There’s been a lot of discussion lately about declining ratings for UFC programming on Spike TV. It appears that trend continued this past weekend with UFC 120.
This past weekend’s tape-delayed UFC 120 broadcast on Spike TV drew a 1.3 household rating and an average audience of 1.9 million viewers, officials today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) via email.
Michael Bisping outpointed fellow middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama in the main event, which accounted for the broadcast’s peak audience of nearly 2.5 million viewers.
The Oct. 16 broadcast scored a 1.8 rating among men 18-49 and a 2.24 among men 18-24. Quarter-hour audience totals ranged from 1.5 million to open the broadcast to the 2.5 million peak to close it out.
Now while those numbers are better than what the UFC typically does with live Fight Night shows and TUF finales, they were a significant drop from the two most recent numbered overseas events on Spike.
However, Spike TV’s most recent tape-delayed overseas broadcast, UFC 105 in November 2009, drew a solid 2.9 million viewers (and peaked with 3.7 million for the Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera headliner). Prior to that, UFC 95 drew 2.4 million viewers and peaked with 3.1 million for the Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson headliner.
If you’re thinking Spike would be better served to air the events live rather than tape-delayed — ESPN did spoil the results for fans watching college football Saturday afternoon after all — Spike VP David Schwarz says you’re wrong. They don’t get many complaints for not airing the fights live and claim the majority of fight fans are primed for Saturday night fights, not Saturday afternoon fights.
“We actually don’t get many viewer calls,” said David Schwarz, VP Communications at Spike. “I’ve never received any and I know it’s very minimal. … Our research says Saturday night is fight night — guys are home, they get together with their friends and it’s a natural time to watch the fight.”
Schwarz says that although UFC 120 ratings were lower than the last European card, UFC 105 in November 2009, Spike continues to be pleased with the ratings for its UFC cards in Europe, and that the network believes it will get more viewers in the evening than the afternoon.
“We air when most of the viewers are there, which is prime time,” Schwarz said.
Schwarz added that if he saw the results of a fight, such as Carlos Condit knocking out Dan Hardy, it would make him want to tune in and watch the show that much more. Needless to say, UFC 122 is still scheduled to broadcast on Spike via tape-delay.