UFC president Dana White is not concerned about scheduling Saturday’s UFC on Fox 3 live telecast up against HBO Sports’ Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto pay-per-view boxing event. In fact, White told me during a UFC/Fox Sports luncheon yesterday in New York that the same-day scheduling actually works well for both entities and won’t cannibalize viewers.
“I love it. On a night where you have the UFC on Fox for free and the Floyd Mayweather fight on PPV, a lot of people will stay home and watch,” White said. “I think it helps us and I think it helps boxing as well.”
Saturday’s UFC/PPV boxing doubleheader follows a similar paring last November when the UFC put the first of its four annual live Mixed Martial Arts fight cards on Fox broadcasting – part of the UFC’s seven-year deal with Fox Sports inked last year – up against HBO’s Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez PPV fight.
Neither event seemed to suffer, with Fox averaging 5.7 million viewers for its inaugural UFC telecast. The Pacquaio-Marquez PPV rubber match reportedly drew more than 1 million PPV buys, which is the gold standard for the category.
While not an official scheduling strategy, Fox executives said it has no qualms scheduling future UFC on Fox events on the same night as high-profile PPV boxing events.
For HBO’s part, HBO Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet responded by saying that Mayweather-Cotto is expected to perform well even as it goes toe-to-toe with the UFC on Fox event. “In today’s sports television landscape, there are almost always numerous choices available simultaneously to viewers,” he said. “Mayweather vs Cotto is a highly anticipated pay-per-view megafight with great consumer appeal. We are looking forward to a great night.”
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