SAO PAULO, Brazil – As SFT MMA Xtreme prepares for its tentative June 26th return in Brazil, despite being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in cancellations of several events, including those scheduled in the United States and Mexico, the promotional company was able to stay relevant by airing reruns of past events
SFT MMA Xtreme replays were shown every Saturday on Brazilian television, Band, and have been so well received by combat sports fans that viewing numbers were nearly as high as those most live vents.
A recent survey conducted by “MMA TV Ratings,” based on the average audience for the top five MMA events most watched on television in America in 2021, revealed that SFT had better comparative viewing numbers than compared to UFC, Combate Americas, ONE Championship, PFL and Bellator during the same period.
According to this report, the UFC averaged of 710,000 viewers on ABC and ESPN, 351,000 on Univision for Combate Americas, 274,000 on TNT for ONE Championship, 156,000 on ESPN2 for PFL and 95,000 for Bellator on Showtime.
Although the overall average combining the five MMA organizations was 1.5 million, SFT average 1.2 million viewers on Band.
The January 16th UFC event on ABC, headlined by Max Halloway and Calvin Kattar, had an average 1.2 million viewers. The SFT Awards #2 show, shown on Band, registered 1.1 million viewers. Last year, SFT 23 averaged 1.4 million, SFT 21 had 1.5 million, and replays of SFT from June average 1,.8 million.
“I was surprised by these numbers and, at the same time, very happy,” SFT president David Hudson said. “When I arrived at SFT, after the fourth season, we had the idea to do more events featuring female MMA. We were questioned and warned that everything was going to go wrong, but it proved to be the exact opposite. The venue was full and right up to today, these female events (SFT 6, 17 and 22) were our biggest, Our show in Mexico was also a great success, so I proved to everyone that female MMA had fans and just as many good fights as men. Everybody said I was crazy to match Brazilian states, Sao Paul versus Rio, in SFT 12, which remains out best-ever event. They believed MMA doesn’t not have true fans in Brazil, that people only go watch their instructors and gym partners, but that was the way things had been done in Brazil prior to SFT 12. Our viewers have increased, and we’ve been showing reruns for 14 months, since live events have not been held with fans since the start of the pandemic. The good news is that the numbers have been maintained. I’m happy but want to do better. I was impressed. I saw our numbers here and UFC’s in the United States and their numbers never came close to what we did here in Brazil.
“The five biggest MMA events combined that were shown in the U.S. had viewer numbers only a little higher than what SFT did alone in Brazil. UFC is the biggest promotion in the world – SFT isn’t comparable to UFC – but we’re certainly on the right track. SFT is a machine capable of doing much more. I would like to highlight SFT more on our social networks and on our YouTube channel, which has become increasingly solid with impressive numbers. We did a great job for three years, one of which was during the pandemic with practically no live events with fans. Post-pandemic, SFT intends to strengthen our work in Brazil, United States and Mexico. More and more, athletes want to be seen, and SFT gives them that visibility.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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