It’s official. After years of waiting for the “right deal”, the UFC has finally signed a deal that will put live UFC events on network television. FOX and the UFC made the special announcement earlier this afternoon. Here’s a quick rundown of the details.
— 7 year deal
— Per year: 4 major events on Fox, 6 live “Fight Night” cards on FX, 2 LIVE seasons of TUF on FX on Friday nights consisting of 24 live TUF fights and 2 live TUF Finales.
— How live TUF works: taped week to week, edit together week’s footage to be shown each Friday night followed by the live fights. Fans will get the opportunity to vote on the TUF match-ups. Coaches training camps will run concurrently with taping so their fights won’t be delayed.
— There were discussions about rebranding Fuel as the UFC channel, but not happening for now. Fuel TV will air pre and post-fight shows, live prelims like Spike has and programming such as UFC Unleashed.
— November 12 is the date of the first FOX event. No fights yet but it will take place in Anaheim, California.
— Dana White on FOX deal: “This is what I always wanted.” “Couldn’t be more proud.”
— Lorenzo: “Right deal for the company at the right time.”
— FOX’s David Hill says the UFC’s production is “first class”. Dana White confirms UFC will run the production. Lorenzo adds they will collaborate with FOX though and FOX’s Frank Hill says there will be discussions about production as time goes on.
— Dana White confirmed the gladiator opening is “going away”. There will be some changes in the production. Dana looks at it as a “fresh start.”
— May or may not be championship fights on FOX but there will definitely be “big fights” that “draw ratings.”
— UFC’s deal with FOX Latin America will be a driving force in bringing the UFC to Mexico.
— FOX would not disclose what they paid for the deal.
— FOX’s David Hill says 18-34 demo is what the UFC brings to the table and why it is such a big deal for FOX.
— Dana says they weren’t trying to go up against Manny Pacquiao fight on Nov. 12. Just the way the schedule worked out.
— FOX exec: Cross-promotion will be done across other sports and entertainment on the networks.
The landmark agreement, which puts UFC on par with many of the country’s professional sports organizations, delivers four live events in prime time or late night each year to the FOX broadcast network, home to the country’s biggest sports events, including the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500. The first live event airs Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT. Additional programming on multiple FOX networks launches January 2012 and includes live fights, pre and post shows, countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, weigh-in specials, and much more original content from extensive Zuffa archives. The agreement also provides for developing robust mobile and authenticated online offerings to exploit a vast array of digital platform rights.
In spring 2012, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, UFC’s signature weekly reality show moves to FX, FOX’s general entertainment cable network now in more than 99 million homes. With the move to FX, the show will feature a newly-designed format. FX is also set to televise another four-to six-live UFC events annually, with a mixture of additional events and programs heading to FSMG cable networks including FUEL TV.
“We’re excited to be part of the FOX family,” says Dana White, UFC President. “The UFC is finally where it belongs on the number one network in the country and aligned with the most prestigious sports properties in the world. I’ve always said that the UFC will be the biggest sport in the world and with this relationship it will become a reality.”
“My brother Frank, Dana and I always believed that our passion for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts would help us to build the UFC into a successful global brand and ultimately make it one of the premier sports properties in the world,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of the UFC. “The partnership with FOX is a major step in making this a reality and also builds on the great relationship that we already have established with FOX in Latin America, Australia and Europe.”
“Mixed martial arts is not only the fastest growing sport in the world, but also the world’s most exciting form of man-to-man competition, and the UFC is the world’s premier MMA organization,” said FSMG President & Co-COO Eric Shanks. “Since FOX Sports is America’s No. 1 sports network and FOX is America’s No. 1 network for young adults, the UFC on FOX is a perfect match.”
Spike TV wished the UFC “the best” in an official statement: “‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season 14 in September will be our last. We are increasing our commitment to distinctive, original series that we own such as ‘Auction Hunters’ and ‘Bar Rescue’ which are delivering on our goal to reach a broader audience. Our 6-year partnership with the UFC has been incredibly beneficial in building both our brands, and we wish them all the best in the future.”