In this modern age of the internet where live events are happening all around the world and being reported on in real-time it is often difficult to present an event on tape delay while retaining the excitement of a live sporting event. The magic of live sports is hard to recapture and many fight fans feel the same way when it comes to watching combat sports events on tape delay. Hell, Ariel Helwani on this week's episode of the MMA Hour even said that he didn't bother to watch because he doesn't like tape delay.
So that's the kind of mindset that GLORY 20 had working against it. That being said, there was some good to take with the bad on the ratings for the event considering it being on an hour later than usual, airing via tape delay and losing the big draw of Pat Barry just a few weeks prior. According to Sports TV Ratings GLORY 20 averaged 359,000 viewers, which is down from GLORY 19's 528,000 considerably. While lower than usual, it was not the lowest ratings that GLORY have seen yet and actually beat out ESPN2's Friday Night Fights handily.
The good to take away from this is that from what we've seen 350,000 viewers for GLORY on Spike seems to be the baseline, which for a sport that is relatively new to a major market like this is not a bad number at all. In the future, though, I would like to see GLORY veer away from these kinds of events that will end up on tape delay unless Spike TV is willing to air it live as well. While it's nice to claim to be a global promotion if the cost is running a show that didn't particularly draw much attention in the area and hurt ratings I don't think that it's worth the risk moving forward.
While I'm sure that there were good reasons to run in Dubai (working with a local promoter, possible investment opportunities, etc.), it turned out to be a bit of a bust and if GLORY is truly dedicated to success in the United States market then they need to veer away from these prestige events in major international hubs unless they know that it will be a grand slam.