In its first ever network television broadcast, UFC on Fox scored 5.7 million viewers, the most ever for a UFC event. And it brought in a total rating of 3.1 with a 5 share.
It apparently did not win the night though. Oregon-Stanford on ABC apparently won the overnight ratings overall and in 18-49.
As for the coveted 18-34 and 18-49 demographics, last night’s UFC Heavyweight Championship fight that lasted just barely over a minute, won for Fox. And the network says the 18-34 category brought in better ratings for every single college football game to date with the exception of last Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game on CBS. That’s quite impressive.
Las Vegas was the highest rated local market followed by Dallas and Phoenix.
Overall, I thought the UFC on Fox production was good and there was no dumbing down as with the UEFA Champions League Final (football vs. football). Here’s the press release.
Heavyweight Championship is Most-Watched UFC Event Ever; Most Watched Pro Fight Since 2003
Los Angeles – History was made last night as the UFC made its broadcast television debut on FOX, and a record audience tuned in as the challenger, Junior dos Santos defeated defending champion Cain Velasquez in a first round knock out to claim the coveted heavyweight crown. It was the most-watched UFC event ever and the most-watched professional fight of any kind in eight years, according to fast national ratings made available by Nielsen Media Research.
The hour-long UFC on FOX premiere scored a 3.1/5 household rating/share, with 5.7 million viewers making it the most-watched UFC event ever and the most-watched professional fight of any kind on any network since 2003 when 7.0 million tuned in to watch Lewis-Klitschko on HBO. Velasquez-dos Santo is also the highest-rated and most-watched professional fight of any kind on a broadcast network for OSCAR DE LA HOYA’S FIGHT NIGHT on FOX. (4.3/6, 5.9 million viewers) in 1998.
FOX Research projects that last night’s UFC on FOX premiere broadcast to win the 9:00-10:00 PM time period across key demos including Adults 18-34 (3.2), Adults 18-49 (3.0); Men 18-34 (4.3) and Men 18-49 (4.0). Competitive fast national ratings for other networks are currently unavailable.
The UFC on FOX debuted strong opposite significant college football competition last night. ABC’s primetime Oregon-Stanford broadcast averaged a 6.0/11, while NBC’s Maryland-Notre Dame primetime broadcast averaged a 1.4/3 and ESPN averaged a 1.5/3 in prime for Alabama-Mississippi State (college football ratings are overnights – overnight for UFC on FOX event was 3.5/6). The three games combined to total 8.9/17 in primetime. Interestingly, among the Men 18-34 demographic, the UFC on FOX premiere posted a 4.3, strong enough to out-rate every college football telecast this season on any network with the exception of last week’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 LSU-Alabama match-up (through 11/5).
The most recent mixed martial arts programs on broadcast television were a series of EliteXC events on CBS in 2008. The premiere of UFC on FOX attracted an average audience +16% higher than the premiere of EliteXC on CBS (5/31/08), their most-watched EliteXC event (5.7 vs. 4.9 million viewers). UFC on FOX also out-performed the EliteXC show in household rating (3.1 vs. 3.0) and across key male demos: Men 18-34 +34% (4.3 vs. 3.2); Men 18-49 +33% (4.0 vs. 3.0); and Men 25-54 +23% (3.8 vs. 3.1).
Las Vegas led all local markets with a 5.3/9, followed by Dallas (5.1/10), Phoenix (5.1/9), San Antonio (5.1/8), Tulsa (4.9/8), San Diego (4.8/9), Greensboro (4.6/6), New Orleans (4.5/6) and Los Angeles (4.3/8).
We’ll do one more press release post that doesn’t have to deal with the NFL before moving to the Sunday pregame quotage.