The early trending data for UFC 111 is in and suggests that in the region 850,000 people bought the event on Pay-Per-View. If this proves to be the case then it will be seen as a major result for the UFC, and bodes well for the other strong cards they have lined up in the coming months.
The news comes from the Wrestling Observer who as always are keen to stress that these are estimates coming based on data from a limited number of providers so the final buy-rate may differ.
Anywhere close to this ballpark will be a cause for celebration for the UFC however after injuries and illness played havock with many of their events since the major success of UFC 100 last summer. The evidence of that was clear to see in the early months of the year with UFC 108 through to UFC 110 struggling to reach above the 300,000 buy mark.
UFC 111 was seen as a turning point though. The card featured the return of Georges St.Pierre after injury, and his status as one of the sports superstars will undoubtedly have had a positive effect on the figures. Frank Mir Vs Shane Carwin was also a fight that will have been considered a must-see by fans, with Mir in particular having captured fans interest in recent times.
UFC 111 was also bolstered by the ‘UFC Primetime’ series following GSP and Dan Hardy in the lead-up to their title fight, which was seen by over 2 million viewers over the course of the three episodes. ‘Primetime’ was first used in the lead-up to UFC 101 featuring BJ Penn and GSP and that event also posted major ratings for the company in the region of 900,000 buys.
So with these factors in mind there had been an air of optimism about this event’s chances of success, but still many analysts had been predicting in the region of 650,000-700,000 region.
The next challenge for the UFC is to keep this momentum going with their upcoming events. Luckily they are well placed to do so with UFC 112 through to UFC 115 all featuring star-studded line-ups.
Not all will do as well as UFC 111 appears to have done – UFC 112 for instance is another strong card with Anderson Silva and BJ Penn defending their titles, but the fact that the event is being held in Abu-Dhabi may effect PPV sales.
One event that is expected to eclipse UFC 111’s numbers however is UFC 115 which is set to feature the return of Brock Lesnar against Shane Carwin. The hype surrounding that particular fight should be enormous and the hope will be that it can break through the 1 million sales barrier and push up towards the record 1.6 million who paid to see the historic UFC 100 event last year.