Image source: Walt Harris Instagram (@thebigticket205)
Saturday night saw the culmination of a monster week for the UFC who hosted three fight cards in the space of seven days. The final event in that stint, UFC on ESPN 8, managed to become the second most viewed UFC on ESPN card to date.
The card, headlined by Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris, attracted 690,000 viewers to the prelims whilst the whole event averaged at 1.2 million viewers placing it as the second most watched UFC on ESPN event below UFC on ESPN 1 which was headlined by Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez in February 2019. UFC on ESPN 1 managed to generate 988,000 viewers on the prelims and 1.463 million viewers on average.
It’s also worth noting that some viewers may have watched the event on ESPN+ which, as a private streaming platform, means this number of viewers is unavailable so it could mean that the event was closer to the number one spot than it appears.
There are a range of factors leading to the success of this particular show with the glaringly obvious one being the lack of sports competition being broadcast at the moment. The success of this particular event is likely one of the reasons the UFC wanted to get back to action so quickly recognising the opportunity to increase viewing figures in a period of lower competition.
The main event will also have led to an increase in viewers as long-time veteran Alistair Overeem brings a large fanbase to the equation and heavyweights often lead to a lot of intrigue and excitement. Not to mention the fantastic story of seeing Walt Harris returning to action following the tragic losses he has suffered recently.
Ultimately, the event has been a success for the UFC which will only inspire them to keep putting on as many events as possible while they have this window of reduced competition.