UFC’s Continued Success On PPV

UFC over the years has solidified itself as one of the top-tier mainstream sports in the United States. A promotion once banned from most of America in the late 1990s, the UFC has become massively successful in the PPV business. That very success continues currently, as the UFC brings in respectable PPV numbers as of 2022.

It’s also worth noting that the UFC has successfully taken advantage of COVID-19 as there was an overwhelming need for sports during that time. Furthermore, during UFC’s COVID-19 era of PPV events, buy-rates were arguably impressive.

One example of this phenomenon is the PPV numbers pulling in from some of their top premier fighters, such as Jorge Masvidal and Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. For instance, Masvidal’s latest bout against Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman received a reported 1.3 million buys on PPV, the most since 2018.

One can also look at the first PPV of the COVID-19 era, also known as the UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje, which received a high number of 700,000 buys. Keep in mind this event was only months after the declaration of COVID-19 as a worldwide pandemic.

However, with almost every major sporting company halting their events, UFC held an event where people were arguably searching for any sport to watch at the time. Even nowadays, as sporting events have resumed, the UFC continues to pull good PPV numbers as of late, like the UFC 269: Oliveira vs. Poirier, which received 500,000 buys, and UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington 2, which received 700,000.

With many PPV events to this day reaching 500,000 buys or more, this is astonishing considering there were statistics not too long ago indicating the UFC were suffering their lowest PPV buys in years. As UFC PPV events started exclusively airing on ESPN+ in 2019, it’s arguably more difficult for these events to reach casual viewers.

It shows that people, in general, will tune in to UFC PPV events even if low numbers are recurring. Just because the UFC PPV gets poor PPV numbers one year, that doesn’t mean interest in professional fighting has faded.

The common denominator is marketable and credible fighters showcased at these events. Hardcore and casual fans alike will tune in for specific events if credible, but also, charismatic fighters are present. There’s a reason why fighters like Conor McGregor continue to easily pull in at least a million buys in every fight.

UFC is an established top promotion in the world for Cagefighting. It means, as of this moment, a big chunk of their fans isn’t going anyway. Even if they’re not tuning in for a specific event, UFC is in a position where they can offer something appealing for them to tune in for another event.

It’s also worth noting UFC is in a position where they can grow their audience based on the criteria of a marketable fighter. Only time will tell where the UFC will be at, business-wise, for years to come.


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