Strikeforce Challengers 9: 197,000 Viewers

July 27, 2010

The Staff at MMAJunkie are reporting that Strikeforce Challengers 9 drew 197,000 viewers on Friday, July 23, but peaked at 254,000 for the night’s co-main event between Sarah Kaufman and Roxanne Modafferi.

Ratings for this past weekend’s Showtime-televised Strikeforce Challengers 9 event proved solid as the show averaged an audience of 197,000 viewers, an industry source today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.

The peak audience actually came for the night’s co-main event, a title fight between women’s welterweight champ Sarah Kaufman and challenger Roxanne Modafferi that spiked with 254,000 viewers.

Payout Perspective:

These Challengers shows have so much potential to help Strikeforce build its roster and hype its fighters. I’m still not sure what the hang-up is in terms of delivering the additional marketing and PR needed to create a buzz and tell the story of some of these fighters. If it weren’t for the slam by Kaufman, no one would be talking about this event.

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Perfect timing, isn’t it? Here I am saying yesterday that there probably isn’t enough interest in women’s MMA to make it commercially viable, but then Kaufman-Modafferi turns out to be the peak of the event.

Does this fight change anything? I’m not yet convinced it does. The peak for a women’s title fight was still only 254,000. If we look to women’s boxing as some sort of parallel (with a much longer track record), it never became the type of commercial entity that men’s boxing did.

If anything, the slam is further support for the idea that women lack much of the speed, strength, and damage threshold that make MMA so dynamic and exciting. The Kaufman slam pales in comparison to Rampage-Arona (or even Harris-Branch), which perfectly summarizes the difference between the two sports and why women’s MMA has such a tough row to hoe.

7 Responses to “Strikeforce Challengers 9: 197,000 Viewers”

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  2. Machiel Van on July 27th, 2010 8:35 AM

    C’mon, Kelsey, Kaufmann’s slam was every bit as devastating as Gerald Harris’s, she just didn’t have as much leverage, and has ANYONE slammed someone in as devastating fashion as Rampage did to Arona? There is a reason it is such a hyped and unique highlight…

    I agree with you about the ratings. It’s interesting that the ratings peaked during the Kaufmann fight, especially considering her last fight was such a snooze-fest. I think this may have been the result of Kaufmann’s choice words in the media during the week (she was none too happy about being a champion in a co-main event on a Challenger’s card), and people may have wanted to see if she would back up the talk. Modaferri helped out with a little trash talk as well, and was coming off of a big win over a legitimate opponent in Tara LaRosa. It’s all I can think of to explain the ratings, but it was a VERY slow news week for MMA, so maybe that was enough. I doubt it’s indicative of more overall interest in women’s MMA, and does more for Kaufmann than anything else. Good for her.

  3. Machiel Van on July 27th, 2010 8:44 AM

    The disparity of strength, speed, and the damage threshold between male and female MMA combatants is a great point and really illustrates the reason that male athletes dominate sports entertainment in the media. It’s just a fact, it doesn’t mean women can’t participate and excel in any sport they choose. Unfortunately, I think a big part of the reason that women’s MMA draws at all is that it is a spectacle. A woman who chooses to be a professional fighter is viewed as unusual, and therefore draws upon people’s curiosity. Hopefully this view will change as people are shown how hard female combatants work and how skilled they are in the cage/ring, but this is an uphill climb that probably has a relatively low ceiling on its potential to draw. The WNBA is a great example, with a sizable following that sustains the sport at a professional level and a slough of talented athletes, but the number of eyes it draws (and ticket buyers) will always pale in comparison to those attracted to the NBA because the players in the NBA are stronger, faster, and bigger, i.e. even more of a spectacle, just not as edgy.

  4. Machiel Van on July 27th, 2010 9:02 AM

    However, it’s more difficult to determine how women’s MMA really draws since it always airs in tandem with men’s MMA. This could be a good thing in the long run, as it will allow women’s MMA to be seen by as many eyes as possible.

  5. jv on July 27th, 2010 3:58 PM

    Sure most women don’t have the same strength as men. But the ladies fights tend to have a lot more action in them. Male fights almost always start with a long drawn out session of the guys circling. And the rise of the wrestlers in male MMA has lead to some real snoozers. You don’t get that with WMMA. They come out hard right off the bat and bring it for the full time allotted. I think that may be a throw back to the days of the 3 min fights. Maybe the men who have gotten boring need to be thrown into 3 min fights.

    In any case there have been many instances including in SF where the ladies have been the highlight of the show. For SF this is some thing where they can differentiate them selves from the UFC and I hope they embrace it. The W135 division is getting a lot deeper and the coming Kaufman v Coenen fight has barn burner written all over it. If SF can take the momentum from this fight and use it to promote that one they have a real winner on their hands.

    Thanks for looking up those numbers on the XFC for me Kelsey.

  6. ekc on July 28th, 2010 10:27 AM

    this is just horrible.

    maybe if sarah rammed her head into roxy like rampage, then you might give them some credit.

    also, put some blame on strikeforce for NOT making one promo and hype piece for this title fight… not even a prefight interview before weigh ins.

  7. Machiel Van on July 28th, 2010 10:36 AM

    ekc, Strikeforce fails when it comes to ancillary video promotion during fight week, but you have to wonder 1.) whether or not they can even afford to produce ancillary content, and 2.) whether Showtime would give them a time-slot to broadcast it. Otherwise, the content would be relegated to the internet (not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re going to pay for a TV broadcast quality “countdown” or “360” type show you want it to air on TV). I won’t even make a guess as to why they don’t produce more ancillary content, since a lot of the things they do make no sense whatsoever.

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