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UFC 249 Draws More Than 700,000 Buys On ESPN+

“It says a lot about the starvation for live sports right now that people were willing to sign up for a $4.99 per month subscription to ESPN+ just to have the chance to pay $64.99 to watch UFC 249.”

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ESPN’s relationship with UFC is paying dividends in a time when the MMA promotion is one of the only games in town for sports fans. UFC 249 was staged in an empty arena over the weekend and streamed on ESPN+. According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, more than 700,000 people purchased the pay-per-view.

Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing looked at the audiences for past UFC pay-per-view events to put UFC 249’s success in perspective.

“A year ago, UFC 236 on ESPN+ reportedly couldn’t even crack a six figure buyrate. In January, UFC 246 was estimated to have drawn around a million buys by Disney’s Bob Iger (despite earlier reports stating it was around the “equivalent” of two million buys, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean). In 2018, the UFC’s final year on “traditional” pay per view, just two events drew even 400,000 buys – Conor McGregor’s loss to Khabib Nurmagamedov at UFC 229 (which drew a record 2.4 million buys) and Jon Jones’ second successful title defense against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 (700,000 buys). UFC 235 in March of last year, featuring Jones’ win over Anthony Smith, was the final PPV not available exclusively on ESPN+, and drew a reported 650,000 buys.”

It says a lot about the starvation for live sports right now that people were willing to sign up for a $4.99 per month subscription to ESPN+ just to have the chance to pay $64.99 to watch UFC 249.

The UFC isn’t done providing ESPN with content. This week, the promotion stays in Jacksonville, Florida where it will film events on both Wednesday and Saturday in front of no fans. The fights will be shown on ESPN and ESPN+.

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Women Downloading Sports Betting Apps Faster Than Men

“Mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year.”

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The sports betting space saw a surge of new participants come into the realm last year. The fastest growing population? Women.

According to data compiled by Global Wireless Solutions, a mobile insights consulting firm, new female participation in the online sports betting market is nearly doubling the pace of their male counterparts. In their findings, mobile sports betting apps saw a massive increase of over 4.6 million new female users in 2021. That represents a 115% increase, year-over-year. New male users were up too from 2020, coming in at a 63% increase in 2021.

These very large spikes start to make the $4.3 billion made in sports betting revenue in 2021 seem like just the beginning.

Some of the numbers can be explained by the sheer volume of new available legal bettors. In 2021, five states launched online sports betting (Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia and Wyoming).

This year stands to see even more of an increase with several more states implementing online sports betting (New York came online in January) and adding to their already legal retail offerings or at least deep into negotiations attempting such a feat as soon as possible.

Global Wireless Solutions also found the most effective sportsbook to bring new female users into the fold was by far and away FanDuel. That company signed up 1.7 million new female users while DraftKings attracted an estimated 900,000 new female customers. Men, according to GWS, still outpace women by 250% as a consumer base.

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Mike Francesa: Chris Russo Will Be On My Podcast

“When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

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WFAN legend Mike Francesa is settling into his new podcast opportunity with BetRivers, and has left the door open for a reunion with his longtime colleague and friend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Francesa was responding to questions on his show, with the newest episode out Monday, when he said he would be able to book Russo for an appearance down the road.

“Listen, I’ve gone on Dog’s shows a couple of times. I could definitely get Dog as a guest one time,” Francesa said.

The last time the two shared a stage and microphone was back in March at the BSM Summit. Francesa said he will make sure whenever Russo does come on, it will be at a time that makes the most sense.

“We will do that at an opportune time,” he said. “Maybe right before the football season or maybe late in the baseball season. When things rev up in the fall, I would definitely have Dog over as a guest and do a whole show with him. I would say you count on that.”

Whenever the reunion happens, best believe it will be a must-listen. It will mark the first time the two have been on a podcast together.

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Andy King To Lead Buchwald Agency’s Podcast Division

“The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.”

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Veteran sports programmer Andy King is entering the podcasting world. He has joined the Buchwald Agency. He will help clients develop and sell podcast ideas.

King comes from SiriusXM, where he had been since 2015. He was the director of sports programming and helped create podcasts for the company featuring high profile talent including Let’s Go with Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald and Digging Up the Past with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

Prior to joining SiriusXM, Andy King spent 15 years in Miami. Before leaving, he had risen to program director at 560 WQAM.

The Buchwald Agency largely deals with clients from the entertainment world. The hiring of King is expected to bolster Buchwald Sports, the division of the company that represents athletes, coaches, and broadcasters.

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