Well, no one can complain that the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament hasn't been a success in terms of viewership. The first event featuring tournament bouts, headlined by a fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva, drew the biggest numbers of any Strikeforce show to date. It now looks like the second show, this past weekend's event featuring a bout between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum, is the second most watched event in Strikeforce on Showtime history.
Ratings for this past weekend's "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" event, which continued the organization's heavyweight grand prix, scored the second biggest ratings in Strikeforce-Showtime history.
Overall, the June 18 event earned a 1.7 household rating, an average audience of 624,000 viewers, and a peak audience of 719,000 viewers.
The average of 624,000 is down from 741,000 for Silva vs. Fedor but still a solid enough number.
One also has to account for the fact that the west coast is not getting these shows live on many cable and satellite providers and thus are not factored into the ratings, an issue that has plagued Showtime Sports and has made them lose "ratings battles" to HBO for years. While HBO can show that an opening bout between Adrien Broner and Ponce De Leon (undercard of Saul Alvarez vs. Matthew Hatton) had 762,000 viewers, Showtime is stuck only being able to show numbers like 709,000 live viewers for fights like Miguel Acosta/Brandon Rios.
Step one for Showtime in the immediate future needs to be to remedy the west coast issue.
Update: I should clarify. HBO also shows boxing on delay. My wording was off on this. Showtime has about 12 million less subscribers than HBO. Their numbers are forced to look lower by not showing live. HBO would still beat them in the ratings, it's more a matter of how "bad" Showtime's numbers look much of the time. If they were to start providing live to the west coast, they'd be able to inflate their live numbers a bit.