The IFL has managed to survive and I'll admit that I've heard rumblings that maybe - just maybe - the IFL may be doing enough right to gain some momentum. After sprinting out of the gate the team-based league has committed one error after another in areas from creating a viable product to how a viable product is portrayed. Tweak by tweak, the IFL is learning how to do it right. Those tweaks are finally paying off:
FSN's inaugural season of the IFL on Friday nights from 11 p.m. to midnight finished with a 0.24 household rating, a representative for the regional sports network told Sherdog.com. The rating represents a 41 percent increase from the program combination on Friday nights over the same period.
The notable increase in viewers is across the board, as all of the major demographics are up at least 50 percent, with older males up a striking 83 percent. Younger males are also contributing, says FSN. Men ages 18 to 24 are up 54 percent from the same window in 2006. These improvements place the IFL among the top-rated national programs on FSN to date.
MyNetworkTV had success with "IFL Battleground," typically sitting at a .6/1 share on Mondays and a .4/1 share on Saturdays, which is still 25 percent higher than previous programming, according to ratings provided by the IFL. With those numbers it lowers the risk for MyNetworkTV to air events live.
Additionally, after watching its English-language versions of telenovelas tank, the network has overhauled its direction by adding more male-oriented shows. Greg Meidel, the president of MyNetworkTV, has been the one shaking the lineup. In a news release, he said MyNetworkTV is excited to showcase the IFL and "give viewers the opportunity to see MMA action unfold live on broadcast television."
If I was a betting man, I'd still say the IFL will fold sooner rather than later, but hey, this is mixed martial arts. Anything can happen. And besides, everyone loves a comeback.