It’s been well established that part of FOX’s strategy in buying up the rights to the UFC’s TV coverage for the next seven years was to help bolster the smallest of their channel group, Fuel TV, and judging by figures released today it appears to be working.
25% of Fuel TV’s programming is now UFC related since the start of the year and it’s resulted in a major boost to it’s ratings, up 100% in total viewers, 209% during primetime and 170% during late-night viewing in March compared to the same time last year.
That, in addition to a massive growth in the crucial 18-49 male demographic so coveted by advertisers, bringing increases of 325% during primetime and 600% during late-night viewing in that demo, has resulted in Nielson Ratings confirming that Fuel TV is the fastest growing ad-supported cable network so far in 2012.
Needless to say Fuel TV are thrilled by the news.
“It is unbelievable how much impact the UFC has had on this network and its ratings,” Fuel TV’s general manager George Greenberg stated. “We’re thrilled to have the UFC as a partner driving this growth. With more upcoming live fights in April, May and through the year, we expect this trend to continue.”
While this is all good news it’s important to note that this is all relative and Fuel TV still has a long way to go before the channel, which at one point prior to the UFC’s tenure had the dubious distinction of being the lowest rated ad-supported channel on cable, can rival the kind of numbers that we are used to seeing on bigger stations such as FX and Spike TV.
Nevertheless, Fuel TV has shown a lot of promise with it’s original programming such as ‘UFC Tonight’ and ‘UFC: Ultimate Insider’ along with pre and post-fight coverage of major shows and it’s own ‘UFC On Fuel TV’ events all being very worthwhile viewing for any discerning MMA fan.