UFC delivers on night of Fox Sports 1 debut

August 18, 2013

Figure Four Online (subscription required) reports that the UFC main card on Fox Sports 1 scored an impressive average of 1.78 million viewers.  The card featuring Chael Sonnen-Shogun Rua in the main event received a 1.4 rating and defeated all 4 networks in the key demos

The Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand tweeted that FS1 prime time scored an average of 1.71 million in the 8:00-11:00pm prime time space.  F4W Online reported the average from 8:00 to 10:45pm, the approximate end after Sonnen’s first round submission and post-fight interview.

The numbers are impressive as the card started in the early evening on the West Coast (5:00pm) and there is always confusion in finding a new channel.

Payout Perspective:

The ratings show that viewers can find a channel if they really want to.  The fact that the UFC did so well on the opening night of a new channel is a big win for the UFC and FS1.  The numbers and the wins in its key demo (males, 18-49) is a big positive for the UFC.  Not sure if Sonnen was the reason for the draw or the fact that people were curious about the new channel.  Regardless, the ratings are better than the UFC’s live event debut on FX (1.3M) and series average (1.29M).

63 Responses to “UFC delivers on night of Fox Sports 1 debut”

  1. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 3:38 PM

    You’re an idiot. Tyson is one fighter. The UFC is an organization, they have the opportunity to make the decisions for an entire sport.

    But then again… why am I even trying to educate these pea brains.

  2. aintitthetruth on August 20th, 2013 3:58 PM

    Olympic alternates could also be known as the winning loser. chael sonnen is a winning loser. i like the sound of that.

  3. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:36 PM

    Nice cop out. The fact Tyson is a single fighter give him a better chance to supplement PPV. He doesn’t have to promote lower level fighters who don’t draw ratings. However, not a single boxer has passed on PPV for network TV. In fact any network would love to have a big drawing Boxing match. But they cant compete with PPV.

  4. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:44 PM

    The only way I see the UFC going Free TV as a majority of their revenue is through a hybrid of Network and PPV. Either cutting the number of PPVs down to 6 or so. Making PPV’s and free events stronger across the board. This would minimize the loss of switching to free TV. IF the 6 PPV’s all break 1 million sales. Then it might be able to not lose anything if the TV deal is good.

    The other option I can see being possible is the UFC doing what Showtime and NHO do and show the replay of PPVs for free a few weeks later. They would still sell a lot of PPV’s and also use them to get ratings. Not sure what the ratings would be on a old fight. Maybe use the PPV headliner taped fight as the open fighting on the next live free card. That way you get everyone wanting to see the live card and anyone who missed the PPV. It would draw better than just old fights.

  5. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 5:55 PM

    That’s what I stated weeks ago.

    Drastically cut down the PPV number to drive up the FS1 event ratings with bigger draws/bigger promo.

    Current annual deal is $90 million per year. Right now UFC has all the leverage in the world as FOX has no ratings grabber at this current price tag. It takes time but to stay in this no man’s land of 14-16 PPV’s a year while marginalizing the fan base in the process when they have a strong distribution partner in FS1 (90 million homes) at their disposal makes no sense. The longer they continue to put on that many PPV’s… yes they will not be able to capitalize on a wider audience when they take PPV quality cards and bring them to FS1.

    Like I stated weeks ago, it’s not a transition that happens overnight. It’s 12 next year, 10 the following, 8, then 6.

    UFC’s biggest risk is Fox failing overall and not being able to get the transmission fees to pay the escalating bills. PPV keeps their destiny in-house so there’s 2 sides I suppose…

  6. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 5:56 PM

    PPV isn’t going anywhere. In fact other sports have started selling their events and depending less on ad revenue. There is 2-3 million people who are paying for NFL games with NFL Sunday Ticket on Direct TV. There is also MLB and NBA and NHL packages too. Because these leagues saw more money in charging fans rather than giving it to them for free and depending just on Ads.

