The TV ratings news is coming in thick and fast today. Next up is World Series OF Fighting’s debut event on NBC Sports which is reported to have drawn an average of 198,000 viewers on Saturday night.
It’s difficult to assess with any certainty how WSOF and NBC Sports will view this, but it does appear to be on the low side given that before the channel’s rebranding from Versus to NBC Sports the UFC had held several events on it which averaged 868,500 viewers, while the WEC called Versus home for several years and pulled in an average of 601,000 viewers.
WSOF would surely have been hoping for something closer to that, especially since they paid out well over $300,000 in salaries for the show in order to bring in familiar names like Andrei Arlovski, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson and Miguel Torres.
It should however be noted that presently NBC Sports airs boxing events on the channel which only pull in around 270,000 viewers according to MMAfighting’s Dave Meltzer, so Saturday night’s event wasn’t too far of that.
An interested observer in all this may well be Bellator who are hoping to improve their own TV ratings when they move from MTV2 to Spike TV next year.
What the WSOF’s results suggest is that the UFC brand still carries a lot of weight and that there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to make that transition and immediately start pulling in the kind of numbers that Zuffa enjoyed during their long run on the channel.
As for WSOF, following their show at the weekend they indicated that they already have another show in the works for January, but there was no indication as to whether it would be broadcast on NBC Sports or not.