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UnderGround Forums >> UFC on FOX ratings dip: Fertitta 'not concerned'


5/9/12 7:00 PM
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Underground Blog
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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...


5/9/12 7:27 PM
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lenz0799
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Shows like they had are just going to drive the numbers up. I wouldn't be worried till you had those numbers on a good day (no cinco de mayo or avengers) and had a card go to 4 boring booing decisions.
5/9/12 7:30 PM
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Arachnoid
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Sounds like damage control to me. That is a HUGE drop in viewers.
5/9/12 7:31 PM
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UGCTT_LnPninja
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 He is full of shit. He knows this is the beginning of the end. His product is stale and the fans have spoken. A few more years and UFC will be obscelete.

--- Eaton Beaver
5/9/12 7:31 PM
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robbie380
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5/9/12 7:35 PM
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crowbar
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"The playbook is playing out for us exactly the way we wanted it to."


Sure it is Lorenzo....sure it is.
5/9/12 7:43 PM
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Mismatch
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If they keep putting on events like the last one I would be very surprised to see the #'s keep dropping. That was a great event.
5/9/12 7:57 PM
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Irish arm farmer
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The fox deal is the beginning of the end that turned something so unique and different from the norm and turned it into pure cheese.The whole production is pure cheesy and the music is absolute shite.Ive been a die hard fan since day one and for the first time ithink im actually losing interest in the cards.its painful listening to anik and glazer.....my 2 cents from the emerald isle.
5/9/12 8:04 PM
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graciesrule
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Should not of went up against the Mayweather PPV card.
5/9/12 8:22 PM
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Fernando Alonso
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graciesrule - Should not of went up against the Mayweather PPV card.
Wasn't the UFC over before the co-main event was on for boxing?

It was more about not having any big name fighters on the card than Mayweather's PPV, Avengers, Cinco de mayo. If the next Fox card has at least one big name fight the ratings will go back up. Phone Post
5/9/12 8:25 PM
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RKing85
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There is no way you can not be worried if you are UFC brass.

That show did fewer viewers than the second Elite XC on CBS show, which nobody remembers.
5/9/12 8:26 PM
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Hungry4Stink
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If they really are learning they'll add a main event to the next Fox card that has more starpower than Lombard/Stann.
5/9/12 8:26 PM
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UrbanSavage
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I dig it that Lorenzo sounds stoked on promoting Nate as the potential next champ, smart move. If nothing else, this card was successful because it undoubtedly made the 2 and a half million people who watched it interested in Nate's next fight whether they want to see him win or lose.
5/9/12 8:27 PM
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MMALOGIC
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Edited: 05/09/12 8:54 PM
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The Failure goes deeper than the ratings...

Say 500k of those were new eyeballs... say 200k liked it...  now what?  where do they go to consume UFC product to convert them into reael fans?

Before you had unleashed, tuf in a good time slot and all other UFC weekly programming easily accessible on spike where potential fans could go and consume more of the product to complete their conversion.

You dont have that now...  Look at the ppv # during Elite XC's and SF's network shows... The UFC benefitted most with some of the biggest ppv years... from it because anyone who watched and liked it only had one choice if they wanted more... UFC on Spike which had weekly content and they ultimately because UFC fans.

The only weekly content accessible now is a 1 hour tuf live show which is a failed product...  You show tuf live to someone and say this is a sport and they'll laugh... it's 2 guys fighting in a warehouse. A taped reality show is different... it's a trojan horse where you can hide the sensory defects and everybody realizes they are not watching a sport... they are watching a reality show and like a trojan horse through the drama, etc... it gets them into the actual sport.

A live event with an audience is the sport...  you have people in the stands which offers social proof that youre not the only one that likes this, etc...  someone who's intrigued by watching fights isnt looking for a reality show to get more into the sport.

Zuffa needs to fix the FX portion of the deal otherwise it's gonna fall apart.  Fans and new fans need a way to consistently consume and stick to the product....

you build a base on FX where you can get 2 million eyeballs a week and you'll develop the names, the big fights, the buzz that will routinely get you 4 million viewers on fox.  You routinely get 4 million viewers on Fox you'll continue to feed your funnel with potential new fans that seek out more content which will increase the viewership on FX.  Get the eyeballs on FX to 3 million and you will get the fox viewership up to a consistent 6 million...  and the slowball will continue to get bigger until the sport/UFC hit's whatever the ceiling it's gonna hit in the USA.

Once you have full penetration then focus on Fuel.  Make it a place for the hardcores.  International tuf's, All fox and FX prelims, All live event main card replays, unleashed, pre and post fight shows, magazine shows, etc...

FX needs 3 hours a week of fresh UFC programming.  1 hour taped reality show in a better time slot and 2 hours of Live Event programming (friday night fight night or ppv prelim on saturday night).

Fox needs just 3 or 4 shows.

The audience will keep getting bigger and bigger on every platform including ppv until the ceiling is hit.

Absorb SF and place those fights in the UFC fight night series on fx   And take all the fuel fight nights and place them in the FX series...  40 or so weeks of UFC FX and Fox prelims is more than enough live event programming for fuel.

if UFC's base continues to erode Fuel is gonna get hurt the most because their entire network is based on UFC's base being strong.


