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Bellator Moves To Friday Nights

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

by Natalie Saar


Friday nights just got a little more exciting for fight fans.

For those at home trying to keep track, Bellator has now moved to Friday nights from 9-11pm, starting September 13th. However, to confuse you, the season will launch on Saturday, September 7th.

The main reason for this move is that Bellator doesn’t want to compete with the NFL since they started having Thursday night games as of last season.

In terms of viewership, Kevin Kay, the president of Spike TV, said:

“The Ultimate Fighter on Fridays was doing over a million viewers a week. I’ll take that, and with live fights, I think we’ll do even better. There’s a lot of young men at home across [the] 18-49 [age demographic]. Gold Rush on Discovery  does 4 million viewers on Friday nights. [The viewers] are there. You just have to give them the right thing and I think live fights on Friday, without competition, is going to be the best place for Bellator.”

Pretty sound reasoning.

Last year on Thursdays, Bellator’s eighth season averaged 862,000 viewers over 11 events, which was easily their highest rated season ever.

Kay cautioned that Bellator’s dismal ratings on MTV2 will not be an indication of how they’ll be this season thanks to Spike’s larger viewership and visibility.

They didn’t want to go with Wednesday nights because they’d be going up against UFC and  The Ultimate Fighter, and this season is already highly anticipated with the addition of Ronda Rousey. About that, Kay said:

“I don’t want to see Bellator going head to head with the UFC. I don’t think that makes any sense for fans. No matter who would win in that scenario, you don’t want to not give the fans the choice to watch both.”

Again, sound reasoning, but maybe don’t publicly say that you’re taking the choice away from the fans.

Hopefully all this moving around won’t hurt Bellator’s ratings, due to people not being able to find it.

Overall, it should be a great move because people will already be anticipating any Saturday fights, and during September, baseball is about the only option people have when they want to sit down after a long week at work and watch sports. Now, they’ll have Bellator too.

What are your thoughts?

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