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UFC Fight Night 26 ratings a huge success: 1.7 million viewers on FOX Sports 1

The opening day for FOX Sports 1 was capped off by UFC Fight Night 26: "Shogun vs Sonnen" -- and it was a rousing success. The overnight ratings showed a huge gain in viewership from both the defunct FUEL TV and SPEED networks as well as in key demographics.

They shoot, they score.

UFC Fight Night 26 helped usher in a new era in sports programming on FOX Sports 1 with "Shogun vs. Sonnen," the mixed martial arts (MMA) extravaganza held last Saturday night (Aug. 17, 2013) at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

The press release says it all:

FOX Sports 1, driven by UFC FIGHT NIGHT: SHOGUN VS. SONNEN, posted an average audience of 1.71 million viewers in prime time (8:00-11:00 PM ET), a more than 10-fold increase compared to that which SPEED, FOX Soccer and FUEL TV combined to deliver on the comparable night a year ago (141,000). Among younger demographics the comparisons are even more significant. FOX Sports 1 viewership was over 25 times greater than SPEED/FOX Soccer/FUEL TV among both Adults 18-49 and Men 18-49, and 40 times greater among Adults 18-34 and M18-34.


This is what people might call a rousing success. Or as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White might say:  :) There's more good news, by the way.

When they mentioned the younger demographics and the key male 18-34 group -- it's an astonishing jump.

For those unaware, that is a key demographic because that group includes some of the biggest spenders of money in the world. This is attractive to advertisers who want people to spend their discretionary income on their particular luxury goods and thus means that the networks (FOX, in this case) has a big incentive to make UFC a big part of its future to keep said demo in the fold.

As the Wrestling Observer wrote (that's where ratings guru Dave Meltzer resides at):

The number is nothing short of remarkable for the first night of a new station in an unfamiliar spot on the dial, even beating out all four networks in the 18-49 demo and every key male demo.

The card was stacked solid from top to bottom, and every fight save the lackluster one between Uriah Hall and John Howard was a quality affair.

Travis Browne had an astonishing comeback TKO win over Alistair Overeem, Matt Brown obliterated Mike Pyle in under a minute, Chael Sonnen shockingly tapped Mauricio Rua in the first round, Urijah Faber and Yuri Alcantara had a fantastic back and forth affair, Michael Johnson put a surprise beating on hometown boy Joe Lauzon and well... Howard and Hall high-fived each other a lot.

In short, when we said that last Saturday night's event was one of the best the promotion has put on ... Yeah, they really hit it out of the park.

For all the news and notes from UFC Fight Night 26 check out our results wrap-up here.

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