The UFC continues to crow over the amazing record breaking ratings their programming has been pulling on FUEL, which makes me wonder how well they’d do if they were on a channel anyone actually got. But that frustration will soon be over – and no, not because FUEL is being added to some strange Comcast digital package. Yahoo Sports has the details:
Eric Shanks, the Fox Sports Media Group’s COO and co-president, shared his vision of [Fox Sports 1] with White and his partners, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta when they first began to discuss a partnership.
The launch of FS1 will allow viewers to find virtually all UFC programming in one place. As the first year of the UFC-Fox partnership played out, they had to deal with the fallout from the promotion’s former broadcast deal with Spike, as well as educate fans on which of the Fox networks would carry which shows.
Now, with the exception of the four cards a year that will appear on the broadcast network Fox, all UFC programming will be found on FS1. When the viewers finally get used to finding all UFC-related content on FS1, it should significantly boost the promotion’s rapidly improving ratings.
“When we began talking with Dana, Lorenzo and Frank almost three years ago now, they were really the first to hear the inkling of an idea of Fox Sports 1,” Shanks said. “We said, ‘Look, together we can make the UFC front and center on a national sports network that is going to be cleared in almost 100 percent of the country.’ The UFC really bought into our concept years ago of what we were trying to do with [FS1].
‘Cleared in almost 100 percent of the country’ is what we all wanted to hear – barely anyone had FUEL and a lot of those that did had it stuffed into stupid expensive cable tiers. That might still happen with Fox Sports 1 (formerly the Speed Network), but the hope is FOX will use it’s mega-conglomerate girth to force cable providers to keep their new sports network relatively accessible for everyone.
The move to FS1 kicks off August 17th and then from there the UFC will realize a dream Dana White has been aspiring to since he took over the company – a weekly fight night every Wednesday. That’s good for the fans … and for the fighters too. Hold on, you poor bastards! Survive until the end of August and perhaps logistics will no longer demand you be sacrificed on the alter of roster bloat.