During a Fox Sports press conference held yesterday in New York, more details were revealed about the UFC’s cable-TV migration from FX and FUEL to the soon-to-launch FOX Sports 1. Here’s everything you need to know:
- FOX Sports 1 will launch on Saturday, August 17th, featuring a live UFC event in prime time. At this point, no fights have been announced for the event, which has been officially dubbed “UFC on FS1 1,” God help us.
- Following the 8/17 channel launch, the UFC will air 12 “Fight Night” events on Fox Sports 1 through 2014. Though the dates haven’t been finalized, the live fight-cards will take place on Wednesdays, and air from 8-11 p.m.
- FS1 will replace the Speed channel, and will be available in over 90 million homes around the nation. In addition to UFC programming, the new channel will feature Major League Baseball (beginning in 2014), soccer, college football and basketball, and NASCAR events.
- No, this doesn’t mean that UFC events will now be spread over three cable channels. All of the UFC’s programming on FX and FUEL — from Fight Nights, to prelim broadcasts, to preview shows, to their UFC Tonight series — will be moving to Fox Sports 1 starting in August. Well, with one possible exception. When asked about The Ultimate Fighter‘s shift to FS1, Dana White said, “We’re not ready to talk about that yet.” Hmm. Could the old dog finally be put out of its misery?
- As Fox Sports Media Group’s COO and co-president Eric Shanks explained, regarding the UFC’s channel-consolidation: “Dana and Lorenzo have been saying for a long time that fans, honestly, in that first year were a bit confused. Some of it was on Fuel, some was on FX and some was on Fox. This is really that last lever to pull, and it puts everything in one place.”
- The UFC will still air four network events on FOX per year. The promotion’s contract with FOX runs through 2018.
- During yesterday’s press conference, UFC president Dana White was accompanied by champions Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey, and Cain Velasquez. As Kevin Iole put it on Yahoo!, “It sent a powerful visual, with a black man, a Hispanic man and a white woman being received so well by potential advertisers and sponsors: The UFC cuts across all races and genders.” (Ed. note: The UFC could have saved some money and just brought Benson Henderson. He’s black, he’s Asian, and he has girl-hair.)
- For more general info on the Fox Sports 1 launch (aka “the biggest sports cable network launch in history”), check out the press release.