Top 10 of 2012: No. 7 the UFC-Fox relationship
December 28, 2012
MMA Payout’s No. 7 business story of 2012 is the first full year of the UFC-Fox relationship. In late 2011, the UFC signed a 7 year deal with Fox leaving longtime network Spike TV.
While there was great anticipation for the UFC on Fox networks, the ratings have been less than anticipated.
Despite a huge rating for UFC on Fox 1, the next several UFC events on the big network failed to gain traction. UFC on Fox 5 did rebound with stellar numbers with a 4.4 million viewer average and the main event spiking at 5.7 million viewers. However, the numbers for UFC on Fox 2-4 showed a drop in viewership. This could be due to lack of stars in its main event. Certainly, UFC on Fox 5 was stacked with known fighters such (BJ Penn and Shogun Rua) and up an coming talent it could market for the future (Rory MacDonald, Alexander Gustaffson and Benson Henderson).
UFC on Fox 2 – 4.66M average, peak 6M
UFC on Fox 3 – 2.25M average, peak 2.9M
UFC on Fox 4 – 2.44M average, peak 3.3M
UFC on Fox 5 – 4.4M average, peak 5.7M
Fuel TV has been the benefactor of UFC programming as its audience has grown steadily since the UFC came on board with a UFC marathon last New Year’s Day. The UFC has had live events on the networks as well as Prelims for FX and Fox events. FX has had Prelims on its network prior to PPVs as well.
We have already chronicled the issues the TUF franchise has had in its transition to Fridays on FX.
Fox has worked in promoting the UFC with its other sports properties: NASCAR and the NFL. Notably, Dana White played a homeless person in a skit on an NFL pregame show. Also, Fox ran shoulder programming promoting the UFC’s network shows on NFL Sundays.
It will be interesting to see where the UFC-Fox partnership goes in 2013. It appears that Fox will establish a new sports channel in which the Speed channel will be a part. It’s likely that Fuel TV could be integrated into the new channel as well. This would definitely solidify the UFC-Fox relationship for years to come as the UFC would be a great source of content for the network.