Many people, including myself, criticized CBS for failing to properly promote the two Strikeforce cards they aired in 2009-2010. They aired some promos a few weeks out from the events from what I recall, but not much more.
Well, thankfully, they same can’t be said about FOX. They seem to be going above and beyond to ensure the UFC pulls a good rating when they debut next weekend with Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. They starting airing promos during NFL broadcasts right after the deal was announced, aired a UFC Primetime special after the football games last week (which pulled two million viewers by the way) and even had their commentators promote the event during the World Series broadcasts.
They’re not stopping there either. There’s also a full slate of UFC pre and post-fight programming heading to FUEL TV and Fox Deportes next weekend to complement the show.
Friday, Nov. 11:
7:00 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT — Weigh-ins live on FUEL TV
7:00 P.M. ET — Cain Velasquez: Brown Pride, episode 3 on FOX Deportes
Saturday, Nov. 12:
3:00 p.m. ET — Cain Velasquez: Brown Pride, episodes 1-3 on FOX Deportes
4:45 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX prelims live on Facebook and FOXSports.com
5:30 p.m. ET — Weigh-ins re-air on FUEL TV
6:00 p.m. ET — UFC Primetime re-air on FUEL TV
6:00 p.m. ET — Re-air of Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar on FOX Deportes
7:00 p.m. ET — UFC prelims live on FOX Deportes
7:00 p.m. ET — Pre-fight show on FUEL TV, hosted by Glazer, along with Kenny Florian and Stephan Bonnar
9:00 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX broadcast, hosted by Curt Menefee, along with Dana White, Brock Lesnar and Joe Rogan. Mike Goldberg and Rogan will call the heavyweight title fight.
10 p.m. ET — UFC on FOX post-fight show on FUEL TV, hosted by Glazer, along with Florian and Bonnar
FOX Sports Radio will also provide five hours of live coverage next Saturday including the call of the main event. A post-fight show with Pro MMA Radio’s Larry Pepe will follow shortly thereafter.
Dana White has said over and over again that they’ll lose tons of money on this show, but to them it’s an investment. In a pretty candid interview with USA Today, Lorenzo Fertitta explained what they hope to get out of the FOX deal.
I think there’s still a large group of media and large group of just what I’d call sports fans, casual sports fans, that maybe kind of know what UFC is, but they’re not saying, “Hey, right now I have to be home to watch this fight.” That’s what we’re hoping, is to bring millions more people in to see the UFC.
The reality is this: Our model has been very successful for us, as far as putting our product on free TV to generate new fans, and that’s the way we look at it. I’m not concerned about what our bottom line looks like in November; I’m concerned about what it looks like five years from now.The whole idea is to draw millions of more fans into the group. If I can convert 100,000 of those millions that will be watching for the first time into customers for the next 20 years, then our investment on Fox has paid off.
Dana White long maintained that they would hold out on network television until the “right deal” came along. The ratings will tell the true story, but considering the amount of resources FOX is putting behind the UFC, I’m not sure they would have found a better network partner than FOX.
From what we know, it definitely seems like the “right deal.” Now it’s just a matter of seeing what they can do with it.