World Series of Fighting: 198,000 viewers

November 6, 2012

MMA Junkie reports that World Series of Fighting ratings for its Saturday night debut as the company received an average of 198,000 viewers.

The numbers are on par with boxing programming on the network.  According to the Junkie article, the 198,000 viewers bested the UFC on Fuel TV series viewer average.  Of course, NBC Sports Network is in about 75 million homes compared to 36 million for Fuel so it may not be a good apples to apples comparison.  Of course, its relative size compared to Fuel is overshadowed by its disparity with ESPN.  According to this New York Times article, the network charges only 31 cents a subscribers compared to ESPN’s $5.13 per subscriber.

Payout Perspective:

The belief among the MMA media literati is that 200K is the MMA hardcore viewer base.  WSOF marketed former UFC in fights that it hoped would attract the MMA fan.  Based on the numbers, it did a good job of drawing in folks curious to see what the organization had to offer.  The big challenge is to build on the number and retain those that saw its debut while bringing in more viewers to improve on the 198K number.

9 Responses to “World Series of Fighting: 198,000 viewers”

  1. Brain Smasher on November 7th, 2012 1:30 AM

    I think you are way off with that 200K number. That was the believed size of the fan base maybe 8-10 years ago. There is that many PPV buys from hardcores. 200,000 PPV buys isnt only 200,000 people. When multi hardcores are watching not to mention those who cant buy every event due to the increased events. Maybe we have different definition of hardcore. Maybe you are talking about someone who buys every PPV or something. Hardcore typically refers to someone who follows the sport on TV and on line for a long period of time. That number is much more than 200K. I would say at least 1 million. Thats about the number of viewers anything romotely interested draws by the UFC without any mainstream appeal.

    I think they drew a small portion of the hardcore fans. Most hardcores have little interest in small non UFC promotions with fighters they stopped caring about long ago. I watched because it was their first event and wanted to see how good it was. I watch almost everything fighting related and i almost never catch bellator because it is sub par and i just cant make myself care about it. WSOF’s was actually pretty good. I could have done without the heavy striker bias match making by Ray Sefo. But the production was very clean. Bas was less unprofession than he ussually is and everything went well. It was hard to tell it was their first event. Good camera angles and everythign went smoothly. Their first event blew away anything Bellator has ever done. Bellator reminds me of a rebranded King of the Cage. Poor production, match making, talent, and lack of direction.

  2. K. D. on November 7th, 2012 5:09 AM

    Brain Smasher i think you are mixing hardcore mma fans(that watch any mma they can get their hands on) and hardcore UFC fans(that watch everything from the UFC they get your hands on) those ufc fans don’t care for anything else, maybe 1 or 2 former ufc fighters here and there but that’s it. Personally i think there are between 200k – 300k hardcore mma fans in the US, maybe around 800k to 1mil hardcore ufc fans and all others are casual fans.

    Me personally I’m a mma hardcore fan but most of the guys that i train with and guys around me that watch are hardcore UFC fans or casual UFC fans, they don’t care about bellator, mfc, dream, one fc etc.

  3. armhuinnamuice on November 7th, 2012 9:43 AM

    “Most hardcores have little interest in small non UFC promotions with fighters they stopped caring about long ago.”

    flawed logic my friend. Those who have little interest in non UFC are casual fans – who it must be said are the real lifeblood of the sport an it by attracting viewers outside of the hardcore base you make money – the hardcore are those watching not only the bigger events but also following the like of Bellator and regional/interbational shows on etc and following MMA media on a daily basis so know who WSOF are etc

  4. Cameron on November 7th, 2012 10:24 AM

    You also have to remember that they were streaming the entire main card on their website and Facebook for overseas viewers. So when you add those viewers plus the Canadian market, that number probably gets closer to 400K. Either way, I think it’s a very encouraging sign that a debut org drew the same number that Bellator is currently doing on MTV2. If NBC Sports actually throws marketing behind their next event, they could do some great numbers

  5. Brain Smasher on November 8th, 2012 12:36 AM

    Here is my point guys. Before you used to have to follow other pormotions to be a hardcore fan. Watching the UFC’s 1 event every 3 months wasnt much of a dedication. But today the UFC has the best fighters in the world. Not all fo them but most of them. But this year alone the UFC is going to run 32 events. Thats an event every week and a half. Thats not counting TUF and other UFC shows like countdowns and prime times. You can live and breath MMA with just the UFC. Now hardcore fans will watch here and there when another promotion has an event with some meaningful talent. Like Strikeforce for example still has some talent and their ratings are pretty good for a promotion that is really running on a few casuals and some hardcore fans. SF hasnt had good press in over a year and still are doubling these ratings and then some.

