Lorenzo Fertitta: 'Not at all concerned' about UFC on FOX ratings dip

by Kevin Iole | source: sports.yahoo.com

The early UFC on FOX television ratings show a troubling trend, declining precipitously in each of the UFC's three appearances on Fox:
UFC on FOX 1: 5.675 million viewers
UFC on Fox 2: 4.661 million viewers
UFC on Fox 3: 2.418 million total viewers, last in its time slot, below Shark Tank and CSI.

UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta isn't panicking.

"Would we like to see the numbers be trending differently? Yes, of course," Fertitta said. "But we're not concerned and we don't think it's an overall reflection of our business. There are reasons for it. If you think about it, for the first [Fox] fight we had a massive amount of promotion within the NFL on Fox. And we led with our big show, the heavyweight championship, so of course, we were going to draw a much broader range of viewers.

"The fight in January in Chicago actually performed pretty well, even though it was a little below the first one. It was still super solid. This last show, I'd say it was a moderate performance. Really, what we're looking at is, 'How did we rank within the competition compared to what was going on that night?' And in hindsight, going on Cinco de Mayo may not have been the best thing to do."

"If The Avengers did over $200 million for the weekend, unfortunately for us, there were a great number of our potential viewers sitting in a movie theater somewhere. Or, they were out that night celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Listen, I'm not trying to make excuses. Hats off to HBO and Bernard Hopkins. That's a great job and a great number they pulled. But when you say, 'Are we concerned,' I'd say no. We're excited.

"We had a situation where 2.5 million people, which I would say is still a substantial number, got to see what I would say was a tremendous product. All four fights were great fights and in the main event, Nate Diaz showed he's potentially a breakout star who down the road could move the needle for us on pay-per-view. The playbook is playing out for us exactly the way we wanted it to."

"We will work on this and look at it, but we're not unhappy. We got a tremendous amount of exposure for a kid like Nate Diaz. We're going to build him the way we built Jon Jones. Two years ago, nobody knew who Jon Jones was, and now, a couple of weeks ago, we did a very good [PPV] number for his fight that I think really crossed over and where the non hard-core fans were talking about it.

"It's a learning process for all of us, but we're not at all concerned. We feel things are progressing according to plan and whatever issues we have are things that aren't insurmountable and which we can fix."

Read entire article...

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Recent Comments »

Ansari site profile image  

5/14/12 8:03 PM by Ansari

Dana addresses ratings in his latest vlog...Dana White UFC on FUEL Fairfax VA vlog  

DarrenJG site profile image  

5/12/12 1:03 PM by DarrenJG

Great overall analysis by MMALOGIC.

Haulport site profile image  

5/12/12 12:42 PM by Haulport

Excellent, excellent post. And don't forget when Spike FINALLY gets Bellator on in 2013 it is going to hurt them even more. Zuffa had a fantastic opportunity, even with the TUF and FUEL decisions and they fucked the pooch with SHIT match-making and having Dana lambast the fighters ala Chuck/Rampage in PRIDE. It was fucking disgraceful and a lot of people were very turned off by it...........

