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EliteXC MMA in Primetime on CBS: The Kimbo Slice Effect

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September 28th, 2008

Kimbo Slice vs. James ThompsonI haven't caught the MMA (mixed martial arts) bug yet, but nor do I have anything against it. I did check it out the first time EliteXC ran in primetime on CBS on Saturday, May 31, 2008. And I did watch the Kimbo Slice explode James Thompson's cauliflower ear. It was completely disgusting!

Many will claim that Slice is not the best at MMA, even within EliteXC which many MMA enthusiasts seem to consider an inferior league. I don't know enough to comment on his talents relative to the field, but when it comes to ratings in primetime for EliteXC the event with Kimbo beat the snot out of the one without him. It's only two data points, but this Saturday October 4, when EliteXC again airs on primetime for CBS, Kimbo Slice will be back.

Some have expressed shock at CBS airing these events at all. But I don't for a couple of reasons. First of all, Saturday night is typically a barren wasteland for the broadcast networks, especially within younger age demographics. Last night for example, even with NCAA football, no broadcast network averaged even a 2.0 rating (a full ratings point = one percent of the population being measured). Also, EliteXC is a partnership between Showtime Networks and ProElite, Inc. Showtime is owned by CBS.

In total viewers, the initial event which featured Kimbo Slice on May 31, ran well past 11pm (11:51pm) with the whole Slice/Thompson battle being on after 11pm and it averaged 4.851 million viewers. Not huge numbers when it came to totals, but the age/gender demo performance was much better.

The July 26 event (which ran from 9pm-11:02pm) averaged 2.571 million. So in total viewers, the difference was nearly 100%, but it was much greater than 100% in some key demos. I learned a couple of things in this process - XC is short for "extreme combat" and surprisingly (to me, anyway) young men are not alone in their love for Kimbo Slice, young women seem to like him too. Here's the data:

Category 5/31/08 Event (With Kimbo Slice) 7/26/08 Event (No Kimbo)
Total Viewers (million) 4.851 2.571
Men 18-34 (rating/share) 3.2/12 1.0/5
Men 18-49 (rating/share) 3.0/10 1.3/5
Women 18-34 (rating/share) 1.4/5 0.6/2

Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved

 
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