According to new viewership figures dug up by FightTicker, Showtime’s broadcast of "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz" pulled in 364,000 average viewers on Saturday night, for an average rating of 0.64. While that may sound piss-poor, considering the UFC drew 1.9 million viewers (and an avg. rating of 1.4) for their replay of UFC 94 on Spike TV the same night, there is a silver lining.
First off, that 364,000 figure makes "Shamrock vs. Diaz" the third most-watched MMA event in Showtime history, putting it just behind Strikeforce’s "Shamrock vs. Baroni" event in June 2007 (which hangs on to its #2 spot with 365,000 viewers) and the Kimbo Slice-headlined "EliteXC: Street Certified" in February 2008 (which scored 511,000 viewers). Plus, you have to take into consideration the fact that Spike TV is available in six times as many homes as Showtime. And still, Strikeforce’s 1.53 rating among men aged 18-34 actually beat UFC 94′s rating in that category (1.3).
I’m not an expert in this stuff, but that seems like a decent starting point for Strikeforce 2.0. No, they’re not ready to throw together pay-per-view events, but they managed to make a good showing with a card headlined by a non-title fight involving one guy who was coming off a loss. The event itself was entertaining enough to hook most viewers into coming back for the next installment. Can June’s "Lawler vs. Shields" show keep the momentum rolling — or will it be a ratings disappointment without a big name like "Shamrock" to draw casual viewers?