The situation will likely differ when Spike begins airing live/original fights, but the network’s first Thursday Bellator broadcast got off to a soft start this week.
Airing out of a TNA Impact Wrestling episode that drew a 0.5 adults 18-49 rating and 1.62 million viewers, the first hour of “Bellator 360” attracted just 461,000 viewers and a 0.2 rating.
On the positive front, the second episode of the series, which immediately preceded the debut, improved its audience to 513,000.
As evidenced by UFC’s latter performances on Spike TV and recent broadcasts on new home FX, cable interest in mixed martial arts programming has declined, which creates an uphill battle for Bellator.
At the same time, the show’s positioning after Impact will assure it has exposure to a relevant audience, and if its live fights can drum up sufficient interest, it will indeed have an opportunity to become an asset for Spike.