In many ways, the UFC’s deal with FOX has hampered the promotion’s ability to properly promote a fight because they’re currently stuck dragging FUEL TV’s ratings out of the gutter. Good for FUEL and good for FOX. Not so good for exposing the latest Countdown show to the kind of casual fan who may or may not buy this weekend’s UFC pay per view. The good news is FOX and the UFC have a healthy give / take relationship, so when certain things don’t work out (TUF on Fridays, FOX prelims on FUEL), they go ahead and fix that shit:
MMAFighting.com reported last week that the UFC on FOX 5 and 6 prelims will now air on FX, not FUEL TV, and on Tuesday’s conference call to promote next week’s UFC on FOX 5 event, Eric Shanks, president of FOX Sports Media Group, spoke of the switch.
“The thinking there is, obviously, FX is in a lot more homes than Fuel,” he said, “and it’s a funnel. The more people you have watching the prelims and telling them where to catch the fight, the bigger the fight is going to be. We wanted to do it with this one and get that funnel as big as possible.”
FX is currently available in 90 million homes; while FUEL is in 36 million homes.
We’re also into football season so it will be interesting to see if FOX promotes the December 8th and January 26th events heavily during those events. The network seemed heavily invested in promoting the heavyweight title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez pretty hard, but then took their eye off the ball with later shows. The UFC needs all the commercials, little graphic overlays in the corner, and other promotional integration they can get to start crossing with the average FOX viewer. The network is paying enough for the broadcast rights to the sport and will only make more money off it the better it performs. It’s time to go all out on this bitch.