Wednesday's UFC on FUEL TV 1 event drew 217,000 viewers, today confirmed with industry sources.
That's a new live-event record for FUEL TV, which drew 148,000 viewers for the UFC on FX 1 preliminary card and 144,000 viewers for the UFC on FOX 2 prelims this past month.
Wednesday's event took place during a free-preview week for FUEL TV on many cable platforms.
UFC on on FUEL TV 1 took place Feb. 15 at Nebraska's Omaha Civic Auditorium. After three prelims on Facebook, the three-hour FUEL TV broadcast featured six bouts, including Jake Ellenberger's entertaining main-event victory over fellow welterweight contender Diego Sanchez.
The event proved a surprise hit for the UFC, which earned mixed reviews for the recent and bigger UFC 143 and UFC on FOX 2 events. Stefan Struve, Stipe Miocic and Ivan Menjivar all earned stoppage wins on Wednesday's main card. Additionally, T.J. Dillashaw picked up a dominant decision victory, and Ronny Markes edged Aaron Simpson via split decision.
The event aired internationally on a variety of broadcast partners. If no TV station aired the event, fans from that country could watch a free stream on UFC.tv.
The UFC recently moved much of its live-event programming from Spike TV to FX and FUEL TV thanks to its seven-year deal with FOX. Although currently cable TV's lowest-rated cable station (among those big enough to garner ratings information), FUEL TV has increased from approximately 30 million homes to 36 million in the past few months due in large part to the new UFC programming, which has set ratings records for the sports-oriented station.
Spike TV's counter-programming efforts, which included a replay of The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and past Diego Sanchez fights, averaged approximately 674,000 viewers on Wednesday.
Now, FUEL TV has released additional information, including additional record-setting figures.
Chief among them? UFC on FUEL TV 1 peaked with a record 315,000 viewers during the night's main event between Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez.
UFC on FUEL TV 1, which is the first of six main-card broadcasts on the FOX-owned cable station in 2012, took place Feb. 15 at Nebraska's Omaha Civic Auditorium. After three prelims on Facebook, the three-hour FUEL TV broadcast featured six bouts, including Ellenberger's entertaining decision victory over Sanchez and Stefan Struve's TKO of fellow heavyweight Dave Herman.
Other UFC on FUEL TV 1 milestones included:
- Most-watched day in FUEL TV history with the total-day average audience up 520 percent overall and 580 percent among men 18-49 compared to February's averages
- Most-watched program and evening of prime-time programming in FUEL TV history
- Most-watched event in FUEL TV history among men 18-49 with 130,000 viewers
"We fully expected the UFC was going to deliver FUEL TV extraordinary ratings, and now we're seeing it," George Greenberg, FUEL TV's executive vice president and general manager, stated. "We are beyond ecstatic about the audience and the impact the UFC is having on our network's growth thus far. The sky's the limit on where this network can go from here."
The UFC recently moved much of its live-event programming from Spike TV to FX and FUEL TV thanks to its seven-year deal with FOX. FUEL TV has increased from approximately 30 million homes to 36 million in the past few months due in large part to the new UFC programming, which has set ratings records for the sports-oriented station. The UFC's former home, Spike TV, is available in approximately 100 million homes.