UFC debut on FOX Sports 1 is a ratings smash


FOX Sports 1 launched yesterday in approximately 90-million homes.  Powered by 11.5 hours of live NASCAR and UFC programming, plus three hours of the inaugural editions of FOX SPORTS LIVE, FOX Sports 1 posted strong audience figures on its first day of operation, according to fast national information released by Nielsen Media Research.

FOX Sports 1, driven by UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN, posted an average audience of 1.71 million viewers in prime time (8:00-11:00 PM ET), a more than 10-fold increase compared to that which SPEED, FOX Soccer and FUEL TV combined to deliver on the comparable night a year ago (141,000). Among younger demographics the comparisons are even more significant. FOX Sports 1 viewership was over 25 times greater than SPEED/FOX Soccer/FUEL TV among both Adults 18-49 and Men 18-49, and 40 times greater among Adults 18-34 and M18-34. All ratings are coverage area nationals, live plus same day stream.

“We must congratulate the UFC for putting together a terrific event for the launch of FOX Sports 1 that fans were obviously very excited to watch,” said Bill Wanger, Executive Vice President, Programming and Research, FOX Sports.  “The prelims and main events were action-packed, and the production quality and new camera angles gave fans a totally new perspective - hats off to the UFC and its incredibly loyal fan base for making our first night such a complete success.” 

FOX Sports 1 averaged a 1.33 household rating last night in prime time, and ratings were particularly strong among younger demographics.  Remarkably, FOX Sports 1 out-rated all four major broadcast networks among Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34, Men 18-49, and Men 18-34 based on impressions within each demo.

FOX Sports 1’s first ever primetime event, UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN, averaged a 1.38 and beat the average of the eight UFC on FX Fight Nights by +49% in rating (1.38 vs. 0.93) and +38% in viewership (1.78 million vs. 1.29 million).  FOX Sports 1’s first UFC FIGHT NIGHT also beat seven of those eight FX Fight Nights individually.  Among younger demographics, last night’s FOX Sports 1 card easily beat the average of FX’s primetime UFC cards by +50% in viewership among Men 18-49 (994K vs. 663K) and +44% higher among Men 18-34 (492K vs. 342K).

The inaugural airing of FOX SPORTS LIVE improved greatly over SPEED’s performance in the time period. Compared to SPEED’s third quarter of 2012 time period average FOX SPORTS LIVE improved by +137% among Total Viewers (476K vs. 201K), and an immense +1384% over SPEED’s Men 18-34 time period performance (163K vs. 11K).

UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN was the most socially-active English-language show in all of television yesterday, with 46,520 commenters, producing 124,635 Tweets, based on the number of commenters not Tweets.  For the entire day, FOX Sports 1 was the third-most socially active English-language network (52,209), as ranked by number of unique commenters after NFL Network (116,253 unique commenters) and FOX Broadcast (104,365).


tags: UFC FIght Night 26   


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MMALOGIC site profile image  

8/19/13 11:17 PM by MMALOGIC

  yeah you gotta also be able to compete with the other programing on the network for mommies attention... MLB (40 games a year on fs1), Nascar, College Football, Colleg Basketball, etc... an 800k average on live event programming would keep the ufc afloat but i dont think Fox would be as vigorously behind the UFC as they are now.   Fox is relying on the success of the UFC.  It's the only brand they exclusively have to differentiate themselves from everyone else.  Fox shares everything else from mlb, nascar, ncaa, golf, etc... with other networks. With the numbers from saturday night and if the UFC continues to be successful, fox is going to go all in on the UFC. Zuffa is in the best possible position at the moment.  almost as much as spike needed the UFC to succeed so does Fox(fs1) but the difference is Fox is willing and able to invest way more to make sure it happens. Besides the Fertitta brothers, There's nobody more invested than Fox in making sure the UFC get's as big as it possibly can. 

AFC1281 site profile image  

8/19/13 11:02 PM by AFC1281

Actually, Fox is quite liberal. Not Fox the news channel, but the tv station and sports channels.

Reed Rothchild site profile image  

8/19/13 10:50 PM by Reed Rothchild

Hawaii 5-0 had over 10 million viewers .. Another lie. With all the publicity, stacked card and no real competition on Saturday night I was expecting well over 2 million viewers. I guess a wait for the dvr numbers

Lynchman site profile image  

8/19/13 10:18 PM by Lynchman

Actually what is good and what is not is somewhat subjective. If FS1 averages...let us say 400k and the UFC averages 800k, it is not as bad as if FS1 averages 700k and the UFC does 850k.But I do agree that if the UFC live events end up averaging less than one million, it is a cause for worry within the UFC. At the current time, even prelims usually do that.