 
5/9/12 8:30 PM
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Hungry4Stink
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I still don't see why FX would add 2 more hours of UFC a week when the one hour they have isn't doing great. Fox isn't going to give Zuffa more money at this point.
5/9/12 8:32 PM
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Immaculata
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He makes excellent points and I'm glad he's positive. I just wish it wasn't such a huge drop.
5/9/12 8:34 PM
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SupesUp
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Irish arm farmer - The fox deal is the beginning of the end that turned something so unique and different from the norm and turned it into pure cheese.The whole production is pure cheesy and the music is absolute shite.Ive been a die hard fan since day one and for the first time ithink im actually losing interest in the cards.its painful listening to anik and glazer.....my 2 cents from the emerald isle.
Spoken like a true Internet mma fan. So spoiled, so negative. Phone Post
5/9/12 8:44 PM
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shootfightermike
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 ttt
5/9/12 8:51 PM
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RKing85
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The UFC will never admit it, but it certainly looks like the MMA book has plateaued. (although I personally have felt it started plateauing in 2010)
5/9/12 9:06 PM
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JimmersonzGlove
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 They need to sign Melvin Manhoef and have him open every event.
5/9/12 9:09 PM
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Jacinto
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UFC on Fox 2 hurt them really bad with the boring and uneventful fights especially the much hyped ones with Bisping/Chael and Evans/Davis being real stinkers.
5/9/12 9:10 PM
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MMALOGIC
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Hungry4Stink - I still don't see why FX would add 2 more hours of UFC a week when the one hour they have isn't doing great. Fox isn't going to give Zuffa more money at this point.

 Because the ratings for the live events on FX keeps going up and tuf keeps going down.

UFC 142 ratings (prelims on fx): 880,000
UFC 143 ratings (prelims on fx): 1.4 million
UFC 144 ratings (prelims on fx): 1.5 million
UFC 145 ratings (prelims on fx): 1.6 million viewers

UFC on FX 1 ratings (main card): 1.3 million
UFC on FX 2 ratings (main card): 1.4 million

A big litmus test is coming in June... FX has scheduled 4 - 2 hour live UFC events almost every week (origianlly it was scheduled for every week but UFC 147 changed dates)

FX originally wanted a fight night series for friday nights but  it's clear Zuffa sold them on the tuf live nonsense.  You think FX wants that shit?  they want real live sporting events.

Zuffa is not in a horrbile spot though because this is an opportunity to renegotiate and get more money.  Both sides have leverage, yeah, UFC is locked into Fox for 7 years but so is fox.

It's in everyone's best interest to solve the FX portion of the deal otherwise it will all go to shit, fox ratings, ppv and especially fuel which is a network entirely dependant on UFC's mainstream success in the USA.
5/9/12 9:25 PM
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MMALOGIC
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Edited: 05/09/12 9:33 PM
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duckhuntgangsta -  MMALOGIC I think the rest of 2012 is going to be a bit rocky but will get better from there. Spikes counter programming efforts are not only causing confusion but they aren't promoting the next event coming up. The promotional system is completely disjointed. FUEL is supposed to replace Spike but is currently in a third of the homes. That will change come next year as well as fuel gets picked up by more carriers. You are 100% correct about TUF. Over all I think you have some great assessments but I'm not sure if an overhaul is needed. I think they need to get through this year with solid momentum. Phone Post

 My point is even if fuel were available in 99 million homes tommorow it still wouldnt be able to replace spike... It's gonna take like 3 or 4 years to do that.  If you wait 3 to 4 years you're gonna erode alot of what you built on spike... how does that benefit fox or zuffa? 

First shore up the base on FX and build fuel in the background.

Im not talking about a complete overhaul...

FX already has 8 fight nights a year (2 tuf finale's and 6 fight nights), then you have 14 ppv prelims,   That's 22 weeks of live event programming.    You take the 6 fight nights off of fuel and the 8 off of showtime... that's an additional 14 which makes 36.

You then have the australia/uk, brazil, india, etc... tuf finales... more than enough content for a weekly fight series. (fuel can carry all the prelims which is more than enough live event programming for the network)

If it's still not enough and you are streched too thin, take the 4 off of fox for the first year if you have to... You need to first shore up the audience and then build it. 

Fix the FX portion and you fix every other aspect of the deal (fox, fuel, ppv.)  Get the FX portion right and you'll have more big fights to put on fox than they'll have slots for.
   
5/9/12 9:28 PM
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Hungry4Stink
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I think a big problem may be Dana and Lorenzo's mindset. They still act like the big fish in the small pond. It was obvious in the way they reacted to the ESPN Outside the Lines report and it seems obvious in the way they are trending with these Fox cards by not being willing to put some of their biggest stars on the broadcast network.

I just think your belief that they have the leverage to get more money from Fox is just more of this type of thinking, MMALogic. I don't see where the UFC is in any position to get more money out of Fox at this point.

I think in general sports are built and grown by stars who generate publicity and interest. I think a top-down approach will pay more dividends in the long run, even if that means biting the bullet and putting Hendo/Jones on the next Fox card.

5/9/12 9:29 PM
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inf0
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DAN HARDY IS EXCITING
 


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