The first Bellator MMA broadcast on Spike set a TV ratings record for the promotion, notching in at an average of 938,000 viewers for Bellator 85.
Thursday’s Bellator 86 didn’t do quite as well, but it didn’t take a hard fall either.
Bellator 86 averaged 812,000 viewers, according to MMAWeekly.com industry sources. That number is still four to five times higher than most of the Bellator events drew during its stint on MTV2.
Bellator has accounted for a more than 75-percent improvement in several of the key advertising demographics for Spike TV compared to the prior four weeks of programming.
Let's be clear here - the slight dip in the ratings is just that, slight. It's to be expected as things level out, but if these numbers are any indication of what we can expect during the Spike-Bellator relationship, Bjorn Rebney and company are in for a pleasant surprise as well as a foothold as a strong alternative to the UFC.
The promotion for Bellator has been impressive, at least on Spike's end. Just as it was while the UFC was a partner, Bellator commercials and screen spots are all over the place. It's also telling when I can walk into the bathroom of a random bar in Philadelphia, and find a pack of Bellator posters and coasters for taking.