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« | Home | »

UFC & G4 TV deal: Either insanely brilliant or an example of being too clever by half

By Zach Arnold | June 9, 2011

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Yesterday’s report by The New York Times about UFC considering buying a ‘controlling’ ownership share of Comcast/NBC cable/satellite channel G4 raised a lot of eyebrows. With Spike TV paying UFC a reported $170M USD/year for television rights, UFC leaving Spike TV would be a huge business move on Zuffa’s part.

Without being privy to any ’state secrets’ regarding the potential business deal, I can only go on what has been reported and what the possible thinking is behind such a decision. So, with that stated, let’s look at what it could mean.

A turnkey operation

UFC has wanted to have their own cable channel for the last couple of years. They had one of two options — either create one from scratch with a broadcasting partner/investor (like Comcast or Time Warner) or buy out an existing television network and try to re-brand said network. In other words, a turnkey operation (similar to putting the key in the ignition and starting your car).

Buying a controlling interest in the G4 TV network would be a mix of both scenarios. Comcast/NBC is the owner and G4 is, for all intents and purposes, a turnkey operation for UFC should they make the move. UFC already has a deal with Comcast for PPV distribution and for Versus, so the move on paper makes a lot of logistical sense.

Put it into perspective with other major sports-based networks. The Yankees generate hundreds of millions of dollars with the YES Network. The Mets have SNY. The Los Angeles Lakers are working with Time Warner Cable to build their platform. Major sports franchises having ownership of a television as part of their business portfolio can be a cash cow. It can invite and attract business investment from a lot of different movers-and-shakers if done correctly. UFC having a television network would allow them to really proclaim ownership of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and rewrite history for good. The idea of buying into G4 for UFC sounds great because you would have powerful & connected business resources working with you to try to get the channel on all cable & satellite platforms. Right now, G4 is a network that is on pay tiers for most television platforms in the States. Not a lot of people watch the channel.

What’s at stake

By buying into a turnkey TV station that is connected to Comcast/NBC, the hope is that UFC would be able to use all of those resources along with their Facebook, Twitter, & misc. media platforms to get the word out to watch their shows on Versus and on G4. In other words, create enough fan demand to carriers to pick up the G4 network and go from there.

This is a very risky, bold strategy on the part of the UFC if they pull the trigger on the deal and move away from Spike TV. Truth be told, it’s very hard to see how UFC is able to make $170M USD/year from having their own television network as opposed to staying with Spike TV. It’s a lot of money to put on the line, especially for a channel that is not a PPV channel. PPV right now is the core part of UFC’s business model and having a great television rights deal to not only bring in revenue but also bring in exposure to sell PPVs is huge. By putting up money to get a turnkey TV operation in order to spend lots of resources building it up to be your platform, it is going to end up being a resource hog for Zuffa.

The history of sports-based networks is very mixed. WWE’s channel has not panned out the way many thought it would. Comcast has ties with MLB TV, but it’s going to take a while to see how that experiment turns out. NBA TV was largely a failure and was saved by Turner in purchase. The NFL Network has been OK but is still not on a lot of basic cable tiers. If mainstream sports like football, basketball, and baseball struggle with their own channels, then UFC cannot expect an easy ride here in terms of success.

So, what makes YES successful? For a lot of people, the Yankees are baseball. YES also carries the Nets and other TV games for big professional sports teams. UFC is not in the league of the Yankees and it’s not in the league of the major pro-sports leagues in terms of interest. This is a niche sport and likely will remain so for a long time to come. Furthermore, for a UFC channel to work, they would probably need to promote other sports on the network (boxing, kickboxing, etc.) As we’ve seen in recent and past history with the UFC, they only have their heart set on promoting their own brand and not the brand of anyone else no matter how money there truly is to be made.

History is also against UFC in making this turnkey operation work. It is going to cost some cash, even at a cut-rate deal, for Zuffa to buy a controlling interest in the G4 network. Plus, let’s face it: Zuffa is in the MMA business. They are not in the television business as far as having stuffy suits who have spent their lives running TV networks. Yes, if Comcast/NBC still has a minority share in G4, UFC can allow those suits to hang around. With that said, if Comcast/NBC hasn’t been able to make G4 work so far, what makes you think UFC will automatically be able to do so? I’m not suggesting that UFC buying a controlling stake in G4 is the equivalent of Vince McMahon & the XFL or Vince and the WWE restaurant in Times Square, but Zuffa would be a fish out of water here in terms of running a television platform.

