Let’s not kid ourselves here. Ratings for the last few UFC on FOX events haven’t been great. I believe the descriptor used by Dave Meltzer was ‘a genuine XFL caliber ratings disaster.’ But that’s just the kind of sky is falling hyperbole you often hear from the MMA media. Fortunately, the relationship between the UFC and FOX still seems strong and FOX exec Eric Shanks went so far as to call year one of the deal a rousing success:
According to Shanks, year one was mostly about growing the advertiser base for a sport that had only a short and spotty track record on network television. That’s been a successful initiative, with the network signing more than 100 major advertisers, he said.
“This is exactly where we thought we would be, if not ahead,” he said on Tuesday. “Some of the things we’re talking about with Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta] … this relationship is going to look different over the next 2-3 years, and it’s only going to get bigger because you’re going to get much more economic support from the advertiser base behind it. When that happens, this thing is going to be one of the top sports in the U.S. on television.”
The primetime ratings legitimately don’t seem to bother FOX yet. In fact, they’re only getting into bed with the UFC more and more. You may remember hearing something about FOX turning its SPEED channel (SO MANY CAPS) into Fox Sports 1, and the UFC will definitely be a part of that:
“We have a lot of great network properties, but regardless of what individual channels are called, the plans are, and we’ve talked to Dana and Lorenzo while we were setting up the deal, the UFC is going to play a huge role both on the broadcast network and national cable with FOX and FOX Sports going forward. No matter what channel configurations look like within the FOX Sports media group, UFC is going to play a bigger and bigger role as time goes on.”
So all signs point to FOX continuing to be committed to this crazy human cockfighting thing. And if you want to compare their loyalty to past sports, they did leave the NASCAR based SPEED channel alone for 10 years. Damn, it’s getting all corporate news bullshit around here. Time to watch a video of Ernesto Hoost sniffing farts.