As a Canadian MMA "reporter", for lack of a better term, one thing that I get asked a lot is how the ratings are in Canada for UFC events. Generally the events are aired on Sportsnet up here, and ratings information is rarely released so it's hard to tell just how much interest there is. Well, that has changed for UFC 154. The Canadian arm of the UFC issued a press release today, which showed that Canadian viewership was high for the prelims:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is pleased that Canadian viewers shared in the excitement this past weekend around the highly anticipated return of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre for UFC 154: ST-PIERRE vs. CONDIT. Preliminary card action available on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in English and French Canada, respectively, posted impressive numbers with a cumulative reach of more than 1.5 million viewers tuning in to watch all or part of the broadcast.
In English Canada, the UFC 154 preliminary card was the most-watched UFC prelim ever on Sportsnet, attracting an average audience of 319,000 (2+). In French Canada, TVA Sports had an average audience of 177,000 (2+). Overall, the UFC 154 prelims was the number one sports show of the evening in both English and French Canada on November 17 with an average of 496,000 Canadians watching the entire two-hour preliminary broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
*Source: BBM Canada (preliminary data); all audiences are 2+
The 1.5 million number is one of those numbers that doesn't really mean anything. It's similar to the debatable numbers that Invicta claims for their live streams. The actual numbers come later on in the release, and show an average of 319k on Sportsnet and 177k for the French-language broadcast.
Considering that the FX broadcast in the US only drew 980k, these are very impressive numbers. FX is available in over 90 million homes in the US, while there are only 13.3 million households in all of Canada period. It should be interesting to see how well the actual PPV did since Georges St. Pierre was in the main event, and what percentage of Canadians make up the final number.
I know a lot of you don't care about Canadian stuff, but it's Thanksgiving and there weren't any Americans around to tell me not to write this. So there!