  7. BrainSmasher on August 20th, 2013 6:08 PM

    I agreed with you then too. BUt not on the details. The UFC cant afford to cut PPV’s without an immediate return in tv revenue.

    I do think the UFC popularity will start to rise without making any changes. It appears Fox is really backing the UFC and are looking for long term returns. They are marrying the UFC to every asset they have. I see them really pushing hard to link the UFC and NFL together. When that happens and those sports fans get used to seeing MMA fighters hand and hand with their favorite sport and players they will learn the fighters and follow the sport. How big the UFC will get from this is anyones guess. BUt I think they are going to put to many resources into making it happen to not work.

    That said. If it happens. Then the UFC PPV’s will only get bigger and bigger as far as buys. Also the free fighters not on PPV will also be bigger. The Tv deal is important to assure UFC doesn’t have the struggles that Boxing has seen. I don’t see the UFC switching away from PPV’s unless buy rates plummeted. Then they might go full blown Network TV to keep the company alive. Which I don’t see happening.

  8. Sampson Simpson on August 20th, 2013 7:23 PM

    The biggest problem with PPV that isn’t going away anytime soon is that broadband is only getting better with higher adoption rates. It’s getting increasingly mobile as well.

    That is the limiting factor in growing revenue through this medium. Sure the other sports are gravitating towards other packages but their biggest events are still on widely accessible, well distributed networks. There’s a reason for that.

    These entities dangle the carrot of their biggest events in order to get the networks to overpay for their shitty regular season events that aren’t watched as much. That’s what I’m saying the UFC needs to do since they are a platform much like these leagues. They might get underpaid on the big events but they will get way overpaid on the shitty events.

  9. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 10:27 PM

    Winning loser sounds right….haha….whoever spread that Olympic alternate quote..hyping 101….checked the net and most mma websites called him an Olympic alternate…..hahaha

  10. Tops of on August 20th, 2013 11:42 PM

    TRAINING: Wanderlei has a gym in Vegas, but he trains in LA.  Are you getting this?  Even he won’t train at his gym!

    When and why did you start training for fighting? I started with Team Quest about two years before it was called Team Quest.

    What ranks and titles have you held? Gladiator Challenge Light Heavyweight Champion. Hitman Light Heavyweight Champion. Danger Zone Light Heavyweight Champion. Rumble at the River tournament Champion. 2x University National Champion. NCAA All-American, US. Olympic Team Alternate.


  11. BrainSmasher on August 21st, 2013 1:54 PM

    Who cares. As we have established there is no official “Alternate”. So it really means whatever anyone who uses the term wants it to mean. Do we even know who would be the replacement if someone got hurt that was on the Olympic team? Is anyone selected or preselected. Maybe to Chael it means anyone in the top 10. He doesn’t say first alternate. Since it doesn’t official exist and there is no official definition. Then he wasn’t lying as it can mean anything he wants it too. More than likely it is something he started saying early in his career to get in the UFC. People don’t understand wrestling and placing 3rd or 4th in this or that tournament doesn’t have any appeal. Mentioning the Olympics does. Im sure this is why Couture started using it and it might be what got him in the UFC. Back then everyone was fabricating credentials. It was not only needed to get in the UFC but it was used by the UFC to sell the fighter. It works and is why Rickson claims to be 400-0 and Sperry claimed to be 200-0 and why every promotion has tried to tie a fighter in with the Olympics. I could careless if Chael was 2nd place or 4th place. Result is he didn’t make the Olympics and that is the case for either position.

  12. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 6:38 PM

    Sonnen is known for making something out of nothing. And is a felon. Nothing from him would surprise me. But this does fit well into his overall narrative.

  13. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 3:14 AM

    Used by the UFC to sell its fighter….? Hahaha…its called false marketing…..So Amir khan who got silver medal in the Olympics should have called himself goldenboy alternate……shows what kind of company the UFC is…

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