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St-Pierre vs Condit: Predicting the PPV Buy Rate for UFC 154

NEW YORK - MARCH 24:  Georges St-Pierre of Montreal, Quebec, Canada speaks at a press conference for UFC 111 at Radio City Music Hall on March 24, 2010 in New York City.  St-Pierre will face Dan Hardy of Nottingham UK in the Welterweight title bout.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Craig AmosFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

You know how when there is a food you really like or a song you're really into, and the longer you go without it the more you want it?

That's the general feeling pulsing through MMA circles regarding the impending return of Georges St-Pierre.

St-Pierre has been sidelined by a knee injury for nearly 19 months—an injury that not only kept him out of work but also prevented his legions of supporters from watching him ply his trade. His injury also kept the UFC from cashing in on the ticket sales and the pay-per-view buys he's known to generate.

The good news is that trifecta  of deprivation all comes to an end at UFC 154, when St-Pierre reenters the Octagon to take on current interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit.

This is part where you get to eat that food or hear that song.

The nature of the bout—a title fight featuring the return of the sport's grandest star—combined with the UFC's persistent promotional efforts have turned UFC 154 into one of the sport's most highly anticipated events of the year.

But just how smoothly will anticipation turn into PPV buys?

Projecting accurate buy rate figures is never an easy task for UFC events, but there's little doubt that UFC 154 will reel in the largest viewership since Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen eclipsed the million mark this summer.

Will St-Pierre and Condit make it to seven digits? Probably not. But it could be close. 

St-Pierre is usually good for at least 700,000 PPV buys, and his extended layoff should only have increased the eagerness of fans so long deprived of his presence. 

 

And though Canada isn't the UFC's most fertile market in terms of populace, the buy rate north of the border will probably be assisted by the NHL lockout, which eliminates a major viewership competitor in the form of Hockey Night in Canada. The event's location in Montreal only adds to the appeal for Canadian fans.

Of course, St-Pierre's popularity is not confined to his native land. Buys from the USA and around the world are also expected to be pretty strong.

Once we throw in that Carlos Condit embodies one of St-Pierre's most intriguing opponents in quite awhile, there is little reason to suspect the event should do any less than 800,000.

My guess is that it does even better than that.

PPV Buy Rate Prediction: 870,000

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