Viewership figures are in for the UFC 214 preliminary card.
The preliminary card ratings for UFC 214, billed as the promotion’s biggest card of 2017, have been released. Unlike most PPV events, the televised prelims aired on FXX instead of Fox Sports 1. The root cause of this was a Major League Baseball game between the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds, and while both teams are way out of the playoff picture, MLB coverage takes precedent over anything UFC, so baseball was the way to go on FS1.
With that said, the viewership numbers for UFC 214’s prelims were pretty good considering FXX doesn’t usually air sports. MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer has the important details:
The prelims for UFC 214 on Saturday night averaged 886,000 viewers, which would only be the third-best of the seven pay-per-view shows so far this year.
The 886,000 viewers was up 67 percent from what FXX averaged last July in the same time slot. It was also the most-watched sports program on television during the 8-10 p.m. time slot. The actual Adrien Broner vs. Mikey Garcia boxing match on Showtime did 881,000 viewers for the fight itself, but the fight started after the UFC prelims had ended.
The UFC ratings peak was 1,072,000 viewers for the Aljamain Sterling decision win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao. The TV main event where Ricardo Lamas beat Jason Knight only went one round, giving it less time to build an audience.
As compared to usual UFC television programming, the 18-49 male audience was 77 percent, well above the usual male skew. The audience was younger skewing than usual. For a comparison, the replay of the Bellator pay-per-view from June 24 in Madison Square Garden the prior night on Spike did virtually identical numbers as the UFC prelims when it came to viewers over the age of 50, but the UFC show did almost double the Bellator show in 35-49 and nearly four times the number in 18-34.
This was a huge show on paper and the interest in the prelims, Google searches, and post-fight show ratings reflect as such.
While we don’t have an estimated buyrate yet, Dana White said that UFC 214 was trending towards 1 million buys, which would exceed the 800,000 for the first fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Of course, unlike UFC 182, last Saturday’s event had a tripleheader of title fights and the rematch has had plenty of buildup, albeit with a couple of high-profile cancellations along the way. Unless Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon by year’s end, it’s pretty much nailed on that 214 will finish was the highest-selling UFC PPV of 2017.
By the way, Marlins vs. Reds averaged 276,000 viewers.