It is curious, I should point out, that Dana White has been gung ho about streaming fights on XBox, Roku, Facebook, internet PPV, so and so forth, and now we’re talking about them focusing on a pretty traditional media model here.

Why leaving Spike would be an example of being too clever by half

As we’ve seen during the rise of the UFC, Zuffa’s business behavior in terms of the competition is often rabidly paranoid. If there is any inkling of squashing or buying out a competitor, they will do so. If there’s any chance of snuffing out oxygen for a lower-level organization to use for breathing room, it gets done.

Which is why UFC leaving Spike TV in order for such an uphill challenge like re-branding a turnkey network is a really bad idea.

Whether you believed in his gamble or not, Bjorn Rebney took a fleeting chance with his multi-year Bellator deal on MTV2. MTV2 is a lousy demographic and platform for Bellator to be on and everyone knows it. So, why would he be so desperate to sign such a deal? Because of the possibility that we are currently discussing with UFC leaving Spike.

Bellator, right now, is not a PPV threat for the UFC. Therefore, it’s gone largely under the radar for Zuffa. However, should UFC leave Spike TV, it leaves the door wide open for Bellator to grab that television deal. Spike would be able to pay less money per year in rights fees and Bellator would be able to do the one thing for survival that it needs — attract new outside capital to make the finances work. If you’re a money mark wanting to put money up for the joy ride, are you going to put up cash for a no-name league on MTV2 or are you going to put up cash for a league that’s going places (in your mind) by being on Spike? You know the answer to that.

The demographics for Bellator on Spike would be perfect. I understand what the mentality would be for Zuffa if they saw Spike promoting Bellator. It would be the same mentality that WWE has right now about TNA on Spike, which is that TNA is a loser promotion that can’t sell a show and can’t sell any PPV buys in their life. However, can UFC really say the same thing about Bellator? Bellator shows may be ‘the B-league’ as UFC fans online like to call them, but the shows themselves are largely well-produced and ‘hit’ more often than ‘miss.’ It’s a suitable product, there’s nothing horribly offensive about it. It’s an acceptable replacement for UFC. They’re not in the same league, but Bellator looks fine and comes at a much cheaper price tag for rights fees.

Furthermore, Bellator upgrading from MTV2 to Spike would allow them to build up more stars and eventually make the move to PPV. That would be the ultimate goal, which is to make good money on Spike and make occasionally solid money on PPV. Being a respectable, profitable #2 right now in the MMA space would be great. Most importantly, it would give fighters, agents, fans, and insiders who dread the idea of a one-bodied entity some hope. Some hope of fresh faces, of different production, of fighters getting a chance for exposure when they might be buried underneath Zuffa cards despite winning fights. If MMA is all about star power, Bellator on Spike TV would give fighters a real opportunity for exposure.

I’m not here to suggest that Bellator would draw the same ratings as UFC on Spike — far from it. But what if Bellator drew a 0.7, maybe even a 1.0 rating? That’s a hell of a lot better than what they’re doing on MTV2 right now. And as we’ve learned with UFC before on different platforms, having the right television network with the right demographic makes all the difference in the world. Which is why I think UFC going all-in with NBC/Comcast is a gamble. UFC has ran a few shows on Versus and the Versus demos are not as forgiving as the Spike TV demos. Jon Jones drew a 0.87 rating against Vladimir Matyushenko on the network. Yes, Versus is a sports channel, but it may never have the same kind of demographic that Spike does that appeals to MMA fans.

That’s the big risk here with UFC. If you shift everything to Versus and to G4, will you get the same amount of eyeballs and cash as you would on Spike TV? Not only that, but would you get the right eyeballs on those two networks to drive as many customers to PPV as you currently are doing on Spike?

UFC trying to make G4 into a successful business operation certainly would be a hell of a story. However, there’s just a lot of reasons to be skeptical that everything would fall into the right places to make it work. Zuffa has a lot of smart & brilliant marketing suits at their offices, so you have to be willing to give them some benefit of the doubt in regards to whether or not this could work out.

