On Friday nights, SmackDown has been dominating the ratings battle over UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter and the Bellator promotion.
According to the March 19 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, SmackDown has averaged a 2.15 rating while averaging 3.103 million viewers. The Ultimate Fighter on Spike is in second with a 0.94 rating / 1.284 million viewers, and the Best of TUF on Spike / Bellator are way behind.
Reports The Observer:
Throwing out the 3/2 show, which had head-to-head competition from a live UFC event (which did only slightly better, a 1.00 rating and 1.43 million viewers), and 2/24, where the show aired first the prior Tuesday, the four-week prior average for Smackdown was a 2.12 rating and 3.14 million viewers.
The story here is not that Smackdown dominated the competition, since that was a given, but that with three different MMA shows, all of which were promoted hard, that it had zero effect on the WWE rating. An even bigger story is both Ultimate Fighter Live and Bellator opened to numbers far below what each show should have been expected to do, and had been averaging in the past.
Considering that FX in particular, but Spike as well, had heavily promoted the other shows (Spike pushing Bellator as well as well as the Kimbo Slice commercials for the Best of TUF), it’s a clear sign right out of the gates that moving the biggest MMA television shows of the week to Friday was not a good idea.
Last week’s Fight Night doing well below what Fight Nights did on Spike was explained by it being a weekend of two major MMA shows on television and the UFC show was in a rare case the secondary show. But that’s not really the case. The vast majority of viewers had no second show since Showtime only reaches a small percentage of the MMA audience. The main event wasn’t strong, but the overall card was not any weaker than most of the Fight Night shows. The idea of it moving to FX and it taking some time would make sense if the prelims to the PPV the week earlier were higher rated than most prelims had been on Spike, showing that most of the fans a week earlier had figured it out.