Our first article on Bellator’s move to Friday focused on how terrible it will be for the company to be stuck on one of the worst nights for television ratings. Now let’s take a look at the official reason for the move:
Despite the California-based promotion’s tangible growth this past season, Kay said the NFL’s return this fall (with the NFL Network securing a fair share of premium games on Thursday nights) precipitated an obligatory move for Bellator, which Viacom purchased a majority stake of in 2011.
TNA Impact Wrestling, which previously served as Bellator’s lead-in, has already been moved back into Thursday’s 9 p.m. slot, where Kay said pro wrestling’s dedicated audience will hold up better against sport’s greatest juggernaut. Kay said the strength of WWE’s Monday Night Raw and Spike’s Tuesday night original programming eliminated an early-week slot for Bellator, which left Wednesdays or Fridays.
Fox Sports 1, the rebranded Speed channel, announced in May that it would feature UFC programming on Wednesdays.
“I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC,” said Kay. “I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”
Jeez, what happened to Scumback Spike, the TV channel that regularly countered the UFC’s live events with confusingly similar UFC replays? They had some fuckin balls. Now the company is so scurred of the NFL and the UFC that they’re settling on a night that guarantees meh ratings instead of one that will occasionally result in them due to competition.