This past Saturday’s UFC on Fox 3 Diaz v. Miller saw a 2.3 million viewer decrease from the last UFC on Fox. Of course with any drop in ratings there are multiple factors.
I thought the card was great, and this is not to say that the night of fights were bad. Just me trying to figure out why the ratings fell off so badly.
The first thing that came to my mind was Cinco De Mayo. It’s known for people going out and getting drunk early. Most parties start at 2p.m. or so and continue through the night which took viewers out of their homes and put them in the streets, on the beach or in bars. It’s very possible at least 1 million of the lost viewers were a result of partying for Cinco De Mayo.
Setting Cinco De Mayo aside, there was a big night for boxing. The Mayweather fight overshadowed any event that took place in the combat area Saturday night. Even though Fox’s show ended well before the fight began; it was tough to not see hype for Mayweather, while it was easy to not see the hype for UFC on Fox. I don’t believe I saw one advertisement for the UFC that wasn’t on a Fox owned channel.
With the boxing card starting while UFC on Fox was ending people weren’t home they were out in the bar waiting for the Mayweather fight. The main event was placed to end at the perfect time so there wasn’t overlap, however driving time needed to be factored in. People may have left their houses before the main event, and decided to skip it all together in order to be out early to get a table somewhere.
In addition to Boxing there were playoff games going on Saturday night in the NBA. If given the option of watching your favorite team in the playoffs or watching a card that doesn’t include your favorite fighter, it’s easy to pick the game. The NBA has a deep tradition with many people and the bond people have with their teams, or even just hating other teams is deeper than the bond a lot of people have with MMA.
Most importantly Diaz v. Miller wasn’t a big draw. It’s just wasn’t. I love watching Jim Miller fight so I was in no matter what. However I can guarantee that most casual MMA fans have no idea who he is. Also as “polarizing” as a figure that Diaz is portrayed to be, he’s really not. You either love him or you hate him. In order to do one of these things you have to at least know who the hell he is. Having never been a champion before most people who don’t really follow MMA probably don’t even know who he is, or they think he is his brother. It’s simply the way it is if you weren’t a champion it’s not that common that casual fans know your name.
Now Dana White has said there probably won’t be another title fight on Fox, but I think there has to at least be a good card with former champs and contenders in order to bring in the viewers. For example Machida v. Bader on the next Fox card should bring people in for that fight alone. Right now it’s Stann v. Lombard as the main event. While Americans might know Stann from his Marine background and high level fights, not too many people will know who Lombard is. I’m not a marketing expert, but I would be much more likely to buy a PPV featuring Machida v. Bader. So I would figure most people would be more likely to tune into a main event featuring the two.
Many people are chatting about how terrible this deal is for Fox right now. Well they’re wrong. Fuel TV has grown more than enough to support this deal alone. While the ratings were pretty low compared to other fights on network television they were still better than the normal Saturday night for Fox. I believe there were too many factors to narrow down exactly why the ratings fell off so much. But the UFC is great for Fox and their channels are growing because of it. If nothing else comes from this deal Fuel Tv will most likely at the end of the day be re-branded and feature Zuffa programming at least 12 hours a day.
UFC on Fox 3 was a great card and it’s disappointing that more people didn’t tune in. It was by far the best event they have put on Fox. Here’s to hoping a bigger name and better date will draw in more viewers next time.