Bellator Wednesday ratings disappoint

June 20, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that Wednesday nights Bellator’s debut posted disappointing numbers.  Spike officials point to the NHL Stanley Cup as contributing to the poor ratings.

Hoping to continue with its strong ratings, and 809,000 viewer average from its first season on Spike TV, Bellator had high hopes for continued momentum.  The Bellator summer series featuring Mo Lawal received a 0.4 rating and 480,000 viewers.  The Fightmaster debut received 432,000 viewers as it aired after the live fights.

Via MMA Fighting:

Fightmaster, which got generally strong reviews, only did a 0.4 in the target Male 18-49 age group and 0.3 in Males 18-34. Ultimate Fighter on Spike routinely did 1.5 or better in the Male 18-34 demographic, which was usually its prime audience.

The NHL Stanley Cup which aired opposite Bellator received 6.64 million viewers.

Payout Perspective:

Although Bellator did not have its pro wrestling lead-in, it still had a Bellator 360 marathon (which included Chandler-Alvarez) as a lead in. While Spike can lay claim to the strong NHL ratings as a reason for Wednesday’s performance, there must be concern that the ratings were almost sliced in half from its first season on the network.  I am not entirely sure that the issue is that lost TNA Wrestling as its lead in. Yet, with the poor ratings for Fightmaster, there has to be some worry if the ratings do not turn around by next week.

36 Responses to “Bellator Wednesday ratings disappoint”

  1. Jake on June 20th, 2013 11:00 PM

    Not good ratings for the fastest growing sport in the world.

    How did the UFC prelims do btw? These ratings were quick and I haven’t seen anything about the prelim ratings anywhere.

  2. aintitthetruth on June 20th, 2013 11:40 PM

    .mma is getting played out. With the oversaturation of events who really has time for it all? Belabor may have better fights, but who wants to watch zuffa castaways and homegrown nobodies? Until the sport pays enough to attract Olympic level boxers it will remain as stale as it’s been for the last couple of years

  3. BrainSmasher on June 20th, 2013 11:53 PM

    Horrible numbers. This was the biggest show Bellator could have had. This was their big guns. With King Mo and the debut of their reality show with all its big name coaches and it cant break 500K? Spike needs to realize that Bellator isn’t the UFC. Bellator needs TNA. By moving Bellator they basically lose all their viewers after TNA that Bellator would have held. It is way to soon to send Bellator out on its own. I knew this would kill ratings but I didn’t expect it to be on the first show. The worst part is that ratings tend to decline after people make up their mind about the reality show. Bellator started strong last season on spike and went down from there. They better hope this doesn’t do the same and they decline even further.

    Where is Samson and his claims of Bellator having more eyes than the UFC? Didn’t he say Bellator would do 1 million viewers?

  4. mmalogic on June 21st, 2013 12:53 AM

    people keep pointing to the 800k average and forget that they usually start with 1.4 million from tna. They also fail to mention that spikes other reality show reruns that air right after tna routinely pull more than 800k viewers.

    bellators first season, in order to get that 800k average they would start out the event with a huge number from tna and usually the numbers would just drop all the way to the main event.

    by the main event they would usually have around 680k viewers sometimes.

    so even if you give them a mulligan on this one because of the NHL, you’re still at around 680k audience which still isnt very good. That’s why spike isnt giving bellator the tuesday night timeslot and instead airing their other crappy shows.

    NOw here’s the problem… even if you give bellator 680k instead of the disasterous 480k, you move the product to friday nights and you’re likely gonna lose at least 15% of the audience.

    That means they’ll likely have an audience of 580k… that’s not gonna work on primetime… even on friday nights.

    MMA uncensored and bellator 360 pulled around 450k to 550k viewers and spike quickly took it off primetime. They cancelled uncensored.

    The reality show costs way more to produce than mma uncensored or bellator 360. 432k viewers means it’s as good as dead.

    The live events cost even more to produce than the reality show. 580k viewers isnt gonna cut it and that’s assuming they can even pull that much.

    they promoted this event like crazy and couldnt even pull 500k viewers on a wednesday night which is a much better night than Friday.

    The NHL excuse is weak… you’re always gonna have competition. YOu have college football and basketball on friday nights… not to mention smackdown.

    the NHL pulled 6 million viewers… awesome… but there was nothing else on cable television that night except reruns. 6 million is nothing.

  5. Weezy02 on June 21st, 2013 3:49 AM

    “How did the UFC prelims do btw? These ratings were quick and I haven’t seen anything about the prelim ratings anywhere.”

