The viewer ratings for last weekends WEC and Strikeforce events are in, and despite both promotions providing some terrific action on the night, the numbers are not as impressive.
On Saturday night Strikeforce Evolution pulled in 341,000 viewers on the premium cable station Showtime, while at the same time over on Versus WEC 45 claimed a very similar 330,000 viewers.
Perhaps it was inevitable since the two shows aired simultaneously, forcing viewers who had access to both events to choose one or the other. If the shows had aired one night after the other the ratings for both may have showed a marked improvement.
To better understand the numbers, here are the ratings from the past five events for each promotion:
Strikeforce On Showtime:
Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz 365,000 viewers
Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields 275,00 viewers
Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg 576,000
Strikeforce: Evolution 341,000 viewers
WEC on Versus:
WEC 41: Brown Vs Faber 2: 1,300,000
WEC 42: Torres Vs Bowles: 670,000
WEC 43: Cerrone Vs Henderson: 419,000
WEC 44: Brown Vs Aldo: 411,000
WEC 45: Cerrone Vs Ratcliff: 330,000
There is a significant drop in ratings for the most recent WEC card, though considering the main event was not a title fight, and Ratcliff is not yet an established star, it was perhaps to be expected that ratings would suffer.
For Strikeforce the ratings are roughly within their generally expected range. At the same time it must be a disappointment that after having their biggest event ever (Fedor Vs Rogers), which was widely publicized and watched by some 4 million viewers on CBS in November, that there was no pick up in the Showtime ratings for their next event.
The past data also highlights the importance of star power for the promotions. For Strikeforce Gina Carano is a major draw, and they will be keeping their fingers crossed that she will return to fight in 2010.
For the WEC Urijah Faber also has that rare ability to draw a crowd, and a potential showdown between current champion / rising star Jose Aldo and him could be big business for the company next year.
Finding and developing more stars like these will undoubtedly be a major priority for both promotions in the next decade.