UPDATE:5.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Velasquez vs. Dos Santos on FOX
The UFC’s first night on network television has reportedly drawn in about 4.6 million viewers according to early estimates.
UFC on Fox 1 took place last night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In the main event of the evening Junior Dos Santos upset Cain Velasquez to become the new UFC heavyweight champion of the world.
The fight lasted just 64 seconds and ended with a knockout of Cain Velasquez live on FOX TV.
In preliminary action Benson Henderson was able to outpoint Clay Guida in an exciting, fast paced three round affair to earn the number one contender seat in the UFC’s lightweight division. He will now face Frankie Edgar for the UFC’s lightweight title in a yet to be announced UFC event in 2012 expected to go down in Japan.
While the 4.6 million number is just an early estimate, it still has to be a sore spot for UFC and FOX executives who fell short of gaining the largest MMA audience in history. The 2008 EliteXC bout featuring backyard brawler Kimbo Slice still holds that accolade having drawn in approximately 8 million viewers on CBS.
The only ray of hope is that early estimates for live television broadcasts on Network TV are known to be off the mark. These numbers are expected to change and be dialed in by the end of day today or early tomorrow, which means once totaled up the UFC’s debut on FOX TV may have brought in substantially more viewers.
Zap2it.com explains in more detail as to why and how these numbers can change:
Due to the nature of live coast-to-coast programming the ratings for ABC (College Football), CBS (Republican Debate) and Fox (UFC) are approximate and subject to more than the typical adjustments in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.
All the broadcast networks had at least one hour of programming that aired live coast-to-coast last night, so the fast national ratings are much more prone to adjustment than usual. The fast national ratings are set up to measure the primetime time periods. When there is live primetime programming that is broadcast coast-to-coast the eastern and central time zones get measured properly, but the mountain and Pacific Time zones do not. That’s about 20% of the country (population wise) that doesn’t get measured correctly. So basically, live events get under-counted in the fast national ratings and are adjusted (up) in the finals.
UPDATE: Fox Sports has now confirmed what this report initially stated, the final tally for the UFC’s first trip to Network Television is higher than early estimates. The figure Fox executive have confirmed are in the ballpark of 5.7 million viewers. This still falls short of the numbers Kimbo Slice pulled in on CBS, however it makes the event the most watched UFC broadcast in the companies history.