The UFC continues to provide good ratings for ESPN while operating as the only major sports entity still putting on live events.
On Saturday night, UFC on ESPN 8 finished second in the overall ratings on cable after providing similar results for the UFC 249 preliminary card a week earlier.
The show headlined by Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris averaged 1.198 million viewers over the course of the broadcast that kicked off at 9 p.m. ET, according to the Nielsen Ratings System. UFC on ESPN 8 finished second in the coveted 18-49 demographic, but finished way ahead of all other programming for the male audience in that same age range.
Based on the average viewers for all UFC on ESPN cards, the show from Saturday night finished second on the all-time list behind the first event that featured Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez in the main event. That card averaged 1.463 million viewers over the life of the broadcast.
UFC on ESPN 8 didn’t come close to those numbers, but the show did end up with higher average ratings than any other UFC on ESPN card.
It must also be noted that the card was simulcast on ESPN+, which means the overall ratings could be even higher, but those numbers are not released publicly.
The UFC on ESPN 8 prelims averaged 690,000 viewers with the broadcast starting at 6 p.m. ET. That part of the broadcast actually ended up in fifth place in the overall ratings for cable networks on Saturday night.
With almost every other live sport shut down currently, the UFC has received a lot of attention while relaunching with three events over one week with more shows on the way. The next major UFC card is expected to go down on May 30 with former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley facing off with Gilbert Burns in the main event.
A location for that card is still to be determined as well as broadcast plans for the show.