The fights were good. The ratings not so much.
According to TV by the Numbers, UFC on FOX 3 only drew 2.25 million viewers and a 1.0 share in the Adults 18-49 demo in the overnight ratings. These numbers may be adjusted up when the final numbers come in, but they’re still a significant drop from the overnights of previous UFC on FOX shows. Via MMA Supremacy:
- UFC on FOX 1 – 3.0 A18-49, 5.7M viewers
- UFC on FOX 2 – 2.4 A18-49, 4.66M viewers
- UFC on FOX 3 – 1.0 A18-49, 2.25M viewers
The good news is UFC on FOX 3 won the timeslot in the A18-49 demo, however as ratings guru Dave Meltzer explains, that’s not really too impressive considering it was only up against reruns, not original programming.
But no matter how you slice it, the number was very bad. That number would work out to a rating in the 1.2 or 1.3 range, horrible for first-run network programming. With the West Coast, the number could rise. The first show rose about 19% but the second show didn’t rise at all from the original number, so we’re looking at a final number probably between a 1.2 and 1.6.
While it was the highest rated show on the networks in the 18-49 demo, the competition was rerun programming and it was the least watched show in its time slot of all the networks. It appears to have done worse then previous Strikeforce and Elite XC weak shows on CBS and along the lines of what WWE shows do for their two NBC appearances that are now considered throw aways in the same time slot.
The takeaway here is pretty clear. If you want big ratings on network television, you need big fights with big names. While Dana White may be right when he says you can’t judge a fight card until it happens, that argument ultimately doesn’t mean much if you can’t get people’s attention in the first place.