Bellator 158 peaked at over half a million viewers on Saturday night on terrestrial UK broadcaster Channel 5, despite the fact the main event was shown on one-hour time delay.
Saturday’s card, headlined by the welterweight clash between Brit Paul Daley and victorious Brazilian Douglas Lima also featured heavyweight Matt Mitrione, light heavy Francis Carmont and a plethora of British fighters on the undercard. But it was likely the viral impact of rising superstar Michael ‘Venom’ Page which had the biggest impact on the viewing figures.
The event marked Bellator’s terrestrial debut on Channel 5, which aired the main card on a one-hour tape delay from 10pm-midnight following the latest episode of Big Brother. Although some UK fans were upset about the delay of the action, it’s feasible to think MVP’s highlight reel knockout and Pokemon Go inspired celebration, which went viral within seconds, may have lead to more viewers tuning in.
Fighters Only reached out to the Spike UK and Channel 5 executives who provided us with the following ratings report:
For Spike, Bellator 158 averaged at 108,000 viewers and peaked at 154,000. Making the prelims one of the highest-rating Bellator events Spike UK has ever aired.
Channel 5 attracted an average audience of 418,000 – a 3.42% share of viewers. The broadcast peaked with over 550,000 viewers watching at 11pm. Bellator performed well for male and young audiences – beating Channel 4 for male viewers across the overall time that Bellator was on air on Channel 5.
With Channel 5 under the Viacom umbrella and what seems to be a ratings success for Bellator 158, this could pave the way for more events to be held in the UK.
During the post fight media scrum, Bellator president Scott Coker hinted at the possibility of the promotion returning to the UK sooner rather than later if the ratings on Channel 5 did well. “I think that we’re going to go back to the offices, check the ratings and see how it did on Channel 5,” Coker said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us because when you get on Channel 5 – terrestrial television is free for the country to watch – it’s a great thing and a great opportunity for us to build Bellator. It’s nice to have your parent company integrated vertically with the fight company. We’ll be back and I think the ratings will do quite well.”