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"Strikeforce: Nashville" earns 2.9 million viewers for CBS-broadcast event

by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm ET


Despite featuring a trio of title fights on the evening's main card, Strikeforce's second event on CBS airwaves suffered a massive decline in viewership.

Overall, the two-hour-plus broadcast of this past Saturday's "Strikeforce: Nashville" event averaged 2.9 million viewers, ranking it as the fourth most watched card out of five total CBS-broadcast MMA events.

"Strikeforce: Nashville," which CBS broadcast under its "Saturday Night Fights" banner, took place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

The numbers represent a sharp decline from Strikeforce's co-promoted show with M-1 Global, "Fedor vs. Rogers," which aired on the network in November 2009. That event averaged 4.04 million viewers for the broadcast, leaving "Strikeforce Nashville" down 28.2 percent from the impressive benchmark set by "Fedor vs. Rogers."

The November event featured a heavy marketing push by the network centered around the night's main-event competitors, Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers. CBS and Showtime both aired a preview special, "FIGHT CAMP 360: Fedor vs. Rogers," in the weeks leading up to the event, and Rogers made a handful of appearances on ESPN.

"Strikeforce: Nashville" featured no such build-up, despite the fact that the organization's light heavyweight, middleweight and lightweight belts were all up for grabs at the event. In fact, many MMA observers were critical of the promotion's marketing focus seemingly favoring UFC import Dan Henderson, rather than his opponent, Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields.

Shields earned an upset win over Henderson by surviving an early onslaught before dominating his opponent for the final four rounds of action en route to a unanimous decision win.

CBS previously brought MMA to major U.S. network television for the first time in history in 2008 with the now-defunct EliteXC promotion. The three CBS-EliteXC broadcasts drew total audiences of 4.85 million viewers (May 2008), 2.6 million viewers (July 2008) and 4.56 million viewers (October 2008) before the organization's eventual financial collapse a few weeks after that last show.

The "Strikeforce: Nashville" telecast averaged a 1.5 rating among males ages 18-49, and a 1.26 with males 18-34.

The UFC and Spike TV countered "Strikeforce: Nashville" with a replay of February's UFC 110 event. The re-air drew less than half the audience of CBS, netting 1.4 million viewers.

The UFC's most recent non-pay-per-view broadcast, March's "UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi," drew 2 million viewers for Spike TV.

For complete coverage of "Strikeforce: Nashville," check out the MMA Events section of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
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