Bellator MMA kicked off its 2019 slate with Bellator 214 in California, and considering the ratings slump and lower viewership numbers in 2018, this year’s start is a promising one.
Nielsen figures pegged this Paramount Network televised event at 697,000 viewers on average, with 784,000 on DVR+3. The rating for the 18-49 demographic was 0.31, good for 10th among all cable television broadcasts on Saturday night, and sixth in its timeslot. As MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer notes, “the number was the best for a Bellator show since Jan. 20, 2018 a show headlined by a first-round heavyweight tournament fight headlined by Chael Sonnen against Rampage Jackson.”
A Bellator press release confirmed the peak viewership was 1.2 million (1.5 million in DVR+3) for Ryan Bader’s main event 35-second KO of Fedor Emelianenko. Chances are the ratings and overall viewership would’ve been higher had the card not been littered with first-round finishes and the show ending roughly 30 minutes early thanks to those quick finishes. Other notable viewing figures have Jake Hager’s debut against J.W. Kiser averaging 809,000, while the co-main event between Henry Corrales and Aaron Pico did 808,000.
Also of interest is this line, via Meltzer:
“The Bellator audience was strongest with males 35-49, far weaker with older viewers, but in a surprise, in the 12-34 age group the audience was 43.8 percent women, far higher than the 22 to 33 percent women’s percentage that big MMA television shows usually do.”
On another note, subscriber figures for DAZN, which simulcasts all Paramount Network shows, were not included and unknown. They will have exclusive rights to the February 16th card headlined by Michael Page and Paul Daley.
Notable competition that night included the NBA primetime game on ABC between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, which pulled in 4.3 million viewers. Premier Boxing Champions on FOX also averaged 1.98 million viewers and peaked at 2.765 million for the main event between Keith Thurman and Josesito Lopez. All things considered, a good night for Bellator MMA.