Among the headlines coming out of the UFC’s third outing on network television, many pundits pointed to the UFC on Fox 3 rating as a failure for the UFC. Only capturing around 2.5 million views as it competed with a Boxing pay-per-view, which is about half of what the premiere UFC on Fox heavyweight title fight had captured. Some might think that Fox would be unhappy, but that is far from the case, according to Fox Sports co-president Eric Shanks. In fact, they could not be happier with the viewership the UFC has brought to their Fuel TV channel.
UFC is now the cornerstone of Fuel TV broadcast. In the month of April alone there was over 300 hours of UFC on FUEL. Plus, the last card exclusive to the channel, Gustafsson vs. Silva gave the channel its highest rated day, and its highest rated show ever for the channel. If the record Setting hours for April is any indication, the channel will continue to rely of UFC broadcast to expand the growth of Fuel TV. Here are a few more highlights from the UFC in April.
Fuel TV April 2012 Audience Highlights:
• April 2012 vs. April 2011 was up +260% in Total Viewers and +450% in M18-49
• Prime time viewership grew +275% on Total Viewers and +250% among M18-49 compared to April 2011
• Late night finished up +767% on Total Viewers and +1,000% among M18-49 from April 2011
• UFC on Fuel TV Fight Night on April 14 delivered the most-watched day in network history (on both Total Viewers and M18-49) with an average of 71,000 Total Viewers and 44,000 M18-49, +1,320% and +2,100%, respectively, vs. April 2011
• UFC on Fuel TV Fight Night on April 14 (UFC on Fuel TV 2: Gustafsson vs. Silva) was the second most-watched program in network history, with 197,000 Total Viewers and the most-watched telecast in network history among the target demo of M18-49 with 142,000
• The program peaked at 298,000 Total Viewers from 5:30pm ET – 5:45pm ET
• April 2012 was the network’s second most-watched month ever, behind February 2012
• For the first four months of 2012, prime time viewership is averaging an increase of +209% over 2011, and total day is up +125% compared to 2011
So, the benefits of the UFC on Fuel are already showing the benefits for FOX. Now some of the other things like the Ultimate Fighter and UFC on Fox will take some time to grow, but Fox is not regretting this partnership by any means.