The historic season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned (aka TUF 20) delivered a viewership knockout for FOX Sports. The new season of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) storied reality series delivered FOX Sports its most-watched fall season premiere ever, and the most-watched on any network since 2009, reaching 2.54 million viewers, including the live premiere and encores on FOX Sports 1, plus encores on the FOX broadcast network and FOX Sports 2, according to Nielsen.
The season-opening two-hour special debuted on FOX Sports 1 Wednesday, Sept. 10 (10:00 PM ET), drawing 536,000 viewers. An encore presentation on Sunday, Sept. 14 on FOX adjacent to NFL on FOX game coverage attracted another 1.735 million viewers. Additional re-airs on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 added 267,000 to the total through Sunday.
The 2.54 million total viewers for the 2014 fall premiere was up +67% over the 2013 fall premiere of TUF season 18, which reached a total of 1.52 million viewers, and up +113% over the premiere episode of TUF season 19 in the spring of 2014, which delivered 1.19 million viewers.
In addition to live plus same day measurements highlighted above, time-shifted viewing for The Ultimate Fighter is significant. The first three days of DVR viewing for the premiere episode on FOX Sports 1 (9/10) adds an additional 295,000 Persons 2+, up from 266,000 viewers in the spring for TUF 19.
For the first time in history, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter features an all-female cast competing in a 115-pound tournament to determine the first-ever UFC women’s strawweight champion. The 16 women are divided into two teams and are coached by UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and No. 1-ranked lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez, who meet in a championship showdown of their own at the conclusion of the season.
TUF 20, Episode 2 Preview:
The historic season concludes on Friday, Dec. 12, when the first ever UFC women’s strawweight champion is crowned live on FOX Sports 1, becoming the UFC’s second female titleholder, alongside bantamweight (135 pound) champion Ronda Rousey.