    968,000 average for the two hour telecast, per Meltzer.

  6. Machiel Van on June 21st, 2013 7:37 AM

    Ugh, hope things will pick up. They didn’t do a very good job communicating the schedule change.

    Interesting to see you here, logic. There’s been a few SBNation regulars over here lately.

  7. Weezy02 on June 21st, 2013 9:17 AM

    It will be interesting to see how MMA on FOX Sports 1 performs over the first year. I was guesstimating maybe around 700,000 per show but I have no idea. It usually takes a few years for any newly branded cable channel to gain significant traction.

  8. mmalogic on June 21st, 2013 10:01 AM


    UFC on fs1 will be interesting. the closest comparison would be ufc on versus. they averaged around 800k viewers over 4 events I believe, however the bulk of their programming was still on spike.

    with FS1 the bulk of their first run programming will be on FS1 so it will be easier to keep the viewers once they find it. the first versus ufc show pulled over a million viewers and then went down.

    With FS1 you have a live UFC event almost every week leading up to tuf, not to mention a ton of other shoulder programming to go along with it.

    So I suspect they will move the audience rather quickly. Tuf should be pulling over a million viewers otherwise it would be disappointing. Same for the fight nights.

    Eventually they need to get back to the numbers they had on spike. around 2 million for fight nights and 1.3m average for tuf. That should be the goal for the first year. If they get back to those numbers, FS1 and Fox will become a gold mine for zuffa.

  9. Sampson Simpson on June 21st, 2013 10:23 AM

    FS1 will UNDOUBTEDLTY fail. A new sports network will not survive in the long run and with it goes the UFC

  10. mooseknuckle on June 21st, 2013 10:23 AM

    Those numbers can’t be too surprising. They have been pulling shitty demo numbers and losing half of the TNA audience. I don’t know what most other programs are doing, but those are bad prime time numbers. I imagine that they pull close to those numbers running 1000 ways to die reruns in that time slot.

  11. Machiel Van on June 21st, 2013 10:34 AM


    At this point, will you still be “very surprised” if the UFC is still on FOX in 2014?

  12. mmalogic on June 21st, 2013 11:24 AM

    sampson… all you need to do is look at the success the UFC has had on fuel and you can see how promising a move to fs1 will be (speed).

    FS1 will be in 3 times as many homes, already has a primetime average 10 times what fuel had, and is in a much better spot on the channel guide. The UFC will also benefit of being alongside major league baseball, college bball, nascar, etc…

    if the UFC get’s back to the numbers they were pulling on spike with fs1 they are in for a huge increase come time to renegotiate their licensing agreement with fox.

    What’s more, Fox (fs1) has the capability to monetize the UFC levels above spike, which means a live weekly fight show is likely on it’s way.

    With FS1 the UFC can hit every major market in the United States once a year to cultivate and grow it’s fanbase. look at the ratings… the markets which routinely pull high ratings are those where the UFC holds the most live events.

    With a weekly live event series you can now structurally build a fanbase in every major market in the country.

    FS1 will become a gold mine for Zuffa.

  13. Tops of on June 21st, 2013 2:33 PM

    Fastest growing sport …..the UFC is turning twenty……really is fast haha

  14. anti sampson on June 21st, 2013 7:14 PM

    Sampson get off this anti ufc shit you shit fuck

  15. Tops of on June 21st, 2013 8:23 PM

    The finals was something else…..good series…game 6 was great….while watching the whole series and checking the web for news after every game.shows how big basketball is worldwide…simply global…and makes mma look really small….

  16. BrainSmasher on June 21st, 2013 9:34 PM

    It only took Basketball 120 years to get there you moron! 25 years ago the league was shit compared to now. Their salary cap is 20 times higher than it was in 1984. Which means it took 45 years before it started to show any real growth. That was due to it getting some breaks. LIke the right players (Jordan, etc) also the Olympics and the Dream Team give it a huge boost. You also have to factor it the entertainment options then were slim and it was much easier to grow a sport. Unlike today. MMA has been a sport 12 years. UFC has only been around 20 years. MMA and the UFC are ahead of where any of the other sports were after that time.

  17. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 3:31 AM

    Basketball players are all well compensated and are paid really high 17 million for lebron and Kobe gets 27million….so when I read some article about chael sonnen blasting lebron to get attention…its like your not in the same league….hahaha…as if lebron would care what sonnen thinks…..geez.

    …and it’s really good to see the difference with the crowd watching the got 18 to 34 demo..male and female….34 to 70…demo…as well as kids…everybody in general….and reading different articles in the Internet you don’t see much hostile fans…lol…with violent names hahaha….

