The UFC’s third prime time Fight Night on ESPN Saturday night from Minneapolis, Minn., averaged 1,091,000 viewers. It was the highest rated show in cable on Saturday night in a number of key demos.
The show peaked during the Francis Ngannou vs. Junior Dos Santos main event with 1,247,000 viewers.
The 9 p.m. to midnight show was second for the day, behind the Women’s World Cup game in the afternoon, in most of the key demos, but was tops on cable during its time slot in Adults and Men 18-49 and 18-34.
It was a relatively weak Saturday night of sports competition as the UFC event was the second-most-watched Saturday night sports event, trailing only the 2,173,000 viewers for baseball on FOX.
The rating would have been substantially higher, but the New York market ratings were weak, greatly holding down the national average. Of the top 10 markets, the strongest were Washington, DC, with a 1.5 household rating, Dallas at 1.3 and Los Angeles and San Francisco at 0.9.
The short main event also would have hurt the overall number. Fights generally build ratings as they go along and it was the biggest audience level of the show at the start of the Ngannou vs. Dos Santos fight.
The strongest age group demographic was 25 to 49, which averaged a 0.49 rating.
The two previous ESPN prime time Fight Nights were Feb. 17, headlined by Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez, which averaged 1,463,000 viewers, and the March 30 show headlined by Justin Gaethje vs. Edson Barboza, which averaged 828,000 viewers.
The prelims, airing from 6:03 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, averaged 553,000 viewers. The gap between the main card rating and prelim number was unusually large. The six-fight prelims were headlined by Ricardo Ramos vs. Journey Newson.