The Bellator 85 event which was the first LIVE Bellator event broadcast at their new home on Spike TV got off to a good start. The show averaged 938,000 viewers for the two hour event and peaked with a high of 1.2 million viewers.
Those numbers are light years better than their old home on MTV2 where the promotion struggled to gain any traction with numbers often below the 200,000 viewer mark.
However, a more true indicator of what type of ratings Bellator will draw on Spike TV will come in the next couple of weeks. There was some added anticipation for their first event on Spike TV that they will not have going forward, and the event offered two title fights with fighters that have been notable fighters for Bellator over the last year or so. Spike TV does have some built-in leverage since it is the former home of the UFC.
Bellator should also benefit from Spike maintaining the rights to the UFC library which ended in December 2012. Spike continued to air MMA(UFC) content in 2012 even though the UFC had moved on to their new broadcast deal with FOX. That move by Spike probably keep a small base of casual MMA fans tuned into Spike which may be able to help Bellator going forward.
The LIVE UFC events on Spike usually averaged just north of one million viewers over the years, and Bellator would certainly have to be happy with those numbers. It was also indicate that their are MMA fans out there that like good fights and not just UFC fans.
Bellator’s next LIVE show on Spike TV will air on Thursday where Bellator MMA welterweight champion Ben Askren will look to defend his title against Karl Amoussou. It will also mark the official Bellator MMA debut of “King Mo” Lawal in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament.
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for more Bellator news and expert analysis/opinion.