After mixed results with relatively low ratings, Viacom owned, Bellator Fighting Championship is set to abandon their Saturday night fighting events and move to Friday nights in an attempt to no longer be clouded by UFC programming.
2011 was a huge year for the UFC. With more events than ever and a new major network TV deal the UFC has monopolized Saturday night fights. This has left Bellator picking up scraps from people who probably just left their TV on or casual fans unknowing that the UFC even exists.
However, moving forward, the promotion will start their sixth season on Friday nights and hopefully garner more public interest and better ratings and it couldn’t come at a better time. If they thought competing with the UFC’s Saturday night programming was rough this year, 2012 is another record breaking calendar for the ZUFFA owned promotion, which plans on putting on the most events in company history.
Their latest season aired with 11 fight nights and those averaged approximately 180,000 viewers. With a clear avoidance of going head-to-head with the UFC they hope to earn a bigger share of viewers for their next season in 2012.
Will the UFC pick up on this Friday night fights and work a counter-programming angle to keep Bellator buried in the memory of fans DVR’s or will they leave them alone?