Yep, it happened: Spike’s UFC rerun beat out Versus’s live UFC event on Sunday night. At least it was close?
Sunday’s telecast drew an average audience of 744,000 viewers, which was up just slightly from the 681,000 that UFC on Versus 3 averaged, according to MMAWeekly.com‘s industry sources.
Spike TV, a longtime UFC television partner that is in the midst of contract negotiations with the promotion, and believed to be in danger of not ironing out a new deal, counter-programmed UFC on Versus 4, drawing 793,000 viewers to its re-broadcast of UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares.
This is Spike pointing out the obvious: more people watch Spike than Versus, and Versus is simply a smaller broadcasting platform. But while that might be true, it doesn’t really address why the UFC is flirting with this hussy of a network when it’s got a phat bitch like Spike in da house. Versus may be smaller, but Comcast is so big people bugged the fuck out when it swallowed up NBC-Universal.
So add in shows on NBC and the rumored G4 buy-in that would basically put UFC at the head of it’s own Idiot Male Network, and the UFC’s move from Spike to Planet Comcast still seems pretty smart. Since Comcast’s cable provider arm makes money off UFC pay per views, they’ll always have incentive to promote the sport.
In the end, this little ratings battle proved one thing: Versus is smaller than SpikeTV. But we already knew that. The UFC getting in bed with Comcast is risky. We already knew that too. And a large number of people will watch Spike TV no matter how stupid or dated the content is. Sadly, also already established.