By Jonathan Solomon
The debate continues about how positive the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s relationship with Fox may be long term but the present impact proves to be a wealthy one.
In an exclusive Adweek.com report, Fox Sports Media Group’s vice president of ad sales Peter Vesey says the network has a total of 16 national clients for Saturday’s UFC show in Chicago.
The group includes new partners including Coca-Cola, Chrysler, Geico and DirecTV. Plus, Sprint agreed to a deal as late as Thursday evening.
Fox is happy with these live Saturday night specials because it doubles their average advertising rate on those nights, bringing in more than $100,000 per 30-second spot.
The last UFC on Fox special aired on December 8 with Benson Henderson beating Nate Diaz in a five-round decision to retain his lightweight championship. An average 4.4 million viewers tuned in with a peak of 5.7 million during the main event. Most attractive to television executives were the numbers geared towards prized demographics of men aged 18-34 and 18-49. In those groups, they pulled ratings of 2.8 and 3.1, respectively.
Fox led all networks last month and they are expected to do the same this weekend with a slate of reruns and general programming that does not attract the young male audience like the UFC has proven to do.
In addition to the nationally known brands mentioned above, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox have also purchased ad time to promote “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “A Good Day to Die Hard”, respectively. Previous UFC sponsors returning will be Bud Light and Harley-Davidson, both of whom will be featured prominently Saturday night.
So, while defending flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson looks to retain his gold against John Dodson for the first time, whatever may happen, the UFC and Fox are already banking plenty of respect and money thanks to their sponsors and expected network television ratings dominance.
What are your thoughts?