One final thought — if the talk of UFC leaving Spike to buy a controlling interest in G4 is a bluff by Zuffa to get Spike TV to acquiesce at the bargaining table, I would totally call the bluff if I was Spike and tell Zuffa, ‘vaya con dios.’

New York regulation struggles continue

‘Vaya con dios’ may have been the words said by New York politicians on Wednesday when they tabled potential MMA legislation.

There’s a report that UFC is going to send officials to Albany to try to change some minds. It’s not going to happen. Until Silver is gone from power, the chances of legislation getting passed are small. Right now, UFC is not ready for prime time when it comes to battling the New York political wars. They’ve been behind the curve from the start and no matter how much money they’ve put into the battle, nothing has worked.

UFC is going to have to be on their A-game politically just to get the state politicians to even continue the push for legislation. The more time passes by, the more ammunition the critics (like Silver & Reilly) will use to stop regulation dead in its tracks.

So, when does Joe Rogan start calling the New York politicians ‘CuntyMcFuckFaces‘ on future UFC broadcasts?

Topics: Bellator, MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 45 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

45 Responses to “UFC & G4 TV deal: Either insanely brilliant or an example of being too clever by half”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Good article Zach. I don’t know about them on G4…I mean, I get Spike on my basic cable, but neither G4 or Versus.

    How about everyone else?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I get G4 in HD, and I think it’s a first tier channel. Anybody who has Comcast would automatically get G4 as well.

      DirecTV dropped the channel, but something tells me if the UFC purchased it, they would bring it back. The UFC makes the providers a lot of money through PPV….

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    This is my guess on how it turns out.

    1) Zuffa buys G4. They air their old footage of the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, WFA, and various other organizations they have. They create a weekly MMA studio show. They also include everything they are already producing online, which is the weigh-ins, dark prelim fights, post fight press conferences and more. They still keep some content from the channel that is successful.

    2) They sign a deal with NBC to air their programming on Versus, a few shows on NBC (the main channel), and perhaps even a chance for Syfy or USA Network. They also get the muscle behind them of Comcast/NBC, which means more of an online presence on various websites.

    Too many people are talking about this as if the UFC would purchase G4 and then just put every one of their shows on the channel and that would be that. I just don’t see that happening. I think they know they need to be on more channels.

    Now, if they end up going the G4 only route…. It’s not only risky…. It’s partially insane….

    I also pointed out yesterday that starting a channel from scratch is just not an option anymore, which is why if the UFC wants to have their own channel like the NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA…. They have to purchase an existing channel. You just can’t create new channels anymore.

    Even Oprah Winfrey….. Who has some of the most power in TV…. Had to basically take over Discovery Health and turn it into OWN….

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Even Oprah Winfrey….. Who has some of the most power in TV…. Had to basically take over Discovery Health and turn it into OWN….

      You better hope a UFC channel doesn’t turn out like that fiasco has. :)

      Discovery Health was bleeding big money, then Oprah came in to take over programming, some suits were left behind from Discovery… and ratings for the channel have gone *down* since OWN started.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        And the ratings are only going to get worse from now on. She was heavily promoting the network during his final season, and the ratings still took a nose dive after the first week. With her being off the air live from now and, and completely by September, her network is going to just lose all viewership.

        Keep in mind that he station is not in HD…. And G4 is in HD in many places. That can make a difference.

        The only team that has really been able to pull of their own station are the Yankees. And it’s a top notch production. But they are also in the largest market, in a top 3 league, with 162 games a year to broadcast. And they win a lot with tons of stars on their team.

  3. Light23 says:

    Random thought: If Spike are willing to pay $170mil for four lowish level UFC events, some fight nights, and TUF, wouldn’t four events like UFC 129 get a hell of a lot more on a major network? UFC 129 would have made $25 mil by putting it on PPV, so aren’t the UFC raking it in with this deal?

    • Light23 says:

      MMAPayout says their sources have the deal at $35mil a year, which is much more realistic. In their biggest year ever the UFC raked in $270mil (60% of gross) from PPV, so getting $170mil from Spike would be excessive.

