Strikeforce and Bellator ratings show huge drop for one

September 13, 2011

MMA Junkie reports the ratings for Saturday night’s Strikeforce and Bellator events. Strikeforce received a dismal 274,000 viewers while Bellator garnered 235,000 viewers.

Despite featuring the semifinals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce received a 1.04 household rating among men 18-49 and a 1.17 among men 18-34 according to MMA Junkie.

Via MMA Junkie:

Strikeforce’s Showtime broadcasts traditionally average 453,000 viewers. Additionally, first two events devoted to the grand prix averaged 628,500 viewers and are the top-rated broadcasts in Strikeforce-Showtime history.

Meanwhile, Bellator, on MTV2 received 235,000. An immediate MTV2 replay of Bellator 49 drew 153,000 viewers. The number is in line with recent improvements in viewership for Bellator.

Payout Perspective:

Although the two ratings are somewhat similar, Strikeforce ratings are far more disappointing. For Bellator, it was the first time that Spike.com streamed its fights. The numbers seem pretty consistent which is a good sign since it went up against a night full of college football (e.g., Notre Dame vs. Michigan) and Strikeforce on Showtime.

For Strikeforce, the ratings show the vanishing interest in the organization and by extension the Heavyweight Grand Prix. The ratings were similar to those of a “Challengers” show. Certainly there was extra competition Saturday night but with a big card the ratings were way down. There is usually much more press the week of the Strikeforce event leading up to the fights. It seemed like the big story was the Nick Diaz drama. Also, the breaking news of Cung Le main eventing UFC 137 against Vito Belfort the day of the Strikeforce event seemed wrong as well.

7 Responses to “Strikeforce and Bellator ratings show huge drop for one”

  1. BrainSmasher on September 13th, 2011 6:45 PM

    Who was everyone supposed to tune in to see? Zuffa doesnt seem to be pushing SF at all. Likely because they no Showtime isnt going to pick them up after this year so they are not wasting their resources. Then Fedor is out of the tournment, the man who beat him is out of the tournament, then Overeem leaves. Who was supposed to draw in the fans? Unknown Cormia? The wanna be Barnett who would rather be fake fighting? Sergei who apparently is working on his blue belt in BJJ? Big foot Silva? The undercard had more name value than the tournament.

    This is why tournament are a bad ideal. They never work out. Coker putting Overeem in when his contract would be over before the end of the tournament wasnt very smart either. The fights were great. But there lacked any direction. As good as they were they were meaningless. You cant build fighters properly when you do tournaments. You losing the match making process which is the most important aspect of running a promotion. Everyone in this got put out right as they started to get the fans behind them. Another win or so and they could have been good draws. Werdum lost his momentum, Silva lost his momentum, and now Barnett or Cormia will lose their before it gets started.

    Tournaments are great for small promotions to put no names in and make the winner stand out. It is stupid for anyone with name value to ever enter one. Good thing SF is going to be closed down soon. Who would the winner face after its over? Everyone has already been beat and coming off loses. They would be at least 1 year from having any dramatic fights. Everyone has to be rebuilt to have any cred to fight for the belt.

  2. Jack Frost on September 14th, 2011 5:36 AM

    A couple questions:

    1) From what I understand, only Showtime has a say in whether or not the contract continues after February 2012. If Zuffa wants to close SF, they just have to hope Showtime ends the contract. True or false?

    2) Everyone seems to agree that Showtime won’t continue the contract, but what if they do? Do you think Zuffa would actually put some effort into it or would they just continue doing what they’re doing and lose money on it for however long the contract is (I read that it’s 2 years somewhere)?

  3. Machiel Van on September 14th, 2011 7:16 AM

    Jack,

    If Showtime decides to continue the contract, then Zuffa will most likely keep running “Challengers” series caliber events, signing impressive local talent wherever they hold events, and maybe keeping on individuals who really impress. You won’t see events like this past Saturday’s (no big names, no $942,000 payroll). Zuffa could probably run the organization in this manner without allocating as many resources and may be able to make money off the shows. If not they will cut the losses to a minimum. Who knows, Zuffa may be able to get out of the contract anyway if they can argue they are being forced to retain an asset that loses money.

    This speculation will probably prove to be for naught though. I really don’t see Showtime extending a contract with a company that wants nothing to do with them. It’s just not good business.

  4. Diego on September 14th, 2011 7:32 AM

    With those kinds of ratings both Showtime and Zuffa lost money. I don’t see an extension of the contract to be in the interest of either party. Now with Dan Henderson set to go to the UFC there is virtually no one left in SF. I’m sure the winner of the GP (and possibly the runner up) will both head to the UFC, and Gil Melendez will follow soon after.

    Brain, I’m not sure that Overeem’s contract was going to end before the end of the tourney. I think he still had a few fights left on it.

  5. BrainSmasher on September 14th, 2011 10:23 AM

    I think he had 1 fight left which would have had him fighting Silva instead of Cormia but he would have been a free agent before the finals.

    From ESPN.com

    “Because Overeem, ranked No. 4 by ESPN.com, turned down a Sept. 10 bout against Antonio Silva — he blamed toe and rib injuries and inadequate time to prepare — Forza executed clauses in the contract that allowed them to remove a fight from his deal. As it happened, the bout was Overeem’s last on a contract that was assigned to Forza from Explosion Entertainment after Zuffa bought Strikeforce on March 10.

    Overeem was scheduled to fight Silva during the semifinals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix. Had Overeem won, he was free to negotiate a new contract while possessing considerable leverage. Sources say a handshake agreement between Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and Golden Glory covered a finals appearance had Overeem advanced, but nothing was put down on paper.

    “The problem with Strikeforce was that we made some agreements with Scott which were creating headaches (after) Zuffa took over,” Boon said.”

  6. John S. on September 14th, 2011 10:06 PM

    BrainSmasher,

    That ESPN quote fails to note that Overeem, as per Overeem himself in a recent interview and Josh Gross, had a Champions’ clause in his most Strikeforce contract. So while technically the Silva fight would have been his last, he would have had fight obligations through the duration of the tournament. The whole date move-injury-holdout-release seemed like an obvious ploy to get him to the UFC were he could make a lot more for the company selling ppvs than subscribers to Showtime.

  7. Robby on September 15th, 2011 10:12 PM

    People aren’t interested in Strikeforce anymore cause they know it’s over. It’s been over since this past March when Zuffa bought it.
    Tournament means nothing anymore after what’s gone on. That’s why the huge ratings decline. Even the SF Hendo/Fedor card didn’t draw as well as hoped. I’d bet money if people knew SF wasn’t gonna fold early next year that event & fight would’ve been huge.
    I heard the attendance for this SF card in Cincy was even more of an embarrassment than these ratings.

    BTW The guy earlier who said tournaments are a “bad ideal” is out of his mind. Tournaments are what started this sport and are the only true way to determine a champion. Hell a matchmaker can work magic if he wants to w/ matchups. Can’t do it w/tourneys.

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