Many eyebrows were raised when FOX made the decision to go with just an hour long show for the UFC’s first live televised event this Saturday night, but today it was revealed that it wasn’t a one-off occurance.
Normally UFC fans are used to shows going either two hours on Spike TV or three if it’s a pay-per-view event, but for the four FOX broadcasts in 2012 they will be cut down to just 90 minutes.
“We definitely think the future broadcasts are going to be longer,” FOX’s Eric Shanks said in a media conference call earlier today. “Talking to the UFC guys, Dana and Lorenzo, and also talking to our own affiliates, we believe believe probably the sweet spot for broadcasts is an hour-and-a-half.”
Saturday night’s showcase will feature just one bout, but Shanks confirms they will have more in these 90 minute shows next year, stating that there’s likely to be “two or three fights” during the broadcast.
“We just wanted to make sure that we put the spotlight 100 percent on the heavyweight championship of the world. It’s the first time a heavyweight championship has been on broadcast television in, what is it, 26 years or something like that?
“It’s an incredible night, and we just want to make sure we have the time to tell the story about this one particular fight. But going forward, you can look forward to longer fight nights on FOX.”
FOX won’t be the only channel to air live UFC fights in 2012 however, and the other channels will have their own specific requirements.
For instance the six ‘Fight Night’ style events on FX will run for two hours, while any Fuel TV event is likely to go on for three hours.
So, all in all fight fans can rest assured that they are going to get plenty of free-to-air programming in the coming years thanks to the UFC’s new television deal.