  4. jack says:

    Write NY State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver a note expressing your displeasure with his refusal to let the MMA Bill go to a vote in the NY Assembly:

    http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=064&sh=contact

  5. smoogy says:

    I think people are looking at the situation with G4 the wrong way. It would likely be an ancillary platform, not their primary home for live/new programming. Comcast would be their partner in the venture while also paying for the live UFC rights that would fall to another channel like Versus. Comcast is not going to pay the rumoured price tag (250-350m per year)to put UFC on their own channel that might not even be a success in the first place.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I completely agree. I think the overall story has 3 parts.

      1) UFC signing with NBC

      2) Bellator going to SpikeTV

      3) UFC purchasing G4 and eventually turning it into the UFC Channel.

      The problem was that only 2 pieces of the overall story were released, so it confused a lot of people.

      But every major sport has their own channel, but still has their major TV contract with another company. I highly doubt the UFC would do anything different.

  6. EJ says:

    While i’ve said that it would be foolish for both the UFC and Spike to not continue what’s a very beneficial relationship let’s not get things twisted here Zach.

    The Bellator is the ace in the hole for Spike argument doesn’t hold up for many reasons. First is the obvious Spike TV will lose out huge and take a monster hit without the UFC it’s their biggest programming by far and would mean the abandoning of the biggest demo.

    Second Spike already say what happens when you try to switch Coke (WWE) for RC Cola (TNA) they’ve put alot of money and time into TNA and it’s hasn’t worked they still get the same stale ratings. Bellator would be an even bigger drop off and most importantly unlike the WWE which ignores TNA the UFC would not ignore Bellator it would be all out war against them. And we know how that ends we’ve seen that story before when Dana goes all out there is only 1 winner and that will always be the UFC.

    Any argument you can make for Spike you can easily make for the UFC and if they think they can just slot in Bellator and have it be all good. I’d tell the UFC to say valla con dios and i’ll give them 2 or 3 years before they’re on thier knees like The USA Network was when they lost WWE and had to pay big time to get them back. You don’t lose a cashcow like that when you’re on a very fringe channel and think you can just replace them that is incredibly foolish.

    Best hope if that UFC and Spike strike a deal that works for both sides and they can both continue to benefit from that because losing out will be a loss for both. But in the end I think it’ll be a bigger loss for Spike who doesn’t have a history of success with other brands in it’s history while Zuffa’s always been ahead of the curve.

  7. Salty Dog says:

    Great story, Zach.

    I’m sure Zuffa has crunched the numbers. If Spike is offering $170 million, imagine how much they themselves are making…. the same amount? So Zuffa thinks they can run the show and get all that money?

    Run a cable network is not the same as running an MMA promotion, no matter how many productions they run a year. Those are different areas of expertise and my guess is that Zuffa will fail. But they may see G4 as a great opportunity that they can’t pass up. Clearly they have had their eyes on their own network for a long time.

    I would suggest they pass this “opportunity” by and continue focusing on opening up more foreign markets. That’s where the real gold mine lies.

  8. Steve4192 says:

    I’m not sure what to think of the UFC’s side of this deal. They are taking a GIGANTIC risk that could either pay off massively or cripple their company.

    That said, Spike must be out of their damn minds.

    If there is one thing we have seen proven over and over again, it is that UFC fans are a very brand loyal lot. They barely even acknowledge the existence of non-UFC branded MMA. Hell, not even the Zuffa-owned WEC could gain their attention. UFC fans won’t stick around to watch Bellator.

    Also, Spike has a proven track record of being TERRIBLE at developing original content, and a UFC exodus will leave them with a Chicxulub-sized crater in their programming schedule. They are going to need to fill those programming slots with something, and Bellator doesn’t have anywhere near the library to pull it off.

  9. So let me get this straight: Someone is offering the UFC like 60% more money per year than the NHL, but the UFC is buying time this weekend on Ion TV for live programming. And this makes complete sense to everyone. Uh huh. Right.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The prelims are on SpikeTV this weekend.

