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The Ultimate Fighter 18 TV Ratings Up 14-Percent Week-Over-Week

MMAWeekly.com

The second episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate bucked a historical trend, becoming only the fifth season in the life of the reality series to improve its audience from episode one to episode two.

Episode two, which featured Team Tate’s Julianna Pena upsetting Team Rousey’s Shayna Baszler, scored an audience of 870,000 viewers, improving upon the premier episode’s 762,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen Ratings. That represents a 14-percent increase in viewership week-over-week.

TUF 18’s premier was the lowest ever in the series’ history, accompanying the show’s move from FX to the recently launched Fox Sports 1, a new 24/7 sports network.

Those numbers may sound bleak when compared to past seasons, but UFC president Dana White recently told MMAFighting.com that it wasn’t unexpected when you factor in the move to a new network.

“This is all part of the building process (of Fox Sports 1),” said White. “We’ve made a commitment to work with FOX to build this network.

“If you look at all of the other networks we’ve ever been on we consistently pull strong ratings.  The first time we put our prelims on FX we pulled 880,000 viewers and it grew, depending on the fight, up to 1.9 million viewers for UFC 156. Also, the TUF season with Carwin and Big Country averaged 822,000 viewers then Jones vs. Sonnen averaged 1.3 million viewers. We currently hold the top four most watched telecasts on FS1 since the network launched.”

Despite perception, FS1 officials point to several positives when assessing The Ultimate Fighter on the new network.

Each of the first two episodes was the most watched program of the day on FS1, and propelled the network to the top spot among ad-supported cable sports networks key advertiser demographics.

Fox Sports also replayed the two-hour premier episode immediately before Episode 2. The replay drew an audience of 374,000 viewers, making it the most-watched non-live event program in the Wednesday 8-10 p.m. time period on FOX Sports 1 or SPEED over the past 12 months. FOX Sports 1 is a rebranding of the SPEED channel, which was also a FOX property.

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate airs each Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on FOX Sports 1.

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