McGregor-Cerrone Hits One Million Buys On ESPN+
As expected, wherever Conor McGregor is, the money always follows. His return to action at UFC 246 against Donald Cerrone received plenty of hype, with commercials, posters and more promoting the fight. With a streaming platform like ESPN+, however, it was unsure what type of numbers would be involved.
It was reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer that UFC 246, which saw McGregor stop Cerrone in 40 seconds for his first win since 2016, may have sold the “equivalent” to two million PPV buys. That was not the case, as it was confirmed the event generated about one million PPV buys. This is according to chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger.
Disney holds a majority stake in ESPN, which is the distribution partner of the UFC.
“We’ve been especially happy with a number of partnerships, particularly with the UFC and the recent McGregor-Cerrone fight brought in about 1 million pay-per-view purchases and 0.5 million new subscribers,” Iger stated (via The Motley Fool) during the company’s quarterly conference call on Tuesday.
While PPV numbers have significantly decreased since the move to ESPN+, there is still a strong profit. At the start of 2019, the UFC’s deal with ESPN+ kicked in until about 2025. Initially, the cost for PPV-esque events on ESPN+ were $59.99 per event, while new subscribers would get one year of ESPN+ and the event for $79.99. The price for McGregor v. Cerrone was raised to $64.99 to go along with the $4.99 per month to be an ESPN+ subscriber.
It is unknown if this will be the norm going forward with big events.
According to theScore, the events that sold the most PPV numbers prior to UFC 246 were UFC 239 (featuring Jon Jones v. Thiago Santos) and UFC 244 (featuring Nate Diaz v. Jorge Masvidal).
Overall, UFC 246 ended up drawing 19,040 people inside the T-Mobile Arena, with a gate of $11,089,129.30. The gate was the fourth-largest in UFC history, behind UFC 229, 205 (both featuring McGregor), as well as UFC 129.