While all the focus in terms of ratings for the ‘UFC On FOX 1’ event last weekend focused on the main brodcast it shouldn’t be forgotten that there were also pre and post-fight show on Fuel TV as well hosted by Jay Glazer alongside Kenny Florian.
According to MMAPayout the pre-fight show drew 83,000 viewers on the station, while the post-show did 37,000.
Though very low in comparison to what we’ve become accustomed to seeing from UFC related programming on other networks, these were in fact good ratings for Fuel, far exceeding the 18,000 viewers that had tuned in during their primetime programming the previous weekend.
There’s several reasons behind the low figures. For one there was more than likely a lack of awareness from many fans that there even was shoulder programming to the main event available on Fuel TV.
Even if you did know about it you may still have found difficulty in finding it since Fuel TV is currently only available in around 30 million homes, less than a third of the reach that better known channels such as Spike TV and FX enjoy.
Finally, the pre-fight show was taking place at the same time as the preliminary fights were airing on Facebook and FoxSports.com, so many hardcore fans who may have been tempted to watch the show are more likely to have been tuned in to that instead.
Despite the low figures Fuel TV is set to be a channel that’s going to be hugely important for UFC fans in the coming year as they plan to devote 25% of their schedule to delivering programming from the sport’s leading promotion.
That includes more of these pre and post-fight shows in addition to live prelims and even several live events too.
What that’s undoubtedly going to do is raise awareness of Fuel TV to an entirely different level, and FOX hope that will lead to the likes of Comcast adding it to their platform which will significantly boost it’s reach, allowing them to continue to grow their audience and attract more advertisers.
It’s a strategy that’s going to pay off from the offset for Fuel TV, while the UFC may have to grin and bear it in the early stages.
Nevertheless, I expect that within the next 6-12 months as it’s reach expands it will also begin to pay dividends for the promotion, offering them a platform that will be in all-but-name, ‘UFC TV’.