Ratings report: UFC sets FX viewership record with UFC 156 prelims
Saturday’s UFC 156 prelims drew 1,897,000 viewers, topping the previous UFC on FX record of 1,860,000 viewers set two weeks earlier for the Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping card from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The number was a huge increase from the prelims on FX on Jan. 26 before the FOX network special from Chicago’s United Center which did 1,208,000 viewers.
The largest previous audience on FX for prelims before a big show came on July 7 when the UFC 148 prelims did 1.8 million viewers. But that was to be expected, since there was more interest in UFC on that day with the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen middleweight title rematch than any day over the past two years.
So a new level for ratings was set with Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau as the featured fight. Was this reason? No. For the first time since UFC 154, the UFC's marketing team was going balls to the wall.
I'm not sure how much of the prelims crowd transitioned over to the PPV as those numbers are weird sometimes, but I'm willing to bet it made somewhat of a difference. PPV buys from the Super Bowl weekend shows are traditionally strong regardless.
Dana White has said that the UFC marketing machine will be going all out for Ronday Rousey's debut and I'm excited to see what they can do. The promo they released over the weekend is a good start.