No matter how the rating for Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers” event is spun by the players involved, observers must acknowledge that there was some disappointment.
The CBS broadcast, from 9-11PM, averaged 3.8 million viewers and a 1.7/6 in adults 18-49. The household rating was a 2.3. While the demo figure is acceptable, it neither reflects the “special” nature of the event (a rare MMA card on CBS, Fedor in a live main event) nor makes up for the show’s overall viewership disappointment.
When the final rating is revealed, it will most certainly improve, as the Fedor-Rogers fight took place in the overrun. Nonetheless, the overall viewer average is hardly a victory for the show, especially considering the overall viewership growth mixed martial arts has experienced since Elite XC last posted solid ratings for Kimbo Slice’s fights on CBS. Between Kimbo’s presence on “The Ultimate Fighter” and monster buyrates for UFC 100 and UFC 101, the last few months have taken mixed martial arts to a higher level, and UFC or not, there should be higher expectations for viewership.
Compared to other EXC shows on CBS, this broadcast did worse than the Kimbo fights but better than the July 2008 showing. While the rating for UFC’s “Main Events” special is not yet out for comparison, this broadcast also did worse than the Kimbo vs. Roy Nelson episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV (not even including the spike for the actual fight).
One particularly noteworthy concern is the difference between the Strikeforce on CBS audience and the typical UFC fight audience. Though the show did win in adults 18-49, notably topping ABC’s college football broadcast, its audience skewed older than most UFC airings. While that would imply that some of the males 18-34 were consumed with the UFC special on Spike TV, it also suggests that Strikeforce, especially without a drawing card like a Kimbo, is drawing from curious viewers–older individuals watching CBS at the time anyway or casual boxing and fight fans who are interested in a live fight–rather than from target mixed martial arts fans sold on the viability and interest of the Strikeforce brand.
CBS ranked in last place among the big four for total viewers and third in adults 18-49, although as far as the latter is concerned, the network was held down with a poor showing at 8PM.