UFC Fight Night 27 was watched by an average of 824,000 viewers for an 0.69 rating on FOX Sports 1 this past Wednesday night, peaking with just over 1 million viewers for the main event.
That’s down drastically from the 1.78 million viewers who tuned into UFC Fight Night 26 (AKA UFC On FOX Sports 1) a week and a half earlier.
The news is somewhat mixed here. It was expected that Wednesday’s show wouldn’t pull in the kind of ratings we saw back on the launch night given that there was far less promotion behind it, a less star-studded fight card and it was on a Wednesday night instead of the Saturday night slot fight fans are accustomed to.
On the other hand, 824,000 viewers is undoubtedly on the low side of expectations here and falls below the kind of ratings we’ve seen from the UFC on FX in the past, with the lowest number seen on that channel being just shy of a million viewers.
It has to be remembered that this is a new channel though, and the good news for the UFC is that at the moment they are by far and away the best performing content on FOX Sports 1 which has had a less than auspicious start since it launched on August 17th.
For example, in the previous week the highest rated show was a live NASCAR event which drew 540,000 viewers on a Wednesday, so the UFC blew that away this week.
In total during the previous week FOX Sports 1 had only pulled in an average of 167,000 viewers during primetime, and only 81,000 viewers overall.
So, at this moment in time the UFC is the only real success story for the channel and the effect of that is already paying dividends for the company with all the UFC’s preliminary cards being shifted to FS1 instead of FS2 for instance.
Still, there’s definite room for improvement here, particularly from the UFC’s perspective as they won’t want to be consistently underperforming compared to the numbers they experienced on FX.
It’s early days yet though and with Wednesday night’s now set in concrete as the UFC’s flagship night on the channel with live events and the all-new TUF 18 season in the schedule going forward the hope is that fans will gradually become more accustomed to this and audiences will grow over time.
They’ll also be helped by a stronger line-up of other sporting content on the channel when things like college football arrives next month.
Overall, expectations now have to be tempered a little after a relatively successful launch night for the UFC, but I think there’s still reason to be optimistic and so far FOX Sports 1 looks to be a far better home base for the promotion than Fuel TV was.