The UFC will be airing their second FOX event on Saturday night with the event taking place in Chicago at the United Center venue. This is technically the first event on FOX as part of the seven year deal signed between the UFC and FOX last year, although FOX did air a UFC ‘special’ event last November. It was an event that only featured one fight which happened to be the UFC heavyweight title fight that saw Junior dos Santos defeat Cain Velasquez via TKO to become the new UFC heavyweight champion in just 64 seconds. That event averaged 5.7 million viewers, peaking at 8.8 viewers during the actual fight which is the most watched fight in UFC history.
What type of ratings can we expect on Saturday night with the UFC on FOX 2 event?
I think it’s safe to say that this event should definitely beat the event that aired in November from a ratings standpoint. Let’s take a look at some reasons why that’s the case:
- This event will feature three fights instead of one, which means the show will be longer than one hour unlike the November show
- The fighters on this show arguably have more name recognition than either dos Santos or Velasquez
- This event will not be competing with college football for viewers
- This event has been heavily promoted during the NFL playoffs which draw massive ratings numbers
Naturally the show that has more air time will provide an opportunity for more viewers to tune in. The November show was over 40 minutes of analyst talk and fighter profiles followed by just over a minute of fighting. This show on Saturday night will probably feature quite a bit of analyst talk as well, but there should be more actual fighting which is ultimately what fans want to see.
Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia have near 50 UFC fights between them. All of these fighters have been in a UFC main event as some point in their respective careers. Evans has been in the UFC since 2005, Bisping since 2006, Sonnen made his UFC debut in 2005, and Maia since 2007. Both dos Santos and Velasquez made their UFC debut in 2008.
The November event had to compete with a huge top ten game between Oregon and Stanford which garnered millions of viewers in the coveted 18-49 demo. I don’t think there’s anything on TV that will compete with this UFC event that will draw significant numbers.
This event has been heavily promoted for a while now with many ads during the NFL playoffs that air on FOX. These football games draw massive numbers of viewers. We are talking well over 30 million viewers for these football games in which many fit the 18-49 demo target of the UFC.
So the first event peaked at 8.8 million. I think it would be well within reason to say that this event on Saturday night should peak north of 10 million viewers with an average of at least 8 million. It’ll be interesting to see where the peak ratings will take place. Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis is the main event, but I think most people will consider the newly created Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping middleweight fight as the ‘real’ main event. This should be a good night for the UFC as they have two fights where the winner will fight for the title on PPV later this year(depending on who wins and the injury situation). It would be a prime opportunity to promote those two title fights on Saturday night given the opportunity. We could potentially have a Rashad Evans vs. Jon Jones, and Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva II later this year. Those two potential fights would do huge numbers in regards to PPV, but if promoted right on FOX could be much bigger. I wonder if the UFC brings Jon Jones and Anderson Silva in the cage to face off against their future opponents or something of that nature on Saturday night?
What are your predictions for the ratings on Saturday night?