UFC 257’s prelims pulled in a sizeable crowd on ESPN this past Saturday night, with an average of 1.433 million viewers tuning in to watch the fights leading up to the pay-per-view broadcast.
The broadcast peaked with 1.7 million viewers during the featured preliminary bout between Matt Frevola and Arman Tsarukyan and delivered a .54 rating in the important 18-49 year-old demographic.
That means that the UFC 257 prelims delivered the fourth best ratings for the promotion on ESPN to date.
The biggest show since their deal with ESPN began back in 2018 remains the UFC 246:McGregor vs. Cerrone prelims, which were watched by 1.767 million viewers, while UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes prelims drew 1.491 million and the UFC On ESPN 1 event pulled in 1.463 million.
The strong ratings for Saturday night’s show come after word emerged via the Sports Business Journal that the main UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 card on pay-per-view also pulled in big numbers, with 1.2 million sales domestically and a further 400,000 coming from international territories, making the event one of the biggest ever for the promotion.
It’s a great way to start the new year for both the UFC and ESPN, though with McGregor now having suffered his first loss due to strikes in the Octagon and their other biggest PPV draw Khabib Nurmagomedov appearing to be leaning towards remaining retired, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the year pans out on pay-per-view.
There are some encouraging signs though, with interest in McGregor’s attempt to bounce back likely to be high, while 2021 will also see Jon Jones move up to heavyweight, Israel Adesanya stepping up to challenge for the light-heavyweight title and Stipe Miocic rematching Francis Ngannou set to generate a lot of interest in the coming months.