Bisping vs. Kennedy does slightly above recent Wednesday numbers

Zuffa LLC, Getty Images

Wednesday's FS 1 night of UFC action did 641,000 viewers for the main card, and 595,000 viewers for the TUF 19 series debut. The live show was slightly above most of the recent Wednesday shows, but the TUF premiere, not surprisingly, was down 22 percent from the much hyped Rousey vs. Tate season.

One thing we've established is that Wednesday night is not the best night for UFC business.

It's harder to draw both live and on tape, particularly on the West Coast, where the UFC is traditionally strongest, because the matches begin in the early afternoon on a work day.

Originally, when UFC moved to Fox Sports 1, the idea was Wednesday would become UFC destination night, with Ultimate Fighter, UFC Tonight and shoulder programming, and about two dozen live events per year. But it became clear that strategy wasn't working when it came to live fight cards. And, for the most part, they've gotten away from it.

UFC's televised shows are now mostly on Saturday, with Wednesday shows, like this past week, used to help spark interest in the opening night of the new seasons of Ultimate Fighter. The experiment with a Sunday night show on March 23 also proved to be successful with 936,000 viewers.

The numbers for Wednesday's show fit right into the pattern, with a slight increase over recent shows. The prelims did 263,000 viewers from 5-7 p.m. Eastern and 2-4 p.m. Pacific. The main card from 7-10:19 p.m., headlined by Tim Kennedy's five-round decision win over Michael Bisping did 641,000 viewers. The two-hour season opener of the Ultimate Fighter season 19, with B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar as coaches, did 595,000 viewers airing from 10:20 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. Eastern.

The numbers across the board are slightly up from the two prior FS 1 nights booked similarly.

The first, on Sept. 4, to kick off TUF season 18, with Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate, saw the live Fight Night from Brazil headlined by Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan Bader, did 220,000 viewers for the prelims, 539,000 for the main card, and 762,000 for the TUF season opener.

Keep in mind there was far more promotion for that season of Ultimate Fighter.

The second, on Jan. 15, to kick off TUF Nations, and with a live show headlined by Luke Rockhold vs. Costas Philippou, did 220,000 viewers for the prelims, 629,000 for the main card and the series coached by Kyle Noke and Patrick Cote did 371,000 viewers on the first night.

There was a Nov. 6 Fight for the Troops headlined by Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal that did 641,000 viewers, identical to this past week, although November is a better time period for ratings than April.

The Road to the Octagon special, previewing Saturday's FOX card, aired at 5 p.m. Eastern and 2 p.m. Pacific on April 12 on FOX, did 691,000 viewers.

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