The deal to bring the UFC on Fox not only changes the way MMA will be viewed, but according to executives at both Zuffa and their new TV partner, the number of viewers who are watching it.
The new 7-year contract that will showcase the UFC on Fox, FX and Fuel TV will bring live UFC programming to the networks, as well as several new programs including pre and post fight shows.
One of the biggest changes will also be a new live form of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, with the program shifting to a Friday night time slot.
All of this combined with an increased presence of UFC commercials and advertising on other Fox programming like the NFL as well as popular shows like American Idol or Sons of Anarchy could tap into a whole new market for the sport.
“There’s going to be a lot of cross promotion across the media group, and through all of our properties just like we cross promote any of the properties that you have and you want to see succeed. This is obviously a property that we believe in and you want to see succeed,” said Jeff Landgraf, FX President.
“There’s an 80-percent overlap between young men who are fans of the UFC and watch FX. There’s already an 80-percent overlap between the two brands. That’s incredible and I think we can drive it even farther. There’s a lot we can do on FX to bring these two great brands together.”
How will they do that? Well, according to Landgraf despite the six-year relationship between the UFC and Spike TV, the executives at Fox believe they will be able to do a lot more to help the sport grow on their network.
“Lorenzo and Dana were over in the FX offices yesterday, and they were showing us some of the history of the UFC and some of the promotion they got from Spike for the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ and I think they got somewhere between 30 and 50 gross rating points of male demographic promotion for the last couple seasons of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’,” Landgraf explained.
Gross Rating Points are essentially a measuring stick for TV based advertising campaigns, and advertising impact across a particular format. The Gross Rating Points are calculated by the percentage of a target audience reached by an advertisement, and the frequency by which the audience sees the advertisement.
Landgraf pulled no punches when saying that Spike TV were doing the UFC no real favors in advertising shows like the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ and at Fox they plan to do things much differently. The end result? Many more eyes on the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ and other programming on the network.
“With due respect to Spike, Mr. Hill, Mr. Shanks and I have 50 gross ratings points of promotion in the cushions of our couches. I think we can bring more eyeballs to bear on this sport than some of what’s happened in the past,” Landgraf stated.
The new platform will launch this November when the UFC debuts on Fox as well as when the 15th season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ debuts on FX next Spring.