The UFC is Raising PPV Prices!

According to UFC.TV and multiple PPV providers such as DirecTV and Time Warner, the UFC will charge consumers an estimated $59.99 HD/$49.99 SD for all PPVs scheduled in 2015 so far, which include UFC 182: Jones vs Cormier, UFC 183: Silva vs Diaz and UFC 184: Weidman vs Belfort.

In the past, Dana White went on record saying their PPV prices wouldn’t go up.

Years ago UFC President Dana White went on record saying their PPV prices wouldn’t go up and would stay at their regular price of $54.95 HD & $44.95 SD . Of course we know this changed with UFC 168 in December 2013 when pricing raised to $59.95 HD/$49.95 SD.

Dana White went on the record once again stating the PPV price hike was “just for UFC 168″.

Dana said the hike was justified by placing some of UFC’s biggest stars in highly anticipated match-ups (Weidman, Silva, Rousey, Tate).  White told the media their PPV prices (post UFC 168) would go back to their regular price after a ONE-OFF price adjustment.

To kickoff the new year – more events at increased price point.

That brings us to 2015, which is just over a year after the UFC 168 PPV price hike took place. To kick-off 2015, the UFC has scheduled it’s first three events of the year (UFC 182, 183, & 184) with a raised PPV price of  $59.99 HD/$49.99 SD and for Verizon customers $64.95 HD/$54.95 SD. So, what could have contributed to the price increase this time? This all seems a little counter-intuitive when we see how the UFC’s numbers struggled in 2014 on the PPV front.

Last year’s PPV we so low as compared to 2013 that Standard & Poors have issues a warning that their credit rating would be lowered if things didn’t turn around by the end of their first Quarter in 2015. Perhaps we now know why we’ve seen a mightily stacked Jan/Feb fight cards.

After UFC 168, the UFC knows an increase in price is a deterrent for a stacked card.

As for UFC raising PPV prices – when referencing UFC 168 – which did an estimated 1.025M PPV buys at the increased price, the UFC knows the hike isn’t much of a deterrent. A UFC Fan will pay the extra price for a major event with their highest profile fighters on the card. In 2015, it looks like they are taking this thinking (or gamble?) up a notch by scheduling the first three events of the year with the price increase.

The UFC is doing something they said they’d never do – apply variable pricing to their events. In fact the UFC has criticized this pricing structure in the past.

For years, fans have demanded variable PPV pricing as a justification for not purchasing a fight card that wasn’t as “stacked” as others yet cost the same. The UFC was always on record as saying; for the most part, fans are buying PPV’s regardless of who is fighting on the card – they are buying the UFC Experience.

The UFC never wanted to admit in the past that some cards have less worth than others.

This is a perception that has been shattered these last few years.  Sadly, if the UFC wants to keep this perception – that all PPV events are of equal value, they may deem it necessary to raise the PPV price on all their events. Not a logical move for a company who has struggled so much recently with their PPV business model. More increases on a product that many fans feel is over-saturated and watered-downed may prove very risky indeed.