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Exclusive: Saturday’s IFL Battleground ratings are in

FiveOuncesOfPain.com (www.FiveOuncesOfPain.com) has learned that the ratings for the IFL’s first-ever live telecast on MyNetworkTV this past Saturday registered at a 0.4 and a 1 share. It is believed that approximately 450,000 homes were tuned into the event.

A detailed quarter hour breakdown is not yet available.

The live telecast of the World Grand Prix semifinals from Chicago featured a lightweight semifinal tournament bout that saw Chris Horodecki defeat Bart Palaszewski by decision and the light heavyweight tournament final in which Vladimir Matyushenko became the first-ever IFL 205 lbs. champ with a unanimous decision victory over Alex Schoenauer.

It’s believed that the company considers the show a success because the numbers were a 20% increase from the previous week’s taped broadcast. The show also did not air live in the mountain and pacific time zones. MyNetworkTV was also able to sell out the ad inventory for the hour and there was additional press coverage of the IFL leading up to the first live telecast.

Right now a plan is being put in place to secure a two-hour live telecast on MyNetworkTV for the World Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29. that would start at 8 p.m. ET. The lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight titles would be decided with the idea of the show serving as an unofficial lead-in for the UFC 79 pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.

Read more on Five Ounces of Pain (www.FiveOuncesofPain.com)

15 COMMENTS
  • Evan says:

    “Right now a plan is being put in place to secure a two-hour live telecast on MyNetworkTV for the World Grand Prix finals on Dec. 29. that would start at 8 p.m. ET.”

    Excellent!

  • Kelvin says:

    I watched this past weekend’s matches…not bad as they usually are…and I’d watch the Finals…but how could the Finals be a ‘lead in’ for the UFC PPV? I mean are you saying that IFL Finals would entice people to watch the UFC PPV just because they watched the IFL show? lol.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    I think the idea that since UFC 79 will be featuring two big main events on a holiday weekend that a lot of people will be congregating together to watch MMA. A show like UFC 79 has a tendency to attract casual fans. I think the idea is that people will be gathered around their TVs and might be inclined to start watching MMA before the UFC comes on at 10 p.m.

    It’s similar to ESPN putting on a 90 minute NFL pre-game show on Sunday mornings even though they don’t televise games on Sunday. The theory is that the traffic increases around that time and they are trying to draw some of that increased traffic to their content.

  • Jeremy says:

    Ok Sam, going back to your ratings article for the IFL, you said anything under a 0.9 would be a disappointment(obviously though as you stated coming from someone with not a tremendous amount of knowledge in TV ratings). And you figured also that they on average draw a 0.4 to 0.7. If this is up as they state 20% from the previous weeks taped show, is it a successful ratings show for them?

    Seems to me that their ratings on the network as a whole seem very, very low. And I know way less then you do on this topic. Like yourself I thought a live showing of the IFL would get something closer to what the UFC does for a new TUF show, maybe not quite there but closer. Having a taped reality MMA show triple your ratings for a live show doesn’t seem good to me.

  • […] Sam Caplan is reporting that the IFL live show drew a .4 rating on Saturday night: It’s believed that the company considers the show a success because the numbers were a 20% increase from the previous week’s taped broadcast. MyNetworkTV was also able to sell out the ad inventory for the hour and there was additional press coverage of the IFL leading up to the first live telecast. […]

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Jeremy, I was just passing along what I understand to be the IFL’s reaction.

    The number I posted last week was my own personal estimate and based on no inside info. I’m not a TV ratings expert so I don’t know whether that estimate was reasonable or not. Regardless, I was anticipating a little bit better than what came in but I’m not the IFL or MyNetwork. My expectations were based on the show’s peak ratings performance in its first few months on the air. I just assumed a live telecast featuring Horodecki vs. Palaszewski would be a bigger draw.

    Comparing their ratings to the UFC is not a level playing field. The UFC has been around since 1993 and has built their brand over a long period of time. Spike TV is also a very active partner and promotes the brand constantly. UFC viewers also haven’t been conditioned to always expect taped broadcasts.

    Comparing ratings from basic cable to network TV also is not a good gauge. A 1.2 on Spike TV is not the same amount of viewers as 1.2 on MyNetwork.

    Also, Saturday is not a big television night when it comes to network TV. A lot of the 18-34 male demographic is out at clubs or bars. The UFC does well on Saturday nights because they’ve built up a strong bar following. I’m not sure how much love MyNetworkTV gets at the bars. Usually it’s most ESPN, CBS, ABC, ESPN II, and the local sports stations that are being shown at bars that time of night. That’s why I’m thinking a two-hour show on Dec. 29 will do better because people will be at the bar waiting for UFC 79 to come on. More people are likely to ask bartenders at that point to tune into MyNetworkTV so they can watch MMA before the UFC comes on.

