Debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter 21 draws 490k viewers in live viewership

The Ultimate Fighter 21 debuted last night on Fox Sports 1 with a 90 minute premiere and this season features 16 welterweight fighters from American Top Team and the Blackzilian training teams based in South Florida.TUF 21

According to Nielson sources, the preliminary viewership for the show came in at 490,000 viewers and this was the second most watched show on Fox Sports 1 yesterday with the top show being a soccer match in the afternoon that drew 683,000 viewers.

Last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter went up against NBA and NHL playoff games, along with a MLB game on ESPN. The NBA playoff games were both on TNT with the Portland vs. Memphis game drawing 2.5 million, while the San Antonio vs. Los Angeles Clipper game had 3.8 million viewers. The MLB game on ESPN was a National League matchup between St. Louis and Washington and that game came in with 683,000 viewers. While those three games had more average viewers that The Ultimate Fighter, the reality show did beat both of the NHL playoff games on NBCSN (St. Louis vs. Minnesota, 404,000 viewers) and USA (Anaheim vs. Winnipeg, 436,000).

At this time last year, The Ultimate Fighter 19 premiered following a live fight card (TUF Nations Finale) with 595,000 viewers. That is a different of 105,000 viewers from last night’s debut episode of The Ultimate Fighter 21 and it should be noted that The Ultimate Fighter 19 did not go up against any NBA playoff games.

On Tuesday, the +3 DVR numbers for this episode of The Ultimate Fighter 21 will be released by Nielson and it will be interesting to see how much the ratings increase with the +3 DVR numbers.