Strikeforce Houston: 367,000 Viewers

August 24, 2010

The Staff at MMAJunkie are reporting that Strikeforce: Houston averaged 367,000 viewers on Showtime last Saturday night, but peaked at nearly half a million viewers for the main event between Lawal and Cavalcante.

Overall, the event, which took place Aug. 21 at the Toyota Center in Houston, averaged 367,000 viewers.

The event, which marked Strikeforce’s debut in Texas, featured a pair of title fights; Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante defeated former light-heavyweight champ Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal via TKO, and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza edged Tim Kennedy via unanimous decision for the vacant middleweight bout.

The organization’s peak audience – 470,000 viewers – came approximately two hours into the broadcast to coincide with the Lawal vs. Cavalcante main event.

Payout Perspective:

The 367,000 viewers is a solid figure, but not overly impressive. Junkie points out this show sits right in the middle of the five Arena Series events that Strikeforce has held this year. The most highly rated show coming from Herschel Walker’s MMA debut in January at Strikeforce: Miami with 517,000 viewers. The most poorly rated show was Strikeforce: Los Angeles in June at 164,000 viewers.

What does this number tell us? Nothing, really. It’s good, but not great. If viewed as part of the bigger picture, it suggests that Strikeforce has yet to really achieve any sort of consistent growth in its television audience. However, it’s more than fair to point out that the only promotion that’s consistently been able to grow its television audience over the last few years is the UFC.

Even if Strikeforce can overcome its marketing and operational issues, it’s still going to take time to develop a foundation.

8 Responses to “Strikeforce Houston: 367,000 Viewers”

  1. HET on August 24th, 2010 11:37 AM

    ufc choked on versus,it looks pretty good to me the numbers

  2. mmaguru on August 24th, 2010 12:26 PM

    Relative to the subscriber base, the numbers are as you have mentioned solid. However, I’m not seeing much upward growth with any MMA televised events. We are definitely seeing some form of plateauing here but no one seems to be discussing it. The sound bite is always “MMA is the fastest growing sport in the World”.

  3. Machiel Van on August 24th, 2010 12:31 PM

    No Payout Perspective about the event itself? 2 of the promotions biggest stars fell, a few referee controversies, Commission incompetence (lack of drug testing, ambiguity surrounding use of compressed oxygen), etc.

  4. Kelsey Philpott on August 24th, 2010 1:04 PM


    Pretty big topic. I wanted to address this in the post, but I didn’t have a lot of time.


    My free time is diminishing pretty quickly these days: I’m entering my final year of the MBA; have been selected for a fellowship position which pays my tuition but also requires me to work 20 hours per week; and I’ve begun to do some freelance consulting work in MMA.

    Unfortunately, that means I’ve had to reduce my contribution to Payout over the last month and will continue to do so moving into September.

    Hopefully, I can continue to contribute once or twice a week. If all goes to plan, those contributions will be more significant than simply analyzing the latest ratings from X promotion.

    We’ll see!


  5. Machiel Van on August 24th, 2010 2:07 PM

    Will keep that in mind. As a fellow post-graduate (recently finished an MA in Cultural Management with an emphasis in GIS), I feel where you’re coming from. Good luck and Godspeed!

  6. Stan Kosek on August 25th, 2010 11:41 AM


    I think it’s possible at its current state MMA may have evened out, although I believe the UFC is on pace to beat last year’s PPV numbers, but I don’t think it will be a significant % growth. However, that’s with the current landscape of MMA right now, I think the major test of whether MMA/UFC can take a major jump or it’s found its audience and will stay at similar numbers is a major network deal for the UFC.

  7. Kelsey Philpott on August 26th, 2010 7:59 AM

    The television ratings have certainly plateaued for pretty much everyone, including the UFC. There’s been a distinct lack of creativity and innovation on the programming side with TUF that I think is partly responsible for the UFC’s woes. The other organizations like WEC and Strikeforce haven’t yet found a solid fight week strategy or managed to bring a consistent flow of news/content between fights that maintains audience interest.

    The PPV side is a different story. The UFC is sitting very pretty right now with approximately 6 million buys. It’s more than possible that the organization breaks last year’s record by the end of October (118 and 121 alone should do it). Then consider the monster event that’s likely to be St-Pierre vs. Koscheck – they’ll probably be looking at a solid 12-15% increase.

    I don’t think anyone should expect 30% growth in perpetuity; the UFC’s growth is going to ebb and flow just like any other company. Right now it’s making a host of investments abroad that will hopefully pay dividends in the future. In the mean time, it’s experimenting with various tactics to build its brand domestically and get everything it can out of its existing markets.

    And let’s be honest: this is the first time the UFC is in Boston, it hasn’t been to New York yet, it hasn’t done a show in Seattle, and there are a host of other markets it could bring a live event towards that could help fuel interest in the sport.

  8. Jose Mendoza on August 27th, 2010 1:59 AM

    I think more important here is the 470K peak number, which means at some point there were that many Showtime subscribers watching the fights. In terms of that number, its actually pretty good.

    Also, you have to compare these numbers to typical Showtime events like boxing, and in comparison to that with a fraction of the budget, it’s actually doing quite well.

    Machiel Van:

    There was SO much that came out of the event, I am hoping to put something together for you guys ASAP.

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