A rare Sunday afternoon UFC show headlined by Anthony Smith’s first-round knockout of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua averaged 492,000 viewers from 2-5 p.m. ET.
The number compares well with last year’s similar show, which aired an hour later, a slightly better time slot, and did 402,000 viewers for a show headlined by Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Gunnar Nelson. Two years ago, a Sunday afternoon July show headlined by Alexander Gustafsson’s win over Glover Teixeira, did 496,000 viewers. But Gustafsson vs. Teixeira was a far more high-profile fight, that also went five rounds, while Smith vs Rua ended in 89 seconds.
With five decisions in the six televised main card bouts this past Sunday, that meant more fighting time which would be a boost to ratings, but a longer main event is always going to be the most beneficial.
The audience was more steady, as the peak was 546,000 viewers for the Stefan Struve vs. Marcin Tybura fight.
During its time slot, FS 1 was second among cable sports to NASCAR, and second overall in the time slot in the 18-49 demo, also to NASCAR.
The two key differences for this Sunday audience as compared with the usual Saturday night audience is that the strongest demo was over 50, but on a percentage basis, teenage girls also skewed higher.
The main card averaged 9,150 viewers through FOX streaming platforms.
A prime time replay of the main card from 9 p.m. to midnight on Sunday night on FS 1 did an additional 323,000 viewers.
The prelims, airing from Noon to 2 p.m. Eastern, averaged 271,000 viewers, down from 284,000 for the show last year, but that’s also more of a function of this year’s show starting an hour earlier, particularly on the West Coast where the prelims started at 9 a.m. this year. But it was helped by more fighting time with four straight decisions. The replay from 7-9 p.m. did another 200,000 viewers. The prelims averaged 7,000 streaming viewers per minute.
The pre-fight show did 68,000 viewers. The live version of the post-fight show did 156,000 viewers and a replay at midnight did another 111,000 viewers.