UFC 257 Reaches 1.6 Million PPV Buys Despite ESPN+ Outage
FC 257, which was headlined by a rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, recorded a total of 1.6 million pay-per-view (PPV) buys, including 1.2 million on ESPN+ alone.
This figure puts the event behind only UFC 229, which recorded 2.4 million buys and was featured with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Conor McGregor, and UFC 202, which reached 1.65 million PPV buys and featured Conor McGregor defeating Nate Diaz.
The trend on social media further showed the reach and popularity of McGregor, who was mentioned 1.7 times more than his opponent Poirier, who ultimately won the bout, and generated 22.7 million online engagements during the event, according to figures from Nielsen.
Nielsen Sports managing director for UK, Spencer Nolan, said talk surrounding a potential rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor recorded 12,000 discussions on social media in just three days.
“Conor McGregor has once again shown that his popularity on social media continues to remain at unprecedented levels, despite spending a year out of action,” Nolan said.
“Online conversation centred on the fact that McGregor lost, and not that Poirier won.
“This tells us that win or lose, he remains a pivotal character that has transcended an entire sport.
“Analysing the conversation across social media during fight week in more detail, it’s clear there is a demand from fans to see a rematch between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.
“Driven by Khabib’s presence in the UFC’s own channel content during fight week, we can see that conversation was ride regarding the promotion’s two biggest assets meeting again.
“Here is another example of how rights holders can work effectively to leverage their athlete’s following and create key moment for key athletes around their sport as well as the opportunity to potentially amplify a brand’s messaging,” he said.
Despite the success in PVV buys, the ESPN+ app and website suffered an extended outage due to 1.3 million viewers attempting to access it at the same time and caused an uproar on social media.
Several UFC fighters, who were trying to watch the event from home expressed their frustrations on social media, with Lauren Murphy saying on Twitter: “ESPN+ suddenly telling me my country is not supported.”
“Does it stop working for everyone else when you try to purchase the PPV?” Murphy said.
UFC fighter Megan Anderson also said: “Is anyone else not being able to log in to ESPN despite already buying the UFC257 card which was freaking $70.”
ESPN released a statement on social media after being made aware of the issue, saying they were working to resolve it.
It has not been revealed just how many viewers were unable to access the event on ESPN+ after purchasing the PPV, and ESPN has not yet revealed whether it has issued refunds to viewers who had purchased the event but failed to access.
In the lead up to the event, UFC president, Dana White, said anyone who went to illegal streams of UFC 257 would be found by the help of law enforcement officials, going as far to identify one illegal stream provider in particular.
In the lead up to the event, White said if the specific stream provider launched a stream of UFC257, he/she would face immediate repercussions.
In the UFC257 post-fight press conference, White said the stream never launched and is the beginning of the UFC cracking down on illegal streamers.
“I told you guys that we found the guy and we were watching him,” White told MMA Junkie.
“He put out a statement that night.
“He said, ‘I will not be streaming the McGregor vs. Poirier anymore, but I will show you how to buy it legally.’
“He put out this huge statement and his whole streaming service has been deleted and is gone.
“One down and a (expletive) load to go.
“Every event, I’m going to go after one of these guys, or more.
“And who you are, guy that did this?
“We had you, pal.
“I don’t know if he knew something or what, but we had you.
“All you had to do was pop up that stream and you were in big trouble, so he did the right thing,” he said.