The preliminary card for UFC 194, the most anticipated event of the year, broke records on FOX Sports 1 this past Saturday night.
An average of 1,931,000 viewers tuned in to watch the UFC 194 prelims, making it the most watched preliminary card ever on FOX Sports 1,
It’s also now the second most watched UFC event on the channel, with only the main card of UFC Fight Night 59: McGregor Vs Siver surpassing it with 2.75 million viewers.
There’s no doubt that this is very much ‘The Conor McGregor Effect’ in action again here as the UFC’s shoulder programming for UFC 194 also experienced a big boost, such as the weigh-ins which were watched by a FS1 record 294,000 viewers, while both the pre-fight show (556,000 viewers) and post-fight coverage (344,000 viewers) were the fourth most watched ever for those formats.
Along with the level of interest in the McGregor Vs Aldo fight which followed the prelim show on pay-per-view along with a very strong main card, the prelim show also had star power in the shape of Urijah Faber which may also have helped the ratings.
The audience for the prelims certainly bodes well for the main card, and indeed the UFC’s PR Director Dave Sholler stated at the post-fight press conference on Saturday night that UFC 194 was on course to be their biggest event of the year, even eclipsing Ronda Rousey’s blockbuster UFC 190 and UFC 193 events.
The last info for UFC 193 suggested that it had done around 1.1 million buys which would have made it the second biggest PPV event ever for the company, but from the sounds of this it’s going to be pushed back to third place by UFC 194.
In fact, Sholler suggested it may even be rivalling their biggest ever PPV, UFC 100 which did a whopping 1.6 million buys. If UFC 194 has pulled anywhere close to that number then that would be a mind-blowing achievement considering that event back in July of 2009 was not only a special anniversary for the promotion, but also featured the UFC’s two biggest draws of that era, Brock Lesnar and Georges St.Pierre on the same card.
It just shows how big of a superstar McGregor has come, and perhaps there was also some momentum carried on from the previous UFC 193 event with Rousey last month too, and it’s proved to be a terrific way to cap off what’s been a hugely successful year for the UFC, with the promise of more to come in 2016.