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UFC 221 prelims do 697,000 viewers, skewing older

UFC 221: Wilkinson v Adesanya Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Saturday night’s UFC 221 prelims, prior to the Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold show, did 697,000 viewers on FS 1.

The broadcast also drew 8,022 streaming viewers on FSGO and FOX Now over an average minute.

The show wouldn’t have been expected to do a big number, given less interest in the pay-per-view card and it going head-to-head with the Winter Olympics on NBC. The Olympics pulled in 21,394,000 viewers with figure skating, ice dancing and men’s alpine skiing.

The UFC was fourth among sports broadcasts in the time slot, also trailing the Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs NBA game that did 2,781,000 viewers and college basketball on ESPN that did 1,308,000 viewers.

The UFC 220 prelims, before a show with far more interest given it had Francis Ngannou’s challenge of Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title and Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir for the light heavyweight title, did 905,000 viewers. In 2017, there were four prelim shows before pay-per-views that did a lower number than UFC 221’s show did.

There were no major names on the prelims, which showcased Jussier Formiga, Alexander Volkanovsky and Israel Adesanya, who looked impressive but weren’t well known to the average fan.

The peak rating was 821,000 viewers for the bulk of the Maestro Dong Hyun Kim vs. Damien Brown fight.

Due to an auto race going long, most of the pre-fight show was moved to FS 2, where it wasn’t listed on the schedule, and only did 36,000 viewers. The last seven minutes that did air on FS 1 did 452,000 viewers. The post-fight show did 188,000 viewers.

One notable factor is that the audience skewed older than usual. The show did a 0.21 rating in the 18-49 demographic, as compared to 0.34 in the 50+ demographic. Until recent years the 18-49 demo always beat 50+, and even in recent years when that has changed, the margin usually isn’t that significant.

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