    And let’s not discuss globally…..

  18. Weezy02 on June 22nd, 2013 6:54 AM

    Often, when I point out boxing television stats, certain people here are quick to point out that this is a site devoted to discussing the business side of MMA (usually only if the stats aren’t ones that they like being publicized). “Why bring up boxing? You have an agenda!!” Now, when Bellator loses 40+% of their audience from their last live show, some of the same people cling to “Yeah….but, but…um….basketball is WAY bigger than MMA. hahahahahaha”. Seriously? Basketball, soccer, football? That’s your argument? Obviously those are incredibly more popular sports worldwide. MMA used to be have less social recognition than competitive eating and motorcross. Now that they’ve built a solid niche following and garner sizable television deals globally, the only thing the haters have left is to shift their argument to: “Yeah, but you’re not as popular as the NBA, NFL, etc..” Great detective work there, simpletons. Put simply, if your best argument is that MMA isn’t as popular as the very elite most popular handful of sports on the entire planet, you’ve already lost in your prediction that it wouldn’t be popular. Your strawman arguments are weak. Both MMA and boxing are going to be around for a long time. They’ve both proven that there is a large niche following for them. You literally could not make up fictional characters more void of sense than a couple of the mistakes that troll around these parts.

  19. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 8:19 AM

    Boxing has proven itself to last a very long time.(boxing is in the olympics mma is not….boxing is allowed in new York mma is not…).mma not yet….lol….don’t package the 2…
    In 684 bc in the Olympics were there was pankration where there is striking and grappling…..the mma of yesteryears….it was “mixed martial arts” now theres no ,more pankration now there’s boxing,judo,taekwondo,wrestling(not anymore) in the olympics….so it did not last…and among the 4 martial arts which is the most popular….boxing…..

    Now with modern day mma back which is more popular globally?boxing(niche in the u.s. mainstream in other countries–can actually compete head on with basketball in some countries)
    So mma is not the fastest growing sport but the combacking sport that was discontinued lol…
    People don’t like grappling….hell even the ufc changed the no time limit that the Gracie’s implemented and added the Restart rule to avoid being boring

  20. Weezy02 on June 22nd, 2013 8:42 AM

    Are you 6 years old? You can’t honestly be this moronic.

    “boxing is allowed in new York mma is not”

    False. MMA is permitted in New York. Paying the athletes to compete (professional MMA) is not. Amateur MMA events take place all the time throughout the state of New York, and that doesn’t even include events usually referred to as “underground events” (where no sanctioning entity, even an amateur one, is involved). Your reasoning has been, generally, as bad as your use of punctuation and capitalization. MMA and boxing, as the two largest combat sport globally are, like it or not, very comparable. MMA might have the higher dollar television contracts (and aggregate annual PPV sales) in the U.S., Canada and Brazil but boxing is bigger in the U.K., Mexico, Japan, and more other nations. More than likely, over time, both will prosper globally. I hear from haters of boxing and MMA all the time. Both ultimately end up disappointed as the demise of both have been predicted ad nauseam.

  21. BrainSmasher on June 22nd, 2013 12:24 PM

    Good post Weezy. Tops is just a fool. Ironic he says UFC added a stand up rules because the sport is boring. But every sport has added rules to keep the action going. NBA added a shot clock. NFL added a play clock. Even boxing doesn’t allow clinching to force the action. Boxing has added lots of rules to prevent a boring sport. Even the gloves themselves are used to create more punches because bareknuckle matches tend to be more careful and boring.

  22. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 3:25 PM

    Mma and boxing are 2 largest sport globally? No….boxing is way bigger globally than mma….very far from each other….not comparable at all….
    For b.s. how many people watch pure bjj tournament?or judo? Or Olympic wrestling? Not many…chuck Liddell was the breakthrough star of the UFC because of what? His wrestling skill? No because of his knockout skill….mainstream fans don’t like grappling only grapplers like grappling….Even Dan Henderson a wrestler said…he can wrestle but he does not want to give the fans a boring wrestling fight hahaha…so he goes for a knockout…
    Boxing is popular globally right now…if they adopt using the mma size gloves…that would make it even bigger….
    Just look at grandpa Rey mercer do with a small glove to Tim sylvia years ago…

  23. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 3:31 PM


    Broner vs malignaggi tonight….showtime…live from barclay center Brooklyn NEW YORK…….haha

  24. Chris on June 22nd, 2013 3:50 PM

    Tops and Sampson are the two worst posters who post on this site. I actually like that they post here cause I get a good laugh out of the anti mma/pro boxing, anti Zuffa bullshit they spew.

