UFL Fails To Score For Versus

by , Oct 16, 2009, 6:06 PM
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Week two of the United Football League on Versus brought marked ratings decreases compared to the league opener.

Last week's Florida-Las Vegas game (Oct. 14) pulled in 92,000 viewers in the 18-to-49 demo (a .07 rating). That was down 37% from Versus' coverage of the UFL's first-ever game six nights before.

Among total viewers, the second game had 154,000, a 25% drop-off from the first Versus broadcast on Oct. 8.

Households fell at a lesser 18% clip. Week two saw 128,000 (.11) -- down from the 156,000 (.14) that tuned in for the Las Vegas-California season opener. The figures all cover "live plus same day" performance.

By one measure, all week two numbers were significantly below Versus' prime-time average for the broadcast season that began Sept. 21.

The second game aired on a Wednesday night, while the season opener was on a Thursday. HDNet is also carrying UFL games. All are simulcast on ufl-football.com.

Comcast-owned Versus is embroiled in a carriage dispute with DirecTV that has restricted its distribution. With the satellite operator having dropped the channel, it is now in 70 million homes -- down about 5 million from before the standoff.

Whither the UFL-NHL face-off on Versus?

A snapshot: the Oct. 13 Detroit-Buffalo hockey game drew 306,000 18- to-49-year-olds (.23) -- way up from the 92,000 (.07) for the UFL's second broadcast.

Total viewers for the NHL battle were 467,000 -- higher than the 154,000 for Versus' second UFL game. Detroit-Buffalo reached 314,000 homes (.27) compared to the UFL's 128,000 (.11).

The UFL says it is aiming to find a niche alongside the NFL. A guiding theory: with football as the new national pastime, there may be a near-insatiable desire for the sport among men in the fall.

Nonetheless, games have been broadcast in the same time slots as the baseball playoffs and ESPN's coverage of prominent college football games.

The UFL is trying some maneuvers to stand out, such as referees wearing red, and -- unlike the NFL -- allowing both teams a possession during overtime games.

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