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Monday, March 19, 2007
Mixed Martial Arts--- IFL's Debut on MyNetworkTV Draws 0.8 Rating
by Ivan Trembow
Originally Published on MMAWeekly

The two-hour debut of IFL Battleground on MyNetworkTV drew an overall rating of 0.8 on March 12th. This falls far short of the ratings that the UFC has consistently drawn on Spike TV, but at the same time it's also considered a strong rating for MyNetworkTV.

Since its debut as a broadcast network last fall, MyNetworkTV has severely struggled in the ratings, with an average primetime rating of 0.7 overall. On Monday nights during February sweeps, the network averaged a 0.5 overall rating.

The IFL's overall rating of 0.8 is enough to bring MyNetworkTV's averages up slightly if it's maintained over time, but not by a huge margin.

Ratings in Young Adult Male Demographic are Lone Bright Spot
What the IFL will change for MyNetworkTV is the number of young adult males who are watching the network, and this is the primary reason that MyNetworkTV signed the IFL in the first place. Through all of its ratings struggles, the biggest one of all that has faced MyNetworkTV is the struggle to garner viewership in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.

The premiere of IFL Battleground drew a 0.7 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, which is a 250 percent increase over MyNetworkTV's average rating of 0.2 in this demographic. It was also the highest rating drawn by any show in MyNetworkTV's history in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic.

IFL's Ratings Nowhere Near UFC's Ratings
Compared to the UFC's averages for the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, the premiere of IFL Battleground fell short, as TUF 4 averaged a 1.1 overall rating and IFL Battleground drew an overall rating of 0.8. IFL Battleground also fell short of TUF 4 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (0.7 to 2.0), and in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic (0.7 to 1.6).

Compared to the UFC's most recent live fight special on Spike TV (the January 25th broadcast of UFC Fight Night), the premiere of IFL Battleground fell short in overall rating (0.8 to 1.7), 18-to-34-year-old males (0.7 to 2.3), and 18-to-49-year-old males (0.7 to 2.0).

Compared to the UFC's viewership level the very first time that it aired on Spike TV (with the series premiere of The Ultimate Fighter on January 17, 2005), IFL Battleground fell short in overall rating (0.8 to 1.4), 18-to-34-year-old males (0.8 to 1.5), and 18-to-49-year-old males (0.8 to 1.5).

IFL's Long-Term Viability on MyNetworkTV
As with any TV show, the key for IFL Battleground will be how it maintains its ratings over time. It's very apparent from the feedback that the majority of hardcore MMA fans did not like the show, to put it mildly. If a significant percentage of the non-MMA fans who were seeing MMA for the first time felt the same way, there could be a significant drop-off in the ratings for Episode Two.

If, on the other hand, the IFL can maintain a high level of viewership among young adult males, MyNetworkTV would likely be happy to keep IFL programming on its airwaves for a long time to come, as the show would be considerably increasing the network's average in this demographic.

Head-to-Head Network TV Competition
MyNetworkTV came in a distant last place in the network TV ratings on March 12th, just as the struggling network has every single night since its launch on September 5, 2006.

Airing head-to-head with the first hour of IFL Battleground, the first half of a two-hour episode of "Deal or No Deal" on NBC drew a 9.8 overall rating; a repeat of the Fox drama "House" drew a 6.3 overall rating; two new episodes of the CBS comedy "The New Adventures of Old Christine" drew overall ratings of 5.2 and 5.5, respectively; and a repeat of the ABC reality series "Wife Swap" drew a 4.5 overall rating.

Airing head-to-head with the second hour of IFL Battleground, the second half of NBC's two-hour "Deal or No Deal" drew a 10.5 overall rating, outgunning a new episode of the Fox drama "24," which drew an overall rating of 7.6. A repeat of the most-watched comedy on television, CBS' "Two and a Half Men," drew an 8.0 overall rating at 9:00 PM, while a new episode of the CBS comedy "Rules of Engagement" drew a 7.4 overall rating at 9:30 PM. The season finale of the reality series "Supernanny" drew a 5.1 overall rating on ABC.

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