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Posted: Wednesday June 4, 2008 2:12PM; Updated: Wednesday June 4, 2008 2:12PM

Three promotions score big with weekend ratings

Story Highlights
  • The EliteXC event on May 31 averaged 4.85 million viewers on CBS
  • The UFC's Liddell-Silva bout re-aired Saturday, it drew 1.6 million viewers
  • The MMA events drew more viewers than NBA Playoff games on ESPN and TNT
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By Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com

CBS on Tuesday released the full ratings results for the debut of CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, which took place on Saturday night in Newark, N.J. and aired live on the CBS Television Network.

The event averaged 4.85 million viewers over the entirety of the telecast. It peaked at 6.51 million viewers during the main event between Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson and James Thompson.

A statement from CBS indicated that the network seemed pleased with the numbers, especially since it represented a significant increase in most of the key advertising demographics over the network's regularly scheduled programming in the same time lot during the 2007-08 season. The numbers were especially well received by the network at the younger end of the demographic groups. The adults 18-34 demographic was up 156 percent and 18-34 men 357 percent.

Spike TV officials also released numbers for their counter-programming on Saturday night, which leaned heavily on the popularity of Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell. UFC Unleashed: Liddell vs. Silva, which presented the Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva Dec. 29 bout for the first time on basic cable, drew an average of 1.6 million viewers. The Ultimate Iceman: Chuck Liddell saw 1.2 million viewers tune in.

Although the Spike TV numbers don't compare to the 4.85 million viewers on CBS, Spike TV officials indicated that the viewership represented a significant increase over its season average in the same time period.

The 1.6 million viewers for Unleashed placed it as the No. 2 watched show on basic cable programming in its time slot, second only to Pirates of the Carribbean.

A more significant comparison can be made between the audiences. CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, as previously mentioned, drew 4.85 million viewers on average and peaked at 6.51 million during the main event. A more similar event on Spike TV, a tape-delayed telecast of UFC 75 featuring a title bout between Quinton Jackson and Dan Hendersen, drew 4.7 million viewers on average and peaked at 5.928 million viewers during the main event.

To put these numbers into a better perspective, and to convey the growing popularity of mixed martial arts in general, consider that on the three networks that the NBA basketball playoffs have aired this season they have averaged 5.4 million viewers on ABC, 4.1 million viewers on ESPN, and 3.8 million viewers on TNT.

World Extreme Cagefighting on Tuesday also released the numbers for its Sunday night event, WEC 34, featuring Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver. The overall event averaged 1.536 million viewers and was the most watched event in its timeslot among the key advertising demographics of Men 18-34 and Men 18-49.

UFC vs. EliteXC Ratings Comparisons:

Average Number of Viewers for the Entire Broadcast
(Top 4 UFC broadcasts of all time and EliteXC's one broadcast on CBS)

1. EliteXC in May 2008--- Average of 4.85 million viewers for the whole broadcast

2. UFC 75 in September 2007--- Average of 4.7 million viewers for the whole broadcast

3. UFC: The Final Chapter in October 2006--- Average of 4.2 million viewers for the whole broadcast

4. UFC 70 in April 2007--- Average of 2.8 million viewers for the whole broadcast

5. UFC's TUF 3 Finale in June 2006--- Average of 2.8 million viewers for the whole broadcast

UFC vs. EliteXC Ratings Comparisons:

Average Number of Viewers for the Most-Watched Individual Fights
(Top 4 UFC fights of all time and all 5 of the fights that aired on EliteXC on Saturday night)

1. EliteXC: Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson--- 6.5 million viewers

2. UFC: Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson from UFC 75--- 5.9 million viewers

3. UFC: Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock III from "Final Chapter" show--- 5.9 million viewers

4. EliteXC: Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith--- 5.5 million viewers

5. EliteXC: Gina Carano vs. Kaitlin Young--- 4.7 million viewers

6. EliteXC: Joey Villasenor vs. Phil Baroni--- 3.7 million viewers

7. UFC: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga from UFC 70--- 3.6 million viewers

8. UFC: Kendall Grove vs. Ed Herman from TUF 3 Finale--- 3.5 million viewers

9. EliteXC: Brett Rogers vs. Jon Murphy--- 3.4 million viewers

UFC and EliteXC Ratings vs. NBA Playoff Averages

1. 2008 NBA Playoff Games on ABC--- 5.4 million viewers

2. EliteXC on CBS--- 4.85 million viewers

3. UFC 75 in September 2007--- 4.7 million viewers

4. UFC: The Final Chapter in October 2006--- 4.2 million viewers

5. 2008 NBA Playoff Games on ESPN--- 4.1 million viewers

6. 2008 NBA Playoff Games on TNT--- 3.8 million viewers

To check out videos at MMA Weekly TV, click here.

 
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