SBD/Issue 142/Sports Media

BET's "Iron Ring" Develops Following Amid Declining MMA Ratings

 
While ratings for MMA TV shows are "generally down, and with the exception of the UFC, nobody has been able to maintain a substantial audience," BET's "Iron Ring" has "developed a following amid all the clutter," according to Dave Meltzer of YAHOO SPORTS. The show has become one of the "highest rated shows on the network, drawing ratings in the 0.76 to 0.87 range and averaging about 900,000 viewers." The numbers for "Iron Ring" are not "that much lower than many episodes of the sixth season of [Spike TV's] Ultimate Fighter, and there are more viewers than any other MMA programming has had to date." Meltzer noted the "first thing you notice when you watch the show is that it doesn't feel like an MMA show." Meltzer: "There are MMA fights, some edited, with far more of an emphasis on striking than ground technique, by design. It has a decidedly brutal edge to the way it's presented, avoiding things like tale of the tape and a graphic listing the unified rules and ways to win." "Iron Ring" is a show filled with "quick cutaways, featuring some major celebrities, particularly in the hip-hop culture." The show draws 52% women, and "half the [TV] audience on the debut shows that aired from [11:00pm-12:00am ET] was younger than 24." The fighters are "not all African-American, but there is little doubt that is the prime fan base they are trying to reach." Meltzer: "They are clearly aiming at a demographic that has not yet been captured by UFC" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/11).

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