MMALOGIC site profile image  

5/10/12 11:02 PM by MMALOGIC

I do not disagree with this... Having the largest ppv provider in the world and focusing an entire network on their content is an easy sell to a carrier because ppv is a significant profit center for them... you're essentially promoting a carriers significant profit center (ppv)  on your network.   If Fox gets fuel into 70 or 80 million homes they're gonna make all their money back and then some... the advertising and demo reach they are getting with the fox and fx content is just a bonus. I do think comcast will come around... Negotiations with most of these guys are scheduled at the end of the year. Fox could eat these basement level ratings on 4 saturday night slots a year and not even care.  Fox talks only heated up when talks of Zuffa buying G4 emerged so I agree Fuel was a major component of the deal... I just think they overestimated how mobile UFC's base is. Here's the problem though:  When they were on spike the UFC had more than 2 million eyeballs a week watching their commercials, unleashed, fight nights, tuf, replays etc... That foundation for the base is gone and replaced with a 1 hour abortion called tuf live in the worst time slot. If that foundation isnt reconstructed the base will further erode.    They overestimated when they should have simply shored up the base on FX. You get 2 million eyeballs on FX a week and you'll routinely get 4 million on fox... get 4 million on fox and you'll consistently get 10's of thousands of people requesting fuel so they can catch up with the sport, watch the replays, pre fight, post fight, shoulder programming, etc... They are sacrificing the base Zuffa built up to push fuel... and it's coming at an expense i think they did not anticipate.  Dana thought tuf live would do 3 million viewers on fx... major mistake... if the fx portion of this deal isnt fixed it's gonna be a big problem. Let's say they get fuel 80 million homes by  the end of the year (which is not likely)... they will still have problems.  yes the viewership will rise to 700k to a million for fight nights (what ufc pulled on versus).  this does nothing for growth.  It'll stop the bleeding some...   but what's the point?  to get back to where you started on spike?  worse, you're now even more niched...  This whole excercise so Dana White can plaster his face all over another network? we're talking a 4 year project to get back to spike levels if that on a brand new network.  If you cant piggy back properly off of the Audience FX has built with all their other great programming and thus FOX  then it's all for naught.  You were better off on spike.  They need to figure out how to get at least 2 million eyeballs a week on UFC content and FX is the only vehicle to do that. The major sports still feed their funnel primarily with content on other networks, not their own network.  Their branded network is primarily for hardcore fans.  The major sports became mainstream and years later they created their own network... The UFC is going in the opposite direction. A simple change... take all the fight night main cards off of fuel and move it to FX.  absorb SF and move the 8 cards to UFC FX.  With the 14 PPV prelims on fx this is 36/ 2hour live events.  almost a full year of weekly fight nights.  Place that on FX, move tuf to a different night and you shore up the base. Airing the FX and Fox prelims on fuel is more than enough live event programming for fuel. If they dont fix the FX portion of the deal by 2013 it's gonna be a big problem.  

Acidic site profile image  

5/10/12 11:00 PM by Acidic

My retarded cousin bilo could have came up with a better fight card then UFC on FOX 2. he also would have put alteast 3 fights on. He also would have headlines UFC on FOx 3 with a big name fighter. This isnt the NFL either so stop playing that shitty sounding crap over and over again

Forrest Spliffn site profile image  

5/10/12 10:55 PM by Forrest Spliffn

Avengers was on. A lot of people go to bars on cinco and 4 a mayweather fight. The numbers are fine dudes chill. That was one of the least " stay at home Saturday's " in recent memory. Add to that the fact only MMA fans know who Jim miller or nate Diaz is and the #'s are actually pretty good.

Eric the midget site profile image  

5/10/12 10:10 PM by Eric the midget

Only a retard would take a viewership and contract it 60%. think about it#stopbeingretarded

Eric the midget site profile image  

5/10/12 10:07 PM by Eric the midget

I'm sure everyone on this bored would have a tough time losing ratings like the UFC has in the past couple months. Its a historic slide. You will never see rating slides like that in for the NFL, NBA and MLB.The Fox deal is a disaster by Epic proportions which really couldn't get any worse. All these posters could have done better

Chris27 site profile image  

5/10/12 10:06 PM by Chris27

Actually I believe the contract for Fuel with all the carriers doesnt come up till the end of the year or something.So clearly Fox/UFC knew this going in that they werent gonna get Fuel into 80 mill homes in two months. We'll see in 2013 or 2014 how many more homes Fuel gets into.And was it the UFCs idea or was it Fox's idea for Fuel? Was it the UFC saying give us Fuel and we'll get it into more homes or was it Fox saying sign with Fox/FX and build Fuel up for us, we'll give you Fuel to build up.

kinson site profile image  

5/10/12 10:04 PM by kinson

I love how everyone in here is a tv ratings/ MMA promoting expert. Apparently everyone here is in the wrong business. :)