Wednesday night’s UFC Primetime: GSP Vs Shields episode 1 drew an average of 610,000 viewers on Spike TV, figures released today show.
That makes it the least watched Primetime debut episode in the show’s history, falling behind the original GSP Vs Penn series in 2009 who’s first episode drew 880,000 viewers, and just over half the audience of 1,200,000 who tuned in for the premiere of Rampage Vs Evans.
The low ratings are perhaps to be expected considering that Jake Shields is at this stage still not a well known figure to many casual fans, with virtually his entire career being fought outside of the UFC.
Meanwhile this is Georges St.Pierre’s third outing on Primetime in addition to have coached TUF last season, so fans may not be quite as eager to check him out this time around. The fact that there’s no sign of any rivarly between the two fighters, and neither are particularly extrovert characters is also likely to hamper any major uptick in ratings in the coming two episodes.
It should also be noted that the show has been paired up on Wednesday nights with The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 which has also been lagging in the ratings slightly compared to previous seasons, and Primetime is now airing at 12am ET, later than previous incarnations of the show.