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Versus and Spike Go Head to Head — Who Won?

Still can’t touch those clowns on the networks, though…

The ratings reports are in, and it’s interesting (if you’re into numbers, equations, audience measurement, and assorted MMA nerditry).  We’re not particularly mathletic, so bear with us here…

UFC on Versus 4 drew 744,000 households, according to MMAWeekly, which is up slightly from the last Versus show (681,000) headlined by Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann.

But those ratings are down significantly from the UFC debut on Versus (1.24 million), and even the second card on the network (991,000), which you’ll need to look up before you can remember anything other than Jon Jones was on it and he steamrolled somebody.

To recap: UFC broadcasts on the Versus network draw inconsistent ratings, and there’s no clear relationship between the fighters on the card and the level of interest from viewers.

But wait, the plot thickens:  remember when we told you that Spike was planning a little UFC action of their own?  Well, they went through with it, airing Nate the Great all effing day (man, we bet Dana White is really tired of hearing about this Nate Marquardt guy) and finishing it off with a rebroadcast of UFC Fight Night 22, which was headlined by Marquardt’s bizarre bout with Rousimar Palhares.

You ready for this?  The Spike rebroadcast pulled 793,000 viewers, which (according to some quick math on this Taco Bell wrapper) is greater than (>) the 744,000 reported for a live event that hadn’t already happened.  Even figuring in that Spike is in more homes (about 99 million) than Versus (75 million), that’s just wacky.

Lesson learned:  when you have an established audience, identity, and timeslot, you’re halfway home.  A network can air a year-old fight card and still get eyeballs and advertisers as long as people expect that network to have the programming.  Meanwhile, out in the cable hinterlands, you can put on a live event with a fair amount of drama and still only draw even with your new BFF’s ex.

Ok, sorry for all the words and numbers.  As a consolation, here’s a picture of the human soul.  It’s the luminous body you see flying out of Pat Barry‘s head when Kongo decked him into a short time traveling session.  Props to Ms Tracy Lee for catching this rarely-seen phenomenon.


Cagepotato Comments

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Bare Grappler- June 29, 2011 at 9:15 am
I appreciate the story. Don't get me wrong, I love titties and ko videos as much as anybody....but the business aspect does interest me too.
knucklesamitch- June 29, 2011 at 5:46 am
UFC leaving Spike will not be that big of a deal. Whether they just move programming to Versus, or buy a majority stake in G4, both channels are owned by NBC Universal. If they are worried that casual fans won't know where they went, they can purchase advertising time from NBC Universal, and you know what, they'd possibly end up with commercials on NBC, Versus, G4, USA Network, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Qubo, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, A&E, and even Hulu. I'm pretty sure they are capable of getting the word out.
Badger- June 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm
The "Spike Broadcast" pulling in more viewers than the live event comes as no surprise since the live event was exactly three hours long, while the "Spike broadcast" was an all day affair. I bet TBN has more viewers during their "religious broadcast" (i.e. every hour, all year long) than the Super Bowl (although, its probably closer than expected, but you get my point).

Until I see numbers comparing apples to apples (viewers from 8:30 - 11:30), I don't buy this claim. I refuse to believe that even the casual fan is this fucking stupid.
wereab- June 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm
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ArmFarmer- June 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm
I had to tell a couple of my friends the fights were happening.. my buddy was pissed cuz he loves mitrione and he missed that fight because I didn't think to tell him until that one was over. When I first told him to put it on versus he was like "you sure it's not on spike?"
noname- June 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm
I don't get Vs so I had to watch Marquardt on Spike and then download the Vs show the next day.
Cup Cheick- June 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm
You aren't the only one thinking to much into this...CP
Birdman- June 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm
I agree with beerbelly, the real winner here is the UFC. I've never thought this was much of a story. The UFC gets crossprogrammed...with other UFC programming??? It should have been more along the lines of, "The UFC: Kicking ass on cable TV".
ArmFarmer- June 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm
"you can put on a live event with a fair amount of drama and still only draw even with your new BFF’s ex."

wtf does that mean... so Versus is UFC's new best friend forever, and spike is ufc's exgirlfriend? and the best friend and exgirlfriend are competing for attention? I'm probably putting way too much thought into this...
Shifty-Eyed Dog- June 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm
I wonder how many people are just used to UFC on Spike and accidentally watched the Spike rebroadcast thinking it was the new one.

They must have been thinking the whole time, "this all seems kinda familiar".
Horsepower- June 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Spike TV would be the way to go, I refuse to upgrade my cable to watch fights every now and again and be stuck with a bigger bill and a station that is otherwise garbage.

Fatty and boober- why dont you two children get each others address and make childish remarks without including us, fucking poop dicks.
Fatty McDickbutts- June 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm
@boober - I've found that a waffle's natural ridges work much more effectively than flat pancake: everybody's got their own thing, though I don't judge
boober- June 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm
You could wipe your ass with a pancake.
1664beerbelly- June 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm
the correct answer is the UFC won. They pulled in over 1.5 million on free tv in one night.
share your knowledge at survivingu . com
Fatty McDickbutts- June 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Have you guys ever thought about what it would feel like to have a ton of maple syrup in your ass?

Seriously, think about it. What would happen if, right now, you turned upside down; stuck a Ms. Buttersworth into your ass nozzle-first and just squeezed?

What would that feel like?

Meditate on this.
The_Dead_Cow- June 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm
"Lesson learned: when you have an established audience, identity, and timeslot, you’re halfway home."

Exactly! This is why Nascar is so popular. Great pic, shot at the very moment Barry went into the shadow world.
Moriparty- June 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm
How are these figures being calculated? Aren't the numbers just extrapolated from a small sample size?
Fried Taco- June 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Orbs! I see orbs!!