      And they have purchased time in the past because SpikeTV was playing hardball with them…

      • Alan Conceicao says:

        OK. So they’re getting paid $175 million a year right now, being offered over $300 million, and they’re buying time on Ion. They also haven’t even generated a 2.0 this year. Again – this makes sense to everyone. No one thinks anything looks odd about that figure.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I think those are overall contract prices. The article was incorrect.

          If this was a designer show on HGTV, nobody would care about the ratings. It’s worth a lot of money to TV people for 3 reasons.

          1) The demographic they pull in. It’s all young males who the advertisers love.

          2) Sports is worth more because it’s oneof the few reasons why people are not cutting the cable cord.

          3) People DVR sports far less then they do the rest of TV, which is much more desirable to advertisers.

          Not to mention NBC is looking to grow certain channels…. And it’s much cheaper to pay the UFC and hope it grows then it is to bid for a NFL contract….

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          My point was exactly that. It would be like saying that Dana White turned into a beam of light and flew off into space and everyone writing articles the next morning about how he’s the Silver Surfer or something. Its obviously nowhere close to what the UFC is getting for TV and people were all hyped and backslapping themselves like they were part of this fantasy success for the UFC. Bravo internet goons! Best show since the “Vince McMahon Buys UFC” rumors of 2008.

          Carry on.

    • smoogy says:

      Heh, now that I stop to think about it, Alan is right. With the torrent of news coming out about this stuff, I forgot for a second that UFC’s revenues for a year are in the same range as these rumoured pricetags.

  10. RossenSearchTeam says:

    Interesting.

    G4 is a trash network, and I’ll always resent them for what they did to TechTV (when they got dropped from Dish was a happy day for me), but if UFC is going to take a controlling stake, that would be different.

    Thats whats really terrible about G4 right now is its poormans MTV via middleaged business men aesthetic.

    UFC has an ugly (although fruitful) habit of slathering on that kind of slime too, but they do it a LOT better.

    They’re not applying the slime via charts and research data, dana’s one of them.

    He’s on twitter with the fanboy slimes all the time.

    Anyways, UFC pretty much MADE spike.

    They could do the same thing with G4, and spike will go back to what it was pre-UFC VERY quickly.

    What else is on spike?

    The scream awards?

    And with a controlling stake UFC could have all their prelims in one place, no chasing all over the internet and different channels, and they could schedule whenever they want and promote PPV’s endlessly…

    It would really be all cake IMO.

    G4 has only 2-3 shows anybody watches right now. They could keep that 2 hours a day of programming, run MMA and MMA lifestyle crap the rest of the day and they’d have 10 times the Chanel that it is right now.

    Control of a cable channel could really make UFC/Zuffa a force.

    Your own network is the kind of thing that makes EA come to YOU!

    It could give Zuffa the leverage and power to 1. Not be ignored by the likes of Sheldon Silver and 2. Be in a position to IGNORE CBS/Showtime and sheldon silver.

    But it all has to do with a CONTROLLING interest.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      That to me is the most attractive thing.

      To be able to put the PC down…. Turn on G4 and watch the entire prelims. Then switch over to the PPV. Then go back to G4 and watch the post fight press conference along with a post “game” show.

      So much easier then the current system. And it’s basically the same thing people do for major sports…. Only they switch over to ESPN.

      The UFC already produces all of the content they need for this. So that isn’t a problem.

      And the best part….. DVR… DVR…. DVR…. You can’t DVR the prelims on Facebook. You can DVR anything on TV…. Which makes watching MMA that much more flexible then it has been the last 6 months.

  11. Jonathan says:

    Isn’t Spike TV is way more homes than G4?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Yes. I think it’s something like 90 Million vs. 60 Million.

      If the UFC got G4 back on DirecTV, it would greatly reduce that gap. It has 19 Million subscribers. Which means I woudl guess it would increase the number of homesby about 15 million due to some people being on the “family” plans. That would close the gap from 90m vs. 75m.

      • RossenSearchTeam says:

        Somebody mentioned something about the PPV biz being pretty important to DirectTV (I dont know about those kinds of things), so if G4 became the new home of a PPV powerhouse like UFC DirectTV would be much more interested in picking it back up.

      • Jonathan says:

        G4 is only available to premium cable subscribers by where I live. We have Cox cable.

        • Steve4192 says:

          Same here with Time Warner.

