Bellator made their long awaited debut on Spike TV last night with Bellator 85 live from Irvine, California. The nights card featured both Michael Chandler and Pat Curran defending their titles and a couple of upsets in the opening round of the light heavyweight tournament.
Another long awaited piece of last nights live debut was the overall Nielsen ratings number which came in at 0.94 million viewers with a .4 in the coveted 18-49 demographic, as confirmed by SpikeTV and Neilsen. The broadcast peaked with about 1.2 million viewers between 10-10:15 PM.
To put this number into perspective this is about 400% higher than anything Bellator has ever reached on MTV2. This also marks the highest rating in the history of Bellator and the first time their broadcast has ever reached Nielsen’s top-100 cable ratings.
The lead-in for Bellator 85 last night was another two-hour episode of Impact Wrestling that featured the wedding of Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke Hogan and former WWE tag-team great Bully Ray (Bubba Ray Dudley.) The wedding ended up like most wrestling weddings, in a brawl, but resulted in solid ratings of 1.6 million viewers with a .5 in the 18-49 demographic.
The overall winner for the night in Bellator’s timeslot was ABC’s show Scandal which came in at a whopping 7.95 million viewers overall with a 2.6 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. It also drew intense competition from both NBA on TNT and Buckwild on MTV which both were well above 2.0 million viewers and the 1.3 in the 18-49 demographic.
It should be noted too that overall for the entire night Scandal came in second, just behind the 2-hour season premiere of American Idol which pulled a 16.19 million viewers overall.
With that said, last night was an extremely big ratings night for a great deal of the television shows and Bellator passed this test with flying colors. Lets just hope they can maintain this momentum into next weeks Bellator 86 event and the debut of King Mo.