by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
The two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night 9 drew an overall rating of 1.2 on Thursday, April 5th, making it the lowest-rated installment to date of UFC Fight Night on Spike TV.
The telecast also drew the lowest ratings ever for a live UFC event on Spike TV in the advertiser-coveted demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males.
The event was not the lowest-rated live UFC fight card in the company’s history on Spike TV, as the November 11, 2006 live season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 4 drew a 1.1 overall rating.
UFC Fight Night 9 Ratings vs. UFC Fight Night 8 Ratings
The trend of declining UFC Fight Night ratings appeared to be turning around with the 1.7 overall rating that was drawn by UFC Fight Night 8 on January 25, 2007, but this may have just been an abberation, based on the much lower rating for UFC Fight Night 9.
Both UFN 8 and UFN 9 aired on Thursday nights from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, and both received similar levels of promotional build-up on Spike TV. However, UFN 9 drew significantly lower numbers than UFN 8 in terms of overall rating (1.7 to 1.2), the rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (2.3 to 1.6), and the rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic (2.0 to 1.5).
As far as how exactly this happened, the increases and decreases over the course of these two broadcasts indicate that both started out with a fairly low viewership level, as is almost always the case with live UFC broadcasts on Spike TV. The key difference is that UFN 8 was able to significantly increase its ratings over the course of the two-hour broadcast, while UFN 9 was not.
While both broadcasts opened up with a similar rating for the first 15 minutes (1.2 for UFC Fight Night 8, compared to 1.0 for UFC Fight Night 9), the ratings for UFN 8 increased drastically during the broadcast, peaking with a 2.1 rating for the Heath Herring vs. Jake O’Brien fight. On the other hand, nothing on UFN 9 was able to draw a rating higher than 1.4.
Increases and Decreases in Viewership During the UFN 9 Broadcast
The first fight on the UFC Fight Night 9 broadcast was Kenny Florian vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima, which drew a 1.1 overall rating, not atypical for the opening fight on a live UFC broadcast.
As with UFC Fight Night 8, the second fight on UFN 8 was a heavyweight fight that lasted the entire 15-minute time limit. However, while Heath Herring vs. Jake O’Brien drew a 2.1 rating in January, Justin McCully vs. Antoni Hardonk drew a 1.2 rating in April.
The next fight that aired on the UFN 9 broadcast was the preliminary fight between Kurt Pellegrino and Nate Mohr. Pellegrino vs. Mohr drew a 1.4 rating, and that’s where the rating would stay for the remainder of the broadcast. Joe Stevenson’s 27-second submission win over Melvin Guillard in the main event was too short for its rating to be determined, but the minutes before and after the actual fight drew a 1.4 rating, the same as the Pellegrino-Mohr fight.
UFC Fight Night 9’s Ratings vs. UFC’s Average Ratings
In total, there were 13 live UFC fight specials on Spike TV prior to UFC Fight Night 9, from the first one in April 2005 all the way through UFC Fight Night 8 in January 2007. The average ratings of those 13 broadcasts are significantly higher than the ratings that were drawn by UFN 9.
The UFC’s average overall rating for its first 13 live fight specials on Spike TV was 1.7, while UFN 9 drew a 1.2 overall rating. In the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, the UFC’s average-to-date was 2.3 heading into this event, and UFN 9 drew a 1.5 rating in this demographic. In the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, the UFC’s average-to-date was 2.9 heading into this event, and UFN 9 drew a 1.6 rating in this demographic.
The rating of 1.6 in the core demographic of 18-to-34-year-old males is a long way from the UFC’s prior average of 2.9, but it still out-drew the NBA game that aired head-to-head on TNT. In addition, the UFC’s smallest audience for a UFC Fight Night broadcast (1.6 million total viewers) is still larger than the IFL’s biggest audience for an IFL Battleground broadcast (1.1 million total viewers).
Head-to-Head Network Competition; Plus Other Spike TV Ratings from April 5th
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night 9 on Thursday, April 5th from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, a new episode of “Survivor: Fuji” on CBS drew an 8.0 overall rating. While it was enough to win the timeslot, the 8.0 rating is significantly lower than the ratings that Survivor was drawing just a couple of seasons ago. A new episode of the Fox trivia show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” came in second place with a 6.0 overall rating, while a repeat of “Ugly Betty” on ABC drew a 4.4 overall rating. NBC’s combination of “The Office” and “30 Rock” averaged a 4.1 overall rating in the hour.
Airing head-to-head with UFC Fight Night 9 in the 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM hour, “CSI” on CBS beat out “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC, primarily due to the fact that Grey’s Anatomy was a repeat. A new episode of “CSI” drew a 12.9 overall rating, making it the most-watched show on television that night, while a repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” drew a 5.8 overall rating. NBC’s combination of “30 Rock” and “Scrubs” averaged a 3.4 overall rating. Two off-night repeat airings of “Family Guy” on Fox averaged a 3.1 overall rating.
A new episode of UFC Unleashed served as UFC Fight Night’s lead-in on Spike TV, airing from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM and drawing an overall rating of 0.8.
Following the two-hour broadcast of UFC Fight Night was the one-hour broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter 5’s premiere, which drew a 1.4 rating. As detailed in a separate article that was published yesterday, this is tied with the TUF 1 premiere for the lowest-rated season premiere in the history of the series.
Leading out of the UFC programming block was a new episode of the pro wrestling show TNA Impact, whch aired from 11:00 PM to 12:00 AM and drew an overall rating of 0.9.