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Monday, 08/19/2013, 11:38 am

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UFC Fight Night 26 Ratings Report: FS1 Debut Show Trumps Past FX Ratings

Image credit: Tracy Lee via Combatlifestyle.com

Image credit: Tracy Lee via Combatlifestyle.com


By JAKE CHASTAIN

| Saturday marked the launch of the new sports programming station FOX Sports 1, and to help spike the opening night’s ratings for the network the station hosted UFC Fight Night 26: Sonnen vs. Shogun. To say that the plan worked would be an understatement as FOX Sports 1 raked in very high ratings numbers in it’s debut evening on television.

MMAWeekly.com reported that UFC Fight Night 26 posted an average audience of 1.78 million for a 1.38 household rating, according to fast national information released by Nielsen Media Research on Sunday.

According to the sources UFC Fight Night 26 beat out all eight UFC on FX Fight Night events by 49% in rating (1.38 vs. 0.93) and 38% in viewership (1.78 million vs. 1.29 million). Among the key advertising demographics, UFC Fight Night 26 against trumped FX’s prime time UFC events by 50% in viewership among Men 18-49 (994,000 vs. 663,000) and 44 percent among Men 18-34 (492,000 vs. 342,000).

These are shockingly drastic differences in viewership and household numbers and it’s hard to attribute exactly why the spike in the numbers went up so much, aside from the fact that this card was loaded with big names and great fights. But the good news for FOX Sports 1 and the UFC doesn’t stop there…

On the strength of the UFC programming, FOX Sports 1 averaged 1.71 million viewers in the strict 8 to 11 p.m. ET prime time slot, which FOX says was a 10-fold increase compared to the number Speed, FOX Soccer and Fuel TV combined delivered on the comparable night a year ago, which was 141,000 viewers. It looks like FOX and the UFC have finally found their perfect formula and channel in working with each other.

“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 on Saturday night 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 demographic.

With such great numbers racked up this past weekend, how will the UFC follow up on such a fantastic draw? This is great news for both the UFC and FS1 and if these numbers are any indication as of what’s to come, the future is looking bright.

-Jake Chastain

@jchastain45

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