UFC Fight Night 32: 722,000 viewers

November 12, 2013

MMA Payout has learned from industry sources that UFC Fight Night 32 on Saturday night scored an average viewership of 722,000.  In the main event, Vitor Belfort stopped Dan Henderson in the first round.

UFC Fight Nights on FS1

UFC Fight Night 26:  1.78 million viewers

UFC Fight Night 27:  824,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 28:  539,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 29:  638,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 31:  641,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night 32:  722,000 viewers

UFC Fight Night on FS2

UFC Fight Night 30: 122,000 viewers

Payout Perspective:

This was the first Fight Night on a Saturday since UFC Fight Night 26.

Decent ratings considering this was a Brazil card and it went opposite a very big college football game involving LSU and Alabama on CBS.  That game received a 13 share among adults 18-49 and 11.5M viewer average.  Vitor Belfort and Dan Henderson was a decent main event although there were not any other known fighters on the card (although you may want to know the name Brandon Thatch for the future).  Also, the fact that there was a fight night on Wednesday may have hurt the promotion for this event.

16 Responses to “UFC Fight Night 32: 722,000 viewers”

  1. LeonThePro on November 12th, 2013 10:38 AM

    Good to see a continuing upward trend from UFN 28.

  2. Sampson Simpson on November 12th, 2013 2:50 PM

    Pretty much the same as Bellator. Funny

  3. Machiel Van on November 12th, 2013 3:38 PM

    “Pretty much the same as Bellator. Funny”

    Actually it makes perfect sense and isn’t funny at all. If you understand TV ratings, then you know that a newly launched network takes a long time to establish an audience that views the new network as a destination for their preferred programming. Fox Sports 1 is a brand new network that is less that 3 months old. The UFC, by far, draws the best ratings on the channel out of the content which has been offered thus far, and is thus viewed as “tentpole programming” for the channel (i.e. programming that significantly outdraws everything else that the channel offers, and is therefore programming that people are actively seeking out on the channel). It will be some time before Fox Sports 1 becomes a destination channel for sports programming, and anything that draws viewers to the channel is a boon to FOX. Like happened with FUEL TV, the UFC is currently being saddled with the burden of helping to grow an unproven channel, causing its ratings to decrease from what they were on FX, a well-known channel with destination programming for the UFC’s core demographic.

    Unlike with FX, a channel that did not need the UFC at all, Fox Sports 1 is in desperate need of compelling content to draw people to the channel. You can look at the ratings the UFC was able achieve on SPIKE TV and compare them to their current ratings on FS1, but that comparison yields little in terms of meaningful data: MMA was a hotter product stateside when the UFC was still broadcast on SPIKE, the UFC was able to cultivate an audience following on the network that stretched across 6 years, and SPIKE had much more of an incentive to heavily promote UFC programming than the folks at FOX do as SPIKE has never shown to have a comparably popular property before or since. This dynamic is compounded by the fact that UFC programming is diversified across 3 television platforms, and that unlike SPIKE TV, Fox properties have not chosen to air UFC programming on tape delay on the west coast (which, believe it or not, has shown to improve sports ratings on the west coast), leading to very unfavorable event start times in the region.

    Bellator has a single channel that hosts all of its televised events, and does so on a week by week basis, which leads to a situation where Bellator fans know exactly where and when to find the company’s programming each week. The importance of easy to locate programming that airs at the same time consistently cannot be overstated. Meanwhile, UFC fans have to be vigilant in order to know which channel an event will be broadcast on, determine whether or not they have access to said channel(s), and then deal with a consistent flux of event dates and start times. This makes being a UFC fan and following their programming a far more demanding task than Bellator asks of its fans, which is understandably a disparity between the two promotions and a problem for Zuffa.

    So in Fox Sports 1 you have channel in its infancy, which the UFC is being tasked to carry for the time being, to know perceptible benefit to themselves. The UFC is also forced to stratify its programming across 3 networks, and air events on a variety of days (Wed., Fri., and Sat.) with a schedule that seems to be in constant flux. In SPIKE you have a very well-known channel with an established audience and a deep history of airing MMA programming that can offer events at the same time of day on the same day of the week, week after week.

    This is not as simple as comparing two properties and their performance on their given networks. Such a view reflects a lack of understanding of all the factors at play. The bottom line is that Bellator is in a far better position to draw better ratings than the UFC, but is hindered by a lack of brand recognition and a lack of experience in trying to make fans care about their brand. The UFC has a more established brand, but is hindered by the changing nature of its TV deal and stratified programming. An increase in the profile of FS1 would certainly help raise the UFC’s ratings, but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    What’s become undeniable is that the FOX tv deal benefits FOX as it brings viewers to their fledgling properties, but does very little to help the UFC. It does not provide increased exposure, and has therefore not helped their PPV sales. It has succeeded in elevating the UFC to a position where it can be accepted as part of the mainstream sports diet, but that doesn’t automatically make it part of that diet for the majority of sports fans. The UFC/FOX relationship isn’t going anywhere, so hopefully now that the UFC is done platform jumping they can start to build on their current viewership. As an MMA fan, I hope that both promotions can remain healthy and drive interest upwards, and think that to root for either to fail is an indication of a lack of enthusiasm for the sport itself.

