Bellator bounces to Fridays this Fall

June 11, 2013

Loretta Hunt of CNNSI reports that Bellator MMA will be moving to Friday nights starting this fall.  It will be the company’s second move on Spike TV since premiering in January.  Its summer series will be seen Wednesday nights starting June 19th.

According to Spike TV President Kevin Kay, the move to Fridays was related to the NFL as football will begin showing a game a week on Thursdays starting this September.  However, the decision to move nights (again) comes at what one might infer as a way to avoid direct competition with the UFC on Wednesdays. The UFC begins airing programming starting on the new Fox network, Fox Sports 1 on August 17th and will continue with shows on Wednesday nights starting on August 28th.

However, as one might recall from the UFC’s lackluster performance on Friday nights, Bellator moving to Fridays appears to be a risky move.  The show will air from 9-11pm ET on Fridays.

The fall season of Bellator MMA will actually kick off on Saturday night September 7th as its coupled with the finale of Bellator’s Fight Master.

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Payout Perspective:

Confused with the Bellator schedule yet?  It started on Thursdays on Spike TV.  It is moving to Wednesdays after TNA Wrestling was moved an hour later on Thursdays and now will be seen on Fridays starting this fall.  The reason is to avoid the NFL on Thursdays?  But, isn’t it going to be seen this summer on Wednesdays?  It’s been a public relations issue after another for Bellator these past couple months.  This latest move may have been necessary.  Ok, we understand the NFL on Thursday reason.  So why not Wednesdays?  This is to avoid head to head competition with the UFC with the anticipated UFC momentum of being on a new network and The Ultimate Fighter featuring Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.  Likely, the UFC ratings would be better than Bellator ratings on Wednesday and the UFC would capitalize on that in advertising and promoting its product.  For Bellator, changing from Thursday, to Wednesday and now to Friday creates consumer confusion and negates some of its success in its first season with Spike TV.

5 Responses to “Bellator bounces to Fridays this Fall”

  1. Diego on June 11th, 2013 11:33 AM

    The correct answer is Tuesdays.

    And they are making it really hard to care. Fridays suck for me because I’m already watching FNF, Showtime Challengers, and whatever happens to be on HDNet (or whatever they call it now). My DVR can only handle so much.

    I think they can overcome these issues but obviously it doesn’t help. Let’s remember that the UFC has been bouncing TUF around as well. I think this is part of the normal struggle for the mainstream audience that all MMA promotions are dealing with.

  2. BrainSmasher on June 11th, 2013 2:07 PM

    The UFC has a large hardcore and loyal fanbase and is also the big kid on the block and gets a lot of attention. Them moving days dosnt have the same effect. They can get the word out and have a lot of people who care. Bellator doesn’t have that fanbase that can carry the ratings. They are an after thought. IF they confuse the casual fan, which is all they really have, then it can kill what ratings they have. I am a very hardcore die hard fight fan. I always know when there is a UFC on. It doesn’t matter where they put it. I will find it and everyone in the MMA community will be talking about it and its fights or fighters. I don’t make it a point to find Bellator. There is to much MMA out there. If I find it on I will watch. It took my a long time before I got used to finding it on Fridays.

    Not a good idea to be moving dates. This stuff has killed popular sitcoms in the past. Networks love moving the dates for some reason and it often bites them. Bellator doesn’t have high enough ratings to be able to lose anyone. With the reality show starting they are picking a horrible time to risk losing some of its viewers.

    What I am seeing from Bellator is they acted like they are going to make their own way in the sport and now have done anything but. They should just do their thing regardless of the UFC. But they are not. They are depending on UFC fans to boost their ratings. They have also starting signing more former UFC fighters. Bellator management has no clue what they are doing and are flopping back and forth from one strategy to another.

  3. Machiel Van on June 11th, 2013 2:24 PM

    This can’t be good. I’m with Diego for Tuesdays, although that could also be a double-edged sword: risk getting lost in the pre-fight stuff that the media will be doing whenever there’s a UFC on FS1 show the next day, OR try and take some of the interest away from the FS1 events. I just don’t think Bellator or Spike’s brands are strong enough to take on the UFC or the FOX Sports marketing machine (yes, I know Spike will initially be AVAILABLE in more homes than FS1, but I don’t think it matters; the much more strongly desired content will be on FS1, and those extra homes don’t matter if less people are tuning in to begin with).

  4. Chris on June 11th, 2013 3:41 PM

    Terrible night, Bellator is gonna flop. Friday is the worst night for mma, we saw the UFC try and fail with TUF/Fight Nights, Bellator flopped on Fridays on MTV2.

    No TNA lead in and being on Fridays this is gonna be ugly.

  5. Jason Cruz on June 11th, 2013 7:10 PM

    Problem with Tuesdays is the return of Sons of Anarchy on FX. But, I do agree Tuesdays would be better.

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