Fuel TV, which regularly hosts UFC programming and events, will be making a drastic change in 2013. They haven't been available to many households, but as part of the Fox network, Fuel will soon be re-branded as "Fox Sports 2". Here's Dave Meltzer over at F4WOnline.com talking about the change:
"In what has not been announced but will affect the future of UFC on television, it is believed that Fuel TV will be rebranded as Fox Sports 2. Fox Sports 1 will be the rebranding of what is now The Speed Channel. Sports Business Journal reported that an announcement of the new name for Fuel should come early next year, with a target date of the actual change being in August."
This change is an effort to get the channel into more homes which could directly help the UFC in the process, but Meltzer had some concerns:
"Once again this would be part of a move to get the channel into more homes, which would benefit UFC since so much of its programming has so little penetration. Still, it’s a low rated station that as of yet isn’t in a convenient spot on most cable and satellite systems. Serving the UFC audience is nice, but the benefit of TV to me is not as much serving the current audience, but in hooking new viewers and that is a very slow process, and on a station few watch with limited penetration, it really doesn’t happen."
As they get into more homes, it will likely show an increase in viewership, which helps the UFC. The question remains though, are the numbers just more UFC fans having access to the channel, or more casual viewers being converted to the sport? Time will tell, but let's hope it's a combination of both.