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Showtime's Ken Hershman Talks Ratings, UFC, Fedor, And The Future Of Strikeforce

Ken Hershman spoke with the Sherdog Radio Network(Beatdown) on yesterday about a variety of topics.  Including the ratings for Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg, how Cyborg should be marketed, competing with the UFC, and more.  Check it:

It was the highest rated MMA show on the network to date," stated Hershman. "We’re obviously in a much smaller universe than Spike or the broadcast networks with 17 million homes, so the big apples to apples comparison for us is that our rating was a 2.1 and Spike’s was a 1.5 and that’s a victory in my book.

Dana White is a master at spinning stuff, and it appears that Hershman does it well also.  Check out his thoughts on Showtime's growth of subscribers in the last two years:

If you want to track back to February ‘07 it’s probably about two, two-and-a-half million subscriber growth," boasted Hershman. "That is unprecedented in premium television in the last few years. Most of our new subscribers coming onto Showtime are 18 to 34, so mixed martial arts is a perfect entrée for them to the network, it allows us to reach this younger demographic with programming they want and we’re growing.

I think that's great that they've added new subscribers, but I think he's kind of pulling a Dana White with the numbers.  The highest MMA mark for Showtime was Kimbo Slice/Tank Abbott in Feb. 2008 averaging 522,000 viewers.  The Strikeforce: Carano/Cyborg card was able to average 576,000 viewers.  I'm not a math genius by any means, but that's only 54,000 more viewers, yet Showtime has enjoyed a 2-2.5 million increase in subscribers in the past 2 years?  Also, most of these new subscribers are in the heavily targeted MMA audience of 18-34 yrs old?  That's not a very good yield rate if you ask me.  However, the last Strikeforce show did do quite a bit better than the last couple of MMA events that aired on Showtime.  So maybe this is the start of an upward trend for Strikeforce?  The only question is, can they add legitimate, marketable fighters to their roster so viewers will continue to tune in?

Hershman speaks on how Cyborg should be marketed:

Cris Cyborg is just an exciting, dynamic, ferocious fighter and I think we are going to market her that way," said the Showtime VP. "Who is going to beat this woman? She’s just incredible. There is talent out there who want to try and are prepared to try and probably have some good shots, but this is going to be a long run, I think, for Cris Cyborg.

I think he hit the nail on the head, as this is pretty much what I voiced here.  He also stated that she's open to trying to learn the English language to communicate more effectively with the fans here.  That definitely couldn't hurt things, and it's something I've always though non-English speaking athletes should do if they plan on fighting in the U.S.

He speaks on if the Fedor signing was a good move:

Let me put everything to rest here -- the Fedor deal is entirely manageable, it will be very, very workable for everyone including Fedor,” he said. “He is very well taken care of, but it’s a very responsible deal -- no one’s going out of business because of it. It’s all silliness, and I’ll tell you, if the UFC is good at anything, they are good at spreading a lot of nonsense.

Make'em say Uhhhhh...Na Nah Na Nah....

HT: Sherdog