by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
The second episode of IFL Battleground on MyNetworkTV drew an overall rating of 0.7 on Monday, March 19th. This is down slightly from Episode One’s overall rating of 0.8.
A ratings drop-off had been expected for the second episode, given the fact that the first episode was widely regarded as being so bad that it elicited an apology from IFL executives, due to its tasteless references such as, “Stay tuned because before the night is over, someone is leaving on a stretcher!”
While the overall rating dropped off from 0.8 to 0.7, the ratings were also down slightly in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic and the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic. In both of those demographics, the show’s first episode drew a 0.7 rating, and the second episode drew a 0.6 rating in the same demographics
Comparisons to MyNetworkTV’s Averages and Last Week’s UFC Ratings
Episode Two’s overall rating of 0.7 is horrible based on the usual network TV standards, but for the struggling MyNetworkTV, it’s an improvement over the network’s average overall rating of 0.5 on Monday nights during the February sweeps period.
In addition, IFL Battleground’s Week Two rating of 0.6 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic is still three times the network’s average (0.2) in the advertiser-coveted demographic.
Two new episodes of UFC Unleashed aired on Tuesday, March 13th on Spike TV from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The first new episode of UFC Unleashed drew an overall rating of 0.7, and the second new episode of UFC Unleashed drew an overall rating of 1.1. The two-hour block averaged an overall rating of 0.9, which tops IFL Battleground’s Week One average by 0.1 and its Week Two average by 0.2.
The Financial Aspects of the IFL’s Deal with MyNetworkTV
According to the IFL’s own financial documents, MyNetworkTV currently pays the IFL a rights fee of $50,000 for each new episode of IFL Battleground; plus $20,000 for each episode replay.
With 22 new episodes and 22 replays having been ordered for this season, that means MyNetworkTV is paying the IFL a total of $1,540,000 for the entire 22-episode season.
If MyNetworkTV is able to make that money back in commercial sales for IFL Battleground, it would be a win-win situation for the network.
If MyNetworkTV is not able to recoup the rights fees in commercial sales, it may or may not be considered worth it for the network to take a financial loss if the IFL can continue to boost MyNetworkTV’s ratings averages and increase the network’s profile in general.
To use an example on the complete opposite end of the financial spectrum, there is not a single network on television (CBS, NBC, Fox, or ESPN/ABC) that comes close to breaking even on the hundreds of millions of dollars that it costs for the rights to air NFL games, but it’s still considered well worth it for those networks to broadcast NFL games because they can heavily advertise their other shows to a large audience during NFL broadcasts.
In the case of the IFL and MyNetworkTV, the ratings are a lot smaller and the rights fees are a lot lower, but the same general principle applies.
Head-to-Head Network Competition
As is always the case, MyNetworkTV came in last place in the network TV ratings on March 19th. Airing head-to-head with IFL Battleground’s first hour from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, the first half of Dancing with the Stars’ season premiere on ABC drew a monster rating of 13.0. The first half of a two-hour episode of Deal or No Deal on NBC drew an 8.3 overall rating, holding up fairly well against Dancing with the Stars. Meanwhile, a new episode of Prison Break drew a 5.2 overall rating on Fox. New episodes of the CBS comedies How I Met Your Mother and The New Adventures of Old Christine drew overall ratings of 5.0 and 4.7, respectively.
Airing head-to-head with IFL Battleground’s second hour from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM, the viewership of both Dancing with the Stars and Deal or No Deal grew significantly as compared to their first hours. The second hour of Dancing with the Stars drew an overall rating of 14.4, while the second hour of Deal or No Deal drew a 9.2 overall rating. New episodes of the CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Rules of Engagement drew overall ratings of 7.6 and 6.0, respectively, while a new episode of 24 on Fox drew a 7.1 overall rating.