Dana White stated at the weekend that UFC 148 could become the promotion’s biggest ever pay-per-view event thanks to the main event rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, but while it appears to have been a major success the early findings suggest it’s not a record breaker.
According to The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer early estimates from industry sources suggest that UFC 148 did in the region of one million PPV buys.
If accurate that’s an impressive number and makes it only the seventh UFC event ever to have breached the one million mark, and the first one to do so since October 2010’s Lesnar Vs Velasquez fight which did 1.05 million buys, but it’s still some way short of the record 1.6 million buys for UFC 100 back in the summer of 2009.
Personally I still see it as a great result for the UFC, especially considering the first encounter between the two at UFC 117 drew a buy rate of just 600,000.
When you factor in that UFC 148 also produced their biggest ever gate in the U.S of $7 million, plus estimates of 19 million viewers watching on 30-minute tape delay in Brazil, 1.8 million viewers tuning into the prelims on FX and records being broke in terms of web traffic to UFC.com during fight week then this did prove to be the huge event that they had been hoping for.
I do believe it could have performed better though. For instance – if the original line-up which included a bantamweight title fight between TUF: Live coaches Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz plus Rich Franklin Vs Cung Le had gone ahead I believe that would have increased the value for money on the PPV main card considerably.
I also feel the UFC dropped the ball somewhat by failing to produce a full three-part ‘UFC Primetime’ special airing on FX, instead relying on one hastily arranged episode that debuted on Fuel TV.
Finally, despite drawing a record 1.8 million viewers on FX for the prelims, the fights on that portion of the card actually proved to be uniformly lackluster and that may have hindered rather than helped entice viewers who may have been sitting on the fence to order up the PPV.
PS. Meltzer also reports that UFC 147 did in the region of 150-200,000 buys. This card suffered a number of setbacks – not least of which was the fact it was originally set to host Silva Vs Sonnen II – and so it’s no surprise at all that the numbers seen here were about as low they go by UFC standards.