Where have we seen this image before?
Where have we seen this image before?

The 11-11:30PM numbers from the actual Fedor-Rogers fight aren’t out yet (which should improve the numbers below), but the overnight ratings for the 9PM-11PM scheduled broadcast slot are. Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Rogers” averaged 3.79 million viewers during that time period and a 1.7/5 ratings share in the adults 18-49 demo. Where the event shined was with males 18-34 and males 18-49 drawing ratings shares of 2.2/8 and 2.3/7, respectively. It beat out college football in both demos.

TV by the Numbers has the ratings notes from CBS.

Fast NTI’s for Saturday, November 7th:

CBS’s SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS aired 9:00-11:24PM. Fast NTI ratings are only available 9:00-11:00PM so CBS’s ratings will change when released Tuesday morning.

ABC (split national college football) had live event programming Saturday night. CBS and ABC ratings and all time period rankings are tentative and subject to change.

CBS SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS (S) was first in adults 18-49 (1.7/05), adults 18-34 (1.7/06), men 25-54 (2.4/07), men 18-49 (2.3/07), men 18-34 (2.2/08), tied for first in adults 25-54 (1.7/05 with both NBC and ABC) and third in both households (2.3/04) and viewers (3.79m).

Compared to the 9:00-11:00PM season-to-date averages (CRIMETIME SATURDAY and 48 HOURS MYSTERY), CBS SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS was up +31% in adults 18-49 (from 1.3/04), +113% in adults 18-34 (from 0.8/03), +100% in men 25-54 (from 1.2/03), +156% in men 18-49 (from 0.9/03), +267% in men 18-34 (from 0.6/02), even in adults 25-54, down -44% in households (from 4.1/08) and lost -2.33m viewers (from 6.12m, -38%).

CBS average from 9-11p vs. college football
M1834: 2.2 (#1 in the tp, 0.7 ahead of ABC’s prelim football number, the closest competitor.)
M1849: 2.3 (#1 in the tp, 0.3 ahead of ABC’s prelim football number.)
The M1834 rtg was #1 in the tp for all four half hours. At 9pm, the M1849 was a tenth behind ABC, but led the tp for the remaining half hours.

Without knowing CBS’ targets it’s difficult to say if they’ll consider this a success or not. They’re definitely not as big as the numbers Kimbo and Gina put up last year, but as Kelly Kahl told Fanhouse, the bar wasn’t very high to begin with and they’re pleased with the improvements in the younger male demographics over their typical Saturday night ratings. He says it’s too soon to say if it was enough to convince them to put on another event on their network though.

Somewhat disappointing numbers aside, I thought the show came off extremely well, much better than the EliteXC shows did last year. The fights were entertaining, with maybe the exception of Shields-Mayhem, and the production was good for the most part. It’s certainly something they can build off, but the question is, did Fedor do enough last night to captivate the casual audience who saw him fight for the first time? Since Rogers made him look human and Fedor didn’t decimate Rogers in the opening minutes of the fight, I wonder if Fedor fell short of the high expectations everyone sets when trying to introduce Fedor to a new audience. If CBS gives it another shot, it will definitely be interesting to see what kind of a draw he is in round two.

Image via CombatLifestyle.com

Update: Kelly Kahl gave MMA Weekly a few comments that could be interpreted as promising.

Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President of CBS Primetime, said the strong numbers in key demographics outweighed the decline in overall viewers.

“Typically, we tend to get an older audience on Saturday night,” he said. “We know MMA is probably not your cup of tea if you’re in an older demographic, so that’s hardly surprising.

“Demographics are the reason you put this sport on. You’re not putting this on to get a huge household number, you’re putting it on to try to tap into a younger audience, and it looks like we were successful doing that.”

The ratings for the complete broadcast will be released Tuesday.

“We’ll hope for the best and re-visit and see if we can’t come back around and get another one of these scheduled at some point,” said Kahl.

Cross your fingers.