    For the IFL, they have only been around for two seasons and did not have a huge promotional push behind the show. They’ve also been doing taped shows on MyNetworkTV since February so getting the word out that they are doing live shows isn’t going to happen with one telecast. There needs to be a multi-show commitment in order to come to a legitimate conclusion as to whether the IFL can succeed on live TV.

    Hopefully, the results from this past Tuesday get them another shot on Dec. 29 and they are able to take another step and improve on the numbers. There needs to be more promotion though. Just promoting to the Internet audience and MyNetwork audience isn’t enough. They need to find a way to reach the people that will getting to bars early on Dec. 29 to make sure they get a good spot for UFC 79 and the people that will also be having UFC parties.

  • Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the thoughts Sam. I just made the comparison because that’s the only one I have to make ratings wise. Never said it was fair or level field, just the field they are playing on MMA wise.

    Couple questions would come up from your thoughts though for me Sam. And maybe Ben Fowlkes can better answer this. But how come the IFL didn’t air this on FSN?
    The promotion topic you have mentioned I have heard numerous times with regards to the IFL. Specifically from other posters on MMA sites that say they see no local promotion when the IFL is in their town. Why is there not more promotion from the IFL for their events? Or do they think what they are doing is enough?

  • Jeremy says:

    One and one final question would probably be if anyone has ever seen ratings for UFC Wired which I believe aired right after the IFL special? Maybe that’s a better barometer for how the IFL did?

  • drewdoodoo says:

    Sam, I know you are always talking about the production of MMA events both live and on TV. Not sure what happened in the rest of the country but in AZ the show went to commercial in the middle of the third round of the Horodecki vs. Palaszewski fight. If that only happened locally, the IFL may not even know about it. An exciting fight that ended in a split decision and they cut out 3 minutes of the final round? Someone should have been fired for that. That’s right up there with the UFC Fight Night (September?)where they didn’t have sound for the first 10 minutes. How can they let these things happen?

  • Evan says:

    drewdoodoo

    It didn’t happen in Dallas but thats crazy. I know they suddenly cut back from a commercial for the beginning of the second round of the Horodecki fight and I was wondering who took the loss on that.

  • dizzle says:

    drewdoodoo

    the tv network needs to make money by running media. If they don’t run the commercials..then they don’t get paid and they end up losing money.

  • drewdoodoo says:

    Dizzle, I get that, but if Law and Order or CSI cut out right before part where they tell us how they figured everything out, came back from commercials and just said Guilty, people would probably not be too happy. If the program was tape delayed in my area, they would have known the outcome of the fight and been able to find a spot for the commercials. Maybe the less exciting Schoenauer/Matyushenko fight, that they found a way to show in its entirety, could have been interupted instead. I think it was a mistake, but instead of correcting it they let the 3-4 minutes of commercials play out. If they can’t figure out how to fit 2 fights into an hour show, I think I need to send my resume over to the IFL. How long are rounds in the IFL?

  • Brandt says:

    I would consider a .4 rating to be OK, but I was hoping for a 1.0 or better. With the understanding that this is the IFL’s first live show, there is a potential to double or triple that number (.4) if they do indeed secure live coverage for the finals in December. Not only will they be entertaining those who watched the semi-finals last week, but I think they are correct in thinking that they will have more viewers who are tuned into MMA on that night. I’ll be honest, if I am going to watch the UFC 79 PPV at 10PM, I will be watching the IFL at 8PM as well. And why not? I’m already planning a night of MMA fun and games…might as well start early! Now all the IFL has to do is market this live coverage just a tad better than the semi-finals to casual fans.

  • […] IFL drew a 0.4 rating for their Saturday show on MyNetworkTV. Eddie Goldman has some thoughts about the Chicago event. […]

  • Calling it a sucess is definately putting a spin on it.

    It was an improvement over the previous week, but that week was a very low number.

    Let us say a TUF averaged a .8 for a season, then had the finale do a 1.0. An argument could be made for it being a success, but the reality would be that it still was less than impressive.

    On Mondays, the IFL was averaging a .6. This was after debuting at a .8. The Saturday shows were averaging a .4 as of a couple of weeks ago. So this is not a real increase.

    This is a live show and garnered more pub that usual. Despite the increased pub and it being a major show, it did a lackluster number.

    That being said, the IFL should look at this season as a learning experience. A lot of mistakes were made and they can plan on making next season a better one.

    Honestly, the next season is a make or break for the IFL. I can’t see them lasting any longer if they don’t see at least some progress towards success.

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