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UFC on FOX 4 Delivers Steady, But Tiny Ratings Against Olympics

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Preliminary ratings for Saturday’s UFC on FOX 4: Shogun vs. Vera special improved slightly from the low mark set by May’s UFC on FOX 3, although competition from the 2012 Summer Olympics assured that they would remain rather minuscule.

From 8-10PM, the show averaged a 1.1 adults 18-49, which marks a 10% improvement over the 1.0 rating May’s “Diaz vs. Miller” show scored in the demo. Viewership for that period was only 2.14 million, however, which is down from the prior show’s 2.3 million average.

The half-hour perspective reveals small but steady growth throughout the broadcast. That is good in the sense that the UFC show was not losing viewers even as more viewers tuned into the Olympics, but the modest growth leading into the main-event also suggests that UFC on FOX attracted a very set, MMA-centric audience rather than a casual, star-hungry one specifically captivated by the main-events.

From TVMediaInsights

8PM:
Olympics on NBC – 5.6A18-49 rating, 19.77M viewers
UFC on FOX – 0.9A18-49 rating, 1.91M viewers

8:30PM:
Olympics on NBC – 6.6, 23.15M
UFC on FOX – 1.1A 2.10M

9PM:
Olympics on NBC – 7.5, 25.30M
UFC on FOX – 1.2, 2.20M

9:30PM:
Olympics on NBC – 8.5, 28.01M
UFC on FOX – 1.2, 2.36M

The numbers are subject to slight change once adjusted to include the overrun and the fact that the show aired live on the west coast, but the overall picture will remain the same: UFC on FOX 4 struggled to attract a mass audience against NBC’s airing of the Summer Olympics, but it also avoided suffering a meaningful decline from the low mark set by May’s show.

That latter fact, combined with the steady audience growth from start-to-finish and the fact that UFC topped all non-NBC primetime broadcasts in the adults 18-49 demo, offers FOX and the leading MMA group some positive spin regarding Saturday’s performance.

On the other hand, this marks the second consecutive show to deliver tepid ratings, and hefty competition or no competition, the expectations when the deal between FOX and UFC was first formulated had to be built around a stronger performance benchmark than the programming has recently been delivering.