  4. Machiel Van on November 12th, 2013 3:41 PM

    For Bellator, I sincerely hope that Rebney is able to convince the people at Viacom that PPV is not a good idea at this time. At all. They’re a TV product and should remain as such unless they have a fight so undeniably compelling that they would lose out by NOT putting it on PPV. Alvarez vs Chandler III, as anticipated as it will be, is not that fight, and when the best fight you can offer is not the right fight with which to move into the PPV space, it’s clearly best to avoid that transition. However, the fact that Ortiz vs Jackson was ever made in the first place causes me to think that those who are really calling the shots over there do not understand this.

  5. Sampson Simpson on November 12th, 2013 10:13 PM

    Blah blah blah. UFC is going downhill fast.

    There is nothing now or in the future that will bring FS1 any sort of elevated ratings.

    They could put the superbowl on FS1 and FS2 to have zillions of people watch but then they’d never return. Game is over, most Zuffa zombies just don’t know it yet.

  6. Tops of on November 13th, 2013 2:31 AM

    Long essays….like b.s….haha

  7. Diego on November 13th, 2013 6:35 AM

    Long essay, but very informative if you take the time to read it. Thanks MV.

    I agree with your take on the Bellator PPV.

    Sampson, the UFC is by far the highest grossing MMA promotion in the world. If it’s “going downhill fast” then the sport is dead and I don’t see evidence that the sport is dead.

    What does get highlighted here is that Spike is doing a good job of trying to build up the Bellator brand by having consistent programming while Fox seems willing to sacrifice long-term UFC viewership as long as Fox can get a short-term bump in ratings. I’m sure the guys at Zuffa know what’s up and they’re getting paid accordingly, but it’s still a shame to see.

  8. Diego on November 13th, 2013 6:36 AM

    “as long as Fox can get a short-term bump in ratings”

    I meant to say: “as long as FS1 and FS2 can get a short-term bump in ratings”

  9. LeonThePro on November 13th, 2013 7:54 AM

    Good article @ MV, Jason and co. should use that as guest spot analysis – deserves front page treatment, not a post!

    “What’s become undeniable is that the FOX tv deal benefits FOX as it brings viewers to their fledgling properties, but does very little to help the UFC. It does not provide increased exposure, and has therefore not helped their PPV sales.”

    I really wonder what the suits at Zuffa are thinking, regarding their fan-base, as they watch it quickly deteriorate. It will be difficult to climb the PPV and viewership mountain for a second time, after losing those original fans that jumped on the bandwagon the first go.

  10. Andrew on November 13th, 2013 1:00 PM

    Sampson and Tops boi you are idiots. I ain’t trying to be an a** but it needs to be said. The UFC is hosting more events than ever before, thats a sign of growth, ratings don’t mean everything to a business. It’s kinda funny how you think Bellator is close to the UFC LMAO

  11. BrainSmasher on November 13th, 2013 1:01 PM

    I disagree that Fox is just looking for short term goals. Fact is without short term goal to establish those sports networks. Let’s remember that the events shown on FS1 and FS2 are events they would have never been shown before the fox deal. In fact the events might not have ever been booked. Which would kill the UFC’s chance to expand globally. Yes the UFC gets low ratings early on. But if the networks build up. The UFC will come out smelling like a rose.

    Right now the UFC is blowing up in Brazil and running events all over the world. At the same time using those events to help FOX and built the UFC future on FOX while at the same time making good money from the FOX deal for sitting those events. Of course it would be nice not to lost some of those ratings early on. But this is still a win win for all involved.

    If Fox was trying to milk the UFC for short term gain. They wouldn’t have signed such a long term deal. Truth is FOX can’t pile UFC on FOX or FX. Those are not sports channels or a UFC channel. So the only answer to accommodate all the shows the UFC and make them available to the fans to see is to create a sports network. FS1 beats being thrown on regional fox sports or Fuel. You can’t recreate ESPN over night and someone has to take the hit in ratings while at the same time bringing in viewers. The UFC signed on to take that early hit. The UFC is smartly using this time to take events overseas. UFC events outside the US have always taken a hit in ratings and PPv buys. So whT better time to do it when ratings are already going to be down anyway? This shows the UFC expected ratings to be a little low at least.

  12. Tops of on November 14th, 2013 5:32 AM

    Boi?Hahaha…

  13. Saldathief on November 14th, 2013 10:19 AM

    So It looking like there are only about half a million MMA fans that consistently watch MMA on free TV. How long does one have to actually stay on a channel to be counted? If its a boring fight and you switch to check on something else and then you come back does it count you twice?/ Anyhow it will be interesting to see the PPV number for 167

  14. Andrew on November 14th, 2013 5:45 PM

    seriously tops ? you don’t know what boi is? LMAO its the black term for boy. LMAO

  15. Tops of on November 14th, 2013 7:02 PM

    Seriously? Hahahaha

  16. pop on November 18th, 2013 2:59 AM

    LOL, the end is nigh.

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