because its Monday International Fight League telecasts was not a compatible audience for driving viewers to the more female-skewing novelas the next night."
Still, the fact that MyNetworkTV is ordering production on shows that won't start airing until early 2008 is an encouraging sign for the future of the network, at least to the extent that we can be fairly confident that it will still be in business in early 2008.
However, Battleground will likely have to show some growth in its overall viewership in order to warrant a significant increase in the programming rights fee that MyNetworkTV pays the IFL for the rights to air its programming. Currently, MyNetworkTV is paying $50,000 for each original episode and $20,000 for each replay airing.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Sims-Thomas Street Fight and Scheduled UFC "Rematch" Give the Sport Two Black Eyes
Editorial by Ivan Trembow
A lot has been said and written about the UFC's handling of the unsanctioned street fight between Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas on a recent episode of The Ultimate Fighter. The UFC absolutely did the right thing by kicking Sims and Thomas off the show. Two fighters in TUF history were kicked off the show and no longer welcome in the UFC for not making weight (Kenny Stevens and Gabe Ruediger), and doing anything less than that to Sims and Thomas for getting into a street fight would have accurately been seen as encouraging exactly that kind of behavior on future seasons.
This brings us to the fact that despite being kicked off the show and called a disgrace to the sport, Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas are being welcomed back into the UFC. Not only that, but they'll actually be fighting each other in a bout that is being promoted specifically as a rematch of the street fight. And not only will this fight take place on the season finale card on June 23rd in Las Vegas, but it will actually be given the "main card" treatment and air live on Spike TV.
It would be very difficult for the hypocrisy in all of this to be more overwhelming. First of all, there's the fact that the fighters are put in a house with no form of entertainment or contact with the outside world and then provided with as much beer and hard liquor as their hearts desire.
Quasi-outrage and shock notwithstanding, that basic combination is a formula that has been used to create drama, confrontations, and fist-fights on a wide variety of reality TV shows for many years. It's not rocket science.
If the UFC didn't want alcohol-induced wild antics or confrontations on the show, it would be very simple to eliminate the alcohol from the equation, as evidenced by Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. After Chris Leben's drunken episode on TUF 1, Zuffa's Lorenzo Fertitta said to remove the alcohol from the house and to tell the contestants to act like professional athletes.
One season later, the alcohol was put back in the house towards the end of Season 2, in part because of the belief that there wasn't enough in the way confrontation or wild antics, which means that it should not come as a surprise to anyone associated with the show when the abundance of alcohol contributes to exactly that kind of behavior.
Just as much of a disgrace to MMA as the actual Sims-Thomas street fight itself is the fact that Sims and Thomas are going to get another shot in the UFC, in a match against each other that is being promoted as a rematch of their street fight, and they are being rewarded with a main card slot on the season finale of TUF, while other TUF 5 contestants who didn't get into street fights are relegated to untelevised prelim status, with their finale undercard bouts seen by a fraction of the audience.
It doesn't excuse their actions in any way, but Sims and Thomas' judgment was impaired when they had their street fight because they were drunk.
Spike TV and the UFC cannot use the same excuse for their poor judgment in deciding to reward Sims and Thomas for getting into a street fight on the show.
Both Spike TV and the UFC share the blame for this because either party could have refused to go along with it.
If it was the UFC that was the primary force in wanting to have a Sims-Thomas "rematch" on the TUF 5 finale, Spike TV could have said, "No, we're not going to air that. Put it on PPV or on your web site if you want it to happen so badly."
If it was Spike TV that was the primary force behind it, the UFC could have said, "No, we're not going to have that fight on one of our events, and you can't force us to put any fight on any of our events."
Instead, both Spike TV and the UFC either endorse the decision or share in the complicity for it by allowing it to happen.
Barely a week after the UFC received the most mainstream media attention and coverage in its history, the message that is sent by the Sims-Thomas decision could not be more disturbing: "If you gain enough notoriety from getting in a street fight, you will be rewarded for it."
Sadly, this can't be considered a one-time lapse in judgment, as this is the second time that this message has been sent to potential UFC fighters. The first time was in 2005 when Sean Gannon was given a UFC contract as a result of the notoriety he gained from a video of his unsanctioned street fight with Kimbo Slice.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- Ultimate Fighter 5 Ratings Increase in Week 8
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly
Episode Eight of The Ultimate Fighter 5 drew an overall rating of 1.3 on Thursday, May 24th, an increase from the previous episode's 1.1 overall rating.
The entire week of marketing leading up to Episode Eight was focused on the unsanctioned street fight that took place at the fighters' house between intoxicated, previously eliminated fighters Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas. The part of the show that contained the Sims-Thomas street fight drew a 1.2 rating. The part of the show that featured the MMA fight between Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller drew a slightly higher 1.4 rating, which is tied for the second-most-watched fight thus far in Season Five.
The increase in the overall rating from the previous week can be partially attributed to the commercials promising a brawl at the house, and also to the fact that the UFC had just come off its biggest week of mainstream exposure and awareness in the history of the company.
In the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males, Episode Eight drew the same 1.7 rating that Episode Seven drew one week earlier. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, the rating increased from 1.4 to 1.6.
Season-to-Date Averages Through Eight Weeks
Through eight episodes, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.2 overall rating. Eight episodes into previous seasons of TUF, the first season was averaging a 1.6 overall rating, the second season was averaging a 1.5 overall rating, the third season was averaging a 1.7 overall rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 1.3 overall rating.
In the key 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, TUF 5 is averaging a 1.7 rating through eight episodes. Eight episodes into previous TUF seasons, the first season was averaging a 2.1 rating, the second season was averaging a 2.6 rating, the third season was averaging a 2.9 rating, and the fourth season was averaging a 2.2 rating.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
The head-to-head network TV competition that The Ultimate Fighter faced on Thursday, May 24th was significantly weaker than the competition that TUF 5 has faced in all of its previous episodes. May 24th was the first night of the summer 2007 season, so TUF 4 only had to contend with repeats and failed NBC dramas instead of heavily promoted season finales.
Airing head-to-head with TUF from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, a repeat of "Shark" on CBS drew a 7.5 overall rating, and a repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC drew a 3.9 overall rating. One week earlier, the show's season finale had drawn a 14.0 overall rating, but "Grey's Anatomy" always performs much worse in repeats. Also airing at 10:00 PM on May 24th, the cancelled NBC drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" began its summer burn-off and drew a 2.8 overall rating, which is embarrassing for NBC even by the summer's lower ratings standards.
The Ultimate Fighter 5's lead-in on May 24th was a new episode of the pro wrestling show "TNA Impact," which drew a 1.0 overall rating for the fifth consecutive week. Leading out of TUF at 11:00 PM was a replay of the UFC 71 Countdown special, which drew an overall rating of 0.9.
On Monday, May 21st, the premiere of the UFC 71 Countdown special drew an overall rating of 0.7, and the premiere of UFC All Access: Quinton Jackson drew an overall rating of 0.5.