Everyone can talk about expectations when it comes to ratings for the UFC’s programming on the Fox family of networks, but ultimately it comes down to how the people who make the decisions are feeling about it.
Well, it’s safe to say that just over four months into their seven-year deal with the UFC, the executives at Fox Sports couldn’t be happier with their latest acquisition.
“I continue to be amazed at a sport that really 10 years ago, you guys all know where it came from 10 years ago, and the fact that the first time on broadcast television almost six million viewers, the second one in that demo of 18-49 we beat all three networks combined,” said Eric Shanks, Co-President at Fox Sports. “The prelims on FX have already beaten 25 out of the 26 prelims on Spike, so it’s amazing.”
The UFC explosion has especially boosted the once woefully low rated cable network Fuel TV. The last two UFC on Fuel TV live events have shattered any previously broadcast show on the network, and they don’t expect anything to change in the coming years.
The other goal of course is to make Fuel TV available to more households in the United States.
“Fuel is an even bigger story obviously. Ratings every week, every month, the UFC content sets ratings records; we’ve doubled the ratings on Fuel since UFC’s been on it. What you’ll see on Fuel and a big reason for the partnership is the UFC will be the reason Fuel is available to more people. That’s the goal,” said Shanks.
The UFC programming has been a true success for Fox, FX, and Fuel TV. According to the executive from Fox, it has even reached over into their Latin American station.
“(Fox) Deportes for that first fight for (Junior) dos Santos, it set a record for the highest rated Spanish language fight – boxing, UFC, wrestling, anything – on Deportes that night,” Shanks revealed.
The executives at Fox and the executives at the UFC have continually stayed mum on what they expect or what they hope for when it comes to ratings for any original programming.
The results are paying off, however because, Fox executives are getting everything they hoped for out of this UFC deal thus far.
“We don’t make ratings predictions ever, that’s a tough one to do, but this is a powerhouse across everything,” Shanks said.
“There’s nothing bad to say about the UFC’s performance on any of the channels.”