In a pertinent contrast to today’s new “Media & Business” column discussing the declining TV ratings for UFC on cable and broadcast TV, ten years ago today UFC and Spike TV were celebrating a ratings victory beyond their most optimistic forecasts. The following is the MMATorch.com story published ten years ago today on that successful night for UFC and Spike.
In a rating that exceeded even crazy optimistic predictions, Ultimate Fight Night Live last night drew a 3.1 rating, shattering previous UFC ratings records.
The show opened with 2.4 rating, which many thought was higher than the show would average, and grew from there to a peak rating of 4.3 for the Shamrock vs. Ortiz fight.
For perspective, WWE Raw presented a “dream match” the night before on USA Network featuring John Cena vs. Undertaker and it, too, drew a 4.3 rating for just the final few minutes of the match.
The following press release was sent to MMATorch.com regarding the incredible ratings success of last night’s UFC Fight Night special…
TITO ORTIZ-KEN SHAMROCK III DRAWS KNOCKOUT RATINGS
FOR SPIKE TV
More Men 18-34 Watch Than MLB Playoffs On FOX
Over 4 Million Tune In To UFC Fight – Most Watched UFC Fight In History
New York, NY, October 11, 2006 — The final chapter in the long-running feud between UFC legend Ken “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Shamrock and Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz achieved record ratings for Spike TV and the Ultimate Fighting Championship®. The two hour live UFC fight card on Tuesday, October 10 (8:00-10:00pm ET/PT) from the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. drew 4.2 million viewers, topping out at 5.7 million from 9:30pm-9:45pm. The two-hour event drew an impressive 500,000 more Men 18-34 head-to-head against the MLB playoffs on Fox (1.6 million – 1.1 million). Ortiz won the main event with a first-round knockout over Shamrock.
Overall, the fight card drew a 3.1 household rating (2.8 million homes), 4.46 M18-49 (2.4 million), and a 6.0 M18-34 (1.6 million).
“The fact that more young guys have chosen to watch this huge UFC fight over the baseball playoffs speaks volumes on the rising popularity of the UFC and mixed martial arts in America,” says Kevin Kay, General Manager, Spike TV.
“Last night was a turning point for the UFC. This will further drive the evolution of mixed martial arts into a mainstream sport,” said Dana White, President, Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Among the ratings highlights include:
Spike TV drew more Men 18-34 (1.6 million), than anything on television (broadcast or cable) on Tuesday, October 10
The fight in the 8-10pm timeslot for Spike TV was up +722% with Men 18-34, +942% M18-24, and +652% M 25-34 versus a year ago.
The 9:30-9:45 quarter hour drew a 9.7 rating with M25-34 and an 8.0 M18-34
The previous most watched UFC fight was 2.8 million on June 24 for the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 3. The previous highest quarter hour ever for a fight was 3.4 million.
Highest ratings for a primetime night (8-11pm) for M18-34 and M18-49 in Spike TV history (UFC fight and Scream Awards).
Largest one-day tally of unique visitors to spiketv.com in network history – 117,000
Spike TV, the first network for men, is available in 90 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc.