clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC on FOX, NHL on NBC virtually deadlocked in overnight ratings

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Faced with a ton of sports competition, including the NBA and NHL playoffs, as well as both HBO and Showtime boxing with major stars, Saturday night's UFC show on FOX did a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and 2.43 million viewers based on the overnight ratings.

The viewership number would be slightly higher than predictions while the demo number would be at expected levels.

As always, the overnight ratings only cover the 8-10 p.m. live showing in the Eastern time zone, as well as the corresponding times in the Central and Mountain time zone.  It covers an 8-10 p.m. time slot on the West Coast, which measures what FOX affiliates had on during that slot, and not the UFC show, which aired starting at 5 p.m. It also doesn't include any period after 10 p.m., which was the main event and post-match, which would have been expected to be the highest rated part of the show.

Since the main event ended with Luke Rockhold finishing Lyoto Machida at 2:31 of the second round, the show didn't go nearly as long as many of the previous UFC on FOX shows, meaning less time to build a larger main event audience. That means the growth when the actual numbers come out on Monday or Tuesday will not be as large as many of the previous shows.

The number is virtually identical with the NHL number on NBC for a New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game that also did an 0.9 in the key demo, and 2.41 million viewers. One would expect the UFC show to do better when figuring in the West Coast, given a West Coast fighter in the main event in Rockhold. UFC is also traditionally stronger on the West Coast, and the NHL game had two Northeast teams.

FOX and NBC tied in the 18-49 demo for first place among the four networks, although ABC and CBS both drew far more viewers overall. The latter networks had programming that hit the 50-and-over demo far stronger, most notably 20/20 on ABC and 48 Hours on CBS. 20/20 was the highest-rated show in the demo in the overnights, with a 1.0, and had 5.85 million viewers. Most likely both FOX and NBC will beat that 1.0 when the final numbers come in. 48 Hours at 10 p.m. was the highest-rated show of the night with a 0.9 in the demo and 6.25 million viewers.

Overall the viewer numbers for UFC are up 22 percent from last year's November show and 18-49 demos are up 11 percent from the show headlined by the Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne battle for the No. 1 contendership for the heavyweight title. That show did a 0.8 in the demo and 1.99 million viewers on the fast nationals. That fight ended up doing 2.5 million viewers when the final numbers came in. This show is likely not to jump as much, by percentage, since Werdum vs. Browne was a five-round fight that went longer past 10 p.m.

This year's show would have been expected not to significantly outperform last year. Even though Rockhold vs. Machida was a stronger marquee main event than Werdum vs. Browne. Last year's show went longer and this year's head-to-head sports competition was far tougher. Last year's show had Donald Cerrone and Miesha Tate on the undercard, who were more established draws as support than Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, Cub Swanson and Paige VanZant this year.

The two prior spring FOX shows on the overnight ratings saw the 2012 show with Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller do a 1.0 in the demo and 2.25 million viewers, and the 2013 show with a Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez lightweight title match, did a 1.6 in the demo and 3.3 million viewers.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting