UFC hard sell for advertisers while on Versus
February 20, 2012
The Sports Business Journal reported on the drop in ratings of NBC Sports Network as it rolled out its new name and brand last month. The article also comments on the fact that NBC found it difficult finding advertisers for the UFC when it was on the network.
For those that don’t know, NBC Sports Network was known as Versus prior to its re-branding at the start of the year. The SBJ article (subscription required) stated that NBC had a hard time finding advertisers for the UFC. Yet, UFC programming averaged 124,000 viewers on Versus. These ratings doubled the average for the channel. The article also states that the loss of the UFC has hurt NBC Sports Network ratings. Still, NBC described the UFC as “off brand,” a show that brought ratings but the network had a hard time finding a way to monetize it.
While the UFC portion of the NBC Sports Network article was a small example compared to the overall theme of the article which was the slow start for the network, its an interesting take of the pull of the UFC. Its also an example of the obstacles the UFC still faces in trying to appeal to mainstream advertisers. We will see in the coming year if the UFC has problems on Fox, FX or Fuel with retaining and obtaining mainstream advertisers.