          I can get G4, but I have to subscribe to the digital package, which winds up costing me an extra $30/month.

        • RossenSearchTeam says:

          That sounds familiar, I think it was a higher tier than basic here in california also.

          But thats still less and you’d get more then the all NHL channel or other trad sports chanels.

          Last time I looked those were dingbat pricey.

          I agree, G4 is an unkempt lonely mess right now.

          But I dont see whay that couldn’t be changed with a boost of interest after a restructuring under Zuffa.
          Especially hinging on it being the new home for what I would assume to be somewhat exclusive UFC content.

          Then if DirectTV decided to pick G4 back up that would involve fresh negotiotians like what tier its on.

          And comcast is part owner of G4 AND Dish network, so they could put it in any tier they want if it can be justified to them.

          Its a fixer upper, but thats probably better in a way.

          Zuffa can figure out whats going on, the tricks of the trade and polish into a diamond just like they did when they bought the UFC.

          If they bought an already showroom property and went straight to the races they might fail spectacularly before they got up to speed.

  12. Black Dog says:

    It’s a smart, but also shrewd move on Zuffa’s part. I think 45 touched on an important point: they need to ink a deal with NBC, it gives them plenty of open doors. If they get that, it will take time to develop the continuity needed for programming (90 days to give it a go), and then promote it right.

    Sure, the move bears risk, especially if they go it alone, but I think it’s the right move. Timing is a question, but they must feel that they had to take this opportunity now. We’ll see how it works out, but I think I would take the same decision and go for it.

  13. RossenSearchTeam says:

    “The history of sports-based networks is very mixed…”

    I wouldn’t go ALL UFC/MMA.
    Changing the name to UFCtv or anything like that.

    I cant think of a Chanel (or a topic) devoted to one specific interest that I would watch all day everyday.

    I would just keep it G4, keep the 18-34 demo theme with AOTC and X-Play, keep general guy and nerd interest kind of stuff.
    Maybe some Anime.

    And just totally bolster it with awesome UFC and MMA content.

    They’d pretty much be moving into running a TV chanell territory.
    But they can hire or keep on the people they need to administer to the technical demands of that.

    I’m pretty sure that Zuffa could just come in with the familiarity they have with that demographic already and do a better job with the creative direction then they’re doing now with reruns of Cops and cheaters.

  14. The Gaijin says:

    Well this is really gonna mess up Randy Couture’s specialty fight channel…

  15. 45 Huddle says:

    According to Junkie’s twitter… John Morgan….

    All non-title main events after Evans/Davis will be 5 rounds.

    Flyweight Division coming “ASAP”. I say they put Benevidez vs. Johnson for the first belt, have the winner fight McCall.

    The sport is going in all of the right directions. Glad to finally see the 8th and last division finally being implemented.

    I was against 5 round non-title fights for a long time. But the last year showed that the sport has progressed enough that it’s warranted.

    • smoogy says:

      8th and last division? Why do you hate Rambaa Somdet??

      • edub says:

        A lot of people in the US are already turned off by the 135ers being too small. Those same guys see a guy who is 120lbs soaking wet in the cage, and they’ll be turned off right away.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Oh, please no 115 pound division. Benevidez and Johnson already look like bulked up midgets.

        And here is some more reasoning for it…. Both Wrestling and BJJ stop at around 125 pounds at the highest levels. Going any lower would just be a strikers division (boxers and muay thia) with a few non world class grapplers here and there.

        Not to mention that it has to stop at some point. And 125 is already too low for many.

        8 is the perfect number of champions for the UFC.

      • Chromium says:

        If there were like ten more Rambaa Somdets (including the charisma) then sure. But there aren’t, and he is head and shoulders above any other Strawweight in terms of skill. He can still fight at Flyweight and do well there.

        I’m happy to see that the UFC is still looking to add Flyweights though.

    • RossenSearchTeam says:

      “All non-title main events after Evans/Davis will be 5 rounds.”

      Thats good action.

  16. cutch says:

    The UFC is looking at Asia & Europe to expand into, I doubt many US TV companies are looking at showing a South Korean UFC event with basically just Asians on the card (it would probably be big news in South Korea though)

    There’s Boxing shows here in the UK that did quite well over here but I doubt any American fans even watched it because they have’nt heard of these guys and it would draw really low ratings.