MMALOGIC site profile image  

8/19/13 6:18 PM by MMALOGIC

^ if the numbers settle at around 800k the sport has plateued.  Fox will be ok with it but they wont be pushing it with the same vigor. Doom and gloom is like a fighter dying or something similar and everyone turning against the sport. But then zuffa would simply focus most of it's attention overseas.  Unlike Pride, the UFC is diversifying all over the world.  One market could crash and burn because some catastrophic event and even though it may be a significant economic impact zuffa will still likely be alive. 800k viewers would hurt ppv alot.  ppv would probably decrease because you wouldnt be able to sell fights like Rashad vs Hendo.  800k or less for the UFC would hurt the US market. in arena sponsorships, merchandise, etc... NHL can get away with 455k viewers because they've been around for so long.  The UFC/mma is such a young sport that platauing at 800k or less would be disasterous.  The ufc and sport can survive on it but it would be a major letdown. if the numbers settle at around 1 million it's anemic but not a disaster.  (now keep in mind im using the typical historical demo breakdowns for ufc events... if total viewership drops but the demo ratings are similar to successful shows then it's not as  bad) 1.3m and up and Fox is in the UFC business for a very, very long time.  the UFC will be a mainstream sports franchise in the United States..

Standup29 site profile image  

8/19/13 6:02 PM by Standup29

Here's what I can't understand. If they are just UFC on Spike numbers, why aren't we saying "these are just Bellator on Spike numbers"? I don't get how Bellator fan can say that knowing the numbers aren't even close to comparable. Logic, you post a lot of negative shit when the numbers warrant it, what kind of numbers would be a bad sign for FS1? What would cause the doom and gloom for UFC?

clown makeup site profile image  

8/19/13 5:35 PM by clown makeup

Cops did what 3 million 8pm , 9pm, 10 pm? Perhaps Dana ought to dress the fighers in policeman uniforms and gangster outfits? Number does not seem that impressive, it is the same 1+ million eyeballs that are enticed just enough to stay in to watch a stacked card, to make an all evening affair out of it.  Unless they keep doing that and in order to increase the viewers they will have to dip into the champion fighters and championship fights reserved for PPV's in order to keep interest the same or increase it. You can keep fiddling with the channels, it all always boils down to the handful of eyeballs each event. As with the intial intro to Fox exclamations abounded, hooray, mainstream get ready for the fox noobs. No such thing. It's a niche market and the numbers any way you juggle them continue to reflect that. Nothings improved in fact it has declined. It should have been the same or more than the Fox debut, 5 million? This amounts to yet another general stacked card for free. Nothing more nothing less. Fox 1, UFC on Fox, UFC Fight Night, UFN, Rupee's Giddy with Glee Channel, same lady different hat.

MMALOGIC site profile image  

8/19/13 5:21 PM by MMALOGIC

  what kind of spin job is needed when an event beats everything else on television in the key demos inlcuding the big 4 (abc, nbc, cbs, fox)?  The UFC had years on spike to establish an audience.  To pull 1.78m viewers and be the #1 program in all of cable and broadcast television in the key demos on a network which didnt even exist the day before the event took place is phenomenal. When the UFC puts on 25 fight nights on fs1 (like it has on spike) then compare it to spike numbers. A more fair comparison for the first UFC event on FS1 would be with the first UFC event on FX (1.3m)  and the first UFC event on versus (1.27m)  the first UFC event on FS1 beat every FX fight night and every versus fight night in the ratings. You know what the numbers for the first UFC fight night on spike?  It was 1.5m...  So the first UFC fight night on fs1 even beat the first UFC fight night on spike. if you average all 25 ufc fight nights on spike it's around 1.6m... so fs1 even beat the average on spike. if you take the average of the last five fight nights on spike which you are reffering to (fn20 to 25 which averaged 1.7m)  FS1 even beat that average.  UFC on fs1 pulled 1.78m viewers. But it doesnt have to beat ufc on spike numbers.  Fox and Zuffa would take UFC on spike numbers every day of the week and twice on sundays.  They would do non stop cartwheels for ufc on spike numbers. UFC on spike numbers were considered boom times for the sport... the UFC was beating every major sport on cable in the key demo (except for the nfl and nba playoffs) with ufc on spike numbers...   So whoever on twitter is saying "oh these are just ufc on spike numbers" shouldnt be talking about ratings.  

MMALOGIC site profile image  

8/19/13 4:58 PM by MMALOGIC

If alot of people were just checking out the new channel they would have stayed for fox sports live.  after 1.8m for UFC,  fox sports live had less than 500k viewers (with alot of males 18-34 which are ufc fans). But yeah, the next one will probably do less.  The UFC needs time on the network and people need to get more familiar with it.