Fight fans needn’t worry about their ability to pick up the new FOX Sports 1 ahead of Saturday’s debut of the new channel.
FOX Sports 1, which broadcasts Saturday’s “UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen” event at Boston’s TD Garden, has reached agreements with every major cable distributor to begin airing the channel, officials recently announced.
As early as a few days ago, major distributors such as Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network – which have a combined 40 million viewers – still hadn’t finalized deals for the all-sports channel, which replaces SPEED. FOX and cable executives have been fighting over carriage fees for the channel.
“We are thrilled that virtually all pay-television customers across America will have access to FOX Sports 1,” FOX Networks President of Distribution Mike Hopkins stated. “This network launch is a major milestone for FOX and will alter the sports television landscape. We are grateful to our distribution partners for making this all possible.”
While agreements are in place for the FOX Sports 1 launch to avoid interruptions, some of the distributors still reportedly need to finalize actual the actual contracts.
You can check FOX Sports 1's availability in your area at foxsports1.com. The channel now will be available in approximately 90 million homes for its heavily promoted launch.
The channel, which will become the primary cable home of the UFC (along with the also-launching FOX Sports 2), replaces the organization’s previous broadcasts on FX and FUEL TV. The UFC will contribute to 5,000 annual hours of live programming, which also will include NCAA basketball and football, NASCAR, soccer, boxing and other sports.
Saturday’s UFC event, which takes place at Boston’s TD Garden, represents one of the deepest cable-TV cards in the promotion’s history. Light-heavyweight notables Mauricio Rua and Chael Sonnen headline the broadcast, which kicks off at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) following prelims on Facebook.
For more on UFC Fight Night 26, including the night’s official lineup, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua)