WEC 50: 316,000 Viewers

August 20, 2010

The Staff at MMAJunkie have reported that WEC 50: Cruz vs. Benavidez II garned 316,000 viewers airing on the Versus network this past Wednesday, August 18.

Wednesday’s Versus-televised WEC 50 event scored an average audience of 316,000 viewers.

MMAjunkie.com today confirmed the ratings information with an industry source.

Payout Perspective:

If accurate, these ratings are a bit of a disappointment. Cruz nor Benavidez are incredibly strong draws, but this card was lined with talent and intriguing match-ups that should have garnered decent interest among fight fans. WEC 50 is now the lowest rated WEC card since the company had it’s break-through event nearly two years ago at WEC 34 with Faber and Pulver as headliners.

While this probably isn’t the scenario Zuffa hoped for following the WEC’s excellent PPV debut in April, the poor ratings haven’t exactly been unexpected, either. Zuffa wanted to make a splash on the PPV scene and brought out the big guns from the UFC to do so, but with great potential reward usually comes great potential risk. Using UFC assets to promote a brand-less WEC PPV event was likely to cause more than a little bit of confusion in the mind of the consumer.

Aldo vs. Faber had the look, feel and quality of an event that fans could have easily mistaken for a UFC card. The ratings would seem to indicate that many fans did make that mistake.

However, it’s important to reserve total judgement until after this next event. The most accurate indication of whether the WEC gained any material equity from its PPV debut will come with WEC 51 in which the company will depend on all the new stars it has been building to carry a card without Urijah Faber. That’s the litmus test.

Even if WEC 51 is a disappointment, I’ll still caution folks not to get too carried away. I understand the penchant for pessimism around the MMA community – there’s little tolerance for anything other than a resounding success – but let’s look at this objectively: the WEC is profitable and always delivers an entertaining card. There are going to be bumps on its road to success, but as long as it’s making money and putting on great cards, it has plenty of time to learn from its mistakes, experiment, and find the right set of marketing tactics to increase its popularity.

7 Responses to “WEC 50: 316,000 Viewers”

  1. HET on August 20th, 2010 12:14 PM

    Wec is lo0sing money

  2. Matt C. on August 20th, 2010 12:28 PM

    I realize there are contracts in place preventing this from happening but after seeing the ratings for the WEC shows I always think the same thing. Just kill the WEC name and put the UFC name on it. Then promote it like a UFC show and I think the ratings at least double and maybe even triple.

    Also is there anyway to tell how or if the event being on a Wed. night effected the ratings? Cause I know two of my friends forgot all about it and missed it.

    Just like I complained about the UFC Countdown shows never debuting at the same time every week I think it would help these WEC shows if they came on at the same time most of the fans are used to watching their MMA. Saturday Nights.

  3. Brain Smasher on August 20th, 2010 2:50 PM

    I dont think putting the UFC logo is the answer. It will water down the UFC brand if there was no change to the product. I still believe the Verses network being moved on the channel list. Since the move WEC and UFC have had poor ratings.

  4. Kelsey Philpott on August 20th, 2010 3:34 PM

    Matt,

    I question the Wednesday date as well. It would be interesting to see them bring the fights back to Sunday on a consistent basis. I’d love to see them move to Satrudays, but the competition would kill them in the winter time.

    Brain,

    I don’t necessarily buy the channel listing argument, because these ratings are still in the range of the hardcore fan base that know about the event and where to find it. The channel’s position on DirecTV might impact casual viewership, but it shouldn’t impede that of the hardcores.

  5. mmaguru on August 21st, 2010 4:15 PM

    Ratings are heading the wrong direction for the WEC. Without the UFC pushing the brand, I’m not sure what they can do to turn it around. Faber is their only major star and he is not exactly winning on a consistent basis anymore and is probably near the tail end of his career at 31. 31 is not that old but in a fast extremely difficult weight class it’s not exactly young. I would think we only have to wait for the current WEC contract to expire with Versus to see the eventual merger of WEC into the UFC banner.

  6. Brain Smasher on August 23rd, 2010 12:33 AM

    There is no other logical explanation for the UFC to do the ratings it did. The blame for WEC can be on brand and fighter name recognition. But there was no reason for the UFC to decline as it did. If the UFC experienced 1/3 decline in ratings from UFN 21 and 20% from their last show on Verses. Now i dont think the direct TV problem is the sole answer but it has an impact IMO. I used to get Versus at home. I no longer get it because Vesus is on a different package. Luckily i get it at my business(after making a few phone calls to find the new channel it moved to). UFC and WEC have experienced ratings decline around this change. While everything is basically unchanced on Spike. I dont think its lack of effort on Verses. They seem to be doing a good job at least on their network to push the events. What ever the case i think the ratings is more of a reflection of the Network than the UFC or WEC.

    Their DTV fiasco caused them to disappear from many tv’s and although they returned to some but at what cost? They are in an unfavorable channel location(like property. location , location, location) They have no programs to carry their own viewers. They have no respectable lead in for the fights. If these dont change the ratings for fights is going to be an up hill battle. It appears the UFC’s gamble hoping Versus turns into another ESPN or Spike isnt going to pay off.

  7. Diego on August 23rd, 2010 5:26 AM

    Having the card on a Wednesday sends a strong signal that Vs and the WEC expected poor ratings. Title fights are for Friday and Saturday nights, and maybe Sundays once in a while if a fight is overseas. ESPN2 ran a special edition of Friday Night Fights on that same Wednesday – on the card were two Cuban PROSPECTS, not champions. That’s more like what you expect from a mid-week card.

    The WEC essentially has two weight classes, 135 and 145, that can be considered true world titles – meaning the WEC champions at 135 and 145 are the best in the world. 155 is vastly overshadowed by the UFC and SF so I’m not including it. For the WEC to put one of those two world titles on the line on a Wednesday boggles the mind. Meanwhile, Jon Jones v. Matyushenko a fun but largely meaningless fight, gets much better billing and ratings on that same network.

    While I agree that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions and count them out, it’s safe to say that the WEC is having a difficult time effectively promoting their (outstanding) product. That’s a real shame. Let’s face it, the 135 lb champion of the world was decided on Wednesday and the card received lower ratings than a card the Friday before where no titles were on the line and no big names took part (SF Challengers 10). That just shouldn’t happen.

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