Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Even with lackluster events such as UFC 160 and UFC 161, pay-per-view buyrates are trending upwards
The amount of UFC pay-per-view buys in 2013 is a difficult aspect to compare to the numbers from 2013, if only because the buyrate for UFC 160 and UFC 161 are still out.
But let's see what we can come up with.
The first four events of this year averaged 557,500 buys, thanks largely to the reported 900,000 reeled in by UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz.
The 14 pay-per-view events of 2012 averaged short of 420,000 per event (416,786 to be exact).
However, the last two events of the first six months of 2013 featured a very uneven heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva (if you saw the first fight, you likely weren't eager to see the rematch) and a lackluster light heavyweight contest between two struggling fighters.
Velasquez's last pay-per-view headliner drew 590,000 buys. This one almost certainly fell below the 500K mark, considering his opponent. The Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson headliner at UFC 161 was probably far more disappointing.
Look at it this way: The last two pay-per-views headlined by Evans in non-title fights drew an average of 305,000 buys.
Even if UFC 160 and UFC 161 drew 400,000 buys apiece, the average pay-per-view buy-rate of 2013 would drop to around the 500,000 mark (and UFC 161 probably didn't come remotely close to 400K).
Even with Velasquez headlining UFC 160, MMASupremacy.com reported in June that the buyrate is probably between 300,000 and 400,000.
Still, regardless of an expectedly low buy-rate for UFC 161, the numbers are up in 2013 from 2012.
As stated in the previous slide, the UFC execs appear to be doing their best to place title fights in the main event of every pay-per-view.
Once numbers come in for UFC 161, the first event of July, the buyrate average should recover from the final two events of the first half of this year.
But at least the increased average shows that fans are finding more pay-per-views worthy of their hard-earned cash. At least that's the indication.
All buyrate statistics courtesy of Wrestling Observer Newsletter and MMAPayout.com unless otherwise noted