The Ultimate Fighter season 20 premiere on FOX Sports 1 this past Wednesday night was watched by an average of 536,000 viewers.
That’s a disappointing number given that there was plenty of hype and publicity in the run up to the opening show and there appeared to be high hopes that the all-female cast, who’ll go on to form the UFC’s strawweight division, would capture people’s attention.
So far that’s not been the case, and with the historic trend being that the ratings will fall after the season premiere, it looks like they could be headed for another season of sub-par audiences.
This is nothing new for the UFC though as the TUF franchise has been in decline for some time now. TUF 16 – the first to be aired after the FOX deal on the FX channel saw ratings dip below the million mark for the first time and it’s been downhill ever since with TUF 19 premiering with 596,000 viewers and eventually averaging out to 476,000 over the season as a whole.
Even before the FOX deal there were signs that people were growing tired of the TUF format though and the fact that since then there’s also been a slew of international editions of the show in-between the traditional numbered ones has only enhanced that lack of enthusiasm in their core market.
As such it may be that sub-500,000 viewers will now be the norm for TUF which is quite something when you think that in it’s heyday on Spike TV it was pulling audiences of 1.5 million+ every week.