Originally posted by SportsBusiness Daily (sportsbusinessdaily.com)UFC Agrees To Deal With Fox That Will See Up To Four Events Per Year On Broadcast TV
By John Ourand, Staff Writer
Published August 16, 2011
In what would represent a major push into the mainstream for the UFC, Fox has agreed to a deal that will see the broadcast channel air as many as four MMA events per year, according to several sources. The multiyear deal would mark the first time the UFC will have consistent airtime on a broadcast network. Fox execs refused to comment on the deal, but sources with knowledge of the negotiations said bidding had gone as high as $90M per year. The Fox deal is believed to be for seven or eight years. As part of the deal, most of the weekly programming that UFC has on Versus and Spike TV will move to FX starting in January. That includes several fight cards, plus shows like the reality series "The Ultimate Fighter." Fox-owned Fuel also will wind up with some UFC content. But rumors that Fox will rebrand Fuel as a UFC channel are not true, sources said.
Very interesting...and I'm a little surprised Comcast/NBC didn't end up with at least a piece of this, given that I really thought UFC was strongly desired as one of the showcase sports for their rebranded Versus next year. I guess the price got too high? Well, I shouldn't speculate. I'm sure Meltzer will devote 2/3 of his next Wrestling Observer Newsletter to this story. ;-)
(Of course, I immediately went to Yahoo! Sports to see how the story was being covered THERE, but they have reported a Dana White denial instead (sports.yahoo.com). STAY TUNED, FIGHT FANS)
UFC on the refurbished Versus/NBC Sports channel seems like a natural fit. They still show WEC reruns and they have the occasional free weekend shows, and NBC would get its second MMA broadcast. (Right after DolphDrew Jericho was born, I learned that Bellator aired after poker daily on NBC in the absolute dead of night).
I hope it doesn't go to FOX; they'd gimmick up the presentation (the glowing hockey puck, for instance).
If UFC leaves Spike, I'll have no reason to watch that channel. Not even for the monthly Star Wars marathons.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker