In an unusual situation, the main card was 20 percent ahead of the 2017 average, but the prelims were 12 percent below average
Saturday’s UFC event in Atlantic City, N.J., headlined by Kevin Lee’s fifth-round stoppage of Edson Barboza, averaged 956,000 viewers.
The number was 20 percent ahead of the 2017 average for prime time Fight Night events, and 28 percent above the show on the same weekend last year, which was a Fight Night headlined by Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov.
The show also averaged 14,690 viewers per minute streaming on FOX Sports Go and FOX Now.
The show peaked with 1,092,000 viewers for a heavyweight slugfest with Justin Willis winning a decision over Chase Sherman.
The good news of the main card number has to be tempered with the unusually low number for the prelims, which averaged 561,000 viewers on television and another 9,263 viewers on average streaming the show. The prelims didn’t have any major draws on it. Ryan LaFlare’s win over Alex Garcia headlined, and there was a higher quality of fights on paper than typical prelims with Corey Anderson and Siyar Bahadurzada winning in the first two bouts.
The number was 12 percent lower than the prelims averaged in prime time last year. In almost every case, an above average main card would also carry the prelims to above usual levels. The gap of 405,000 viewers between the prelims and the main card was larger than for any FS 1 event of last year.
There was a lot of competition on Saturday, with the main card going against ESPN’s broadcast of the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz NBA playoff game, which did 3,394,000 viewers, as well as the Adrien Broner vs. Jesse Vargas fight on Showtime, which did 782,000 viewers for the fight itself.
The prelims, airing from 8-10 p.m., went against both NBA and NHL playoffs, which did 2,804,000 and 1,889,000 viewers, a NASCAR race on FOX that did 3,033,000 viewers as well as a good deal of local market baseball, basketball and hockey games.