    I have been a hardcore fan since 1996 and the only reason i watched WSOF was to check out the promotion. What fighter would a hardcore fan really think is relevent on that card? None of those guys will ever work their way back to the UFC. Thats why i could carless if i saw them. They are at the end of their career and have no effect on the MMA landscape. There was no reason why anyone should think this unknown event with dead end fighters was going to draw every hardcore MMA fan in the country. With the number of events i dont think the UFC is even drawing 80% of the hardcores every event.

    What i think is more likely is WSOF is drawing what Pride, IFL, and Bellator were drawing. That is the small percentage of fans who follow the sport but the UFC just doesnt appeal to them. They jump on every non UFC promotion looking for any alternative. I watch any MMA i run onto. But with 32 UFC events i cant plan the rest of my life around every other promotions shows. So i dont make it a point to see Bellator or even TUF every time. I have seen more NAAFS shows on FSN than Bellator shows. But there is a group out there who like Bellator. They may not watch the UFC as much as most other people and never watch any other promotion. I think its crazy to assume all of Bellators 200k viewers are all hardcores and only hardcores and the same goes for WSOF. I dont know anyone who watches all the UFC events which are the most meaningful fights going on in the sport and makes it a point to see every other promotions event. Thats coming from someone who has seen every UFC and Pride fight ever and recorded them on tope so i could go back and rewatch them again. Also seen almost every KOTC event and countless others. BUt todays i can find MMA on every night. I and many other hardcore fans have no reason to follow a low level promotion around like a groupie. There is to many MMA events going on to watch them all anyway.

  6. JUICE on November 8th, 2012 11:02 AM

    You are forgetting about Tyrone Sponge. He made his debut at that show and will be gobbled up by the UFC once he gets a few more wins. Hardcore combat sport fans like myself would know, I’ll watch anything fight related as long as it isn’t too much of a reality tv type thing. I could see Arlovski rematching Werdum in the UFC if Arlovski keeps his win streak up.

  7. Jose Mendoza on November 8th, 2012 12:59 PM

    WSOF averaged 198K, peak was 228K on Sunday replay drew around 80K on NBC Sports.

  8. Brain Smasher on November 8th, 2012 4:58 PM

    Maybe you should wait until Spong fight someone who isnt an out of shape can. As long as he is protected by Sefo we will never see him prove anything. Fred Ettish could have done what he did the other night. Hardly proves he is UFC material. I also dont agree with Bas that noone in MMA can stand with him. I dont think he is fast enough and that will allow guys in MMA to stand with him. Not many but the top guys. Until he can stop takedowns from top guys consistantly he is just a 205 Pat Barry.

    I would be surprised to ever see Arlovski back in the UFC. I am a fan of his. But the way he left the UFC and his bad chin and different way he fights now. I dotn see it happening. He wont be able to wrestle top guys to the ground like he is doing bums in small shows. When he cant 1 punch you out or get you down he struggles. HE also didnt even do well in SF. Before the UFC gives him a second chance he will have to show he can hang with the second tier group that was banging him out in SF. At best they bring him back to feed to the wolves because of him being a former champ. I doubt he would ever get a favorable fight.

    Arlovski is weird. He has/had a good fan base. When he left the UFC he got a lot of pop in his last fight and in later fights he was popular in the crowd. But he was never a PPV draw. Its strange. Its like he has a fanbase that is loyal but not very large. They travel well and are vocal at events but dont make a dent in PPVs. I think this is why the UFC put him on the undercard vs Jake O’Brien in his last fight. Which is only something they do when you are not a PPV draw like they did with Randleman at UFC 35 vs Babalu.

  9. Pappion on November 9th, 2012 7:50 AM

    Boxing averages between 250k-300k not including peak and replay

    It’s a bit unfair to to say MMA attracts in the same range as boxing since a 65-75k difference is huge on NBCS.

    But all in all this a bit like arguing over scraps at the bottom of a dust bin

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