Bellator 360 is a Bellator MMA original series that focuses on fight highlights and interviews similarly to the old UFC Unleashed shows that Spike TV used to produce and run.
This past Thursday night Bellator MMA debuted its first two Bellator 360 episodes on Spike TV featuring fight highlights from both the lightweight and middleweight divisions.
The first Bellator 360 episodes Nielson ratings topped out at 461,000 total viewers with a .3 in the key 18-49 adult demographic. The second episode of Bellator 360 actually ended up doing better with total viewers landing at 513,000, but the key 18-49 adult demographic remained unchanged at .3 respectively.
These two Bellator 360 Nielson ratings are very respectable considering the Bellator 360 shows were with limited advertising and went head-to-head with a much-hyped BCS college football game between Oregon and Kansas State on ESPN. The Oregon and Kansas State game ended up winning the night with 12.3 million total viewers and a 4.0 in the 18-49 adult demographic.
The lead-in for Bellator 360 was a two-hour episode of Impact Wrestling that featured the much hyped return of the icon Sting. Sting’s return pushed Impact Wrestling to 1.6 million total viewers with a .5 in the key 18-49 adult demographic. This was up from 1.3 million total viewers on December 27th, 2012 episode.
Now looking at the total overall viewership it would look like Bellator 360 was a bit of a bust, but that is not exactly true. Sure, Bellator failed to reach the cable Nielson top-100 ratings and lost more than 70% of the total audience from the lead-in Impact Wrestling show, but was able to keep roughly 50% of the core 18-49 adult demographic. Something that both Bellator MMA and Spike TV is really going to focus on going forward.
All in all, for a first-run show that offered no live fights and little advertising these numbers should be considered a success for an organization that rarely eclipsed 200,000 total viewers with live fights on MTV2. Plus, the slight increase in the second shows total viewership shows that there is room for growth here. I for one am interested to see where next weeks welterweight and featherweight Bellator 360 shows land being that Bellator MMA and Spike TV have another week to hype the next set of highlight shows.