The Strikeforce promotion have been on a roll lately, producing consistently entertaining events and producing impressive viewing figures to go with it on Showtime.
While Strikeforce: Feijao Vs Henderson on Saturday night produced a reasonably good night of fights, the ratings on this occasion were slightly disappointing.
An average of 412,000 viewers tuned into the event which saw former UFC star Dan Henderson crowned as the promotion’s new light-heavyweight champion.
That’s down sharply from the record-breaking average of 741,000 viewers that tuned in to watch Strikeforce: Fedor Vs Silva last month which marked the start of their heavyweight tournament.
To be fair that event was heavily hyped so we’re not comparing like-for-like here, but what’s more disappointing is that the event couldn’t keep pace with the unexpectedly solid ratings they produced for Strikeforce: Diaz Vs Cyborg back in January which drew an average of 561,000 viewers and peaked at 853,000 for the main event.
So what’s the reason behind the drop?
For one thing the show was not promoted heavily, with much of Strikeforce’s attentions appearing to be focused on their heavyweight GP, and perhaps somewhat overshadowed by UFC 127 and UFC On Versus 3 during the week of the fight.
Strikeforce also had to face new competition from Bellator who launched their fourth season on MTV 2 on Saturday night, starting an hour earlier than their broadcast on Showtime and pulling in 200,000 viewers on average.
Despite being a favorite amongst some hardcore fans, and being one of Strikeforce’s most high profile signings it also has to be noted that Henderson has not yet proven to be a ratings draw for the promotion.
His debut last year on CBS against Jake Shields produced 2.63 million viewers which was considered a ratings flop given it’s primetime network TV slot.
Then his next fight back on Showtime against Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral in December mustered just 341,000 viewers.
To be fair after the disappointment of his debut, ‘Hendo’ is now delivering the goods inside the cage, producing two highlight reel knockouts against both Sobral and Feijao.
Still, it seems Strikeforce still have some work to do to get the most out of their new 205lb champion, who raked in $200,000 for his victory at the weekend.