Bellator MMA is moving to Friday nights in September, to avoid competing with NFL football on Thursdays.
It might want to steer clear of NHL hockey, too.
The ratings are in for Bellator 96 (results here), which took place last Wednesday night (June 19, 2013) on Spike TV, and they don't look good. Probably because 6.64 million viewers were already tied up watching the Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins Stanley Cup playoff final.
MMA Fighting has the numbers:
Bellator in its first season on Spike TV averaged 809,000 viewers, airing directly after TNA Impact on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. On Wednesday night, it had its first show on Spike TV that didn't have a pro wrestling lead-in. The show headlined by "King" Mo Lawal against Seth Petruzelli did a 0.4 rating and 480,000 viewers from 8-10 p.m.
The debut of Fightmaster, Bellator's new reality show starring coaches Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, Joe Warren and Greg Jackson, did 432,000 viewers from 10-11 p.m. Neither show cracked the top 100 in the 18-49 demographic for Wednesday.
To be expected.
Bellator previously enjoyed the lead-in from TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV, which kept Thursday night viewers sticking around for whatever tournament match-ups were being offered. Now, Bellator is the lead in for "Fight Master," which will likely take some time to find its sea legs.
Viacom executives are "optimistic," but I'm sure they'll agree that September can't get here fast enough.