15 Nov 2012 14:15:03 PM
(Taffer my good man, you finally have some competition.)
In its seven-season history, Bellator’s events have bounced from Friday nights to Thursdays, to Saturdays, and back to Fridays again. That, coupled with the promotion’s changes in cable partners (anybody remember the ESPN Deportes days?) and its traveling-circus approach to event scheduling, may have worked against the organization gaining a foothold in the market over the years.
Luckily, Bellator’s impending Spike TV deal will give its events a sharp boost in exposure — and they’ll no longer be shown on a night that translates into guaranteed death for viewership numbers. MMAJunkie is reporting that Bellator’s first event of the Spike era is slated for Thursday, January 10th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As Junkie wrote, the event will serve as Bellator 85, and will air on Spike TV following TNA Impact Wrestling.
Switching to Thursday nights can only be a good thing for Bellator, which has averaged just 168,700 viewers per broadcast this season on MTV2. Coincidentally, the UFC may be moving their own Friday-night cable show — The Ultimate Fighter — to a different night as well. Although Jon Jones’s manager Malki Kawa and UFC president Dana White both claimed recently that TUF was moving back to Wednesdays, FX’s Vice President of Media Relations told MMAFighting that such a move was “highly unlikely,” adding: “FX has not announced the official date or night that the next installment of TUF will air…The official announcement will be coming in the next two or three weeks.”
Bellator 85 will feature the winners of Spike TV’s “Vote for the Fight” fan poll — we already submitted a write-in vote for War Machine vs. Mika Tan’s Ex-Boyfriend II — but no matchups have been formally announced yet.
Update: The story just took a weird turn — now an unnamed Spike TV exec is saying that Bellator’s Thursday-night move isn’t official yet: “We are still deciding a few options, still looking at staying on Fridays or moving to the old TUF slot on Wednesdays.” Basically, the cable networks are playing a game of scheduling chicken. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer explains after the jump…Read More ADD COMMENTS (3) DIGG THIS