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As TV Deal Winds Down, UFC Will Choose Between Spike or New Home

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pmoney

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Wednesday night marked the season finale of the UFC's major programming vehicle, The Ultimate Fighter. It also marked the unofficial beginning of a countdown to the zero hour when the promotion will be faced with a major decision about the fate of its key show. Its current deal with longtime home Spike expires at the end of 2011, following the 14th season of TUF.

According to most observers within the industry, selling the television rights package is the single most important priority for the UFC, and as of now, it remains open for negotiation, a showpiece with bidders circling but no deal yet reached.

While the UFC and Spike remain the main players and talks between the two remain ongoing, the two sides aren't the only ones involved. In a drama that has played out over recent months and is expected to drag on into the near future in executive boardrooms, other suitors will continue to try to convince the UFC to abandon its longtime home.

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Post #1   6/2/11 9:28:42PM   

pmoney

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UFC + ESPN = Second great growth of MMA.

Johnny Red, neat. Do it. Do it.

Dana White did say in a recent interview that our minds would be blown before the end of the year. And while GSP-Diaz is amazing, I don't know if it's mind blowing, or a game changer. I can't wait to see what happens!

Last edited 6/2/11 9:31PM server time by pmoney
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Post #2   6/2/11 9:30:38PM   

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Although Spike was the first ones to really give them a chance I think it's time to move on. ESPN would definitely be a good idea.

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Post #3   6/2/11 9:32:28PM   

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I really think ESPN would be the good deal here. Ratings have been ok on Spike TV but UFC on ESPN sounds better to me. Win-win situation for both sides here.

ESPN has been promoting MMA harder that it did before so I would like to see this happen.

Post #4   6/2/11 10:03:12PM   

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Not that we matter a whole lot up here in the big financial numbers but signing a deal with ESPN will cause headaches for Zuffa in Canada.

ESPN is part owners of TSN one of our 3 national sports networks. The UFC has an exclusive deal in Canada with their biggest competitor Sportsnet. The deal was signed this year and it lasts 4 years.

I can't imagine ESPN would be happy with their competition having the rights to their newly acquired product.

I'd rather them sign with a network like Versus (but not actually Versus if that makes sense, Versus used to be small but they are owned by NBC now), the bigger the company they deal with the more control the network will want over the product. Smaller networks will not only allow more freedom for the UFC, but it will probably be willing to give more air time to MMA.

A good example is CBS insisting to the UFC that should they broadcast there, Gus Johnson and their broadcast team would have replaced Goldie and Joe, and the production would be done by them not Zuffa.

On ESPN MMA would be competing with every sport imaginable for air time, I'd rather they stick to a network that will devote as much time as possible to the sport.

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Post #5   6/2/11 10:23:14PM   

Twenty20Dollars

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Versus? Or aren't they changing that channel or something.

I don't really like some parts/people on ESPN so idk if I would really want it there.

Post #6   6/2/11 11:10:00PM   

FlashyG

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within 90 days versus will be something with NBC in the name since Comcast and NBC merged.

I didn't mean them specifically just more a network that sized that is willing to build its programming around MMA rather than a big network that will try to fit MMA into its existing programming.

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Post #7   6/2/11 11:23:42PM   

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Anything other than Spike will disappoint me.

Post #8   6/2/11 11:27:00PM   

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Posted by FlashyG

Not that we matter a whole lot up here in the big financial numbers but signing a deal with ESPN will cause headaches for Zuffa in Canada.

ESPN is part owners of TSN one of our 3 national sports networks. The UFC has an exclusive deal in Canada with their biggest competitor Sportsnet. The deal was signed this year and it lasts 4 years.

I can't imagine ESPN would be happy with their competition having the rights to their newly acquired product.

I'd rather them sign with a network like Versus (but not actually Versus if that makes sense, Versus used to be small but they are owned by NBC now), the bigger the company they deal with the more control the network will want over the product. Smaller networks will not only allow more freedom for the UFC, but it will probably be willing to give more air time to MMA.

A good example is CBS insisting to the UFC that should they broadcast there, Gus Johnson and their broadcast team would have replaced Goldie and Joe, and the production would be done by them not Zuffa.

On ESPN MMA would be competing with every sport imaginable for air time, I'd rather they stick to a network that will devote as much time as possible to the sport.



great post, but there are some other things to consider:

- TSN used to air WEC events (usually tape delayed though) while WEC was under the ZUFFA banner. Sportsnet still aired TUF and other UFC events

- after WEC and UFC merged, UFC still did events on both VS and Spike....why cant Spike and ESPN share rights? i can see Spike used for TUF with the free PPV events and ESPN for all the Fight Night events. to be honest, i dont know what ESPN's wednesday and saturday night schedule is like during the NBA, NCAA, NHL, and NFL seasons but that could be a factor as im sure ESPN would attract a bigger audience if the Buckeyes and Gators have a mens basketball game on the same night as a UFC event or TUF, for example

Last edited 6/3/11 12:36PM server time by bubbles
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Post #9   6/3/11 12:32:04PM   

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I don't care as long as its a channel I already have

Post #10   6/3/11 12:41:21PM   

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Posted by prozacnation1978

I don't care as long as its a channel I already have



Agreed. I'll be ticked if they switch over to Versus. My cable provider stopped carrying Versus and HDNet both within a week of each other last summer. I'm still bitter over that.

I'm with Flashy...I hope it's with a smaller network that will devote more time/attention to the sport rather than having it compete for slots alongside another show/sport.

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Post #11   6/3/11 12:49:29PM   

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Posted by prozacnation1978

I don't care as long as its a channel I already have



Agreed. I'll be ticked if they switch over to Versus. My cable provider stopped carrying Versus and HDNet both within a week of each other last summer. I'm still bitter over that.

I'm with Flashy...I hope it's with a smaller network that will devote more time/attention to the sport rather than having it compete for slots alongside another show/sport.

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Post #12   6/3/11 12:52:20PM   

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There are only a couple deals that would be better for them than what they get. ESPN/ABC would be pretty sweet, but my guess is that they stay with Spike for some programming and branch out to either premium cable, create their own network (which would be a disaster at this point imo), or pick up another VS.-like network.

But you never know. . . maybe Bravo (USA version) or Lifetime will get them.

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Post #13   6/3/11 4:49:56PM