Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather wasn't the only one to come out on top of his fight against Conor McGregor in Las Vegas over the weekend. Sports Illustrated received record traffic with its coverage of the Saturday night event.
Last Saturday and Sunday were the two biggest traffic days in 2017 for SI.com. Previously, that record was held on July 11, 2014, the day NBA player LeBron James announced in an essay on SI.com that he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Traffic to the Sports Illustrated site reached nearly 7 million unique visitors over the weekend, with SI.com’s live blog — which covered the fight in real-time — drawing in over 2.8 million unique visitors.
SI.com had 1.3 million unique visitors to the site from midnight to 1 a.m. EST on Sunday alone (the time of the fight), reaching close to the traffic from all of Super Bowl Sunday this year (1.7 million unique visitors).
Over the weekend, videos on SI.com reached 3.6 million onsite video views, with 1.9 million views on the site on Sunday alone, the biggest day since the SI Swimsuit launch in February.
In a memo to his team, SI digital editor Mark McClusky attributed the site’s traffic success, in part, to the integration of digital audience development manager Jenn Quinn into the editorial team to “help identify targets.”
“Over 4.8 [million] of our visits were driven by search, not just to the live blog, but to our utility posts done by the Wire team leading up to the fight. About how to watch the fight, what time it would actually start, and more,” McClusky wrote.
Sports Illustrated wasn’t the only site to hit record traffic, thanks to the Mayweather-McGregor fight. USA Today Sports Media Group’s mixed martial arts-focused site MMAjunkie had record traffic for 2017 on Sunday, with the site reaching 3.2 million page views, according to Omniture data.
Omniture also showed 32.7% of that traffic was direct and almost as high as the traffic coming from search.
MMAjunkie launched in 2006 and includes MMAjunkie Radio, which airs daily on SiriusXM.