Bellator continue to struggle to find the best night to air their live events and after a spell airing on Wednesday’s on Spike TV they will now switch to Friday nights starting this fall season.
The ratings so far have actually been pretty good for Bellator on Wednesday nights so I don’t believe they are looking to move to improve their audience.
In fact they’ve essentially admitted themselves that it’s a move to get out from under the large shadow that the UFC is set to cast when they make Wednesday’s their flagship night on FOX Sports 1 starting in August.
“I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC,” Spike TV’s Kevin Kay tells Sports Illustrated. “I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”
Friday’s hasn’t proven to be a particularly effective night for MMA fights in the past though. Bellator aired on Friday’s during their time on MTV2 with fairly underwhelming results, while even the UFC struggled to make headway when they aired TUF: Live on FX on that night.
Kay thinks it’s a night they can make work for Bellator though.
“The Ultimate Fighter on Fridays was doing over a million viewers a week. I’ll take that, and with live fights, I think we’ll do even better.”
As a matter of fact TUF dipped well below a million viewers by the end of it’s run on Friday nights, but I do take his general point that it’s still feasible to put fights on a Friday night.
Whether it’ll thrive there remains to be seen, but with the recent strengthening of their roster and the upcoming ‘Fight Master’ reality show they are certainly providing the right foundations to do so.