  25. BrainSmasher on June 22nd, 2013 6:37 PM

    What did Ray Mercer do to Sylvia that everyone wasn’t doing to him at that time? Nothing. Also. Prove Boxing is more popular globally? You cant. All you can do is name a few guys in a country here and there who are popular. That sure as hell isn’t a sport. That is a individual. In many places Toughman Contests are more popular than Boxing. At least the fans of those attend to see the “sport” and not specific people. Around where I live. Toughman draws huge crowds and Boxing almost doesn’t exist. That is how boxing is in most places. Few actually just want to see a boxing match. If they are not invested in the person they don’t give a shit. Yet there is many local MMA promotions that are thriving just because people show up to see the sport of MMA. You can promote an event in any city in this country and JUst call it MMA then do the same and just call it Boxing. With no names or fights announced. MMA will out draw it every single time.

  26. Chris on June 22nd, 2013 7:08 PM

    Whats funny is Tops tries to act like mma isnt in NY cause its not popular or some shit and not that fact that the culinary union has Sheldon Silver and other politicians in their pocket that is keeping mma out of NY.

  27. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 10:35 PM

    Im saying if boxing has smaller gloves like mma it would have more knockdowns and knockouts and would make boxing even more popular globally as it already is……as shown by an old man knocking out a younger guy…mercer was and 80s and early 90’s peak as a fighter..I used that as an example of smaller gloves…..but since you said everyone wasn’t doing to him (sylvia)at the time then I’ll answer it….before he was k o by mercer he only lost by submission and decision that was his first k.o lost….
    There are a lot of boxing promotion per country having fights regularly and they are still doing business up to now…check…

    Globally people are really not really interested in grappling…that’s why they are getting rid of wrestling in the Olympics….

    I’ll repeat who watches pure bjj,judo,wrestling?low low numbers….

  28. Tops of on June 22nd, 2013 10:37 PM

    Good fight…broner is the Up and coming boxing star……live from barclays NEW YORK …

  29. ChrisC on June 23rd, 2013 8:25 AM

    Tops and Sampson I believe are the same person.

    as for the Broner fight I thought he won but he didnt nearly live up to the hype. He also showed what a classless piece of shit he is in the post fight speech. No class, his act is a gimmick, riding Floyds nuts. Trying way too hard to be Floyd’s mini me.

    He is talented but he is one of those guys you hope gets knocked out and when it happens you will actually stand up in your living room and clap. But its smart marketing cause you tune in to see him win or lose, you still tune in. But yeah he is a jerkoff.

    He won a close decision against a 147 pounder who lets face it, isnt great. Paulie is solid, has no power but throws alot and he Broner won a close decision. I think he needs to drop to 140.

  30. BrainSmasher on June 23rd, 2013 3:09 PM

    Keep using the name Barclays. People might think it is Tennis and someone might actually tune in to watch.

  31. Tops of on June 23rd, 2013 5:15 PM

    Broner earned 1.5 million and milanaggi 1.125 million payout perspective…..
    Cain Velazquez 400t….big foot 75t. …..Heavyweight

  32. BrainSmasher on June 24th, 2013 8:10 PM

    If you think Cain only made 400K then your IQ isn’t high enough to even continue this discussion.

  33. Tops of on June 25th, 2013 5:26 AM

    Yeah it’s his fight purse….don’t start with your b.s. bonus because broner and maligmaggi bonuses sponsors are not listed as well….it’s base fight purse…..tsetse…Cain needs to fight three times to get brokers paycheck…lol

  34. Chris on June 25th, 2013 9:43 AM

    Tops showing what a great troll he is, when you dont know if someone is trolling or is really that stupid, thats a good troll.

    I cant tell honestly, I cant tell if he is just trolling everyone or if he is really that fucking clueless about shit.

  35. Chris on June 25th, 2013 9:43 AM

    hey Tops do you really not understand how PPV points work?

  36. Tops of on June 26th, 2013 10:53 PM

    400t Cain’s guaranteed purse pay…it dosent include ppv….base pay get it….you can’t compute UFC ppv or add it because they never release the official numbers.and how many percent of ppv buys he is entitled to…I’m comparing guaranteed pay to guarantee pay…its what promoters guaranteed or minimum pay…

    Pacman has 25 million guaranteed against Bradley that dosent include ppv and international tv rights…he made around 30 mill.after all is said…but the base pay is what a company is willing to pay you before ppv….so broner got 1.5m and Cain 400t before ppv or bonuses or sponsors….

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