As we predicted in an article back in August, Fuel TV is set to be a major part of the UFC’s new deal with FOX starting in 2012.
During a media conference call today Fuel TV’s George Greenberg revealed that they will devote 25% of their total airtime, amounting a staggering 2,000 hours, to the UFC in the coming year.
A major part of that programming will be the UFC’s preliminary fights which this year have been airing on Facebook, but will switch to Fuel TV in 2012.
FX will also get in on the act however as they will now be the home of the UFC’s ‘prelim special’s’ which currently air on Spike TV and feature two live prelim fights from selected events which air during an hour broadcast prior to the main cards on pay-per-view.
In addition Fuel TV will also air international non-PPV events, such as those in the UK that in that past have aired via Spike TV tape-delay, live.
Meanwhile live press conference’s, weigh-ins, countdown shows, pre and post-fight shows and various other UFC related programming will also feature on the channel.
For Fuel TV this is a dream come true, and Greenberg indicated it’ll allow them to be more selective about what they do with the other 75% of their coverage, and will also see them shift the demographic they are targetting from a slightly younger 12-34 age group to a more focused adult 18-34 market.
From FOX’s point of view it’s clear the aim of this is to increase demand for Fuel TV in the hopes of expanding the number of homes it’s available in which will result in bigger audiences and more advertising revenue.
At present it’s available to just 26 million homes, which is relatively small, especially when placed next to it’s sister channel FX which is available to 100 million.
Of course in the mean time that presents a major problem for many MMA fans who don’t currently have access to the station. However, given the ambitious plans that are in place for it there’s no doubt that every serious follower of the sport is going to be doing everything they can to gain access to it in time for the deal starting in 2012.