    They also have plans to do TUF from the Phillipines, Australia & Canada etc and I always assumed they would put it online but with their own channel they could show all these shows and all the small local shows from around the World.

    These shows along with prelims are not going to get big ratings though, so why not have a subscription channel and those that subscribe (say $10 a month) get the Pay Per Views for say $25

  17. Michael Rome says:

    Those figures for Spike are off. Even the most optimistic (inflated) reports of UFC’s revenue are less than that + their PPV revenue. They are in the 30-40 range.

    If Spike offered them 170 they’d have re-signed a long time ago.

  18. Chromium says:

    Dave Meltzer is reporting in his Thursday news update that the $170M/yr price tag on Spike is completely out of whack, and that it was actually $100 million for the entire three years, which seems much more realistic to me.

    Additionally, Meltzer is saying that when asked about the reports that Zuffa was looking to buy G4, Dana White texted “No, I can’t believe major news sources run with that shit.”

    While Dana could be lying, I’m highly inclined to believe him, because, well, the idea of the UFC buying G4 is completely insane to me, although a lot of people seem to be digging it I guess.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      Two weeks ago, Dana denied that GSP/Diaz was going to happen. Now, Nick’s got the fight, got a new contract, vacated SF belt, and will fight only in the UFC. You don’t say…

      Dana or WSJ, NYT, and other reputable business outlets that have no interest in MMA who are connected to big business? I’ll take my chances on the media outlets, not necessarily with the $170M price tag but with the general story.

  19. Chris says:

    LOL Bellator on PPV?

    really?

    Yeah cause eddie vs Curran title fight on MTV did what, 175k viewers?

    Whose gonna pay to watch Bellator?

    Yeah I’m def gonna pay to see Konrad vs Paul B, M Pumbu vs ? and Fun Size vs Beebe.

    Lombard, eddie and Aksren are the big fighters in Bellator, I guess Warren as well, FW is in good shape and they do a good job getting prospects. The problem is for a prospect to become a star they need to prove it be beating top guys.

    They wotn get that in Bellator. Lombard has a good win streak but has beaten nobody, Askren has on guy in teh rankings to fight and he is fighting him next, then what? He cant prove he is a top WW and has already said he wants to go to the UFC.

    Eddie is a top LW we believe but fighting prospects isnt gonna justify that ranking.

    Bellator has good prospects and the tournaments are fun but how are they gonna turn a prospect into a star when they dont have the big time top fighters to fight against the prospects?

    Jon Jones would have smashed everyone in teh bellator or and won the title but would he be a star? No, cause fans wouldnt know if he was the real deal.

    In the UFC he fought the lower guys but then fought a top 10 Bader then smashed the best LHW in teh world SHogun, so he proved he is the real deal.

    Bellator doesnt have that.

    I’m sure being on Spike will be better for them and maybe they start to make money but they will never go to PPV, NEVER, if they try they will fail miserably.

    Rampage/Hamil, Stann/Santiago, Mir/Nelson, Torres/MM, Struve/Browne, Alves/Story did 300 to 325k PPV buys they say, so whats Bellator gonna do?

    I dont even think they would get 50k buys if they put on 5 title fights.

    PPV is off the table, maybe in 5 years if they can make alot of money, do big ratings and be able to develop some prospects and snatch some of the top guys from UFC/SF then maybe, otherwise they wont go to PPV.

  20. RossenSearchTeam says:

    @ NYT and WSJ, apparently they are on front page for google news results. But IMO they seem VERY opinionated.

    They’re sources might be legit, probably, but they’re articles are VERY opinionated.

    Just sayin’.

    I usually find VV more reasonable.
    But I cant really vouch for that one either since I dont read it regularly.

    It just seems better then NYT or WSJ.

  21. rose says:

    I hope for DirecTV sake they bring back the network if UFC buys them out. I think it’s a great idea for them to try to get their own channel going. I have no problem with them buying G4. My provider/employer DISH Network carries that channel so I have no worries about missing any of my shows that would have been on Spike TV. I think it would be a good move for UFC and I hope they do it.

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