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Bellator garners 655,000 viewers for final show of 2015

Bellator 147

Last Friday's Bellator 147 event averaged 656,000 viewers on Spike TV, headlined by former Strikeforce lightweight champion and UFC fighter Josh Thomson knocking out Pablo Villaseca. This was the final show of the year for Bellator, and the average viewership for their regular Friday night shows was 655,833 viewers - virtually identical to what they did Friday.

Notes:

- Bellator ran 16 shows in 2015; 12 regular shows (down 3.1% from 2014's average viewership of 676,571) and 4 "tentpole" shows. They ran 21 regular shows in 2014 and plan to move to a more frequent schedule again in 2016.

- The 4 tentpole shows for the year averaged 1,016,500 viewers -- greatly inflated by the 1,580,000 viewers for the Kimbo Slice-Ken Shamrock show in June. In fact that number was almost twice as high as their next highest rated show, which was the 872,000 viewers for the February British Invasion show. In 2014, they ran one tentpole show, Tito Ortiz-Stephan Bonnar at Bellator 131, which did 1,241,000 viewers.

- For their 16 shows this year, Bellator averaged 746,000 viewers overall for 22 shows, up 6.2% from the 2014 average of 702,227 viewers. 

Thoughts:

- 4 of the last 5 Friday night regular shows have done between 650,000 and 669,000 viewers, so that seems to be what their steady audience is, going up a couple hundred thousand viewers for a tentpole show. It’s only when they bring in a name that would mean something to very casual fans (like Ortiz, Shamrock or Slice) that they are able to get to the 1 million threshold and beyond.

- Bellator has three shows upcoming in January and February with the big one being Bellator 149 on February 19th. That show will feature Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie and Slice vs Dada 5000. It should break the company’s viewership record if those two fights take place as scheduled.