While Showtime executives do not traditionally release ratings figures, early estimates for this past weekend’s historic “Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Werdum” co-promoted event put the average Showtime viewership at approximately 550,000 viewers when including DVR and on-demand figures.
As is typical for mixed martial arts broadcasts, the viewership increased throughout the broadcast, and the ratings peaked during the main event between Fedor Emelianenko and Fabricio Werdum with a 2.1 household rating and more than 700,000 viewers when factoring in DVR and on-demand data.
The sources also indicated that Showtime executives are pleased with the results and that “Fedor vs. Werdum” now ranks as the third-highest-rated Strikeforce card in Showtime’s history behind the August 2009 “Carano vs. Cyborg” event and January’s “Strikeforce: Miami.”
Dave Meltzer tries to put the numbers in perspective:
In addition, ratings are the ultimate decision maker on regular television when it comes to success and failure, but on premium cable, they are only part of the equation. The key for Showtime, which has no advertising on the channel, is whether programming adds subscribers to the station. If MMA delivers so-so ratings, but having regular MMA events brings with it a decent number of new subscribers that wouldn’t order the station otherwise, then it is successful programming.
Having said that, this was the latest of a lesson that gets told over and over again: What the general public wants when it comes to MMA, is seeing personalities that intrigue them. Being the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in the world, as Emelianenko was for years, will help you get above-average numbers, but it’s about star power and neither Shamrock nor Slice were on anyone’s top ten radar when they pulled numbers better ratings than Emelianenko.