Fuel TV Planning UFC Marathon On New Years, Spike Eager to Monetize UFC Library
December 23, 2011
Fuel TV will officially kick off the new year by airing a 24-hour marathon of UFC programming on New Years Day, which will feature five show premieres. This will also officially kickoff the partnership between Fuel TV and the UFC, which Fuel claims will air more UFC programming than any network ever.
FUEL TV (http://www.fuel.tv), FOX Sports Media Group’s dynamic entertainment and sports network for males, officially kicks off the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) on FUEL TV January 1 with a 24-hour marathon of UFC programming featuring five show premieres. In 2012, FUEL TV telecasts more than 2,000 hours of UFC programming, with more than 100 hours of live fights, weigh-ins, preliminary bouts, and pre- and post-fight shows. In the New Year, FUEL TV offers more UFC programming than any network has ever offered.
“We’re beyond excited for the monster launch of the UFC on FUEL TV and can’t wait for the ball to drop on New Year’s so we can finally unveil all this incredible programming,” says George Greenberg, FUEL TV Executive Vice President and General Manager. “On January 1, FUEL TV becomes the number-one television destination for UFC fans. We’re going to deliver amazing live fights, FOX-style pre- and post-fight shows with expert commentary, insightful news shows with exclusive material and powerful documentaries that followers of the UFC have never seen before.”
“We’re excited that FUEL TV will become the ultimate destination for UFC programming in 2012,” says Dana White, UFC President. “We knew when we made the partnership with the FOX Sports Media Group that FUEL TV would allow us to put on more programming than every other network. If you’re a fan of the UFC, you’ve got to have FUEL TV.”
In addition to five shows premiering on January 1, FUEL TV launches “UFC Tonight,” the official news and information show of the UFC hosted by Todd Harris, on Tuesday, January 3 at 10:00 PM ET. The first Live UFC Weigh-in (UFC RIO™: ALDO vs. MENDES) is Friday, January 13 at 1:00 PM ET, followed by the first Post-Fight Show on Saturday, January 14 at 1:00AM ET. FUEL TV features the first Preliminary Bouts for UFC® on FX: GUILLARD vs. MILLER on Friday, January 20 at 6:00 PM ET.
LIVE UFC Programs on FUEL TV in January:
January 13, 1:00 PM ET
Live UFC Weigh-in: UFC RIO™: ALDO vs. MENDES
UFC’s biggest and baddest stars weigh-in and face-off live before a night of epic battles inside the Octagon.
January 14, 1:00 AM ET
UFC on FUEL TV: Post-Fight Show – UFC RIO™: ALDO vs. MENDES
Jay Glazer and today’s top MMA analysts recap the night’s bouts, serve up exclusive fighter interviews, and talk about ‘what’s next’ for the winners and losers after the big fight in this one-hour show.
January 19, 5:00 PM ET
Live UFC Weigh-in: UFC® on FX: GUILLARD vs. MILLER
UFC’s biggest and baddest stars weigh-in and face-off Live before a night of epic battles inside the Octagon®.
January 20, 6:00 PM ET
UFC on FUEL TV: Preliminary Bouts – UFC® on FX: GUILLARD vs. MILLER
Witness the next generation of UFC stars rise as FUEL TV kicks off a night of unforgettable action, featuring three hours of MMA’s hungriest and most promising fighters. If you want to see the battles that make up-and-coming fighters into household names, you don’t want to miss the prelims on FUEL TV.
January 20, 11:00 PM ET
UFC on FUEL TV: Post-Fight Show – UFC® on FX: GUILLARD vs. MILLER
January 27, 5:00 PM ET
Live UFC Weigh-in: UFC on FOX
January 28, 5:00 PM ET
UFC on FUEL TV: Preliminary Bouts – UFC on FOX
January 28, 10:00 PM ET
UFC on FUEL TV: Post-Fight Show – UFC on FOX
January 31, 9:00 PM ET
Countdown to UFC® 143: DIAZ vs. CONDIT
NOTE: Fuel TV’s New Year UFC marathon will repeat the above mentioned programing (8 hours block) for the entire day.
This will be a great way for Fuel TV to kickoff the New Years and celebrate the recently signed TV deal with the UFC. Fuel TV is a network who’s sole purpose is to draw young males by airing entertainment and sports programming geared towards that demographic. A deal with the UFC stands to benefit Fuel TV greatly, as it hopes to increase it’s reach from the 36 million homes that was previously estimated before signing the TV deal with the UFC. Since then, Dana White claims that the channel has increased it’s reach by 11% and that now 38 million homes have access to the channel. Yahoo Sports reports:
“I think that was part of Fox’s strategy in signing the UFC. They’ve gone up 11 percent since we signed the deal with Fox, and they’re in 38 million homes.”
While White is confident that more cable and satellite providers will add Fuel, it won’t hurt for fans to call and politely ask for it.
“I think it’s already happening. The announcements that we made have people [expletive] at their cable companies since we made the announcement.”
Besides being in about 62 million homes less than Spike TV, Fuel and FOX are banking on the UFC’s popularity and their hardcore loyal fanbase to make the switch from Spike and increase the channel’s reach and low ratings. That task will not be an easy one in 2012, as Spike TV will still own the UFC’s library which prevents Fuel TV from airing any UFC programming that has already aired on Spike TV until the deal ends in 2013. Even more daunting, Spike TV plans to use UFC programming to counter-program future UFC on FOX, FX, and Fuel TV events by featuring fighters that those platforms will already be promoting for those events. Spike retaining the UFC library throughout next year only makes it that much harder for Fuel TV gain traction with UFC fans, who most consider the UFC to be synonymous with Spike. Until the library rights are given back to the UFC, it will give a number of MMA fans many reasons to delay the inevitable transition to the FOX platforms to catch live UFC programming outside of PPV events.
Just last week, Spike TV announced “Ultimate Fridays”, which will feature the best of TUF to directly counter-program the new seasons of TUF on FX. It also previously announced that they would counter-program UFC on FOX 2, which they also did for UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs Dos Santos – the UFC’s network debut on FOX. According to Spike, the programming they put around the FOX event on Spike TV did very well rating’s wise, averaging around 800k-900k viewers.
All things considered, business is business for the Viacom owned network. Spike TV President Kevin Kay said it best in a recent interview with Sherdog:
“The deal [is] there’s a tail-end year of the library, and we pay for it. And we pay a good price for it. So we have to use it, and we’d be foolish not to use it…That’s our job. Our job is to use this library and monetize it.”