(For you two, I’ll sacrifice my beauty-sleep. / ‘shop via blackbeltclub)
After pulling back their pay-per-view start times to 9 p.m. ET this year to cater to East Coast viewers, the UFC will be returning to their original 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT time-slot, beginning with UFC 141 on December 30th. The promotion confirmed the switch to USA Today yesterday, stating that their decision was based on “careful consideration and feedback from our fans.”
It appears that the 9 p.m. experiment didn’t have the intended effect. According to estimates from MMAPayout and the Wrestling Observer, UFC pay-per-views have been averaging 414,500 buys from January to August 2011, down 25% compared to the first eight months of 2010. In particular, it was reported that UFC 134 woefully underperformed, although that event’s totals were certainly affected by Hurricane Irene.
As a New Yorker, I appreciated that fact that I could watch the fights and still leave Playwright by midnight. But I can sympathize with MMA fans on the West Coast, where PPVs started at 6 p.m. local time, Spike TV prelims started at 5 p.m., and the Facebook openers started just after brunch. How do you guys feel about the end of the UFC’s earlier start-time experiment?